Four Key Items To Consider

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When creating a database for a small to medium sized business, there are quite a few things to consider.
Here are just some of the questions that you need to ask yourself.

  1. How many users will be using the database?
  2. How many users will be using it concurrently?
  3. How important is database security?
  4. How important is having the database scalable?

How many users will be using the database?

It could be that you have a proprietorship, so the database will only be used by yourself, and maybe one other person. In this case, you will probably be looking at database that is just installed on one desktop computer. On the other hand, if you have more that one or two employees using your database, then you will probably need to install the database on a server so that everyone has access to it.

How many users will be using it concurrently?

If you will have more than 20 users using the database, and maybe 10 or more users accessing it at the same time, then you might want to think about using SQL Server rather than Access for the backend. Microsoft Access is a good database for a small business, but you can run into problems if there are too many users and if the database gets too big.

How important is database security?

Database security is a big issue at this time. We are constantly hearing of hackers breaking into a database and stealing data. The best way to handle this is to have a strong password and encryption policy, so that they cannot break into the database in the first place. Besides hackers, you also need to protect yourself from your own employees, who might change information that they shouldn’t, be curious about information that you deem “confidential”, or in the case of a disgruntled employee, have malicious intent.

Companies protect themselves by having information on a “need-to-know” basis.  This means that you need to limit access, so that employees are only able to view and change information that they need to deal with as part of their regular duties. The way to do this is by using “Roles” and “Permissions”.

A “Permission” is an action that you allow a user to take. These actions are often based on “CRUD”, a database term for “CREATE, READ, UPDATE, DELETE”. The safest action is to allow a user to just “READ” records.  A more trusted user can also be granted the permission to “create”, “update”, and “delete”.

A “Role” is a grouping of permissions based on a job function (e.g. shipping clerk). A role, once created, can be assigned to one or many users. The topic of “Roles” and “Permission” is an important one, so it and will be covered later in a separate article.

How important is having the database scalable?

When building a database it is always best to conform to standards. It’s possible, at some point, that you will want to build a shopping cart site on the web. To do so, you may need to port you data over from “Access” to “MySQL”. If your business grows, you may decide to scale up from “Access” to “SQL Server”. In both cases, starting out with a “standard” database design will save you time and money.

Datacon’s Policy

As a company, we want to educate customers and provide them with enough information, so that they can make informed decisions. We want customers to be happy with whatever system that we build for them, so that they will recommend us to their friends and associates. The decisions are for you to make, but we are here to offer advise when needed. It is our hope that once you get to know us, that you will treat “Datacon” as a trusted friend, and decide to make “Datacon” your “Data Connection”.