Modern business is very dependent on data and knowing how to effectively manage this data and get the most from it is crucial for success in the digital age. Data has effectively become the lifeblood of most businesses, but this data is only useful when it is properly catalogued and accessible.
On top of this, how data is stored and delivered has also fundamentally changed. The local servers of the past are quickly being replaced with cloud-based technology, which has also created the need for a new set of data management skills. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at the best practices for modern database management and what database administrators should be doing to unlock the full potential of the modern database.
Organization is the Key to Success
Data is only useful when it can be accessed quickly and easily. Advances in technology and artificial intelligence have made it much easier to keep data organized, but they still require human intervention from time to time. As a result of this, the role of a database administrator has changed somewhat and can now perhaps be more accurately described as a database architect. It is, however, critical for database administrators to create appropriate rules so that AI-enabled database management systems can function correctly.
Cost Allocation / Data Management Budget
The question of cost is an important one when it comes to database management. In some organizations, it might make sense to employ a dedicated database administrator, but in other cases, the role might be combined with other IT-related roles. Allowing enough room in the budget for the appointment of a database administrator or outsourcing database management is critical.
Understand What the Data Will be Used For
Knowing exactly what data will be used for is critical in almost every aspect of database management. Factors such as the type of data, data sources, and data structure must all be considered carefully before embarking on the process of creating a database. This is important because changing the structure of an established database can be complicated and costly later down the line. Factors such as the required uptime and security of the data also play a big part and should be considered carefully, especially when choosing the database type.
Define the Level of Experience that is Required
How much experience should the database manager who will look after your database have? The answer is dependent on the complexity of the database, but it is important to take into account that database structure has changed significantly in recent times. Look for someone who can think strategically and respond to changes quickly and fluidly. Cloud-based solutions are deployed differently from local/server-based solutions, so you should consider the type of solution that you are using when choosing a database administrator.
Choose an Appropriate Deployment Strategy
There are several options to choose from when it comes to a database deployment. Solutions range from traditional on-premises servers to fully cloud-based servers. There are also hybrid systems available for those who want the best of both worlds. The nature of the data being stored is one of the most important determining factors. Data of a highly sensitive nature is most likely not suitable for storage on a public cloud solution, but most other data types can be stored and managed via cloud-based systems. However, it is important to make sure that the option you choose is secured against any potential data breach.
Communicate Business Goals
Ensuring that the database management team clearly and fully understands the general business goals makes it easier for them to perform their tasks. When database administrators understand the goals, they can gather the right data and disregard irrelevant information so that the database stays lean and uncluttered. For a database to function effectively, the database administrator must operate as part of the broader business management team. In this way, goals will be more aligned, and a database will serve the business more effectively.
Create Clear Policies
Having clearly defined policies regarding the management of company databases is critical in ensuring that the database operates smoothly and reliably. Policies should include standard procedures regarding the deletion of obsolete files, performing maintenance, and indexing files. Having these policies in place eliminates the possibility of confusion or errors, which is especially important in larger organizations with several datasets and multiple database administrators. Perhaps most importantly, having clear policies simplifies the upkeep and day-to-day management of any database. Last but not least, policies should also include guidelines regarding the erasure of data and secure destruction of storage mediums such as hard drives and servers.
Monitor Database Health Constantly
Prevention is better than cure, especially in the case of database errors. There are few things as frustrating as needing to fix a corrupt database. Identifying potential problems before they occur can save a lot of time and money and it keeps a business running smoothly. Cloud-based database solutions are often overlooked when it comes to monitoring because the hardware that allows them to operate is not located on-site. However, it is just as important to monitor cloud-based systems because they are also susceptible to errors.
Keep Everything Safely Backed Up
When it comes to data, there can never be enough backups. Having a solid automated backup system in place and monitoring that it is functioning correctly is vital. In addition, every company should have a disaster recovery plan in place in case of data loss or corruption. The best way of avoiding disaster is by implementing an automated data backup solution and performing manual backups before maintenance work or upgrades in addition to this.
Ensure that You Meet All Legal Requirements
Data today is more protected than ever before. Laws and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are especially important where databases are concerned. These laws govern how data must be stored, used, and destroyed and every database administrator should have a basic knowledge of these laws because as data administrators, they can be held accountable in the event of a data breach.
Scrutinize External Service Providers
Be sure to double-check the references and work of any third-party service provider before allowing them to access a database. Outsourcing your database needs may seem like a good idea and it can cut down on costs, but making the wrong choice regarding your service provider can have deadly consequences. Extra caution must be taken when outsourcing work that relates to data that is protected under data privacy laws as any breach of these laws can have devastating financial and reputational consequences for companies.
Modern businesses are more data-driven than ever before and this means that the role of the database and database administrator is more important today than at any point in history. Any business that hopes to succeed in the digital age must be able and willing to adapt, otherwise, it will be left behind in the paper age. By implementing the above guidelines, a business can futureproof its database management and deliver better service to its customers.