October 26, 2023

It’s Not Just You. Secure Database Credential Management Is Overwhelming — And Here’s How to Fix It.

Mike Milano

Chief Product Officer

Making sure databases are secure is a non-negotiable part of a security team’s job. To make that happen, companies need zero trust failsafes to ensure only the right users get into the right databases. Unfortunately, while security teams build these systems with the best intentions, the systems themselves often become so complicated and have so many nested login requirements that they become liabilities of their own.  

Secure database access often requires security and ITOps take on a tremendous management burden, supervising a colossal tangle of credentials and entitlements at the cost of great effort and time. Employees also end up frustrated given the need to remember or locate multiple credentials, souring their view of company security. And even then, all these systems don’t guarantee databases are free of risk.

BastionZero simplifies access and strengthens database security. Before we show you how let’s take a look at the painful process of accessing an AWS RDS PostgreSQL database without BastionZero.

Logging into a Secure Database is a Mess for Users and Admins Alike

Imagine an employee at your company who wants to log in to a managed database, as mentioned above. There are many authentication and authorization strategies that could be deployed based on the size of the organization, the administrator's experience and even the trust the organization has in their users. For example, a small organization might distribute database login credentials that are only useful once a user is authenticated by their SSO or their cloud provider’s identity and access management (IAM) tools. A larger organization might utilize a privileged access management (PAM) workflow, requiring a user to authenticate and then request the credentials from the password vault. In all cases, the responsibility is put on the end user to fully understand and remember the workflow while the administrators must manage multiple authN and authZ systems. These types of workflows simply frustrate users and admins alike.

For some time, many have seen this juggling act as the cost of committing to zero trust security.   But the development of passwordless authentication allows companies to achieve zero trust access while only managing a single set of credentials for each user.  

How to Adopt Passwordless Secure Database Access

It’s simple to streamline database security with BastionZero. Setup requires creating and linking a few accounts, but once you do so, the result is a single set of credentials to use and manage. 

The first step is setting up BastionZero on your devices for passwordless access. BastionZero can exist side-by-side with other login methods, so implementing it is low-risk. It’s straightforward to download the agent, connect BastionZero with your IdP, and download our Zero-trust Command-line Interface (ZLI) or our desktop application.

From here, we’ve written a simple guide for you to follow. At a high level, the remaining steps include setting up AWS IAM with a role that the BastionZero agent can use in conjunction with our SplitCert technology to provide passwordless database access. With BastionZero in place, users can enter their username, verify with their IdP once and gain access. It’s that simple. And BastionZero helps to address another potential security issue: sole reliance on an IdP to authenticate users can result in a significant liability if the IdP is compromised. BastionZero uses two roots of trust and continuously validates users, so as long as either BastionZero or the IdP remains uncompromised, databases are safe.

Facing Complex Database Threats With a Straightforward Security Solution

There are new threats facing databases every day, and the cost of breaches is getting more expensive. Yet even as the stakes increase and challenge rises, it isn’t always worth fighting complexity with complexity. By adopting passwordless authentication and managing a single set of credentials for each user, companies can achieve zero trust access without the burden of complex credential management. BastionZero enables employees to easily gain secure access to databases and gives security peace of mind that databases are protected from potential threats.

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It’s Not Just You. Secure Database Credential Management Is Overwhelming — And Here’s How to Fix It.

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