Database administrators running SQL Server can look forward to a bit more free time and less worries about unauthorized access to sensitive data files, thanks to new database features announced by Microsoft Corp. at its TechEd 2004 conference on Tuesday in San Diego.
On the security front, Microsoft said it will embed native data encryption/decryption, password and key management support into the second beta version of SQL Server 2005 (code-named “Yukon”) that is due later this year. Also at TechEd, the software giant said it is releasing the final version of Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) for SQL Server 2000.
Through the new security components, SQL Server 2005 customers will have the choice of encrypting and decrypting sensitive data through passwords, the x509 certificate key for authentication, or Windows certificate authority, according to Tom Rizzo, director of SQL Server product management for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.
Microsoft is working with third-party SQL Server encryption software vendors Protegrity and Application Security Inc., as well as a number of undisclosed software partners, to ready the new security offering for Yukon.
Rizzo said the new database encryption measures are specifically aimed at assisting customers meet a slew of regulatory compliance hurdles such as Californias Database Security Breach Notification Act (California Senate Bill 1386), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). SQL Server 2005 will also meet the federal governments new Common Criteria manual for computer security evaluation.
“Were trying to build the Ferrari of data encryption,” Rizzo said. “Customers want to encrypt data. They know all the caveats that come with it—things take a bit longer to run. But theyre willing to pay the taxes for just the extra security they get with it.”
Armed with streamlined self-tuning capabilities, BPA scans for database administration and best practices recommendations across Windows Server System environments. The automated scans identify optimal conditions for areas such as server configurations, backup operations, implementation details of storage procedures, and database disk space capacity.
Microsoft has also integrated the SQL Server 2005 upgrade adviser into the final release of BPA. The adviser scans for outdated or altered elements in the database that could impede DBAs efforts to migrate and upgrade to Yukon, which is due in the first half of 2005, Rizzo said.