Step 4: Define and Enforce Compliance Policies

The last step in an Information Lifecycle Management solution is the creation of policies for compliance. When data is decentralized and fragmented, compliance policies have to be defined and enforced in every data location, which could easily result in a compliance policy being overlooked. However, using Oracle Database to provide a central location for storing data means that it is very easy to enforce compliance policies because they are all managed and enforced from one central location.

When defining compliance policies, consider the following areas:

  • Data Retention

  • Immutability

  • Privacy

  • Auditing

  • Expiration

Data Retention

The retention policy describes how the data is to be retained, how long it must be kept, and what happens after data life. An example of a retention policy is a record must be stored in its original form, no modifications are allowed, it must be kept for seven years, and then it may be deleted. Using Oracle Database security, it is possible to ensure that data remains unchanged and that only authorized processes can remove the data at the appropriate time. Retention policies can also be defined through a lifecycle definition in the ILM Assistant.


Immutability is concerned with proving to an external party that data is complete and has not been modified. Cryptographic or digital signatures can be generated by Oracle Database and retained either inside or outside of the database, to show that data has not been altered.


Oracle Database provides several ways to ensure data privacy. Access to data can be strictly controlled with security policies defined using Virtual Private Database (VPD). In addition, individual columns can be encrypted so that anyone looking at the raw data cannot see its contents.


Oracle Database can track all access and changes to data. These auditing capabilities can be defined either at the table level or through fine-grained auditing, which specifies the criteria for when an audit record is generated. Auditing can be further enhanced using Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall.

See Also:

Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall Administrator’s Guide for information about Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall


Ultimately, data may expire for business or regulatory reasons and must be removed from the database. Oracle Database can remove data very quickly and efficiently by simply dropping the partition which contains the information identified for removal.