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5/20/2010
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Oracle To Buy Database Firewall Vendor Secerno

Acquisition gives Oracle 'whitelisting' method of database monitoring and protection for multiple database brands

Oracle officially added real-time database activity monitoring to its portfolio with the announcement today that it will purchase database security vendor Secerno.

Oxford, England-based Secerno sells a family of database activity monitoring tools -- a.k.a. database firewalls -- called DataWall, which uses a whitelisting-type technique to block unauthorized or suspicious database activity, as well as some blacklisting. The products sit in front of the database and work with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase ASE databases.

Financial details were not disclosed, but Oracle said it expects the deal to close by the end of June.

Oracle's move came as a surprise to the database security community. And as with IBM's recent acquisition of database security firm Guardium, the deal further legitimizes the practice of real-time database activity monitoring, security experts say. "This does what should be done with database activity monitoring. It needs to be rolled out within and among other tools and services, such as assessment and auditing that Oracle [currently] has," says Adrian Lane, CTO and analyst with Securoris.

Lane says Oracle's existing Audit Vault function is mostly an auditing tool with the capability of collecting data, but it isn't real-time and only works with Oracle databases. "It wasn't competitive in the marketplace," he says. "It had a miserable interface to use."

Secerno's products will supplement Oracle's database security offerings and help bolster Oracle's defenses against SQL injection and other injection attacks, Lane says. Secerno uses a whitelisting method, he says."It [looks at] real queries that should be allowed. This is a novel approach," he says.

The heterogeneous database support is also crucial, he says. "Oracle is never the only database in an enterprise -- there's always something else there, as well."

Oracle touted Secerno's ability to analyze SQL statements in real time and its ease of deployment and management. "Secerno's products are expected to expand Oracle's portfolio of security solutions to ensure data privacy, protect against insider threats, and enable regulatory compliance. Secerno adds a database firewall to Oracle's solutions for privileged user control, transparent data encryption, data classification, auditing, monitoring, and data masking, allowing customers to deploy reliable data security solutions that do not require any changes to existing applications, saving time and money," said Vipin Samar, vice president of database security for Oracle, in a letter to Oracle customers.

Securosis' Lane says the Secerno buy should also boost compliance initiatives in Oracle shops.

"The Secerno acquisition is in direct response to increasing customer challenges around mitigating database security risks," said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president, of Oracle Database Server Technologies, in a statement.

Database security vendor Imperva said the deal is yet another "validation" for the DAM market. "There is a growing need for DAM and DBF [database firewall] solutions which Oracle could no longer ignore. The Secerno acquisition is a direct response to increased customer demand," an Imperva spokesman said.

AppSec said it wouldn't speculate on Oracle's acquisition of Secerno, but that the news shed some welcome attention on database security. "At this point we are still awaiting the details of this deal, so we won't speculate. That said, any increased attention on database security is good for all organizations that manage sensitive data," an AppSec spokesperson said.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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