Have you been wanting to encrypt your Oracle database “since forever,” but feel like you just can’t afford the downtime? If a lot of data is involved, taking it all offline and encrypting it could be very time-consuming. So you’ve been putting the process off, while keeping your fingers crossed that your company’s network security will somehow protect you from a data breach and associated legal, compliance and reputational impacts. 

But did you know that you can now encrypt existing tablespaces in-place, either online or offline in Oracle? In case you missed it, Oracle Enterprise Edition version 12.2 (released in 2017) added Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), a much-needed feature that enables you to encrypt an existing database while it remains online. 

If you’ve been running an earlier Oracle version and haven’t seen a compelling reason to update, TDE could be it. This capability is a game-changer for those who want to “do the right thing” and encrypt their data at rest, but haven’t wanted to incur the downtime.

At a high level, here is how TDE works:

    • First, encrypt the system tablespaces (these must be done separate from user tablespaces)
    • Next, encrypt the user tablespaces, one at a time. 
    • Finally, drop and recreate any temporary tablespaces (these cannot be converted online)

That’s basically all there is to it! There are some technical issues that your DBA and/or security group will need to work out, such as key management and disk space. (You must have enough available disk space during the conversion to duplicate your largest tablespace.)

Of course, you need to back up your entire database before you start the encryption process. If you decide to tackle encryption gradually, then just back up each tablespace before you convert it.

Taking the important step of encrypting your sensitive data at rest will significantly improve your security posture.

So what are you waiting for? Get encrypting!

To schedule a free consultation on your database security, including encryption requirements, contact Buda Consulting.