18 August 2020

Transparent data encryption (TDE)

What is Transparent data encryption (TDE)

What is data encryption?

Data encryption is a system that encodes your data so other people can’t read it. Consider this:
Xibu jt ebub fodszqujpo? No, that’s not a massive typo — that’s the phrase “What is data encryption?” encrypted with a simple Caesar cipher, or shift cipher. Each letter is replaced by the letter that follows it in the alphabet, so when you see the encrypted phrase, it’s just gibberish. You can’t decrypt it if you don’t know the encryption system.
  • What is data encryption?
  • Why use data encryption?
  • How does data encryption work?
  • Common encryption algorithms
  • Data at rest vs. data in transit
  • How to encrypt your PC
  • Mobile data encryption
  • Wireless encryption types
  • End-to-end vs. VPN encryption
  • Different types of VPN encryption
  • Can encrypted data be hacked?
  • Encrypt your data securely and easily with a VPN

What Is Data Encryption and How Does it Work?

Data encryption protects your data from being seen, hacked, or stolen. VPNs provide data encryption at the consumer level, but how about end-to-end encryption? Is a VPN the best option, or are there other solutions out there? What does data encryption even mean? Find out with our guide to everything you need to know about data encryption.
Data encryption works along the same lines, but with far more complex encryption systems. These transform regular data, stored as plaintext, into what’s known as “ciphertext” — a seemingly nonsensical string of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can only unscramble the data, or decrypt it, with a specific decryption key.

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Why use data encryption?

Data encryption is all about protecting your personal information from anyone who’d like to get their hands on it. This idea stems from humanity’s long history of encoded communications, the use and study of which is known as cryptography. Some of these encryption systems, such as the writing used in the Renaissance-era Voynich manuscript, still remain uncracked, even with the aid of modern computing.

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So why is data encryption important? In short, using encryption protects your personal data. You can use data encryption to safeguard yourself against a multitude of online threats, including identity theft, hacking, and fraud.

Many businesses also use encryption algorithms in network security to defend against spyware and other malware. Anyone who manages to obtain encrypted data won’t be able to read it — preventing hackers from gaining access to business secrets. That means data encryption also protects against certain strains of ransomware that hijack data and threaten to publish it unless a ransom is paid.

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How can encryption be used to protect information?

Did you know that you’re benefiting from data encryption nearly every time you use the internet? Here are a few uses of encryption that you may encounter in your daily online life:

Many modern websites feature HTTPS encryption — you’ll know because the URL begins with https, or because your browser shows you a little padlock icon in the address bar. Check your address bar now, and you’ll see these indicators here on our site. AVG Signal’s looking out for you.

HTTPS encryption protects your internet traffic while it travels between your device and the website you’re using, preventing anyone from either listening in or altering the data while it’s in transit. You should never divulge any sensitive personal data, such as credit card numbers, while on an unsecured website with plain old HTTP. If you don’t know how secure a certain site is, it’s always best to do a quick website safety check before entering any personal information.

Gmail and Outlook — two of the most widely used email platforms — encrypt all emails by default. The encryption they provide should be sufficient for the average email user, but there are more secure options available. Both Gmail and Outlook offer upgraded encryption with premium accounts, and ProtonMail is a securely encrypted email service that anyone can use.
Many messaging apps also protect users with data encryption. Signal and Wickr are two popular options providing end-to-end encryption: the data is encrypted all the way from the sender to the receiver.

If you’ve dabbled at all in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), you’ve also enjoyed the protections of data encryption — though if you’re savvy enough to be using these, you probably already knew that. Cryptocurrencies protect their users by encrypting transactions and storing them in a shared historical record known as the “blockchain.” Once a transaction joins the blockchain, it can’t be reversed or forged.

VPNs are a popular solution for data encryption — you can even download a VPN on your mobile phone for encryption on the go. If you’re on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, a VPN is an ideal solution for keeping your data safe. We’ll explore VPNs in more detail later in this piece, but for now, think of them as on-demand data encryption that’s both convenient and secure.

