We’re pleased to announce that IBM Guardium was named the overall leader in the “KuppingerCole Leadership Compass for Database Security.” The report focused on 10 vendors and selected the overall leader based on a combined rating that accounts for the strength of products, the market presence and the innovation of vendors.
Digging Into the Database Security Market Segment
Author Alexei Balaganski wrote: “Databases are arguably still the most widespread technology for storing and managing business-critical digital information. Manufacturing process parameters, sensitive financial transactions or confidential customer records — all this most valuable corporate data must be protected against compromises of their integrity and confidentiality without affecting their availability for business processes. The area of database security covers various security controls for the information itself stored and processed in database systems, underlying computing and network infrastructures, as well as applications accessing the data.”
This diagram shows vendors’ positions in the Database Security segment:
Key Functional Areas That Map to Customer Requirements
These are key functional areas of database security solutions that were considered as part of the process of rating vendors:
- Vulnerability assessment. This includes not just discovering known vulnerabilities in database products, but also providing complete visibility into complex database infrastructures, detecting misconfigurations, and assessing and mitigating these risks.
- Data discovery and classification. Although classification alone does not provide any protection, it serves as a crucial first step toward defining proper security policies for different data depending on its criticality and compliance requirements.
- Data protection. The report considered data encryption at rest and in transit, static and dynamic data masking, and other technologies for protecting data integrity and confidentiality.
- Monitoring and analytics. This includes monitoring of database performance characteristics and complete visibility in all access and administrative actions for each instance. On top of that, advanced real-time analytics, anomaly detection and security information and event management (SIEM) integration can be provided.
- Threat prevention. This refers to methods of protection from cyberattacks such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) or SQL injection, mitigation of unpatched vulnerabilities and other database-specific security measures.
- Access management. This goes beyond basic access controls to database instances. The rating process focused on more sophisticated, dynamic, policy-based access management capable of identifying and removing excessive user privileges, managing shared and service accounts, and detecting and blocking suspicious user activities.
- Audit and compliance. This includes advanced auditing mechanisms beyond native capabilities, centralized auditing and reporting across multiple database environments, enforcing separation of duties, and tools supporting forensic analysis and compliance audits.
- Performance and scalability. Although not a security feature per se, it is a crucial requirement for all database security solutions to be able to withstand high loads, minimize performance overhead and support deployments in high-availability configurations. For certain critical applications, passive monitoring may still be the only viable option.
KuppingerCole stressed the importance of a strategic approach toward information security. Customers are encouraged to look at database security products not as isolated point solutions, but as a part of an overall corporate security strategy based on a multilayered architecture and unified by centralized management, governance and analytics.
Guardium Is the Gold Standard
Oracle and IBM are the only two vendors in the Leader category. It is worth noting that Oracle’s main weakness mentioned in the KuppingerCole Compass report is that “a number of products are available only for Oracle databases.” Since most businesses operate heterogeneous environments and have sensitive data scattered across multiple databases, data warehouses, applications and other environments, this is a significant limitation.
IBM Security Guardium strengths called out in the report include:
- Full range of data security capabilities beyond just databases;
- Advanced big data and cognitive analytics;
- Nearly unlimited scalability;
- Bidirectional integration with IBM QRadar SIEM; and
- A massive network of technology partners and resellers.
While IBM Security Guardium protects data in all major types of data repositories — from databases, data warehouses and big data environments to file systems, cloud solutions and mainframe environments — the KuppingerCole Compass and vendor assessment focused only on database security because of the widespread nature of the technology.