The Data You Must Never Store in Databases

Are you tired of constantly worrying about the security of your database? Do you feel like your data is always at risk of being compromised? Well fear not! We have compiled a list of the types of data that you should never store in your database.
From sensitive personal information to confidential business data we’ve got you covered. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive into the world of data security.

Importance of Data Security

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what data you should avoid storing in your database let’s talk about why data security is so important. In today’s digital age data breaches are becoming increasingly common and the consequences can be devastating. From financial loss to reputational damage a data breach can have long-lasting effects on your business. That’s why it’s crucial to take every precaution necessary to protect your data.

Now let’s take a look at the types of data that you should avoid storing in your database.

Data Type Reasons to Avoid Storing
Social Security Numbers Identity theft legal liabilities
Credit Card Information Payment card industry regulations liability for fraudulent charges
Medical Records Healthcare regulations privacy concerns
Passwords Security risks user trust
Confidential Business Data Competitive advantage reputational damage

By avoiding storing these types of data in your database you can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach and protect your business from potential harm. Remember prevention is always better than cure!

What type of data you should not store in database

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Personal Identifiable Information

Who doesn’t love a good acronym? PII or Personal Identifiable Information is something you definitely don’t want to store in your database. Why you ask? Well let’s just say that if your database gets hacked and this information falls into the wrong hands you could be in some serious trouble.

So what exactly is PII? It’s any information that can be used to identify a specific individual. This includes things like social security numbers driver’s license numbers and even email addresses. Basically if it’s something that could be used to track down someone’s personal information it’s PII.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “But wait I need to store some of this information for my business!” And you’re not wrong. Some businesses do need to store PII but it’s important to be mindful of how you’re storing it and who has access to it.

One way to protect PII is to encrypt it. This means that the information is scrambled in a way that makes it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the key to unlock it. Another way is to limit access to this information to only those who absolutely need it. And of course always make sure your database is secure and up-to-date with the latest security patches.

In conclusion PII is something you definitely don’t want to mess around with. Take steps to protect it and be mindful of who has access to it. And remember when it comes to PII it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Credit Card and Payment Information

Alright folks let’s talk about something that really grinds my gears – storing credit card and payment information in a database. I mean come on do we really need to spell it out for you? This is like leaving your wallet on a park bench and hoping for the best.

First off storing credit card information is a major security risk. I’m not just talking about hackers but also your own employees. You never know who might have access to that database and all that juicy financial information. And let’s be real most of us aren’t exactly hiring top-notch security guards to watch over our databases.

Secondly it’s just plain lazy. I mean there are so many third-party payment processors out there that can handle all of this for you. Why take on the risk and responsibility yourself? Let the pros handle it and focus on what you’re actually good at.

And don’t even get me started on the legal implications. If you’re storing credit card information and something goes wrong you could be looking at some serious fines and legal action. Is it really worth it?

So let’s make a pact shall we? No more storing credit card and payment information in databases. Let’s leave that to the experts and focus on what we do best. Deal? Deal.

Passwords and Credentials-

Ah passwords. We all have them we all hate them and we all forget them. But when it comes to storing them in a database there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First and foremost never ever under any circumstances store passwords in plain text. I mean come on people it’s 2021. If you’re still doing this you might as well be using a typewriter to send emails.

Instead use a one-way hash function to store passwords. This means that the password is encrypted and cannot be reversed to its original form. When a user logs in their password is hashed and compared to the hashed version stored in the database. If they match the user is granted access. If not well tough luck.

But wait there’s more. Don’t forget about credentials. These are the keys to the kingdom the secret codes that allow users to access sensitive information or perform actions with elevated privileges. And just like passwords you don’t want to store them in plain text.

Instead use a secure credential storage system that encrypts the credentials and only allows authorized users to access them. And for the love of all that is holy don’t hardcode credentials into your application code. That’s like leaving your house key under the doormat. It’s just asking for trouble.

So in summary when it comes to passwords and credentials don’t be lazy don’t be foolish and don’t be a sitting duck for hackers. Use proper encryption techniques and secure storage systems to keep your sensitive information safe and sound.

Now if only we could come up with a way to remember all those darn passwords…

Sensitive Government Data

Alright folks listen up. This one is important. If you’re thinking about storing sensitive government data in your database just don’t. Seriously don’t even think about it. You might as well just paint a target on your back and wait for the government to come knocking.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “But I’m not doing anything wrong! Why would the government care?” Well my friend that’s not really the point. The government has rules and if you’re not following them you’re in trouble.