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How does data encryption work?

Data encryption revolves around two essential elements: the algorithm and the key.
The algorithm is the set of rules that determine how the encryption works. The Caesar cipher algorithm we used earlier in this article substitutes each letter with another letter that sits a fixed distance away from it in the alphabet.

The key determines the encryption implementation. Keys are randomly generated and combined with the algorithm to encrypt and decrypt data. In our Caesar cipher, we used a key of +1. A is replaced by B, B is replaced by C, and so on. In data encryption, keys are defined by their length in bits.

The algorithm and the keys it generates both contribute to the overall security of the encryption method. Key length is one factor in encryption security, but it’s not an exclusive determinant — the mathematical systems behind the algorithm also influence encryption security as well. Some algorithms with shorter keys may have equivalent or greater security when compared to other algorithms with longer keys.

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Cryptographic keys

Modern cryptography algorithms generate new data encryption keys for each use, so that two users of the same algorithm can’t decrypt each other’s communications. Symmetric-key algorithms use the same key for encrypting and decrypting, while public-key algorithms (also known as asymmetric-key algorithms) have separate keys for each process:

In a symmetric-key algorithm, the encrypting and decrypting parties all share the same key. Everyone who needs to receive the encrypted data will have the same key as everyone else. It’s a simpler system but with greater risk, as it takes just one leak to expose the data being transmitted by all involved parties.

Symmetric encryption uses either stream ciphers or block ciphers to encrypt plaintext data.

Stream ciphers encrypt data on a per-byte basis. Each byte is encrypted individually. It’s a complex system that uses a different key for each byte, but reversal is relatively easy.
Block ciphers encrypt data in blocks of 64 bits (8 bytes) or larger. Reversing block cipher encryption is much harder than with stream cipher encryption.
Our Caesar cipher example is a symmetric-key algorithm, since you can encrypt and decrypt a message using the same key: the amount of letters in the shift from plaintext to ciphertext and back.

A public-key algorithm is more secure than its symmetric-key counterpart. The public key is widely available for anyone to use in sending communications, but there’s a second key — the private key — that’s needed to decrypt the message. The algorithm creates both keys at once, and only these two exact keys can work together.

So how does data encryption protect data? Without the decryption key, you can’t unscramble the data — unless you’re willing to invest a lot of time and effort into other means of breaking the encryption. We’ll dive into what those measures look like towards the end of this piece.

What about hashing?

Hashing is a process that uses an algorithm to convert plaintext into numerical values. Any website worth using will hash user credentials to protect them in the event of a data breach. If you encounter a website that still stores passwords as plaintext, run away and never look back.

Common encryption algorithms

There’s not just one data encryption algorithm out there. Here, we look at several of the most common encryption algorithms and quickly break down how they work.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

AES is a secure symmetric algorithm that’s easy to use, making it ideal for situations in which secrecy is important. Users can set the key length to 128, 192, or 246 bits, and AES supports block lengths of 128 bits for block cipher encryption.

Rivest–Shamir–Adleman (RSA)

Names for its three creators, RSA is one of the earliest public-key algorithms and still sees widespread use. RSA uses large prime numbers to create its keys, and compared to other systems, it’s rather slow. For this reason, RSA is most often used to share a symmetric key, which is used in turn to encrypt the actual data that needs protecting.

Triple DES

Triple DES (or TDES/3DES) is a symmetrical block-cipher algorithm that encrypts each block three times over using a 56-bit data encryption standard (DES) key. But what is the data encryption standard in the first place?
DES is a pioneering encryption algorithm developed in the 1970s that was used as the US federal standard until being replaced in 2002 by AES. At the time, DES was strong enough to defend against contemporary threats. Even with its three layers of encryption, TDES is no longer considered reliably secure by modem standards.

