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Microsoft Announces Cloud Data Auditing Made Easy with Azure SQL Data Warehouse

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW

Microsoft has announced on its Azure blog that you can now use database auditing with Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Matt Usher, senior program manager of SQL Engineering calls this "A key security enhancement that removes barriers from businesses wanting to manage their data warehouse in the cloud."

Introduced with Azure SQL Database, database auditing increases an organization's ability to track events and changes that occur within a database (e.g., updates to and queries against the data). Usher promises that, using a simple and intuitive configuration interface, "You can now have auditing up and running on your database within minutes."

Why do you need auditing?

By enabling auditing on an Azure SQL database, you immediately have a repository of valuable data that can serve several objectives:

  • Streamline compliance-related activities. Many regulations (e.g., PCI-DSS, SOX and HIPAA) require an audit trail on data-related activities against the underlying databases.
  • Gain Insight about database activity. By retaining an audit trail, you know exactly what activity is taking place on your database, by whom and when. This data can help to identify business trends or potentially indicate business concerns (e.g., a drop in activity over time in a geographic-specific database).
  • Identify suspected security violations. Analysis of audit data can expose discrepancies and anomalies in data-related activities across the organization, which in turn can help identify security incidents.

Usher emphasizes that auditing and other security features cannot guarantee regulatory compliance. It remains the organization's responsibility to ensure that application design and database practices are implemented to adhere to ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).