Relationships with databases are surprisingly similar to those between people. If we don’t regularly dedicate time and resources to maintaining and nurturing them, they may not be there when we need them the most. Since it has become increasingly clear to industry executives, C-suites, and other thought leaders that data is the hottest commodity, protecting yours should be a top concern. There is no reason to risk losing your entire database, which could have catastrophic consequences. Let’s examine a few of the risks of failing to perform regular database maintenance.
False Conclusions About Productivity
You might have one database or you might have several. In either case, all data is organized in structures sharing one trait: associated indexes that allow data to be located efficiently. Database indexes need constant updates and adjustments. Without regular maintenance, indexes become fractured, making data retrieval cumbersome and time-consuming. From the outside, it could seem that you need to add staff to your team to complete tasks on time while the underlying problem is a system running slowly due to unmaintained indexes. False conclusions about productivity levels can have devastating financial impacts.
Database security is simple common sense, but the associated risks with lack of it are less obvious. Some consider database security secondary database maintenance, but it is no less critical to business operations than index maintenance. Your Human Resources department will likely handle the paperwork, but that doesn’t determine current and former employees’ level of access to your database. Login credentials change with every personnel shift, so you need someone on the backend to monitor user access and to review access rights for each instance of on-boarding, promotion, dismissal, and department transfer. A worst-case scenario would involve a disgruntled former employee accessing and wreaking havoc on the database in retaliation for a perceived wrongdoing. Other unforeseen negative consequences of inevitable employee shuffle are violations of federal and state privacy statutes, from HIPAA to FCRA to ECPA, not to mention company policies and standard operating procedures.
A good old fashioned hardware crash is the stereotypical disaster nightmare when we think of neglected backup databases. There is good reason for this. Database crashes can be disastrous. Even a standard (versus catastrophic) hardware crash can result in an inability to recover data. This causes one to appreciate just how important data is to your company. Is yours a financial advising firm that lost transaction records or a healthcare payer who lost claims information? This is not an industry-specific concern. Companies and organizations in any industry should conduct regular backup checks or they will eventually lose a lot of data. Alternately, well-maintained databases are less impacted by hardware crashes and data loss and take less time to backup. Without routine database maintenance, standard overnight backups are likely to infringe on daytime operations. If the initial daily backup doesn’t finish within its allotted 24 hours due to a slowed system, the two backups overlap when the next daily backup begins at its scheduled time, causing various complications.
If data recovery becomes necessary, there are two options for database restores. The first is to manually repair them by extracting as much of the data as possible and determining how to patch over things you cannot recover. The second is to manually re-enter data that cannot be recovered. Data recovery is one of the most damaging incidents your company can experience, so don’t put yourself in the position of putting out that fire. Every company needs a comprehensive data recovery strategy plan, whether you backup nightly, on weekends, or quarterly.
Some companies falsely assume that they can rely solely on cloud maintenance as a sound means of backing up data. Companies cannot expect cloud maintenance to suffice. Of course, it is strongly recommended that you take advantage of any data recovery options built into your cloud provider, but that doesn’t alter the points we’ve covered. Cloud providers will not look inside a database to help you locate data; that’s why a well-maintained index is integral. When data recovery is involved, it is irrelevant if your database is on premise or in the cloud. As long as we have databases, database administrators must be involved since there are no self-maintaining databases. Luckily, the solution is simple: the safety of your data can be ensured with routine database maintenance by a DBA.
A critical human gatekeeper (i.e. the right DBA) can protect you from data loss. The days of megabytes are long gone; today there are terabytes, even petabytes of data at stake. With that in mind, enlisting the assistance of a team of qualified, reliable, experienced DBAs is the safest, most reliable method of ensuring your databases are well-maintained to prevent data loss. When it’s time to level-up and secure your data, contact Dobler Consulting for the best in database management.