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Database activity monitoring

Database activity monitoring definition

Database activity monitoring (DAM) refers to a suite of tools designed to monitor and analyze activities in databases such as SQL. Its primary purpose is to detect and report on various database activities, with a focus on identifying unauthorized or suspicious actions.

DAM tools continuously monitor the activity within a database such as user logins, queries, updates, inserts, and deletes. If a user who typically only reads data suddenly starts modifying records, that could trigger an alert. These alerts are based on predefined rules and behavioral analysis.

See also: database management system, monitoring software

Database activity monitoring benefits:

  • Real-time monitoring. It provides immediate insights into all database activities.
  • Policy enforcement: Due to DAM tools, organizations can define policies on who can access what data and the actions they are allowed to perform.
  • Compliance. DAM helps ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR by maintaining detailed logs of all database activities.
  • Protection against insider threats. It helps identify and prevent malicious activities by privileged users such as database administrators.

Database activity monitoring challenges:

  • Performance overhead. Continuous monitoring will require more resources.
  • Complexity. Setting up and managing DAM for large databases can be complex.
  • False positives. Like all monitoring tools, DAM is not immune to flagging legitimate activities as malicious.