Security on SQL Databases: should general users have access?

We have a company live SQL DB, it's written almost constantly and contains very sensitive information.
The SQL admin in here lets users run live queries against the live DB.  The run them from both Crystal reports and
the SSMS from their local machines.  IS this safe to do.  Are there any negatives?

We do have replication setup to another SQL server so is it better to run all queries against that?
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Ryan ChongBusiness Systems Analyst , ex-Senior Application EngineerCommented:
>>We do have replication setup to another SQL server so is it better to run all queries against that?
if you're talking about stability and security, yes, you probably can have a datamart server, which replicate certain level of data from your live server, so that the user only allowed to make queries there but not to the live server. But having a datamart, it could probably means that the data you can query is always delayed in a certain acceptable range, let's say T-1, etc.
Vikas GargAssociate Principal EngineerCommented:

It is always better to have Transaction database separate from the reporting one.

If we have them separate both we have performance improvement as compare to both on same server.

And reporting on Live will always degrade the performance of application as well as slow reports.
wannabecraigAuthor Commented:

Thanks, are there any security issues?
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Vikas GargAssociate Principal EngineerCommented:

Since both are SQL server so security wise you can set at both as per the need.

However if you have different server for reporting then if something happens to the reporting server your Live Application server will remain Strong, Steady and Secured.
wannabecraigAuthor Commented:
So the only negative impact is performance?   No other possible damage?
"So the only negative impact is performance?   No other possible damage?"

Yes, possible other damage! For instance a wrong query that will delete all rows in a table! NEVER let general users run ad-hoc queries from SSMS against a live production database!
Ryan ChongBusiness Systems Analyst , ex-Senior Application EngineerCommented:
>>Thanks, are there any security issues?
for an example, just think of the basic Information Security's CIA concept:

C = Confidentiality

You may limit the users who can access to your server, so that's protect your data from being access directly by any parties. Just thinking that if you only want to share certain data to certain parties but not all of the data to all of the parties...

I = Integrity

So that's to maintain the accuracy of the data, that's to reduce the risk of your data being compromised/amended by unauthorized parties.

A = Availability

Just imagine if an inexperienced DBA trying to run a query which returns millions of data, which it will directly affecting your server's performance.

You may google for further explanation in regard to similar issues.

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Microsoft SQL Server 2008

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