Database Audit Specification Object
If you want to audit events that occur within a
database, you will need to define a database audit specification. To
create one, you can select New Database Audit Specification from the
Database Audit Specification node of the Security node of a specific
database in SSMS.
Note Creating a database audit specification is only available on Enterprise edition and above.
Figure 5 shows the Create Database Audit Specification dialog box that opens.
Figure 5. Create Database Audit Specification dialog box
Just like the server audit specification points
to a server audit, so too can the database audit specification. In this
example, select Compliance Audit to use the existing server audit that
you created earlier.
The Actions grid is where you define which
audit events or event groups you want to record. In addition to having
groups of events, the database audit specifications have a handful of
single events. Some of these are
EXECUTE. If you want to audit anyone who issues a
SELECT statement on the
table, select SELECT from the Audit Action Type list. Then, specify
that the object class is an object. The object name is the object that
is the target of the audit. In this case, you want the
Customers table. If you want to audit all users, you can enter public for the principal name, or else you can specify a specific user or group to audit.
You can also create a database audit specification using the following T-SQL statement:
CREATE DATABASE AUDIT SPECIFICATION [Customer information]
FOR SERVER AUDIT [Compliance Audit]
ADD(SELECT ON Customers by public)
If you want to follow along and do not have this database created, execute the following script:
CREATE DATABASE Accounting
CREATE TABLE Customers
(id INT NOT NULL,
firstname VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
lastname VARCHAR(40) NOT NULL)
Remember to enable the database audit
specification once you are ready to start collecting events. You can do
this by selecting Enable Database Audit Specification from the context
menu of the specification or by issuing the following T-SQL statement:
ALTER DATABASE AUDIT SPECIFICATION [Customers Table]
Note To turn off auditing but retain the audit definitions, simply use
STATE=OFF in the preceding code.
Now, to test this audit event, try issuing a
SELECT * FROM CUSTOMERS statement. If you view the Compliance Audit audit log, you will notice an additional entry for the
SELECT statement. Notice that you can see both the calling context and the actual T-SQL statement that triggered the audit.
Previous editions of SQL Server did not display T-SQL stack information. For example, if you audited
SELECT on a given table, an auditing event would be raised when you directly accessed the data via a
statement and, as expected, via a stored procedure. With SQL Server
2012, T-SQL stack information is written to the additional information
column of the audit log if applicable. You can test this by creating a
stored procedure that runs a
SELECT statement on the
Customers table. Sample code is as follows:
CREATE PROCEDURE ViewCustomers
SELECT * FROM Accounting.dbo.Customers
Now, if we execute the stored procedure and
then looked at our auditing log, we see the following information in
the additional information column for the
SELECT audit event:
<tsql_stack><frame nest_level='1' database_name='Accounting' schema_name='dbo'
This additional information is helpful in determining the origin of the event that caused the audit to be raised.
COMPLIANCE AND THE PROBLEM WITH SYSADMIN
User-Defined Audit Event
There are occasions when you want to write a
custom event into the audit log. Consider the scenario where an
application connects to SQL Server through a common single user
account. The application may support multiple users but when these
users access the data in SQL Server, the database server doesn’t know
the specific application user that is requesting data access to the
database, because access is through a common user account. In this
case, the application can write a user-defined audit event to ensure
that, when auditors read the audit logs, they see the user who is
connecting to the application who requested the data.
Writing a custom audit event is very straight forward. You can use the
stored procedure to write to an audit log. Before you can use this
function, you need to create a server audit specification that contains
USER_DEFINED_AUDIT_GROUP. If you do not do this, the
sp_audit_write stored procedure will not do anything but return success. To demonstrate this event, create a
UserDefinedAudits server audit as follows:
CREATE SERVER AUDIT [UserDefinedAudits]
( FILEPATH = N'C:\audit'
,MAXSIZE = 0 MB
,MAX_ROLLOVER_FILES = 2147483647
,RESERVE_DISK_SPACE = OFF
( QUEUE_DELAY = 1000
,ON_FAILURE = CONTINUE
ALTER SERVER AUDIT [UserDefinedAudits]
Next, create the server audit specification
CustomAudits and add the
CREATE SERVER AUDIT SPECIFICATION [CustomAudits]
FOR SERVER AUDIT [UserDefinedAudits]
Now, with the audit defined, the server audit specification defined, and both enabled, we can utilize the
sp_audit_write stored procedure as follows:
EXEC sp_audit_write @user_defined_event_id = 1000 ,
@succeeded = 1
, @user_defined_information = N'User Bob logged into application.' ;
The user defined event ID is any integer value you would like. It has no meaning other than what you make of it. The
bit can be used to determine if the event you are raising is a failure.
The last parameter is a 4,000-character field where you can display any
message you choose. After raising your event, you can view it by simply
viewing the audit log in SSMS.