Perfect forward secrecy (PFS)

PFS isn’t an algorithm, but a property that an encryption protocol can have. An encryption protocol is a system that defines how, when, and where an algorithm should be used in order to achieve encryption. When a protocol has PFS, it means that if the private key in a public-key algorithm becomes compromised, prior instances of encryption will still be protected. This is because PFS protocols create new keys for every encryption session.

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Because of the way PFS protects prior sessions from future attacks, it is a critical feature for the security of any encryption system. You’ll also see PFS referred to simply as “forward secrecy” or FS.

Data at rest vs. data in transit

The majority of the encryption conversation focuses on data in motion encryption, or how to protect data in transit — in other words, data that’s on its way from one place to another. When you encrypt your web traffic with a VPN, that’s data in transit encryption in action.
But not all data is constantly in motion. Data that’s stored in one place is called “data at rest.” There’s plenty of data on your computer that isn’t going anywhere, but may be even more sensitive than anything you’d be communicating to other parties.
It’s just as important to practice data at rest encryption as well, in case your device gets hacked or stolen. You can easily protect your local data by encrypting or password-protecting files and folders on your computer or external storage device.
We’ll show you some encryption best practices for data at rest in the following sections, “How to encrypt your PC” and “Mobile data encryption.”

Transparent data encryption (TDE)

Introduced by Microsoft in 2008, transparent data encryption (TDE) protects databases by encrypting the files on the servers as well as any backups. Microsoft, IBM and Oracle use TDE to provide enterprises with SQL server database encryption.

The encrypted files are automatically decrypted by any authorized applications or users when accessing the database. This is why it’s “transparent” — if you’re already allowed to access the data, you don’t need to do anything extra to see it. Think of TDE like an employee ID badge that grants entrance to a secure facility. If you have a badge, you can waltz right on in.

As an additional security measure, TDE stores the encryption keys separately from the encrypted data files. This way, if the physical storage media or files are stolen, they’ll still be protected against unauthorized access. You can’t open the data files without the correct key.

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What Is Transparent Data Encryption?

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) enables you to encrypt sensitive data that you store in tables and tablespaces.

After the data is encrypted, this data is transparently decrypted for authorized users or applications when they access this data. TDE helps protect data stored on media (also called data at rest) in the event that the storage media or data file is stolen.

Oracle Database uses authentication, authorization, and auditing mechanisms to secure data in the database, but not in the operating system data files where data is stored. To protect these data files, Oracle Database provides Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). TDE encrypts sensitive data stored in data files. To prevent unauthorized decryption, TDE stores the encryption keys in a security module external to the database, called a keystore.

You can configure Oracle Key Vault as part of the TDE implementation. This enables you to centrally manage TDE keystores (called TDE wallets in Oracle Key Vault) in your enterprise. For example, you can upload a software keystore to Oracle Key Vault and then make the contents of this keystore available to other TDE-enabled databases. See Oracle Key Vault Administrator's Guide for more information.

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Benefits of Using Transparent Data Encryption

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) ensures that sensitive data is encrypted, meets compliance, and provides functionality that streamlines encryption operations.
Benefits are as follows:

  • As a security administrator, you can be sure that sensitive data is encrypted and therefore safe in the event that the storage media or data file is stolen.
  • Using TDE helps you address security-related regulatory compliance issues.
  • You do not need to create auxiliary tables, triggers, or views to decrypt data for the authorized user or application. Data from tables is transparently decrypted for the database user and application. An application that processes sensitive data can use TDE to provide strong data encryption with little or no change to the application.
  • Data is transparently decrypted for database users and applications that access this data. Database users and applications do not need to be aware that the data they are accessing is stored in encrypted form.
  • You can encrypt data with zero downtime on production systems by using online table redefinition or you can encrypt it offline during maintenance periods. (See Oracle Database Administrator’s Guide for more information about online table redefinition.)
  • You do not need to modify your applications to handle the encrypted data. The database manages the data encryption and decryption.

