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NoSQL vs SQL: Key Differences

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As any developer knows, the technology industry is defined by innovation discoveries and new emerging solutions. One of the most popular growing movements in current times is the switch to NoSQL databases. While not every company is moving its data storage needs to NoSQL, SQL databases dominate the industry. The past decade has seen dramatic growth in the use of NoSQL databases whether for personal projects or large-scale applications.

Although NoSQL databases have been around for decades, their prominence only came recently. Similarly, they only recently had their introduction to the professional world. With this in mind, not all developers and engineers have had exposure to such differences. Thus, for a quick rundown on NoSQL databases, check out the following key differences between SQL databases and the former.

Structured Query Language

SQL databases get their clever name from the use of structured query language. Developers interact directly with the data and the database via SQL. They can query for information, update information, and add new information using the language. The beauty of the language is that developers can use it across all SQL databases.

In a vaguely similar naming convention, NoSQL databases also derive their name from structured query language, but it provides a different meaning— “not only SQL. The name comes from the fact that some NoSQL databases support the use of SQL. However, in general, NoSQL databases do not use SQL. Rather, many similar languages take inspiration from SQL’s terms like select and join.

Database Design

For an SQL database to operate efficiently, especially for large applications, the database must be designed. That typically takes the skills of a database designer or architect. This design incorporates creating the tables, fields, primary keys, secondary keys, and more.

In comparison, NoSQL databases do not need to be designed in the same sense. Rather, the database can be constructed on the fly. NoSQL databases can store information in documents, key-value pairs, graphs, and column-oriented databases. None of these types require much initial planning. The reason for this lack of planning will be seen with insight provided from the following key difference!

The Use of Schemas

SQL databases make use of schemas and pre-defined tables. Inside each table, data points will have primary IDs that act as identifiers for all the information they’re associated with. These IDs can be placed inside of other tables as secondary IDs which then create relationships between different tables. These schemas and relationships are why SQL databases are also called relational databases—they form easily identifiable relationships between tables.

NoSQL databases are essentially the opposite. They do not use schemas, and they’re also known as non-relational databases. Rather than using schemas and tables, NoSQL databases store data in unique ways that depend upon what kind of NoSQL database is being used. One of the most common NoSQL systems, document stores, stores data in JSON-like objects. This makes it extremely easy for developers to use.  

Another strong selling point of these schema-free databases is that their stores can change on the fly. Each data point in a store may contain vastly different information, just like you could see in a JSON object.

Scaling

One of the largest drawbacks of SQL databases is vertical scaling. When an application needs more data storage, these databases must add components and hardware to increase capacity or performance. Eventually, a limit is reached where no more hardware can be added. This point can be expensive to readjust the database.

On the other hand, NoSQL databases scale horizontally. The database is spread out over computers, or nodes. When storage needs increase, computers can be added to the system to increase capacity. This is much easier, quicker, and cheaper.

ACID vs BASE

Developers have likely heard the term ACID. It stands for atomic, consistency, isolated, and durable. SQL databases follow ACID, so they can provide safe and reliable data storage. The goal of this is for data to be consistent throughout the database for all users at all times.

In contrast, NoSQL databases follow BASE‑basically available, soft-state, and eventual consistency. BASE is a looser, more flexible version of ACID. Essentially, NoSQL databases do not guarantee consistency at all times. However, eventually, the database will become consistent.

It is important to note that BASE and ACID are not two of the same—their principles differ and cannot be compared one-to-one.

The Bottom Line

NoSQL and SQL databases greatly differ on many points. One is not better than the other, but just like any technology, eventually, developers will have their preferences. Luckily, there are numerous options for database selection for both SQL and NoSQL databases. While each type offers several benefits, you must understand your needs and the databases to properly select which database to use.  

About the Author

Alex Williams, Writer/Researcher at Hosting Data UK, is a seasoned full-stack developer and an expert on all things NoSQL. 

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Cloud Mailbox Defense: Customers Share the Product Highlights Driving Their Success

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Simplicity. This was the key fundamental principle of Cloud Mailbox Defense that we introduced in our earlier blogs. So how did the first customers and partners to try Cloud Mailbox Defense (CMD) think we did? “We have tested dozens of solutions. Cloud Mailbox Defense is the first solution that is ‘as easy as it claims to be’. There are no hidden architecture requirements, no additional configuration step and no misleading claims” said Anthony Gates, EVP/GM Rhino Networks.

In case you are not familiar with Cloud Mailbox Defense (I’d encourage you to read through some of my earlier blogs) this is our new supplementary security solution that allows you to take command of your Microsoft 365 mailboxes. It’s a cloud native solution focus on three core principles.

Cloud Mailbox Defense capabilities

Now simplicity may be the cornerstone of Cloud Mailbox Defense, but can a security product be too simple to be effective? After all, as more and more email moves to the cloud, some Gartner clients “report dissatisfaction with natively available capabilities” of their cloud email providers. That’s why it’s critical to blend this simplicity with 20 years of email security experience and the power of Cisco’s Talos threat intelligence, to give you a secure outcome you can see across all of your messages in your Microsoft 365 domain. To validate this, we have been running approximately three quarters of a million customer and partner emails through our solution per day to allow them to tell us whether we have realized our principles.

Their verdict?

Just like simplicity, once again we’ve delivered. According to Craig Ouzounian from Chevron Corporation, “You get a full picture, that east-west visibility that we don’t have today.” This comprehensive visibility is combined with the power of Cloud Mailbox Defense’s cloud native search and triage. Brian Kang from SecurView stated, ‘I don’t even bother to run a message trace in Microsoft, I just do it right here [in CMD]’. CMD’s value isn’t only in its ability to provide additional security context, it also reduces administrative overhead.” Harry Singh from VOX Network Solutions highlighted that, “The speed and ease of use, compared with the Microsoft one, is a huge improvement. If I go into the Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection search, it takes forever. I use PowerShell because the search is so slow, it’s work. I can’t just do it on the ATP side.”

