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Database Encryption: The 3 Types and Why You Need Them

Encryption is a way of scrambling data so that only authorized parties can understand it. To an unauthorized user, encryption will make the text appear random. As an example, the word “hello” may appear as “SNifgNi+uk0=”. The word “hello” is in plaintext, while the random letters and numbers are in ciphertext. 

In this post, we’ll cover the three main types of database encryption and the benefits to using one for your business organization. 

Three Main Types of Database Encryption 

There are different types of encryption methods, and many people are unsure of which one to use for their database. To help you select the best encryption method, you should consider your environment and the type of information you’re storing.

When it comes to database management, there are three main types of encryption: 

  1. API method. The API method occurs in the application layer, improving security. This method is available for all databases, including Oracle and MSSQL. While it does not pose any additional burden to database management, it can be time-consuming if there are large amounts of data.
  2. Plug-in method. The plug-in method is where an encryption package is attached to the database. This method works independently of the application and requires fewer changes to the code. It’s also flexible and can be used for large amounts of data.
  3. TDE method. The TDE method requires an encryption engine to be installed into the database engine. With this method, there is no modification to the source code. As a result, database users can do this on their own without the help of engineers. 

Why Encryption is Important for Your Database 

Data encryption is necessary for your database, regardless of the information you’re storing. As a business, it is your responsibility to stay in compliance with all safety and security guidelines. Below you’ll find the main reasons why encryption is necessary. 

  • Privacy. Keep your information safe from cyber criminals, ad networks, internet service providers and other unauthorized users. 
  • Security. Encryption helps prevent data breaches. Even if a device is lost or stolen, encryption ensures that all data stays secure. 
  • Compliance. Encrypting your data allows you to meet regulatory and compliance standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS and GDPR. 

How secure is your database? If you’re not sure which encryption method is right for your business or organization, contact Arkware today. We can determine which encryption style is best for your needs and make sure that you are following the latest regulatory guidelines.

Building and Maintaining an HR Database

Microsoft Access is a software program that lets you build and manage databases. It’s relatively easy to use and has a similar look and feel to other Microsoft products. This makes it a suitable choice for beginners or those who don’t have a lot of computer experience. There are many things you can use Access for, and one of them is to manage your employees. You can use one of the available templates or create your own. 

What is an HR Database? 

An HR database is used by professionals to store information related to their employees, such as training details or standard working hours. It’s important that employee databases are secure because they do contain sensitive information. With so many legal considerations to think about, it’s best to collect only the information you need on your employees. 

Here are some examples of information you can include in an HR database: 

  • Holidays and absenteeism 
  • Schedules or standard working hours 
  • Timesheets and expenses 
  • Personal details (i.e., date of birth, job title)
  • Salary information 
  • Qualifications held 
  • Training details 

Considerations for Employee Databases 

As the employer, you have a responsibility to keep your employees’ information safe and secure. If you don’t follow the proper guidelines, valuable information can be exposed to unauthorized parties. You could face penalties, and you’ll surely end up losing trust in your employees and clients. 

Below are the considerations to make when building and maintaining an employee database: 

  • Storing data ethically. Your employees’ information should be held securely and only shared with pertinent people. Make sure that you are in compliance with such laws as the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act. Employees should also know how their data is being used. 
  • Security. How secure is your HR database? If your data is stored on the cloud, you’ll want to know what type of security measures are in place. We also recommend encrypting your database, keeping all software up to date and limiting admin users. 
  • Usability. The main features of an HR database are to manage employee records, track holidays, record absences and so on. As long as your database was built properly, it should be easy to use. If it’s not, contact Arkware to learn more about building an intuitive and simple employee database. 
  • Migration. It’s possible that one day, you may need to migrate to a new database system. You can migrate Microsoft Access to MySQL, SQLServer, Azure, Oracle and others. This is important as you don’t want to have to input everything by hand. 
  • Storage size. Lastly, know how much storage capacity is likely to be needed. By thinking ahead, you can ensure that your database doesn’t run out of server space. Most database programs have large capacities, but it’s still worth checking into. 

Building and maintaining an HR database is an important part of owning a business. To learn more about having a custom database built for your business or organization, contact the database experts at Arkware today. 

5 Uncommon Microsoft Access Tips for 2020

Whether you’re building an Access database for the first time or learning to work within a custom-built template, it helps to know the ins and outs of how the program works. There are many Access tips available online, but today, we want to focus on tips that are useful but rarely shared. The more you know, the easier it is to manage a successful database.

Below you’ll find five uncommon MS Access tips for 2020.

1. Keep Access database fields as small as possible. 

As you build tables, make your text fields only as big as you need them. By default, Access sets up text fields to hold up to 255 characters. This is a lot of space that you probably won’t end up using. To avoid having all this wasted storage space, make your text fields the appropriate size. 

2. Use number fields for real numbers. 

Use number fields for real numbers, not for text numbers. For example, zip codes do not go in number fields. Software programs perceive a 60609 zip code differently from the number 60,609. The numbers in a zip code are digits, but they aren’t to be used for math and other numeric purposes. So, leave the number fields to numbers you plan on calculating.