Oracle Database automates TDE master encryption key and keystore management operations. The user or application does not need to manage TDE master encryption keys.

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Pros and Cons of Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) 


Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) encrypts all the data that’s stored within the database’s physical files and also any backup files created from the database. With data security becoming more and more important there’s no doubt that encryption of data using technologies such as TDE will become increasingly relevant. However as always there’s a price to be paid for implementing TDE and this article discusses some of the pros and cons.

Transparent Data Encryption

First of all it’s important to understand the scope of TDE, as it’s not a complete end to end encryption solution. TDE will encrypt the data files and transaction log files (.mdf, .ndf and .ldf files) and the backup files (.bak files). This means that so called “data at rest” is encrypted, however traffic between the database and application is not encrypted (at least not by TDE, but you can use SSL to achieve this), and data held within the application is also not encrypted. TDE is implemented at the database level and is an all or nothing solution – so all data within the database will be encrypted – you can’t just encrypt the sensitive columns.
Another point to watch is that even if only one database on a server has TDE enabled then TempDB will be encrypted, so the performance of other non-encrypted databases on the same server may be affected. However although there’s inevitably a performance impact when using TDE on a database, Microsoft claims this is only 2 – 4% compared to a non-encrypted database.
I thought it would be useful to summarise some of the pros and cons of TDE :

Advantages of TDE

  • Fairly simple to implement.
  • No changes to the application tier required.
  • Is invisible to the user.
  • Works with high availability features, such as mirroring, AlwaysOn and log shipping.
  • Works with older versions of SQL Server, back to 2008.

Disadvantages of TDE

  • Only encrypts data at rest, so data in motion or held within an application is not encrypted.
  • All data in the database is encrypted – not just the sensitive data.
  • Requires the more expensive Enterprise Edition (or Developer or DataCenter Edition) of SQL Server.
  • The amount of compression achieved with compressed backups will be significantly reduced.
  • There is a small performance impact.
  • FileStream data is not encrypted.
  • Some DBA tasks require extra complexity, for instance restoring a backup onto another server.
  • As TempDB is encrypted, there is potentially an impact on non-encrypted databases on the same server.
  • The master database, which contains various metadata, user data and server level information is not encrypted.
Hopefully the above summary is useful, if you have any other pros and cons then please let me know and I will add them to the list.
For completeness TDE isn’t the only database encryption technique available within SQL Server, some of the others are:

  • The business logic within individual stored procedures can be encrypted using the ‘ENCRYPTION’ keyword.
  • Individual data items (i.e. column or cell-level encryption) can be encrypted and decrypted using the ‘ENCRYPTBYPASSPHRASE’ and ‘DECRYPTBYPASSPHRASE’ statement along with a pass phrase. ENCRYPTBYKEY/DECRYPTBYKEY and ENCRYPTBYCERT/DECRYPTBYCERT are similar but use a key or certificate to encrypt the data.

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Setting up Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) 

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) encrypts all the data that’s stored within the database’s physical files and also any backup files created from the database. Encrypting a database with TDE is a very straightforward process, involving 3 simple steps. This article shows how to do this.

STEP 1 : Set up an instance level master key and certificate
The first step is to set up a master key by running the following SQL, but make sure you change the password to something more secure. If you already have a master key set up on the instance then you don’t need to run this (you may well already have one as it’s used by other encryption functions).

USE Master;
BY PASSWORD='MyPassword';

Then we need to create a certificate at the instance level by running the following SQL :

USE Master;
WITH SUBJECT='Certificate for MyInstance';

STEP 2 : Set up a database encryption key within the database to be encrypted
To set up a database encryption key run the following SQL in the database to be encrypted (in this example the database is called TDETest). Note that this uses the server certificate created in the previous step (I called it MyInstance_ServerCert) :


STEP 3 : Enable TDE for the database
To switch on encryption for a database run the following SQL :


That’s it ! The database files should now be encrypted.


