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Can Oracle Thwart Data Thieves?

Oracle today introduced two new pieces of software to secure data and applications and help customers better meet compliance requirements.

Thanks to "realms and rules," Oracle Database Vault keeps database administrators (DBAs) and other corporate insiders with technical know-how from accessing certain types of privileged information.

The Redwood Shores, Calif., company's Secure Backup encrypts data to tape to safeguard against the misuse of sensitive data in the event backup tapes are lost or stolen, a common occurrence in 2005.

Bank of America, Time Warner and CitiFinancial all lost tapes laced with corporate data last year.

The products come at a time when more security threats are coming from so-called corporate insiders, such as disgruntled former employees.

Companies are increasingly sensitive to such threats because of regulatory and privacy regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), both of which call for data to be saved unaltered.

Database Vault, a standalone security option that is expected to be available on Linux within the next 30 days and on other platforms in 2007, enables customers to implement incremental restrictions on data access for users.

Specifically, Oracle said in a statement that realms are established to encapsulate an existing application or a set of database objects inside a protection zone while rules restrict operations based upon business-specific operational requirements.

For example, Oracle said a company can prevent an administrator from making changes to the database while outside of the corporate intranet and after normal working hours.

Oracle Secure Backup meanwhile backs up data on Oracle databases and file systems on Linux, Unix and Windows platforms with supports for over 200 tape devices on the market.

Oracle said in a statement that Secure Backup embeds back-up logic inside a relational database engine, enabling greater levels of security and performance at the source.

While back-up products from leading providers such as Symantec and EMC encrypt data after it leaves the database, Secure Backup encrypts the data in the database, locking up data in transit and on tape.

This ensures that lost or pilfered backup tapes cannot be read or altered with by a third party, an important function at a time when tapes seem to keep falling off trucks or are stolen by potential perpetrators.

Secure Backup also has certificate-based authentication for all hosts' systems participating in a backup or restore to ensure that outside parties cannot impersonate an authorized host.

Oracle Secure Backup is generally available today for $3,000 per physical tape drive.

In related Oracle news, the company this week committed to enhance J.D. Edwards, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel applications on an on-going basis to ally fears that the company will phase out its acquired application lines.