OCI Data Safe – Part 2 (Data Discovery)

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We live in a digital era where the most valuable asset is data. Most organizations are investing in the cloud to take a business edge to become more competitive in the market. When their databases are migrated to the cloud next stride is taken to protect the data. But not having a proper monitoring dashboard and understanding of data may lead to sudden data breaches. Without understanding what kind of data you have it’s impossible to drill down to implement data protection elements like data masking. 

A protection method must be implemented on all environments like Dev, Test, Pre-Prod, and UAT.  Databases are the key component in any organization. During the Audit time period security administrators spend hours gathering information related to the database security measurements. But having a centralized dashboard to view all the activity help to understand the data and implement proactive measurements to protect data. Oracle data safe is a powerful and flexible tool to protect Oracle databases. Data-Safe is a unified control center for managing database security in the Oracle Cloud, both for your Oracle Cloud Databases and your Oracle On-Premises Databases. 


What Customer Problems Are Addressed with Data Safe?

To protect your enterprise data, you need to be able to answer a number of questions such as:

  • Security and User Assessment
    1. Are my databases securely configured? 
    2. Do I have any highly privileged accounts that could pose a risk to my database? 
    3. Do I have gaps in my configuration strategy? 
    4. How can I best remediate these gaps?
  • Sensitive Data Recovery
    1. What types of sensitive data do I have?
    2. How much sensitive data is stored in this database?
    3. Where is my sensitive data located?
  •     Data Protection
    1. How can I efficiently support test/dev and analytics without exposing sensitive data?
  • Auditing Process
    1. How can I manage the audit data collected from individual servers?
    2. How can I centralize audit data to simplify reporting and event correlation?
    3. How can I be alerted to inappropriate user activity? 


What features does Oracle Data Safe include?

Data Safe allows customers to perform security and user assessments of their database and their database users

  • A security assessment allows customers to create and maintain security baselines. This enables rapid identification of configuration risks and facilitates consistent use of security controls across the enterprise
  • User assessment helps customers understand their user risk profile. Over-privileged users are frequently targeted by cyber attackers to leverage their extensive set of privileges to mount data attacks


Data Safe manages database server audit policies and securely collects, removes, and retains audit data from database servers

  • Database audit policies can be centrally managed and configured
  • If an attacker compromises a privileged user account, the attacker may also be able to alter or destroy the audit records for the database. Moving the audit data as quickly as possible to a secure centralized repository makes it difficult for attackers to hide their tracks
  • Audit data can be retained for forensic and compliance purposes


Data Safe discovers sensitive data in databases:

  • Common categories of sensitive data can be discovered by Data Safe so customers don’t accidentally overlook some columns of sensitive data
  • Sensitive data can then be masked by Data Safe to protect the information in test databases


Data Safe masks sensitive data in development and test databases:

  •  Development and test databases need production-like data to modify and test applications. However, development and test databases aren’t protected to the same level as production and the sensitive data needs to be replaced in the database
  • Masking needs to account for foreign/primary key mappings so that sensitive data used for linking data needs to remain consistent


Data Safe dashboard allows customers to quickly assess and then drill down to review risk:

  • When alerts are received, the dashboard provides a quick overview of the data security status for the target databases
  • Unusual dashboard activity can be drilled down to find specific issues


Also, this can be met to be compliant with:

  • Compliance laws such as the European Union (EU)
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)


In this article, I will illustrate how can to discover the data from data-safe. 

If you are still new to data safe, refer to Data Safe.


First, navigate the dashboard and select data discovery


Figure 1: Select data discovery


This window discovers the schemas and you can select the respective schema.

As per this example select Scott schema.


Figure 2: Select the schema


Below mentioned window enables you to select the type of data there in the schema.


Figure 3: Selecting data type.


As per Figure 4: you can tic the discovery option to collect the data and discover the data with referential relationships.


Figure 4: Sensitive data model.


Oracle has to introduce discover and classify sensitive data based on a library of more than 150 predefined sensitive data types that easily can be broadened with customer data types to meet any organization’s requirement.  This helps to classify the amount of sensitive data within databases and use that information to determine associated risks and data protection needs.

Some of the predefined data examples 

  • IT Data 
  • Financial Data
  • Healthcare Data
  • employment Data
  • Understand Data Type and Location  

Figure 5 pie chart illustrates the classification of data after the discovery


Figure 5:  Data category pie chart.


Also this oracle data safe help us to understand the type of data from a column and what is the sensitive type of that classification. Figure 6 elaborates on columns with sensitive type. 


Figure 6:  Discover schema columns. 

The next step is data masking, I will discuss these steps in my next article.



Data is the new currency. It is one of the most valuable organizational assets, however, if that data is not well protected, it can quickly become a liability. At an alarming rate we are seeing more and more data breaches that impact an organization’s brand, their ability to continue to deliver services and do business, and of course, they are impacted financially. The only possible way to overcome this is by having a proper data security monitoring tool.

Oracle Data Safe in OCI really powerful tool that elevates database security. This tool helps to understand the amount of sensitive data stored in the database. Oracle predefined library help to classify sensitive data and determine the associated risk and data protection needs. Even data safe reduces the data risk of the database and eliminate these associated risk by implementing masking these risk by feature.

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