I’ve briefly described how to set up TDE, but will now discuss how to verify TDE, check on encryption progress and backup certificates and other matters relating to TDE.

Verifying whether a Database is Encrypted 

You can check whether a database is encrypted either by looking at the database properties (right click on the database in SQL Server Management Studio, select Properties and then click on the Options page), and looking at the “Encryption Enabled” setting as below :

How to verify TDE encryption status

Alternatively a list of all the encrypted databases on an instance can be obtained by running the following query :

SELECT    name,DEK.*
FROM      sys.databases D
JOIN      sys.dm_database_encryption_keys DEK
ON        DEK.database_id = D.database_id
ORDER BY  name;

On my server I have just the one encrypted databases so get the following results from this query (note that as there is at least one encrypted DB then tempdb is encrypted) : TDE Query Result
Note the encryption_state column. The value of 3 indicates that the database is encrypted, a value of 2 indicates that encryption is in progress (a newly encrypted database is encrypted in the background, which may take a while for larger databases).

Backing Up Certificates

It’s important to back up the certificate and keep this safe, as this will be needed if you want to restore the database onto another server. To backup the certificate use the ‘Backup Certificate’ command, for instance I ran :

USE Master;
TO FILE = 'D:\SQL2012_SQLCert.cer'
WITH PRIVATE KEY (FILE='D:\SQL2012_MasterKey.pvk',
                  ENCRYPTION BY PASSWORD='D8LsiBL62mLPhi0z7CoM');

Removing Encryption from a Database

If encryption is no longer required then it can be removed along with the database encryption key by running the following commands (obviously you’d need to change the database name) :
-- Remove encryption


-- Remove DEK


You may need to leave a gap between running these statements as TDE is removed asynchronously in the background, and needs to be removed before the DEK can be dropped. Also note that tempdb will remain encrypted even if encryption is removed from all databases on the instance. However if the instance is restarted then tempdb will be recreated without encryption.

Restoring Encrypted Backups to another Server

If you are restoring a database backup to the same instance (either overwriting the same database or as a new database) then this can be done in the same way as a non-encrypted database. The restored database will also be encrypted using the same encryption key. However if you try and restore the backup to another instance the chances are that you’ll get a ‘Cannot find server certificate with thumbprint’ error. This is because the new server needs the certificate from the original server. To create the certificate that we backed up in the section ‘Backing Up Certificates’ above we can just run the statement below on the new server :

FROM FILE = 'D:\SQL2012_SQLCert.cer'
WITH PRIVATE KEY (FILE='D:\SQL2012_MasterKey.pvk',
                  DECRYPTION BY PASSWORD='D8LsiBL62mLPhi0z7CoM');

Note that the new server will need to have a master key set up in order to encrypt the certificate, however the password does not need to be the same as on the original server. If you don’t have a master key setup then this can be done using the following statement (but best to use a different password) :

BY PASSWORD='MyPassword';

In summary if you are restoring the encrypted database to another instance you will need the certificate and its private key as well as the backup file.

Checking What Certificates Exist

You can check which certificates exist using the following query :
SELECT * FROM sys.certificates;

Best Practices for Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) 

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) encrypts all the data that’s stored within the database’s physical files and also any backup files created from the database. With data security becoming more and more important there’s no doubt that encryption of data using technologies such as TDE will become increasingly relevant.
In previous articles I discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Transparent Data Encryption as part of a security solution as well as specific details of how to encrypt a database with TDE.
To finish the series this article discusses some best practices and recommendations for implementing TDE.

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Recommendations and Best Practice

If your database doesn’t need encryption then don’t implement TDE on it – as there is a small performance impact when querying an encrypted database don’t encrypt needlessly.
Backups – always backup your databases before encrypting them, just in case.
Storage of encryption keys – make sure these are stored safely, as these will be needed to remove encryption. If disaster occurs and you need to restore the database to another server from a backup file then the backup will be useless without the certificate and private key.
Extended backup duration – encrypted backups don’t compress well, so expect backups to be larger, and take longer to run.

