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Top Ways to Increase Database Efficiency

How well your database performs depends largely on its efficiency. Many factors affect efficiency, including how data is modeled and how queries are structured. If your database isn’t as efficient as it could be, a few small tweaks can make all the difference. Below we’re going to cover the best ways to improve database performance for improved efficiency, accuracy and productivity. 

Check Your Server 

Start by checking your database server to ensure it has the proper hardware available. Evaluate the following: 

  • CPU. If you think your database is underperforming, it’s possible that you need to upgrade your CPU unit. Measure your CPU performance, monitor CPU ready times and make sure you are using two CPU cores.
  • Memory. Check the page faults per second. If you’re having thousands of page faults, you’re running out of memory and need to expand. 
  • Disk space. Databases require a lot of disk space so make sure you have enough space at all times. Run your database on dedicated hard disks for the best performance. 

Optimize Queries 

Most database issues come from poor queries. For the best results, use a query optimizer to optimize your queries. This will eliminate coding loops that can generate hundreds of unnecessary requests that will slow down your database. Query optimizers also save plenty of time, as you don’t have to go through and optimize them manually. 

Update Your Database Version

If you’re using the old version of your database, it’s time to upgrade. While some queries might run faster on older versions, this won’t help the overall functionality of your database. By updating your database and taking advantage of the latest software and features, you can ensure better overall performance. 

Minimize the Use of Images 

We typically don’t recommend storing images in your database because they’re large files that slow down performance. Instead, store references and metadata so that you can easily access the image files when you need them. 

Know When to Use Indexing 

Indexes are used to quickly and efficiently locate data without having to search through every row in a database. As your database grows larger, you’ll find yourself indexing more often. Because indexes dramatically speed up data retrieval, it’s important to assign the correct index for each table as well as understand the differences in index types – clustered and non-clustered.

Remove Unused Tables 

Over time, it’s common to have unused tables that you don’t need anymore. Eliminate them for improved efficiency. Having unused tables puts more stress on your database, as it has to run through all the tables to find the answer to the query. By removing unused tables, you can expect faster queries. 

These are some of the best ways to improve database efficiency for your business. If you need help with any of these steps, or you are considering upgrading to a new database program, contact Arkware today. We have customized solutions for all businesses and organizations. 

 

Importance of Maintaining a HIPAA Compliant Database

If you sell products and services that require personal health data and you’re doing business in the U.S., your database must be in full compliance with HIPAA, an important law that protects the privacy and security of health data. In this article, we’re going to cover what the HIPAA laws are and what you can do to ensure compliance for your business. 

HIPAA: What it is and Who it Applies To 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a federal law that protects sensitive patient health information (PHI) from being shared without the person’s consent or knowledge. These national standards also reduce healthcare fraud and abuse, guarantee safety and privacy and assure health insurance portability (by eliminating pre-existing medical conditions).

Health care providers like doctors, dentists, pharmacies, hospitals, urgent care clinics and others must follow HIPAA laws if they transmit health information electronically. Even health apps that transmit and receive protected health information must follow HIPAA laws.

What is a HIPAA Compliant Database? 

To have a HIPAA compliant database, proper planning and configuration are required. Below are some of the requirements you need to know about: 

  • Complete data encryption. All health data must be encrypted in the database and in transit. This prevents a malicious party from accessing sensitive information. 
  • Unique user IDs. HIPAA requires unique user IDs for all users and prohibits the sharing of user logins. 
  • Authentication. Users who access sensitive information must be securely authenticated. 
  • Authorization. The database must control access to users by assigning different roles and privileges.
  • Audit Logs. All data usage must be stored in a separate infrastructure and archived according to HIPAA guidelines. 
  • Database backups. All backups must be fully encrypted and securely stored. 
  • HIPAA-trained support staff. Only trained personnel can address technical issues involving PHI.
  • Data disposal. When data is no longer needed, it must be disposed of properly such as by using high-security file wiping. 

What Happens if You’re Not in Compliance with HIPAA Laws? 

If your business fails to be in compliance with HIPAA laws, you could face serious financial or criminal penalties. In addition to this, your business could damage its reputation and lose business partners and customers. The best ways to ensure you are in compliance with HIPAA are by: 

  • Enlisting professional help from a lawyer or third party auditor 
  • Conduct an annual risk assessment
  • Ensure application and database security 
  • Educate employees about HIPAA 
  • Review agreements with other businesses 

Arkware specializes in the design and implementation of databases. If you have questions about your database being in compliance with the latest HIPAA regulations, contact us today. We can look over your database and offer recommendations on how to ensure compliance.

 

How to Access the Built-in CRM Template in Microsoft Access

Customer relationship management (CRM) software keeps all customer interactions in one place. CRMs have evolved significantly over the last few years because they are effective at streamlining communications, improving customer satisfaction and retaining loyal customers. Some CRMs are expensive, but yours doesn’t have to be. With Microsoft Access, you can access the built-in CRM database template. Below we’ll show you how. 

Features of Microsoft Access CRM Template 

Microsoft Access has a great selection of templates that you can download and work off of, but be aware that not all may meet your needs. In this case, it’s best to hire a company like Arkware to build a custom database for your business or organization. This way, you’ll have everything you need to keep track of your customers in one place.

