With elevated SQL permissions, I am able to export a blob and retrieve a pdf with employee data (SSN) from a SQL Server database. This database is a backend to a third party web app we use internally (and are considering the option to allow external users access to the website), so I don't have a lot of options in terms of changing the database schema.

What considerations should I take to secure this table/database/server?

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    It sounds like you would need to encrypt the PDFs prior to storage since the storage itself doesn't seem to be encrypted. If the application can access it, then there is a chance a hacker could access it as well. – AJ Henderson Jan 9 '14 at 18:39
  • I will have to ask the vendor for the web app if that's possible. The pdf is a form in the web app. If it's not possible to encrypt it prior to upload, are there other steps that can be taken to increase the security? – devlin carnate Jan 9 '14 at 19:57
  • hard to tell without knowing more about the use case. The real ideal way to secure that kind of information is using keys that are protected by the login details of the user that needs to access them, that way it's impossible to get the encryption keys to decrypt without having authorized credentials, but you aren't going to have a way to do that if the application is third party. – AJ Henderson Jan 9 '14 at 20:28
  • 3rd party vendor says their app does not offer a way to encrypt before upload. What about encrypting the database itself? – devlin carnate Jan 9 '14 at 21:02
  • That will help if the drive is physically stolen or if some non-app related service allows access to the drive, but won't help any if the application or DB credentials are compromised. And since the DB credentials probably live on the server, it doesn't really mean much. – AJ Henderson Jan 9 '14 at 23:56

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