TDE isn’t an end to end encryption solution - don’t expect data to be encrypted in transit, or within the application even if you have TDE enabled. TDE encrypts the data (e.g. .mdf and .ldf files) and backup files (e.g. .bak), nothing more.

Implement other data access controls - TDE complements, but does not replace, other methods of securing data, so access control (via permissions), password encryption and securing network traffic are still important.

Ultimate Encryption with TDE and Break Glass

Make sure you've taken a good look at the image, because we're about to discuss it at length. As you may have noticed, the left pillar in the figure is your environment, which you access through the application user interface (App UX). The center pillar is the Break Glass setup and process that Oracle personnel is required to follow in order to have access to your environment while both Transparent Data Encryption and Database Vault are securing the database. When Break Glass is set up, all credentials in the system are reset and stored in the Credential Store Framework (CSF) and in an escrow system called the Oracle Privileged Access Manager (OPAM), where Oracle stores a subset (12) of the accounts. The remaining accounts are stored in CSF, which is used for programmatic access through scripts.

Anytime Oracle personnel need access to the system, they're granted access to the escrow account only once they have gone through the approval process. The Oracle Enterprise Manager on top acts as the access controller and removes access after the duration expires, including resetting passwords, terminating sessions, and storing new passwords in OPAM and CSF.

Data Protection 

The Oracle Privileged Account Manager (OPAM) is a password management solution designed to generate, provision, and manage access to passwords for privileged accounts like Linux/Unix “root” or Oracle database “sys” accounts. It enables auditing and establishes accountability for users who normally share privileged account credentials and additional user Session Management and Recording. OPAM's integration with the Oracle Identity Governance platform provides central governance for regular users and privileged users, auditing, reporting and certification of user's regular accounts and shared accounts, and lifecycle management from request and approval to certification and usage tracking.

Meanwhile, Oracle Platform Security Services includes the Credential Store Framework (CSF), which is a set of APIs that applications can use to create, read, update, and manage credentials. A credential store is a repository of security data. Credentials can hold user name and password combinations, tickets, or public key certificates, and are used during authentication and during authorization when determining what actions the person can perform.

Understanding Transparent Data Encryption

TDE is a database feature that encrypts individual table columns or a tablespace. When a user inserts data into an encrypted column, the database automatically encrypts the data. And when users select the column, the data is decrypted. This form of encryption is transparent, provides high performance, and is easy to implement.

TDE is important because it is kind of like adding a moat around a castle for an additional layer of protection. TDE protects against threats to Oracle Fusion Applications data by encrypting Oracle Fusion Applications data when it is saved to the disk. DBF files and database backups are encrypted, and they cannot be read even in the unlikely case that they are accessed, copied, or stolen on removable media.

Staying Safe with Tablespace Encryption

Oracle Fusion application cloud instances use tablespace-level encryption on all tablespaces that contain Fusion Application business data. Like securing a home to prevent an intruder from entering through a window, encrypted tablespaces primarily protect data from unauthorized access by means other than through the database. Additionally, encrypted tablespaces protect data from users who try to circumvent the security features of the database by accessing database files directly through the operating system file system. To maximize security, data from an encrypted tablespace remains encrypted when written to the undo tablespace, to the redo logs, or to any temporary tablespace.

Maximizing Security by Managing Encryption Keys

To keep your credit cards and money safe, the easiest thing to do is store them in a wallet, right? The situation is pretty similar with encryption keys, which are coincidentally also kept in a wallet for safekeeping. To prevent unauthorized decryption, TDE stores encryption keys in the Oracle Wallet, which is a security module external to the database. TDE uses a two-tier key architecture for flexible and non-intrusive key rotation and least operational and performance impact. Each encrypted tablespace has its own tablespace key. Tablespace keys are stored in the header of the tablespace and in the header of each underlying OS file that makes up the tablespace. Each of these keys is encrypted with the TDE master encryption key, which is stored outside of the database in an Oracle Wallet (a PKCS#12 formatted file that is encrypted using a passphrase supplied by the designated security administrator during setup).

