Friday, June 15, 2018

Turn on fraud alerts in O365 MFA - An Additional security step

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a great feature for securing access to Enterprise applications but when a user receives a multi-factor authentication request when they aren’t expecting it, what they do? They can ignore the call or answer and hang up without pressing # to deny access to the person attempting to use their credentials.

This new feature "Fraud Alert" adds more value to the security by taking it to the next step by allowing the user to be more proactive about attempted attacks. They can answer the phone and enter their configured fraud alert code to report the attempted access. Not only it will deny the authentication taking place, but will block the user’s account so that additional authentication attempts are automatically denied without continuing to bother the user. It can also send an email notification to any configured email addresses so that they can take action, investigate, and change the user’s password. Once they have taken appropriate action, they can unblock the user’s account in the MFA Management Portal.

Turn on fraud alerts

  • Sign in to the Azure portal as an administrator.
  • Browse to Azure Active Directory > MFA Server > Fraud alert
  • Set the Allow users to submit fraud alerts setting to On
  • Select Save

Configuration options

Block user when fraud is reported: If a user reports fraud, their account is blocked for 90 days or until an administrator unblocks their account. An administrator can review sign-ins by using the sign-in report, and take appropriate action to prevent future fraud. An administrator can then unblock the user's account.

Code to report fraud during initial greeting: When users receive a phone call to perform two-step verification, they normally press # to confirm their sign-in. To report fraud, the user enters a code before pressing #. This code is 0 by default, but you can customize it

Note: The default voice greetings from Microsoft instruct users to press 0# to submit a fraud alert. If you want to use a code other than 0, record and upload your own custom voice greetings with appropriate instructions for your users.

View fraud reports
  • Sign in to the Azure portal
  • Select Azure Active Directory > Sign-ins. The fraud report is now part of the standard Azure AD Sign-ins report
Related Posts Widget For Blogger with ThumbnailsBlogger Templates

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trouble in Opening MDF File because it Says SQL Error 5171? - A guest Post by Andre Williams

MS SQL Server is the most widely used and deployed database server in organizations. But, there are times when the SQL Server database gets corrupted due to various reasons. Error messages like SQL Error 1571 are also frequent with SQL Server. Let’s learn more about the SQL error 1571, its reasons and solutions.

Symptoms of SQL Error 5171:
With SQL Error 5171, you may face failures while logging in to SQL Server, restoring SQL database files, creating a tempdb database, and attaching MDF files successfully to the SQL Server database. Instead you will receive an error saying – “.mdf is not a primary database file. (Microsoft SQL server 5171)”

Possible Reasons for SQL Error 5171:
MDF file saves data in the form of pages, and each page occupies space of 8KB. The initial first page is the header page containing important database details such as signature, file size, compatibility, and much more. Rest all the other pages stores the actual data.
When the header page or related page of the file does not get recognized by the SQL Server database, it results in the SQL Error 1571 as the entire MDF is not considered to be a valid file.

Solution to Fix SQL Error 5171:
There are multiple reasons due to which SQL Error 5171 occurs. Some scenarios are mentioned below with their possible fix solution.

Scenario 1:
Usage of a mirror database in MS SQL Server by a user encounters the Error 5171, when database is set online by executing ALTER DATABASE command

Scenario 2:
When the SQL Server is upgraded to a latest or newer version, there are possible chances of Error 5171. As, you will have to first detach the database and then upgrade it to the new version. Hence, when you will try to attach it back to the MS SQL Server, it will fail to do so and error 5171 might encounter.

Below mentioned are the possible solutions for this error:

Method 1: For database mirroring
Step 1: First set, the principal database
Step 2: Use ALTER DATABASE MODIFY FILE command to modify the information.
Step 3: Now, stop the SQL server instance.
Step 4: Copy MDF and LDF files in a separate directory
Step 5: Now, restart SQL Server and attach the database files

Method 2: For attaching the database
Step 1: To troubleshoot the error, use the sp_attach_db command
Step 2: The command will attach the detached database files after upgrading is completed.
Please note: This method will work only in the case where you have used the sp_detach_db command to detach the database

Method 3: Automated Method to FIX SQL Server Error 5171
The above methods can easily remove the SQL Error 5171. However, if you still face the error after trying the above workaround methods, then you can opt for the automated solution. You can use Kernel for SQL Database Recovery tool, one of the most recommended methods by the database experts. The tool smoothly repairs and recovers all the database objects of corrupt or inaccessible MDF and NDF files. It flawlessly recovers large-sized MDF and NDF files.

Final Words:
You can always opt to use the manual methods for SQL recovery if you are an experienced database professional. But if you’re a na├»ve user of SQL database and you are not skilled enough to understand the errors of the database, then we suggest you restore your database files with the help of the automated solution.  
Hope the solutions help you to resolve the issues related to MS SQL Server. If you have any queries, please mention in the comments. We will get back to you with a possible resolution.

