Secure connection of .net winforms application

I am developing an .net Winforms application and I need to secure the connection to the sql server 2008 database. I plan to create a webservice as a middle tier that will handle the authentication and that will provide data manipulation. Is there a better way to go with? Does .net have components or tools for that? What is the best technique? Any info would be appreciated, thanks.


Define "secure". Obviously you wish to restrict access to data to users who really need that data. However, more information about the architecture is needed; is this an in-house app that will only ever be used inside a (secured) LAN, VPN or hosted environment? Or is this an app used on computers you do not control, that will transmit data over the Internet? How much security you need depends on what types of users will be using the software, from where, and how sensitive the data is.

MSS has pretty good security built-in. You can tie SQL users to Windows domain accounts, you can restrict "securables" (tables, views, SPs, etc) in myriad ways based on user or role, etc etc. I would first look at those capabilities, and seriously consider taking advantage of them in your security plan. One SQL user defined for use by any user of a particular piece of software, which has the permissions to do anything the software may require, is simple, common, and highly insecure.

If that's not good enough, or you want to fully abstract your data layer (for instance, if you need the software to be able to be pointed at any DB type from MSS to Oracle to MySql), then it might be a good idea to implement a Repository model with a service proxy. Like Brian, I encourage you to have a look at WCF. A WCF service is highly configurable, and can provide for independent authentication and for encryption. A well-designed WCF service will be very secure indeed.

Behind the service, you can implement a Repository pattern, which abstracts the details of how data is retrieved from the data store and exposes simple methods that return objects containing the data you want in a ready-to-use form. Now, your service methods will just map 1:1 to Repository methods, possibly with some translation to DataContract-serializable objects instead of the richer domain model available on either side of the service.

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