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What Is Database Activity Monitoring?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Database activity monitoring (DAM) is a program that works hand-in-hand with a database, often without user input or interaction, and observes the database and all changes that occur to it. Similar to database auditing, database activity monitoring goes beyond just reporting changes. It is able to differentiate users and show exactly what data users view, and its use is required in many industries. The DAM functions in real time and avoids interacting with logs or audit trails.

Large corporations and businesses need databases to hold the massive amount of data they accumulate on a daily basis. These records contain sensitive information, so hackers often target them, making database security mandatory. Database activity monitoring is one of the more extensive forms of security. This is because it functions automatically to collect information, and it collects more information than most other security measures.

Lesser versions of database security may require an administrator to run the security program. If the administrator knows how to fake records, he or she can steal data without the security method catching on. Database activity monitoring is a real-time program, meaning it is constantly running and updating, and it collects database information without an administrator controlling it. With this security measure in place, even an unscrupulous administrator will find it difficult to steal information.

The database activity monitoring program constantly runs, and it collects information on nearly all aspects of the database. Database auditing only holds data about changes to the database and some high-level logins from administrators or managers. DAM watches everything that happens to the database, including who is looking at what, the time at which data is opened, and many other aspects of a database. The DAM is often used as a record to prove that a malicious attack occurred if a hacker tries, or succeeds, to crack the database.

Some industries must have database activity monitoring in place to avoid violating legal regulations. These industries include credit card businesses, health insurance agencies and accounting firms. Without DAM, operating a business like these is illegal and the business can be sued for unethical practices.

If a business needs additional protection from hackers or unscrupulous employees, then they can get database activity monitoring and prevention (DAMP). This extension does all the same recordkeeping that DAM does. What it adds is the ability to prevent access to the database if conditions are met or if the database feels it is under attack.

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Discussion Comments
By anon349175 — On Sep 23, 2013

Unfortunately, there are not so many tools that can monitor databases. When I faced the problem of monitoring the database, it took me some time to find Anturis, which can really do it.

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