Visibility. Simplicity. Integration. Delivered on Microsoft 365 email. We said it and we meant it. That’s the Cisco Mailbox Defense reality.

Naturally we’re thrilled about the feedback we’re receiving from our customers and partners, but rest assured we’re not done. Cloud email expectations and the threat landscape continues to evolve at a phenomenal pace. Cloud Mailbox Defense has an exciting roadmap ahead of it, leveraging the power of the SecureX platform and the whole Cisco Secure portfolio to be the premier Cloud Email Supplementary Security product of choice for your needs today and the future.

Start your free 30-day trial of Cloud Mailbox Defense today and check out www.cisco.com/go/cmd and the At-A-Glance for more details about Cloud Mailbox Defense.

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Shot on iPhone 12: Portraits, cityscapes, the night sky, and more

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The iPhone 12 lineup delivers advanced camera systems, and with A14 Bionic — the fastest chip in a smartphone — powerful computational photography features to all users. Photographers around the world are using iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max to capture stunning images of cityscapes, landscapes, people, and more, from day to night.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini feature a powerful dual-camera system with an expansive Ultra Wide camera and a new Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture that provides 27 percent more light for improved photos and videos in low-light environments. Both models also introduce new computational photography features, which include Night mode and faster-performing Deep Fusion on all cameras, for improved photos in any environment. Smart HDR 3 uses machine learning to intelligently adjust the white balance, contrast, texture, and saturation of a photo for remarkably natural-looking images.

The reimagined pro camera system on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is even more versatile with Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, and provides even more creative control to users. iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the pro camera experience even further with a 65 mm focal length Telephoto camera for increased flexibility and 5x optical zoom range, as well as an advanced Wide camera boasting a 47 percent larger sensor with 1.7μm pixels for a massive 87 percent improvement in low-light conditions. A LiDAR Scanner also unlocks advanced capabilities for Pro models, including up to 6x faster autofocus in low-light scenes and the introduction of Night mode portraits.

Shot on iPhone 12: Portraits, cityscapes, the night sky, and more

The Mastering Mathematics Training Prep Bundle for $29

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Master Number Base Conversion

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Precalculus

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  • Length of time users can access this course: lifetime
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  • Certificate of completion included
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Fattah has a B.S. in Mathematics and Geophysics from theUniversity of Oklahoma in Oklahoma, USA. He has taught and tutored many college students both in the United States and Iraq. His love for teaching made him one of four students in Iraq to receive a full scholarship to pursue a B.S. degree in the States to return to his home country and teach. He is passionate about Math & Science and loves to share his passion with others. To him, Mathematics and Sciences are crucial for everyone to learn no matter how little. He is a BIG believer in visual learning, and he aims to deliver the concepts easily and directly to make the learning process fast for everyone.

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SolarWinds Hackers Also Breached Malwarebytes Cybersecurity Firm

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SolarWinds Hackers

Malwarebytes on Tuesday said it was breached by the same group who broke into SolarWinds to access some of its internal emails, making it the fourth major cybersecurity vendor to be targeted after FireEye, Microsoft, and CrowdStrike.

The company said its intrusion was not the result of a SolarWinds compromise, but rather due to a separate initial access vector that works by “abusing applications with privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure environments.”

The discovery was made after Microsoft notified Malwarebytes of suspicious activity from a dormant email protection app within its Office 365 tenant on December 15, following which it performed a detailed investigation into the incident.

“While Malwarebytes does not use SolarWinds, we, like many other companies were recently targeted by the same threat actor,” the company’s CEO Marcin Kleczynski said in a post. “We found no evidence of unauthorized access or compromise in any of our internal on-premises and production environments.”

The fact that initial vectors beyond SolarWinds software were used adds another missing piece to the wide-ranging espionage campaign, now believed to be carried out by a threat actor named UNC2452 (or Dark Halo), likely from Russia.

Indeed, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said earlier this month it found evidence of initial infection vectors using flaws other than the SolarWinds Orion platform, including password guessing, password spraying, and inappropriately secured administrative credentials accessible via external remote access services.

“We believe our tenant was accessed using one of the TTPs that were published in the CISA alert,” Kleczynski explained in a Reddit thread.

Malwarebytes said the threat actor added a self-signed certificate with credentials to the principal service account, subsequently using it to make API calls to request emails via Microsoft Graph.

The news comes on the heels of a fourth malware strain called Raindrop that was found deployed on select victim networks, widening the arsenal of tools used by the threat actor in the sprawling SolarWinds supply chain attack.

FireEye, for its part, has published a detailed rundown of the tactics adopted by the Dark Halo actor, noting that the attackers leveraged a combination of as many as four techniques to move laterally to the Microsoft 365 cloud.

  • Steal the Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) token-signing certificate and use it to forge tokens for arbitrary users
  • Modify or add trusted domains in Azure AD to add a new federated Identity Provider (IdP) that the attacker controls.
  • Compromise the credentials of on-premises user accounts that are synchronized to Microsoft 365 that have high privileged directory roles, and
  • Backdoor an existing Microsoft 365 application by adding a new application

The Mandiant-owned firm has also released an auditing script, called Azure AD Investigator, that it said can help companies check their Microsoft 365 tenants for indicators of some of the techniques used by the SolarWinds hackers.

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