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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. 

How Databases are Used in Ecommerce

Databases are an important part of running an ecommerce business. They are used to store, analyze and manage key information about products, sales and customers. By having this information accessible to you, it’s easy to make intelligent business decisions. You can also share your database with suppliers and logistics partners to increase productivity and efficiency. It’s a win-win for everybody! 

If you are just starting out with an ecommerce business, it’s important to have a database program lined up. Most new businesses do well with Microsoft Access because it’s easy to use and similar to other Microsoft Office products. Plus, you don’t need a background in coding to use the program. 

Here are some ways that MS Access can be used for your ecommerce business.

Store Product Information

Use your database to store information on your products, including detailed descriptions and specifications, product numbers, prices, availability and special promotions. It’s also helpful to include the supplier of each product so that you know who to order from when availability runs low. 

When things change, all you have to do is update your database and your website will show the latest information. This is far easier than having to update your website each time there’s a change in price or quantity. 

Organize Customer Data 

Your customers are the backbone of your business, so you want to keep track of the types of people you are selling to. The more you know about them, the better you can meet their needs. 

Enter in the full names of your customers, along with any personal information you know about them, such as their age range, income level, geographic region and interests. Just be sure that your database is secure, as a database breach can damage your business’ reputation.

Track Buyer’s Journey 

The customer journey is also important when learning about your customers and how they shop. Record information on your customers’ product searches, information requests and purchases so that you can build a comprehensive picture of the buyer’s journey. 

What types of product preferences do your customers have? What does their purchasing history look like? What is their future buying potential? 

Manage Campaigns 

Ecommerce databases make it easy to run marketing campaigns. First, you can target specific audiences based on their demographics. This allows you to create highly targeted campaigns that reach the right audience.

Second, you can analyze the transaction information to see how effective your campaigns are. Was there an increase in sales following your promotion? Did your discounted products get more views? As you learn what works and what doesn’t, you can create more effective campaigns. 

As you can see, databases are an important tool to have in ecommerce business. While Microsoft Access is user-friendly, it does require a learning curve. To ensure your database is set up correctly and updates your website in real-time, contact Arkware for a consultation. 

How to Make an Inventory Database on Access

If your business has been using spreadsheets to track inventory, you may be ready to move onto a more powerful database program like Microsoft Access. Inventory databases are important for several reasons, including storing details and quantities of the products you stock, along with their suppliers. With a well-organized database, you can reduce the time, cost and effort of inventory management. 

Below are five simple steps to help you create an inventory database using Access.

Step 1. Consider your business needs.

Think about what your database needs to be helpful to your business’ inventory. For example, what items do you carry? Are there differences that need to be noted? What are the turnover times? This is the type of information that should be included in your database. 

Also, figure out how the database will be implemented within your software architecture. In other words, how will Access interact with your other programs? Your IT staff should be able to help you with this. 

Step 2. Install Access on your computer. 

Decide where your database will be stored – on your personal computer, on an internal server or by a third party. It can then be downloaded and installed. Microsoft Access is part of Office 365. You can buy the basic or premium version and pay $8.25 or $12.50 per user per month, respectively. The premium version comes with additional services, such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Teams. 

Step 3. Build your database. 

Once installed, you can start building your inventory database. If you’ve used Microsoft Office before, Access will feel comfortable and familiar. However, building a high-quality database that is free from errors can be difficult to do at first. 

To ensure your inventory database is well-built, consider working with a database development company. This way, you’ll have the peace of mind that your database is accurate. 

Step 4. Fine tune your database.

Once you have your fields in – units ordered, units received, product information, etc. – you can fine tune the database according to your notes. Be sure to establish relationships between the fields. Find out what values you will have returned when using the database and a way to store them. Also, avoid having duplicate data in multiple fields. 

Step 5. Enter in the information.

When your database is properly set up, you can start populating it with information. While you can input the data by hand, an easier option is to import your previous spreadsheet. If you were using Excel, you can click “Excel” and import your spreadsheet this way. Because both programs are developed by Microsoft, they are usually preserved when importing from one to the other. 

This is a brief breakdown of how to make an inventory database on Access, but if you have more questions, contact Arkware today. We’ll be happy to help with all stages of creating, managing and storing your inventory database. 

