Network Account Security Checklist

Hackers - @SeniorDBA

Network security starts with creating and maintaining proper user accounts. While it is assumed that network security processes are obvious when it comes to user accounts, I thought it might be helpful to document some of the best practices for the less experienced people that might be tasked with maintaining this process at their company.

Remember that having an established procedure and setting realistic expectations allow you to provide some consistency into your IT processes. Consistent processes tend to be repeatable and reliable, which also means you reduce the chance of surprises and security headaches.

Unique User Accounts – Users should never be sharing user network accounts. Every user must get a unique network account, usually some combination their first and last name. Each user should be responsible for creating and maintaining their own password and they should know to never share their password with anyone. Remember to provide “least privilege” to each account. If the user requires additional access as their role changes the modification request should be made in writing, when possible, from an authorized supervisor.

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Top 8 Features of SQL Server 2016

SQL Server - SeniorDBA

Microsoft recently announced the top eight features of SQL Server 2016. The earlier versions of SQL Server has had unparalleled performance, but Microsoft mat have outdone themselves this time with groundbreaking additional features. Microsoft SQL Server is the most popular commercial enterprise-level relational database management system available today. You will be able to scale up to 12TB of memory, reach up to 30x faster transactions and 100x faster queries with enhanced in-memory performance, and run real-time operational analytics over transactional data. Do you agree on their feature selection?

  • In-Memory OLTP helps meet business requirements for increased agility. In-memory OLTP has continued to mature in SQL Server 2016 by extending the functionality to more applications while enhancing concurrency. Microsoft expanded the T-SQL surface area, increasing the number of memory supported into the terabyte range as well as supporting a greater number of CPUs.

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Finding Last Password Changed for an Active Directory User Account

You can check the Last Password Changed information for a user account in Active Directory. The information for last password changed is stored in an attribute called “PwdLastSet”. You can check the value of “PwdLastSet” using the Microsoft “ADSI Edit” tool.

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Reset SQL Server SA Password on Linux

The “sa” account is a critical account on all versions of SQL Server. If you forget your “sa” password, it can cause problems. This article will help you identify the steps required if you have forgotten the password of your “sa” account of your SQL Server instance on Linux.

The mssql-conf utility is a configuration tool that installs with SQL Server on Linux (Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise server, and Ubuntu). This handy tool as a replacement for SQL Server Configuration Manager which exists when you install SQL Server on Windows.

Reset the “sa” account password 

  • Connect SQL Server using command-line tool with the existing password to make sure that your current password is working. You will skip this step if you don’t know the password.
sqlcmd -S <SQLInstanceName>-U <UserName> -P <Password>

  • To change the “sa” password, first stop SQL Server service on Linux:
sudo systemctl stop mssql-server
sudo systemctl status mssql-server
  • Reset the “sa” password by creating a new strong password :
/opt/mssql/bin/mssql-conf set-sa-password

Note: When you are resetting/changing “sa” password using sqlcmd in a bash terminal,  you must not use the special character “$”. 

  • Start and verify the status of SQL Server Service:
sudo systemctl start mssql-server
sudo systemctl status mssql-server

  • Connect SQL Server with the new password:
sqlcmd -S <SQLInstanceName>-U <UserName> -P <Password>

  • Once you are successfully connected, you know the new password is correctly altered.

Change password using sp_password

  • Login with any User account that has sysadmin access on the server.
  •  syntax: sp_password NULL, ‘<insert_new_password_here>’, ’sa’
  • command :-

sp_password NULL, 'Admin@1433', 'sa'

  • Log into the SQL Server instance using the “sa” account and the new password to verify it has been successfully changed.

Free Download: SQL Server Management Studio 17.4

SQL Server

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is an integrated environment for accessing, configuring, managing, administering, and developing all components of SQL Server. SSMS combines a broad group of graphical tools with a number of rich script editors to provide developers and administrators of all skill levels access to SQL Server.

Microsoft has announced the latest release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) in October. This release features improved compatibility with previous versions of SQL Server and a stand-alone web installer.

Get it here:

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TIOBE Index for December 2017

Have you seen the latest TIOBE rankings report?

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. Observe that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

This month R and MATHLAB have made huge improvements, but the big news is Visual Basic.Net has dropped out of the top 5.

Dec 2017 Dec 2016 Change Programming Language Ratings Change
1 1 Java 13.268% -4.59%
2 2 C 10.158% +1.43%
3 3 C++ 4.717% -0.62%
4 4 Python 3.777% -0.46%
5 6 change C# 2.822% -0.35%
6 8 change JavaScript 2.474% -0.39%
7 5 change Visual Basic .NET 2.471% -0.83%
8 17 change R 1.906% +0.08%
9 7 change PHP 1.590% -1.33%
10 18 change MATLAB 1.569% -0.25%

The TIOBE Top 10 for this month:Read the entire results at this site.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster Recovery

In your business, you are probably the only one tasked with understanding what types of disasters can strike your business and the task of planning to prevent those disasters from bringing down the business. As Alan Lakein said many years ago, “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. As an information technology professional, one of your many tasks is to understand the risks to your business systems and plan to prevent or overcome those risks from impacting your business.

About 40% of businesses do not re-open after a disaster and another 25% fail within one year according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Similar statistics from the United States Small Business Administration indicate that over 90% of businesses fail within two years after a disaster.

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