Supplementing SQL Server Management Studio Capabilities

SQL Server Management Studio capabilities can be supplemented by a range of third-party tools. 

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is an integrated environment for managing any SQL infrastructure. SSMS is a free solution offered by Microsoft and is widely used by SQL Server database administrators (DBAs). It offers many features designed to facilitate the daily administration of SQL Server systems.

SSMS can help SQL Servers DBAs with many tasks related to managing their databases. The tool enables a database team to access systems on-premises and in the cloud. Microsoft has included features that address various administrative activities such as ensuring security, compliance, and data protection. These features can be supplemented and enhanced with the right third-party tools. 

IDERA’s family of SQL Server focused support tools supplement the capabilities made available by SSMS. In this post, we are going to look at how using some third-party tools can make it easier to manage and protect the SQL Servers that hold your organization’s valuable data resources. 

Enhancing SQL Server Security, Compliance, and Data Protection

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the benefits of IDERA’s SQL Server tools is by looking at some specific aspects of SQL Server administration that can pose challenges for the support staff. Then we can identify the limitations of SSMS that are addressed by dedicated third-party applications.

Security

Maintaining a high degree of database security is one of a DBA’s most important responsibilities. The increased emphasis on the value of enterprise data resources makes databases very attractive targets. Systems need to be secured against attacks from both external and internal malicious actors.

SSMS enables DBAs to perform some activities related to implementing security. They can display user activity and manage access to SQL Server databases. Scripts can be developed to automate reporting showing which users are accessing the systems. While some security issues can be uncovered with SSMS, its capabilities are limited. 

IDERA’s SQL Secure provides a database team with expanded functionality allowing them to perform more extensive security reporting and analysis. Some of the features provided by this tool include:

  • The ability to analyze user’s effective rights;
  • View database roles and permissions;
  • Detect weak passwords;
  • Analyze OS security;
  • Generate security scorecards;
  • View security history and baselines;
  • Manage on-premises, virtual, and cloud instances from a central console.

Using SQL Secure, DBAs can gain visibility into the security standing of their complete SQL Server environment. This puts them in a better position to keep it secure. 

Compliance

Compliance with data privacy regulations has become a critically important part of a DBA’s responsibilities. A necessary first step is understanding the sensitive data stored in an organization’s SQL Servers. Once the sensitive data has been identified, steps can be made to protect it from unauthorized access.

Microsoft introduced a data discovery and classification feature in SSMS version 17.5. It lets users discover, classify, and label sensitive data in the database and can be used to define an infrastructure for meeting regulatory compliance requirements. The tool provides reporting functionality that gives the team a picture of the sensitive information that needs to be protected. 

SQL Compliance Manager takes maintaining regulatory compliance to a new level.   The tool provides monitoring, auditing, and alerting capabilities that ensure the SQL Server environment is compliant with a range of regulatory standards. Customizable templates make it easy to compare SQL Server settings to regulatory requirements to identify areas of concern.

SQL Compliance Manager features include:

  • Auditing SQL Server access;
  • Running tamper-proof audits;
  • Customizable alerts on more than 200 SQL Event types;
  • Read-only access that is suitable for auditors and integrity reporting.

With SQL Compliance Manager, teams can maintain regulatory compliance and produce the necessary evidence to appease external auditors.

Data Protection

Backups are a crucial component of protecting enterprise data. SSMS does have the capacity to help` DBAs create backups and restore their databases. It’s a manual process that does the job, but it can become unwieldy when supporting large and diverse SQL Server environments. 

SQL Safe backup offers teams a more comprehensive backup and recovery solution. It’s a great tool for hybrid environments with a mix of on-premises and cloud SQL Server instances. The solution has many outstanding features including:

  • Advanced backup functionality that employs multithreading and compression for faster backups;
  • Multiple recovery options including instant database restore capability;
  • Advanced encryption to protect backed up data;
  • Supports cloud storage;
  • Manage backups with enterprise policies;
  • Manage backups for the complete environment from a single console.

Using these features, database teams can ensure that their systems are backed up and can quickly be recovered when necessary.

The Benefits of Supplementing SQL Server Management Studio Capabilities

The tools provided by SSMS allow DBAs to increase the security, compliance, and data protection of their SQL Servers. IDERA’s dedicated tools further enhance the capabilities of a database team. They allow them to fully protect the valuable enterprise data assets for which they are responsible. 

Teams can try these solutions with a free 14-day trial that will demonstrate their advantages over SSMS in protecting the SQL Server environment. 

IDERA’s SQL Secure - Start Trial

IDERA’s SQL Compliance Manager - Start Trial

IDERA’s SQL Safe backup - Start Trial

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