Many companies, especially small- to mid- size organizations, frequently run without a dedicated data management team. The assumption is that infrastructure teams or system admins can handle most issues relating to databases or data management; and those they can’t resolve can be handled by the application teams. Having a data management team can help mitigate risks and provide recognizable business value. This article explores why data management is important to an organization and what common tasks are left uncompleted when there isn’t an organized data management strategy.
In the last few years, we’ve seen plenty of evidence that data security is something that organizations should be aware of and actively managing. Poor data management security can lead to additional vulnerabilities and potential PR nightmares. A qualified data management team can help develop and enforce good governance policies, implement best practices, and patch critical database or data system vulnerabilities. Additionally, they can automate access, system auditing, log management, and security. A prime example might be using the row-level security features first introduced in SQL Server 2016.
As mentioned above, data security is a hot topic these days. This leads right into a brief discussion on compliance. Many companies are subject to legal compliance standards, such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX,) PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, etc. Database administrators, along with well-documented data policies, can help organizations remain compliant, help ensure that damaging data breaches don’t occur, and enhance or streamline the process through automation. With the implementation of better system auditing and logs, paired with automated or preconfigured reporting, can empower your organization’s compliance and security managers for more thorough proactive monitoring and help expedite your demonstration of compliance to auditors.
Many organizations have multiple, disparate systems. This can lead to different values and identifiers for the same entity, causing downstream issues with system and data integrations or business reporting. This might be reflected in issues such as lost efficiency in creating new quick and business friendly dashboards, or inaccurate analytics due to confusion between data sets. Having consistent naming conventions, a comprehensive Master Data set, and data policies can help this data remain consistent across multiple systems. Data Management administrators can also mitigate these issues by using additional enhanced tools, such as Data Quality Services, to help enforce these policies.
Faster, more accurate decision making
In today’s fast-paced world, having as much data at one’s fingertips as possible is becoming more and more important. Being able to make lightning-fast decisions based on multiple years of trending data can help companies reach conclusions and make strategic decisions, all while worrying less about the results because they are driven by accurate supporting data. Data management team members and policies help ensure that the right data is available, to the right people, at the right time. All of the solutions covered here help accomplish this goal. Properly organized and standardized data keeps data more accurate, and comprehensive, structured security policies ensure the right users can access their data at any point, or from any location.
Many organizations have application development teams that will use frameworks (such as Wordpress, Magento, Drupal, etc.). These frameworks generally handle initial database design. However, these frameworks frequently design data structures that work on any supported database, meaning they don’t design for maximum efficiency on any of them. System administrators watch metrics such as CPU usage, Memory usage, etc. This approach often leads to the support team simply allocating more system resources to resolve issues or additional development that only marginally improves performance. In turn, this inevitably costs the business more in the end with a lesser result.
Having support covered for the application and operating system levels leaves a support gap at the data level. Having knowledgeable database administrators can help improve performance, even while not impacting the requirements from the various frameworks. Numerous improvements can be done, by adjusting configurations and tracing query performance, to help make operations smoother and faster.
Wholistic Data Management
Simply installing database management systems “out of the box” frequently leaves plenty of room for improvement. Trained database administrators can tune the configurations to increase performance for specific workloads. They can also trace performance for specific queries, and help make them more efficient, to save time and resources, both of which can help companies save money.
Most system administrators build VM snapshots as a backup policy, which is a very good idea. However, database systems don’t respond well to snapshots, especially when transactions are currently in flight. Having an enterprise backup strategy to maintain the data can save time in the long run and minimize impacts to production workloads in the event of major outages.
Most database platforms contain built-in maintenance tasks, to keep them running smoothly. However, on a new database install, they generally aren’t configured. Enabling those tasks, will help keep data accurate, and maintain data availability, leading to better operational success, and business performance.
Ascend Can Help
Does your company suffer from any of these issues? Team Ascend can help! We can take the onus of database tasks out of the hands of system administrators, developers, and even CIO/CTO staff, to free them up for more appropriate tasks, leading to greater efficiency and innovation for your organization. Ascend Technologies offers a multi-tier support model for data services and can help keep systems running efficiently, making data available so business strategists can make the smart choices and grow their organizations, without having to worry about the common day-to-day data management tasks. Don’t have any data management policies? We can help create those as well, and work with various technical and business teams, to drive profitability. Contact us today to get started.
Written by Andy Maser, Senior Data Architect