Data Security

This section explains general concepts of data security to consider when deploying Exasol.

Authentication Methods

Users must be authenticated in order to access the database. Exasol supports the following authentication methods:

Authenticate by password

Database users can be authenticated using passwords. You can create a database user authenticated by password using CREATE USER, or modify an existing user using ALTER USER.


LDAP authentication can be used for database users.

Configuring LDAP authentication for database users includes the following steps:

  • Add the LDAP server URL to the database instance
  • Create the user according to the LDAP DN string.

For more information, see CREATE USER.

For examples of how to set up synchronization of users between LDAP and Exasol, see this Exasol Knowledge Base article.


Exasol supports single sign-on functionality using Kerberos. This allows users to authenticate to Exasol using their Kerberos credentials. For more information, see Kerberos Single Sign-On.


Database users can be authenticated using OpenID. You can create a database user authenticated by OpenID using CREATE USER, or modify an existing user using ALTER USER.

The database checks the OpenID parameters specified in the database and verifies the access token or refresh token for user authentication. For more information, see Authentication using OpenID.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA can be used together with other authentication methods if it is supported by the authentication provider. For more information, refer to the authentication provider’s documentation.

Access Management

Exasol provides you with the following options for access management:

  • Database Level: Exasol provides system privileges and object level privileges. You can use the privileges to define the access to the database and its objects. For more information about system and object privileges, see Privileges.
  • Row Level: You can use this feature to protect table rows based on ownership (tenant protection) or user roles. For more information, see row-level-security-lua on GitHub.
  • Cluster Level: Exasol separates the classical DBA role (SYS user who has all rights within a database instance) from the role of a cluster administrator that manages a cluster . For such operational tasks, you can create and manage users.

For more information, see Access Management.


Exasol allows you to have auditing for sessions and SQL command execution. The auditing doesn't require any transaction log or any database schema modification. Therefore, it doesn't have any performance impact on the system. Exasol's auditing captures the following:

  • All sessions with information such as driver, client, host, and operating system user.
  • All executed SQL statements with information such as CPU, network, and hard disk read/write.

For more information, see Auditing.

Data Encryption

Exasol uses different data encryption algorithms to secure the data when it transferred through the network or when it is stored on a disk.

  • Data in-motion: The encryption when data is transferred through a network. Exasol uses TLS encryption for JDBC, ODBC, ADO.NET, CLI, and WebSockets. To enforce encryption on the database use the parameter -forceProtocolEncryption=1. As long as encryption is supported, this parameter will force the connection to be encrypted. To know how to upload a TLS certificate, see Upload TLS Certificate.
  • Data at-rest: The encryption when data is stored on a disk. Exasol uses AES-256, a LUKS enhanced version of cryptsetup, for OS and storage disk encryption. If a license server is encrypted, it needs a LUKS passphrase to be accessible after each boot. For a data node, the passphrase is stored and the data node is automatically unlocked during the boot. For permanently deleting data from a disk, Linux tool shred is used (7 iterations and final zero overwrite to hide shredding).

The encryption key is set when a node is created. To change the encryption key later, you must change the encryption key and then reinstall the node. This means that all data on the node will be deleted.

Security in Public Clouds

Exasol provides enterprise-level security in public clouds such as AWS by the following means:

  • Exasol is always deployed in the customer's cloud account. This means that you always have full control over your data.
  • Exasol can be deployed using existing VPCs and subnets to cater to your security requirements or with new networking components.
  • Security groups only require minimum modification for ports. They can be restricted further to be only accessible from your company network.
  • Encryption in-motion and at-rest are enforced in all public clouds for data protection.
  • Support for Identity and Access Management (IAM) is available to specify who has access to the resources.
  • You can configure if resources should be accessible through public IPs or not.

Security with Third-party Tools

Exasol provides integration with third-party tools for additional data security. For more information, see Data Protection.