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A New Approach to Database Security

Startup Sentrigo prepares to launch Hedgehog, a new tool that works at the cache memory level

Startup vendor Sentrigo Monday will unveil a new database security tool that can detect unauthorized changes by hackers or insiders -- without hogging all of your database server cycles.

The product rollout will be the first to come out of Sentrigo, a venture-backed company that received $3.5 million in first-round funding last month. At that time, the company would only give a general description of its technology, without product names or technical specifics. (See Sentrigo Gets Funding.)

In an interview yesterday, however, Sentrigo officials revealed the first details of Hedgehog, a new tool that can detect database intrusions at a granular level and shut them down in real time.

"We have what we feel is a revolutionary approach to database security," says Nathan Shuchami, CEO of Sentrigo. "It's a completely different way of addressing the problem."

Hedgehog is a software-only monitoring tool that attaches sensors to the cache memory of a database machine, Shuchami explains. It can detect any access by outsiders or insiders, and it can track the specific changes made at the object level, he says.

Most third-party database security tools, such as Guardium and Imperva, are designed to stop outsiders from hacking in, usually through a network appliance. But Shuchami observes that such appliances may not stop tampering by authorized insiders, such as database administrators, who can access the database server directly, without going through the network.

Database vendors such as Oracle also offer their own security tools, but they are generally designed to do security audits and not real-time monitoring or intrusion prevention, Shuchami says. "Oracle Audit is problematic because it requires a lot of processor power," he notes. "It can cause the organization to double its CPU requirement for a database."

By attaching sensors to the database's cache memory, Hedgehog can detect any changes to the database, whether they are made by hackers or authorized insiders, Shuchami explains. The sensors work at the hardware level, which means they aren't dependent on the network and they don't put extra stress on the database server itself.

Eric Ogren, principal analyst with the Ogren Group, says the new technology is different from what the market has seen so far. "Hedgehog's unique approach makes the product a compelling option for organizations looking to intensify their focus on database protection."

Several early customers offered testimonials for the product, including the Bank of Israel and Bun-Gurion University, one of Israel's largest educational institutions with more than 17,000 students.

"Hedgehog allows us to defend our database from prying eyes, without the need for expensive new hardware or changes to our infrastructure," says Eran Lachs, systems section manager at Ben-Gurion.

In the next two weeks, Sentrigo will launch a free trial of the software, which will remain free for small and medium-sized businesses, Shuchami says. Larger enterprises will be able to try out the software for free, and if they choose to deploy it, they will pay a one-time fee of $2,000 per CPU. Subscription services will also be offered for security updates.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Guardium Inc.
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  • Sentrigo Inc. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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