Because of the information age, digital data has suddenly become abundant and accessible. That is especially true for businesses. Whether you own or manage a small brick-and-mortar store or run a major corporation, you’re constantly being exposed to a lot of these data. In fact, according to Forbes, 59 percent of businesses use data analytics in some capacity. Some even outsource services like SQL server managed services for better management.
Everything from customer names and contact information to your employees’ payroll and even health records are data you have access to. The ability to leverage this data to improve business operations and inform the direction of your enterprise is one of the main challenges to overcome to thrive. That is where databases come in.
Databases are collections of data systematically. It means there are parameters in place that make it easier for users to classify, compartmentalise, and manage data overall. Generally, databases help address these five main issues concerning data.
Size of Data
There is nothing wrong with using text files and spreadsheets to store small amounts of data. They’re accessible and relatively easy to understand. The issues begin when the amount of data increases. Having 100 lines in a spreadsheet may be manageable, for example, but scaling that up to 500,000 will virtually be impossible. Instead of splitting up data into multiple files, which will inherently slow down the process of accessing them, you can use a database. According to Chron, databases can streamline administrative tasks as well.
Without databases, problems with data accuracy can arise. Databases usually come with validation parameters that check every item based on what is set for a particular group. For example, keying in an address on a column meant for phone numbers will set off a notification. That prevents the wrong information from being kept in the wrong place. Using spreadsheets or offline methods of keeping data will make these inaccuracies almost impossible to find.
At times, multiple people will need access to the same collection of data. Using a spreadsheet here will either require users to wait in line until the last user finishes or to make copies, which can eventually lead to inconsistencies that will take more time to fix. Having a database that multiple users can access at the same time will make updating more efficient. The changes happen in real-time and will be reflected across the whole collection.
Data can easily be checked for redundancies using databases. That will prevent identical data from existing in a single collection. Redundancies in data can easily lead to inaccuracies and can skew your results when mining and evaluating them. With databases, the risk is significantly reduced.
Using databases also means you’ll have access to backups and recoveries in times of failure. Spreadsheet files, for example, might be corrupted in certain situations like a power outage.
Databases allow users to set security parameters that give or withdraw permission for specific users to view or alter particular parts of the collection. That is especially useful when dealing with sensitive information like health and pay records of employees or credentials of clients.
With the amount of data businesses are exposed to, having databases is the best way forward. If managing a database seems too challenging for you, some organisations offer server management services that take care of database administration for you.