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SQL Server Audit

SQL Server Audit

SQL Server Audit content  image


In today’s digital landscape, data security and compliance are paramount concerns for organizations. As databases store more sensitive information, it’s important to have strong auditing systems in place. Microsoft provides a tool known as SQL Server Audit.

It helps organizations monitor activities in their SQL Server instances. Keeping track of these activities is helpful. This article will discuss the basics of auditing. Covering the key components and providing best practices for successful auditing strategies will be its focus.

Understanding SQL Server Audit SQL

Server Audit is an instrument in SQL Server 2008. This instrument helps you keep track of what’s happening in your SQL Server system. It allows you to watch over the activities in the system.

It provides a comprehensive auditing solution that helps organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements and maintain data security. SQL Server Audit captures events like database changes, failed logins, and security updates, storing them in a central log.

Key Components of SQL Server Audit

To effectively utilize audit, it is essential to understand its key components:

  1. SQL Server Audit: This is the primary object that defines the overall auditing process. This tool specifies the audit log destination. You can customize it to capture events at either the server or database level.
  2. Server Audit Specification: This object collects audit actions at the SQL Server instance level. You can define specific events or groups of events to audit across the entire server.
  3. Database Audit Specification: Similar to the Server Audit Specification, this object focuses on auditing actions at the database level. It enables you to capture events specific to individual databases.
  4. Target: The target stores the audit logs at the destination. Auditing supports various target types, including files, Windows Application event logs, and Windows Security event logs.

Configuring SQL Server Audit

To set up audit, follow these general steps:

  1. Create a new audit object and specify the target destination for the audit logs.
  2. Define the Server Audit Specification or Database Audit Specification, depending on your auditing requirements. Select the specific events or action groups you want to monitor.
  3. Enable the SQL Server Audit object to start capturing the specified events.

Example: Let’s consider an example of creating a server-level audit to track failed login attempts. First, create the auditing object:


TO FILE (FILEPATH = 'C:\Audits\',
         MAXSIZE = 10 MB,
         MAX_ROLLOVER_FILES = 5,

Next, create the Server Audit Specification:



Finally, enable the SQL Server Audit:



This setup records failed login attempts in the audit log file located at C:\Audits\. The audit will keep recording events even when the file reaches its maximum size, thanks to the MAX_ROLLOVER_FILES option.

Best Practices for SQL Server Audit

To ensure effective auditing and maintain optimal performance, consider the following best practices:

  1. Audit only the necessary events and actions to minimize the impact on database performance.
  2. Regularly review and analyze the audit logs to identify potential security breaches or suspicious activities.
  3. Implement a retention policy for audit logs to manage storage space and comply with regulatory requirements.
  4. Secure the audit logs by restricting access to authorized personnel only.
  5. Regularly test and validate the auditing process to ensure its effectiveness and reliability.

Enhanced Data Security with DataSunrise

SQL Server Audit is a good tool for auditing. However, organizations can enhance data security and compliance by utilizing third-party solutions such as DataSunrise. DataSunrise offers exceptional and flexible tools for data management, including security, audit rules, masking, and compliance.

DataSunrise seamlessly integrates with SQL Server and provides advanced features such as real-time monitoring, customizable audit rules, and data masking capabilities.

It empowers organizations to gain comprehensive insights into their data access patterns, detect anomalies, and proactively mitigate security risks.

Schedule an online demo with our team to see how DataSunrise can enhance your data security and compliance.

Our experts will demonstrate how to customize DataSunrise’s powerful capabilities to meet your specific needs.


Auditing is important for organizations looking to improve data security, meet compliance rules, and safeguard sensitive information. By understanding its key components, configuring auditing properly, and following best practices, organizations can effectively monitor and safeguard their SQL Server environments.

However, to take data security to the next level, consider complementing auditing with advanced solutions like DataSunrise. DataSunrise helps organizations manage data risks and maintain strong security with its powerful features and flexible tools.

Start leveraging the power of auditing and explore the benefits of DataSunrise today. Contact our team to schedule an online demo. See firsthand how DataSunrise can enhance your data security and compliance strategies.


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