As information needs and wants of users escalate, integrated databases have become the norm rather than the exception. The focus is no longer on the question, “Where can we implement databases?” But rather the focus has shifted to, “How do we integrate as much of our data as possible into a single logical database?” To retain flexibility, some organizations pursue self-developed and self-designed integrated database systems. For many organizations, the packaged solution of an enterprise system is the desired approach for data integration. Either way, the expertise of information specialists is key to successfully overcoming the challenges of implementing such integrated database systems.
With these opportunities and challenges also come huge responsibilities. The very lifeblood of an organization becomes wrapped up in a database that contains all of the organization’s information. If the database is destroyed and cannot be recovered, the organization will probably not survive in today’s business environment. Likewise, if competitors or others gain access to the data, the organization’s ability to compete can also be seriously jeopardized.
Safeguarding data, while at the same time getting the information to users who need the information, is not a simple task. In Chapters 8 and 9, our discussion will shift to the issues surrounding data reliability, access, and security. You will learn about procedures that organizations implement to assure the reliability of information that is updated or added to the database. You will also learn about safeguarding data and maintaining backups of data so that if something should happen to the database, it can be recovered in a timely manner. These are truly challenging but exciting times for managers and other professionals who are prepared to operate in an information systems environment.