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‫ SQL Server Security- 2nd Section- Server and Database Roles

IRCAR201401198
Date: 2014-01-15
 
  1. Introduction
SQL Server has many features that support creating secure database applications. Common security considerations, such as data theft or vandalism, apply regardless of the version of SQL Server you are using. Data integrity should also be considered as a security issue. If data is not protected, it is possible that it could become worthless if ad hoc data manipulation is permitted and the data is inadvertently or maliciously modified with incorrect values or deleted entirely. In addition, there are often legal requirements that must be adhered to, such as the correct storage of confidential information. Storing some kinds of personal data is proscribed entirely, depending on the laws that apply in a particular jurisdiction.
Each version of SQL Server has different security features, as does each version of Windows, with later versions having enhanced functionality over earlier ones. It is important to understand that security features alone cannot guarantee a secure database application. Each database application is unique in its requirements, execution environment, deployment model, physical location, and user population. Some applications that are local in scope may need only minimal security whereas other local applications or applications deployed over the Internet may require stringent security measures and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
The security requirements of a SQL Server database application should be considered at design time, not as an afterthought. Evaluating threats early in the development cycle gives you the opportunity to mitigate potential damage wherever a vulnerability is detected.
Even if the initial design of an application is sound, new threats may emerge as the system evolves. By creating multiple lines of defense around your database, you can minimize the damage inflicted by a security breach. Your first line of defense is to reduce the attack surface area by never to granting more permissions than are absolutely necessary.
The topics in this section briefly describe the security features in SQL Server that are relevant for developers, with links to relevant topics in SQL Server Books Online and other resources that provide more detailed coverage.
 
  1. Server and Database Roles in SQL Server
All versions of SQL Server use role-based security, which allows you to assign permissions to a role, or group of users, instead of to individual users. Fixed server and fixed database roles have a fixed set of permissions assigned to them.
 
2.1.        Fixed Server Roles

Fixed server roles have a fixed set of permissions and server-wide scope. They are intended for use in administering SQL Server and the permissions assigned to them cannot be changed. Logins can be assigned to fixed server roles without having a user account in a database.
 
Security Note
The sysadmin fixed server role encompasses all other roles and has unlimited scope. Do not add principals to this role unless they are highly trusted. sysadmin role members have irrevocable administrative privileges on all server databases and resources.
Be selective when you add users to fixed server roles. For example, the bulkadmin role allows users to insert the contents of any local file into a table, which could jeopardize data integrity. See SQL Server Books  for the complete list of fixed server roles and permissions.
 
2.2.        Fixed Database Roles

Fixed database roles have a pre-defined set of permissions that are designed to allow you to easily manage groups of permissions. Members of the db_owner role can perform all configuration and maintenance activities on the database.

Logins must be mapped to database user accounts in order to work with database objects. Database users can then be added to database roles, inheriting any permission sets associated with those roles. All permissions can be granted.
You must also consider the public role, the dbo user account, and the guest account when you design security for your application.
 
2.3.        The public Role

The public role is contained in every database, which includes system databases. It cannot be dropped and you cannot add or remove users from it. Permissions granted to the public role are inherited by all other users and roles because they belong to the public role by default. Grant public only the permissions you want all users to have.
 
2.4.        The dbo User Account

The dbo, or database owner, is a user account that has implied permissions to perform all activities in the database. Members of the sysadmin fixed server role are automatically mapped to dbo.
 
Note:
The dbo user account is frequently confused with the db_owner fixed database role. The scope of db_owner is a database; the scope of sysadmin is the whole server. Membership in the db_owner role does not confer dbo user privileges.
 
2.5.        The guest User Account

After a user has been authenticated and allowed to log in to an instance of SQL Server, a separate user account must exist in each database the user has to access. Requiring a user account in each database prevents users from connecting to an instance of SQL Server and accessing all the databases on a server. The existence of a guest user account in the database circumvents this requirement by allowing a login without a database user account to access a database.
The guest account is a built-in account in all versions of SQL Server. By default, it is disabled in new databases. If it is enabled, you can disable it by revoking its CONNECT permission by executing the Transact-SQL REVOKE CONNECT FROM GUEST statement.
Security Note
Avoid using the guest account; all logins without their own database permissions obtain the database permissions granted to this account. If you must use the guest account, grant it minimum permissions.
 

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