Tablespace keys are AES (with 128-bit key length), while the TDE master key is always an AES256 key. Each tablespace within the database has its own encryption key, and those keys are then encrypted within the Oracle Wallet by the master encryption key. But the security doesn't stop there – Oracle Wallet is additionally secured by a password.

Oracle Break Glass: So Secure It's Shatterproof

Hopefully you're ready to learn the ins and outs of Break Glass, because we have a lot of important information to toss your way. Oracle Break Glass is an advanced security product that restricts and manages Oracle Employees' access to the customer's cloud environment and data through non-application interfaces and restricts administrative access to systems and services. This means access isn't easy around here – instead, it definitely involves jumping through a few hoops. Any request by Oracle personnel for privileged access to the customer environment (for support, maintenance, or operational purposes) will need to go through an internal Oracle approval workflow and up to 3 levels of approval from the customer's organization before any access is granted. Check out the following image, which does a pretty good job of illustrating Oracle Break Glass.

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Seeing Clear through the Glass: Customer Benefits

Customers benefit from Oracle Break Glass for a few different reasons. For one, Break Glass supports stringent access control requirements. These:
  • Enable customers to have custom restrictions on Oracle personnel accessing their Cloud Environment
  • Allow for active involvement of customer organization in approvals
  • Allow access control to be restricted via pre-defined windows and approvals prior to use
Another benefit is the improved visibility into Access Control. Here, Break Glass:
  • Enables the customer to view audit reports for when administrative access was leveraged, which is recommended for customers in highly regulated industries
  • Augments the rigorous defense in-depth security posture of Oracle Public Cloud
  • Helps customers comply with compliance laws and regulations
  • Implementing Break Glass: Know Your Roles and Responsibilities
In this section we'll be talking about roles and responsibilities required for a successful Oracle Break Glass implementation. There will be a set of roles and responsibilities applicable to Oracle and another set applicable to the customer.
When privileged access to the customer's environment is required to perform maintenance, upgrades, support, or a service request response, the Oracle personnel will need to follow the Oracle Break Glass workflow to gain access.

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Let's Talk Access

Privileged access requests submitted through the Break Glass Security workflow require two levels of approval within Oracle before your approval is required. If the customer has preapproved certain types of access entitlements, Oracle will notify the customer about access through the Oracle Break Glass workflow. Otherwise, customers are notified to gain their approval before access is fully granted.

With an Automatic Revocation of Access, Oracle automatically revokes privileged access and resets the password after the end of the access duration.
With an Access history audit, Oracle audits all approved requests. Customers can request a copy of the access history audit report by raising a Service Request.

Customers Have Responsibilities Too

Now is a good time to break down the customer's responsibilities for a successful Break Glass implementation.

You'll configure Oracle Break Glass to define the access duration, the approval levels within your organization (up to three), and the preapproved access entitlements.
You must provide timely approval to each Break Glass access request from Oracle in order for Oracle operations and support personnel to conduct their activities.

As a best practice that you perform at least once each year, you'll need to validate the accuracy of the preapproved access list and update it to reflect the most current approval hierarchy. Any easy way to do this is by submitting a service request through My Oracle Support.

Be sure to whitelist the email address “OIMCORP-NOTIFICATIONS_WW@oracle.com” on your inbound and outbound email servers so that you can receive and respond to Break Glass request notifications from Oracle.

Here's How to Manage Break Glass Approvals

You can enable up to three levels of approvers for each of the three entitlement types, and each approval level can have multiple approvers. Approvers will be contacted by email with approval requests. Approval by any of the listed approvers in a level will advance the request to the next approval level, while rejection of the request by any of the listed approvers will stop the approval process and access will not be provided.

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