Encrypting Database Data for security

I am encountering something more and more, the desire of companies to encrypt row data in production databases to allow offsite or uncleared DBAs to perform administrative functions on sensitive company databases.

This means that a DBA without proper security clearance can make schema changes, security changes, backup, and restore the database but they are unable to read any of the data.

I have seen more than a few cases of security tables being encrypted to protect application security the idea of encrypting all of the data makes database into a giant black box.

In my experience, DBAs provide valuable insight to developers, report builders, analysts, and users.  If you restrict their ability to see the data they are protecting I am unsure if they are able to provide a full range of benefits.

I need to do some more research into this.

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