4 Ways Inventory Databases Benefit Retail

Retail businesses large and small benefit from well-organized inventory databases. This type of database holds crucial information about a business’ inventory, such as what the products are, how many quantities are in stock and their supplier. By using an inventory database, you can improve time and efficiency in your warehouse and provide a better service to customers. 

Here are four ways that inventory databases benefit retail businesses

1. Control inventory in real-time.

It’s important to know what products you have in stock at any given time. Otherwise, you run the risk of ordering too much or not ordering enough. With an inventory database, you will have an accurate, up-to-date picture of your stock levels. You can order the right products to keep customers happy without overstocking. Overstocked products take up floor space and eat into your profits. 

2. Spot future trends.

With an accurate retail inventory database, you can identify trends and forecast future customer demands. This allows you to plan for weekly or monthly spend, which is especially important during peak seasons. And, if you are planning on running a sale or promotion, you can use your historical data to ensure you have enough stock to meet the increased demand. 

3. Automate tedious tasks. 

Another benefit to inventory databases is that they automate time-consuming tasks. For example, rather than having your employees running back to check the stockroom, they can pull up what they need on the database. This saves time and allows them to help more customers on the floor and by phone, leading to greater customer satisfaction. 

4. Improve order and delivery process. 

When you have accurate, up-to-date information on your inventory, it’s easy to make smart decisions for order and delivery. You can group together certain products for bulk pricing and free shipping. For products that aren’t needed right away, you can opt for a slower delivery time to save money. If you do need the products right away, you can find a supplier that meets these needs. 

Databases are smart management tools that allow businesses to make strategic decisions to grow their brand. To ensure your database is well-built and provides you with accurate, reliable data that can be used in real-time, contact Arkware today. 

4 Ways to Protect Sensitive Information from Your Customers

Most businesses store sensitive information in their files, such as names, social security numbers and credit card numbers. This information is kept to identify customers and employees. It’s also necessary for completing certain tasks, such as filling orders, issuing paychecks and handling tax matters.

The problem with storing vulnerable information is that it can get into the wrong hands. A security breach can quickly take a toll on your business, leading to lost trust, a damaged reputation and costly lawsuits. 

At Arkware, we highly recommend not storing sensitive information like SSNs and credit credit numbers unless absolutely necessary. If you feel that keeping this information on file is required to do business, we strongly encourage encryption. 

Below are four principles that the FTC recommends following when building a strong digital data security plan. 

1. Know what information you have on your computers. 

The first thing is to know what information your business currently has on file. Inventory everything in your workplace: computers, laptops, mobile devices, flash drives, digital copiers, etc. Anything that holds sensitive data should be checked. 

Once this is complete, it’s also important to assess what information is coming to you and what you’re doing with it. For example, who sends personal information your way? How is this information received? Who has access to this information? 

2. Keep only the information your business needs.

When you know what you have, you can scale down. Chances are, you don’t need everything you have in your possession, so why be liable for it? If you must collect personal information, keep it only for as long as you need it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Don’t keep credit card information unless you need it 
  • Use SSNs only for required and lawful purposes
  • Allow mobile apps to access limited data and functionality 
  • Give employees the least amount of information they need to do their jobs

3. Encrypt all sensitive information. 

Everyone in your workplace should follow good security practices – not just your IT staff. Make sure employees are properly trained as well. Encryption is one of the best ways to protect sensitive data, as it allows only authorized users to access it. Other steps you can take include: 

  • Logging off computers at the end of each day
  • Running anti-malware programs on individual computers and servers
  • Restricting employees’ ability to download software 
  • Not storing sensitive information on computers without a secure connection

4. Dispose of what you don’t need. 

Identity thieves can do a lot of damage with a small amount of information. All sensitive information should be disposed of when you no longer need it. There is no reason to keep this data and be at risk for a devastating security breach. When disposing of information, be sure you follow the best practices. For example, erase computers using a wipe utility program. Shred, burn or pulverize paper documents. 

Security breaches happen all the time. Don’t let you business fall victim to one. If you feel that your clients’ personal information is critical to your business, make sure the data is encrypted. Contact Arkware to learn more on data encryption solutions.