And let’s be real do you really want to be responsible for a leak of sensitive government information? I mean sure it might make for a good story at the bar but it’s not worth the risk.

So what kind of data are we talking about here? Well anything that’s classified or restricted for starters. This includes things like national security information confidential diplomatic cables and sensitive military intelligence.

But it’s not just limited to the big-ticket items. Even seemingly harmless information like the names and addresses of government employees can be considered sensitive and should be handled with care.

In short if you’re not sure whether something is sensitive government data or not assume that it is and don’t store it in your database. Trust me it’s not worth the headache.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go delete my browser history before the feds come knocking.

Unencrypted Data

Let’s talk about unencrypted data. You know the stuff that’s just lying around in your database like a drunk uncle at a family reunion. Unencrypted data is like leaving your front door wide open with a sign that says “Come on in burglars!” It’s just asking for trouble.

Unencrypted data is any information that hasn’t been scrambled into a code that only authorized users can read. This includes passwords credit card numbers social security numbers and any other sensitive information that could be used to steal someone’s identity or money.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “But I have a super secure password for my database!” That’s great and all but it’s not enough. Hackers can easily bypass your password and gain access to your unencrypted data. It’s like putting a padlock on your front door but leaving the window open.

So what should you do? Encrypt your data my friend! It’s not rocket science. There are plenty of tools and services out there that can help you encrypt your data and keep it safe from prying eyes.

And if you’re still not convinced just think about the consequences of a data breach. It’s not just a minor inconvenience. It can ruin your reputation cost you millions of dollars in lawsuits and even put you out of business.

So do yourself a favor and encrypt your data. Don’t be that guy who leaves his front door wide open.

User Activity Logs

Now let’s talk about user activity logs. These little guys are like the diary of your website or application. They keep track of who did what when they did it and how long it took them to do it. Sounds innocent enough right? Wrong.

Sure user activity logs can be helpful for troubleshooting and improving user experience. But they can also be a treasure trove of sensitive information. Just think about it: every click every search every form submission is recorded. And if that data falls into the wrong hands well let’s just say it’s not going to be pretty.

So what kind of data should you avoid storing in your user activity logs? Here are a few examples:

– Passwords: This one should be obvious but you’d be surprised how many websites and applications still store passwords in plain text. If a hacker gets their hands on your user activity logs and sees a password they now have access to that user’s account.

– Credit card information: Again this should be a no-brainer. Storing credit card information in your user activity logs is a recipe for disaster. Not only could it lead to fraudulent charges but it could also result in a PR nightmare for your company.

– Social Security numbers: Unless you’re a government agency or financial institution there’s really no reason for you to be storing Social Security numbers in your user activity logs. And even if you are one of those entities it’s still risky business.

– Personal health information: If your website or application deals with personal health information be extra careful with your user activity logs. HIPAA regulations require that this information be kept confidential so storing it in your logs could land you in hot water.

The bottom line? Be mindful of what you’re storing in your user activity logs. If you don’t need it don’t keep it. And if you do need it make sure it’s encrypted and stored securely. Your users (and your company) will thank you.

Redundant or Irrelevant Data

Let’s face it we all have a little hoarder inside us. Whether it’s keeping that old t-shirt from high school that doesn’t fit anymore or holding onto that one embarrassing photo from college we all have items we can’t let go of. But when it comes to data it’s important to resist the urge to hoard.

Redundant data is information that is duplicated in multiple places. It might seem harmless but it can quickly become a headache. Not only does it take up valuable storage space but it also leads to inconsistencies in your data. Imagine if you had different versions of a customer’s address in multiple locations. Which one is correct? Which one should you use? It’s a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand irrelevant data is information that has no value or purpose for your organization. It might be tempting to collect every piece of data you can get your hands on but it’s important to think critically about what you really need. Do you really need to store every customer’s favorite color or their shoe size? Probably not. Stick to the data that’s actually useful and relevant to your business goals.

So what should you do with all that extraneous data? Delete it! Just like cleaning out your closet it can be cathartic to get rid of things you don’t need. Plus it’ll make your databases more efficient and easier to manage. It’s a win-win.

In conclusion- oh wait we’re not supposed to conclude anything. But seriously don’t hoard data. Keep it relevant and avoid redundancy. Your databases will thank you.


Page Updated: March 3, 2023

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