I need some clarity in terms of Security involving Linux Admins and DBAs. Oracle DB on an Enterprise Linux server.

I want to ensure none of the contractor team be able to tamper database and its files(config, db and other imp files).

In order to do that I am looking for Security controls to restrict below two things.

  1. DBAs to not mess with database.
  2. ServerAdmins to not mess with important db files.

Now for the first point I am sure of having least privileges, custom db access, controlled access using LDAP groups.

However, for second part, I need suggestions on how linux sys admins can be restricted. Like disallowing folder access containing db files or something of that sort. Being said that they should also be able to do their required admin duties after applying security controls.

There are expensive DB and File monitoring solutions in market however I'm looking for native options. Please assist.


They need to have access to the servers and databases to be able to do their job. For sysadmins they would need the root account, for DBAs they would need the superuser account in the database (not sure what that user is for Oracle, but on MySQL that user is also named root).

If you don't trust them, don't employ them, or at the very least monitor them (by setting up off-site logging to a server they don't have access to). They will still be able to stop the logging (and make it look like it was accidental like network issue etc), but at least you'd have one more audit trail.

This related question on Server Fault goes into more detail about why this is impossible.


As stated in another answer, for proper administration of the server (both from system and DB perspective) the contractors will need to have sufficient levels of access -often root in their respective domains.

That said, there are some generally accepted security controls that should be in place in the environment such as:

  • Principle of Least Privilege (make sure contractors only have the necessary permissions to complete their job)
  • Logging to a central server (that contractors do not have access to), all actions performed on a server should be logged
  • Proper log review, ensure that the actions taken on server are reviewed regularly to detect any anomalous / suspicious behavior
  • Vendor | Contractor Due Diligence Reporting - to ensure third parties are reliable and responsible; also helps to protect the organization in the event of an incident
  • Setup notifications for access/modification of the protected files / directories you mentioned in your question. More Info

In summary, for proper job function, the contractors will need sufficient access levels that may also allow them to perform unauthorized activities on the server. Such is the nature of the beast. Be responsible and implement proper controls to make a best effort at securing the server and receiving timely notifications about potential unauthorized activity.

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