About Andre Williams
Andre Williams, with more than three year's experience in SQL related technologies, contributes articles, blogs, and how-to tips regularly.

Social Media Profiles

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Cloud computing has matured way too much in the recent years and with its truly innovative, increased speed to collaborate, communicate, and ease of use is becoming the integral part of the business. However, with the increased use of cloud computing, the data that should have resided within the organizations perimeter is now being moved beyond the walls of the organization. And In this era of Cloud and BYOD, CYOD, COPE, it is much easier to make the data available anytime and anywhere at the same time maintaining an efficient security posture is becoming a big challenge.
Security is at the top of every organizations list and is a shared responsibility between the service provider and the customer. Even though the cloud service provider provides an optimum level of security for the applications hosted on their platform, it is difficult for them to gain deeper visibility and control at the risks associated with user behavior. Also, the visibility of access from outside of an organizations network or with a personal device is limited and lays path for the relook at the security in the cloud in a different way.

Cloud Access Security Brokers are a category of security tools that help enterprises safely enable cloud apps and mobile devices.  A Cloud access security brokers (CASBs) are on-premises, or cloud-based security policy enforcement points, placed between cloud service consumers and cloud service providers to combine and interject enterprise security policies as the cloud-based resources are being accessed. CASBs consolidate multiple types of security policy enforcement. Example security policies include authentication, single sign-on, authorization, credential mapping, device profiling, encryption, tokenization, logging, alerting, malware detection/prevention and so on.

CASBs work by intermediating traffic between cloud apps and users. Once proxied, these tools provide:
  • Visibility—audit logs, security alerts, compliance reports, etc.
  • Data Security—access control, data leakage prevention, encryption, etc.

Together, these functions fill in the gaps otherwise encountered when an enterprise moves from internal, premises-based applications to cloud. For enterprises in heavily regulated industries, like Finance and Healthcare, use of a CASB might be the only practical approach to enabling cloud apps. More broadly, any organization with sensitive data to protect would be well served by considering this emerging solution category.

The Four Pillars of CASB are 
  • Visibility
  • Compliance
  • Data Security 
  • Threat Protection

By using cloud access security brokers, organizations can:
  • Identify what Shadow IT cloud services are in use, by whom, and what risks they pose to the organization and its data
  • Evaluate and select cloud services that meet security and compliance requirements using a database of cloud services and their security controls
  • Protect enterprise data in the cloud by preventing certain types of sensitive data from being uploaded, and encrypting and tokenizing data
  • Identify potential misuse of cloud services, including both activity from insiders as well as third parties that compromise user accounts
  • Enforce differing levels of data access and cloud service functionality based on the user’s device, location, and operating system

Choosing a CASB is not an easy task. While many providers focus on limited areas of the four CASB functionality pillars, most organizations prefer to select a single provider that covers all use cases. Skyhigh Networks, Symantec and Netskope are some of the leaders in CASB while CipherCloud and Cisco are challengers according to the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Access Security Brokers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How to add an additional Administrator to your Amazon AWS account

To create an additional administrator in your AWS account, follow the below steps
  1. Login to your AWS Management Console 
  2. Search for the "IAM" service
  3. In the left navigation panel, select "Users".
  4. Choose "Add User"
  5. Provide the User Name, Access type, and Password
  6. Choose the option "Attach Existing Policies Directly" and select "Administrator Access"
  7. Review the Settings in the next screen
  8. On choosing the option "Create User" this will now create a new user with the administrator rights
  9. On successful creation of the user, the portal allows you to down the credentials and share to the user via the send email link. 
  10. Optionally, you can customize the sign in URL before sending the details, by navigating to the IAM dashboard and selecting the option Customize under "IAM Users Sign-In Link"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

SQL Coding Best Practices and Design Considerations

As the business demand the applications to be more flexible and user friendly, the data access layers become more critical. For the applications to be flexible and quick responsive, the database reads and writes should be at optimum performance levels leaving the developers and DBA's an mandatory option to following the coding standards and best practices.

Superior coding techniques and programming practices are hallmarks of a professional programmer. The bulk of programming consists of making a large number of small choices while attempting to solve a larger set of problems. How wisely those choices are made depends largely upon the programmer's skill and expertise.

The readability of source code has a direct impact on how well a developer comprehends a software system. Code maintainability refers to how easily that software system can be changed to add new features, modify existing features, fix bugs, or improve performance. Although readability and maintainability are the result of many factors, one particular facet of software development upon which all developers have an influence is coding technique. The easiest method to ensure that a team of developers will yield quality code is to establish a coding standard, which is then enforced at routine code reviews.

This post and the underlying presentation aims at the fundamentals of SQL Coding Best Practices and Design Considerations. To read further, download the copy of presentation from here.