3. Carefully delete Access field values. 

Whenever you delete field values from a table, use caution. The reason for this is because you can’t recover the old value if you need to. Once you start doing other things, Access will forget about the value as if it never existed. Unfortunately, there is no Undo option available for an entire record. (Note: If you delete a value and realize you need it before doing anything else, you can do a quick Ctrl + Z.)

4. Backup your databases.

Backing up your database is extremely important. You can maintain backup copies at another location in case something happens at your place of work, such as a fire or flood. You can also store your backups to the cloud so they can be retrieved later. Here’s a great article on how often you should be backing up your databases and why it’s so important. 

5. Ask for help – it’s not hard to find.

One of the great things about Access is that help is easy to find. As the most popular database in the world, you can find support online or from an Access programming expert. The important thing is that you ask for help when you need it. Small missteps can add up quickly and cause huge problems for your database down the line. 

Microsoft Access remains a reliable database program for businesses of all types and sizes. If you need help managing your database, contact Arkware for a free consultation. 

How Real Estate Professionals Can Use Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access has a number of templates that are designed for real estate professionals. You can use the template that is included with Microsoft Access or download one created by a third party. The benefit of using templates is that you can organize and manage your data without having to create a database from scratch

For the purpose of this article, we will discuss the Real Estate template that can be downloaded directly within Access or from the official Microsoft website. This template allows you to manage your properties, buyers, sellers, prices and other information. 

Where to Find the Real Estate Database 

Go to the Real Estate template on the Microsoft Office template downloads page and click Download. Or, launch Microsoft Access and find the Real Estate template under the Business templates. Once the template is downloaded, you can open it on your computer and start entering data. 

The best way to start filling out your database is by clicking New Property and adding your first property. Include the property ID, type, street address, city and state. We also recommend clicking Email List in the toolbar so that you can keep track of your contact list. Successful realtors keep their contacts nurtured. 

Tips for Using a Real Estate Database 

Successful business owners know that their clients are their most important asset. The same is true for your real estate business. Plus, it’s important to know that your relationships with clients don’t end when a home is bought or sold. It should continue on so that you have easier prospecting, qualified referrals and repeat business.

Here are some tips for using your real estate database. 

  • Connect with existing customers. It’s easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers. By keeping an updated database of your clients, you can begin the nurturing process. For example, are you having an open house? A pumpkin decorating contest? 
  • Gather new prospects. Realtors are often so busy working with current prospects, they don’t look for new ones. Fortunately, your website can gather leads while you’re out showing properties. A data-driven website collects user information that is then pulled into your database. 
  • Be a resource. Set up monthly or quarterly events so that people can come to you when they are interested in buying or selling. These events also keep your name front and center so that you can retain customers and increase referrals. Send event info to the contacts in your database. 
  • Send housing market updates. It’s also helpful to stay in touch with contacts by sending them updates on the housing market. Most homeowners are happy to see what’s selling in their neighborhood. Plus, by sharing this info, you will become a trusted authority in your local market. 

Databases are a huge asset to real estate professionals. Microsoft Access is a great program to start with, as it’s easy to learn and familiar to most people. To have a custom real estate database created for your business, contact the database experts at Arkware. 

5 Reasons Microsoft Access is Great for Startups

Are you launching a new business? Good for you! This is an exciting time, though it may feel overwhelming until things get up and running. As you get closer to opening your doors, everything will need to be in place. This includes the database you plan on using. The good news is that Microsoft Access is an excellent database tool for startups, and you may already have it included with your Microsoft Office subscription. 

Here are five reasons why we recommend MS Access to startup clients. 

1. Affordable cost. 

Access is very affordable and comes included with an Office 365 purchase. You can buy Office as a one-time purchase or pay a monthly fee. By paying monthly, a few extras are included, such as security and compliance, support and deployment and file storage and sharing. Whichever option you choose, Access is not a major price commitment. At least that’s one thing out of the way!

2. Quick and easy database setup.

Thanks to the wizards and templates included in Access, you can set up a fully functioning database in just a few weeks or less. It depends on how elaborate your database is and if you plan to connect your website to it. With less time involved in the setup, you can put your time towards other business tasks, such as marketing your new business and driving in foot traffic. 

3. Lots of support available. 

Microsoft Access has been around for a long time. It’s one of the most popular database platforms in the world, making it easy to find support. Whether you have a simple question or need to update your current database, you will be able to find help. Also, because Microsoft Office and VBA (Access’ programming language) are so widely known, support services are cheaper as well. 

4. No coding experience required. 

Speaking of coding, you don’t need a background in code to use Access. However, we do recommend having some basic knowledge of Microsoft Office and database creation, as this will help you build a smart and intuitive database. The good news is that you can hire a database company for a reasonable cost. From there, you can use the database without problems. 

5. Scalable. 

Lastly, Microsoft Access is scalable. Access has a reputation for being basic, but this isn’t necessarily true. Many large businesses use Access with no problems. However, if your business grows to store thousands of files, or you need hundreds of people to access your database at a single time, you’ll need to upgrade. Luckily, you can migrate the data to SQL Server. 

Access is an excellent database tool for startup businesses. If you need help getting your database ready for launching, contact Arkware today for a free consultation.