Here are some of the features that an MS Access CRM template will include: 

  • Account/client information
  • Contact information
  • Potential sales opportunities 
  • Activities (phone calls, appointments, emails, etc.)
  • Invoices 

How to Make Your Own CRM in Access 

Below are the steps to creating your own CRM using Microsoft Access

  • Step 1. Open Access and locate the template gallery. To find the CRM, select “File” and “New.” Here you will see all of the available databases. Download the sales contact management database. It’s included under the “business” templates. 
  • Step 2. Review the template. Make sure it meets your needs. To view the full database, press F11. This lets you view the tables, queries, forms, reports, macros and modules. 
  • Step 3. Modify the tables and forms to meet your needs. This may require you to edit field properties of the tables and forms. Fortunately, MS Access is fairly easy to work in  – no coding experience necessary! 
  • Step 4. Review the relationships between tables. If necessary, modify them to fit your needs.
  • Step 5. Enter your data into the tables and forms. You can do this manually or by inputting data directly from Access. 
  • Step 6. Run your queries. If the template does not contain queries, use the query wizard to create them. 

What if You Can’t Find the Right CRM Template? 

The selection of client tools in Access is limited, so it’s possible that you may not be able to use the built-in CRM template for your business. If this is the case, contact Arkware for a customized solution. We can build you a personalized CRM that fits your unique needs and budget! 

5 Powerful Features of Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access sometimes has a reputation for being too streamlined and basic. But it’s actually far more powerful than people realize. While Microsoft Access may not meet every organization’s needs, it can accommodate many. And it’s likely that you’re one of them! 

Below are five powerful features of Microsoft Access that you should know. 

1. It’s easier to understand than client-server databases. 

Users don’t need any special training or experience to use Access. Some users have self-tutored themselves while others have learned from their coworkers. Either way, there’s not much of a learning curve thanks to the well-organized templates you can dive right into. If you’re comfortable using Excel, you’ll be comfortable using Access.

2. You can import and export to other Microsoft Office applications.

One of the most useful features of Access is the ability to import and export data from other programs. It’s also fairly easy to combine data, transfer data between two programs and store data over the long-term for future exports. To do this, you can copy and paste objects as well as export objects, which comes with more options. 

3. Templates are available for immediate use. 

The templates that Access comes with are pretty great. They can save an incredible amount of time by not having to build a database from scratch. Better yet, you can still make modifications to the templates to meet your organization’s needs. Both desktop and web-based database templates are available. 

4. The ‘Tell Me’ feature will help you get the most out of Access. 

Even though MS Access is user-friendly, you’ll probably still run into questions along the way. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Access includes the ‘Tell Me’ feature that works as an assistant to help you complete tasks efficiently. It was introduced in 2016 as a way to help users save time and do things quickly and correctly. 

5. Output reports in PDF.

More and more users are sharing databases through electronic image formats like PDF by Adobe Systems and XPS by Microsoft. Using Access, all you have to do is create reports in electronic image files through the External Data tab on the ribbon. Even users who don’t own Access can view the reports in their entirety. 

As you can see, Microsoft Access is a powerful database solution that has many new features. It continues to be user-friendly and cost-effective for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about creating an Access database, contact Arkware today. 

5 Great Reasons to Download and Use Microsoft Access Templates

Microsoft Access is a complete end-to-end database management application that is user-friendly and flexible for most businesses. You can use Access to build and customize databases, including forms, tables, macros, relationships and more. 

One of the great things about Access is that you can start using the program right away. It functions similarly to other Office products and includes downloadable templates. In this post, we’ll explore five reasons to use Access templates and the benefits to expect. 

1. Save time and effort. 

It takes time to create a custom template, which is fine if you have it and want something specific. But if you want to get working right away, a template is a great alternative. Choose the one that meets your needs and it’s ready to use right away. Plus, the time you save can be put toward other tasks in the workplace, such as training employees or generating new leads. 

2. Find templates that are specific to your business. 

It’s easy to find templates that are specific to your business or task. For example, Microsoft offers templates for Event Management, Task Management and Inventory. We find that this works well for people because they’re sometimes unsure of what to include in a database. While you can find a great selection of templates on Microsoft’s website, third-party sites also have good options. (Note: Only download templates from trustworthy sources.)

3. Customize the templates to meet your needs. 

All templates are customizable, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments to match your needs. You can add or delete forms, tables and more so that only the data you need is in your database. This will also give you the opportunity to learn how to use Access. While a background in programming is not necessary, some experience is helpful. 

4. You’ll have the chance to explore the database. 

Typically, when you download a database template, you’ll see a message that says Get Started. Click on the links to learn more about the database or click the buttons to explore the different fields. This gives you the chance to make sure the template is right for your business. 

5. They’re free. 

For the most part, Access database templates are free to download. This allows small businesses to start a quality database that supports their business while only having to pay for the Access program (which is also affordable). Only download templates from trustworthy sources, as you don’t want to end up with corrupted files. You can trust the templates that are included on Microsoft Office

Arkware offers database management solutions for small and midsize businesses. If you don’t want to create a database from scratch but aren’t finding what you need through the templates, contact us for a custom solution.