HexaTier secures all those databases in the cloud

Another day, another Israeli security firm. It must be something in the water.

Blink security camera

Israeli-founded HexaTier, the nattily-named vendor that offers security and compliance solutions for cloud-hosted databases and Database as a Service (DBaaS) platforms, is launching the latest version of its products and focusing squarely at what it perceives are the key enterprises blockers for DBaaS adoption. The Israel connection is interesting, the number of IT security companies to originate from Israel is truly staggering. It is a reflection of the huge amount of investment that the Israeli military makes into cyber security - many of those hyper-smart graduates of the Israel Defence Force's 8200 cyber-security unit go on to form commercial companies.

The company isn't actually new, having been formed back in the cloud dark ages (2009 to be precise). Back then it was called GreenSQL and rather than an environmentally friendly play on databases, it provides a wraparound set of security solutions for databases - activity monitoring, segregation of duties and the like. HexaTier uses a patented "database reverse proxy" approach to cover both internal and external threats.

HexaTier has four individual pillars from which it hopes to offer a compelling cloud database solution:

  • Database Security: Protects databases through a database firewall, database access control, segregation of duties and blocking of SQL injections.
  • Discovery of Sensitive Data: Locates and classifies sensitive data, based on regulations.
  • Dynamic Data Masking: Allows DBAs and security teams  to create policy-driven, real-time dynamic data masking based on user credentials, applications, and business rules.
  • Database Activity Monitoring: Automates compliance through audits that identify all administrative activity and access to sensitive data, and creates reports for common compliance needs.

The new version is an attempt to ease the adoption of DBaaS into enterprises. According to the company, while smaller and newer organizations have jumped on board cloud databases fairly freely, there are still some concerns within larger and more traditional enterprises. To that end, the latest version of HexaTier includes new features:

  • Extending Organizational Authentication to the Cloud: Lets organizations’ DBAs apply Active Directory (AD) individual and group policies, enabling quicker user onboarding for cloud computing and DBaaS platform adoption initiatives. Allows organizations to extract the current AD policies to DBaaS instances.
  • Supports Enterprise-level Database Performance: Enables enterprise applications, internal and external users with proper access credentials to access databases simultaneously.
  • Dynamic and Conditional Data Masking: Enables organizations to enforce Dynamic Data Masking with Conditional definitions to control exposure of sensitive information in real time to authorized IT personnel and non production applications (e.g. Training, Testings, Staging, etc).
  • Security Improvements IPS/IDS: Includes enhanced SQL injection detection and prevention mechanism at the Database layer.

“We’ve built a robust, unified database security and compliance solution to meet scalability and massive user needs for enterprises exploring moving their databases to the cloud or those already operating there,” said David Maman, founder, and CTO of HexaTier. “Our innovative software approach simplifies installation, operation, and maintenance, eliminates the need for any additional hardware, and can scale with the same agility that cutting edge enterprises demand when provisioning temporary or permanent instances of cloud-based databases.”


It all sounds good - clearly there needs to be more certainty for enterprises around the security and compliance of cloud databases. The question remains, however, as to whether enterprises reluctance is based upon real security concerns or whether it is instead more of a dogmatic aversion to a move to the cloud. Many people would suggest that turf protection, empire building and a desire to retain silos is more the reason that many enterprise IT practitioners object to the greater adoption of the cloud than any valid security concerns.

That said, having an answer to knee jerk negative reactions is always useful since it leaves the objector with little room to move. Even if security is a front for avoiding the move to the cloud, removing the potential objections is a useful approach and, to this end, HexaTier has an important part to play.

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