Tag: database management

 

Are you sure your business data is safe?

Or is it just what you have been told?
Photo of Data backing up to the cloud

If I had a $1000 for each business that told me its data was safe, and then I found out that it was not, I would be able to buy a new house – Truly.

So why is it that your IT person says they have a backup and they can restore a file and it is all fine, and I am telling you here, it is not?  It is because for those of you who use a Database e.g. MS SQL , MYSQL, Dataflex, Oracle etc. these are Multi User databases.

A multiuser database has a unique method of backing up.  Most of these databases create a specific backup file e.g. a BAK file.   These files are created even if someone has the database open and is using the data.  Now here is where things become even more interesting.  Some people have really Old versions of databases, and their Bak Files need to be restored in their own version of the database, which may only work on certain operating systems etc.

So how do you make sure you are safe?

Simply, ask your IT person to do a restore and give you access to your data as it was yesterday.  Check that entries you have made this morning are not there, and that you can access, add and edit your data from yesterday.  Once you have done this – you are then sure that your data is safe.

What if you don’t have time for this idea?

Well, you are running a bit of a risk, but give these instructions to your IT person, and ask them to tell you what invoice ABC which was entered yesterday is for.  If they have the same information that you do, then you know the restoration was a success.  If not, then do not consider that the restoration worked, and get someone involved that does know about this style of database backup to review and check your backups.

What else do you need to watch out for?

UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) are really necessary in Australia as we get such extreme heat, and regular power drop outs or interruptions.  So if you don’t know when you purchased your UPS, or if it is over 2 years old, it is time to get a new UPS.  They are no longer a huge investment, and frankly, if you don’t have laptops, you may want to have a couple of UPS’s so that you can keep your server and a terminal going during a power drop out.  These should really be replaced every about 2 years.

What about how long you could be down if the server is lost?

Cloud backups are great – until you need to get going in a hurry.  I know this personally and only too well. I really suggest you need a mix between local and cloud backup technology.  If you can restore local data and get up and going quickly, then you are only updating the changes that have happened since the last backup, and that means that you are not going to take a week to get your data back.  Getting data down from the cloud is generally faster than Up to the cloud, but even so, it could take days if you have a lot of data – and if that is the case, you can’t afford to wait days to get data back. So having a mix between the two is really necessary.

 

Remember – We only need a backup at the worst time.  Never are backups used when everything is going well – it is only necessary – just when you don’t need it.  So check that if you do need to use it – at least it will work.

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Excel and Access: Perfect Together

excel accessAs a frequent Microsoft Office user, we got Excel and Access to take care of our tables, charts, and data. Oftentimes, we don’t know which one to use since both of them are good to handle business information. The good thing however is that you can connect your Excel table to your Access database. You may be wondering how, so let me give you reasons why these two programs are perfect for each other.

  1. Easy to copy data from Excel to Access Copy and paste has never been easy with Access and Excel. You may notice that when you create an Access table and display it in datasheet view, the result closely resembles an Excel worksheet. Sometimes you might not need to create a table or open it in datasheet view. Access automatically asks you if your data has headers, makes good guesses at using the correct data type, and creates an Access table.
  1. Easy to link Excel worksheet to Access One of the best things Microsoft did to their Office package is the ability to link programs with each other. Take the case of Excel worksheets linking to an Access table. Users can do this in case they are planning to keep the data in Excel, but perform Access features such as queries, forms, and reports. Thanks to the Linked Table Manager Wizard that helps users to track, locate, and update the Excel worksheet. Note that you can only modify, add, and delete data from your Excel worksheet and not from your Access table. access excel
  1. Easy to import Excel data into Access If you don’t entertain the idea of linking both tables, you can simply import data from Access to Excel. In importing data, Access stores it in a new or existing table without changing the data existed in an Excel table. They have an Import Wizard that will help you to in the process and decide what data types and headers would you like to change or implement. Note that you cannot import formulas from Excel to Access, just the results of whatever formula there is.
  1. Easy to collect data using Access for Excel Analysis – Applicable in MS Office 2007 version, both Access and Outlook can work together thanks to the Data Collection Wizard. This feature generates and sends email messages with attached data entry form. Your recipients, sends them back, and then added to the appropriate table in your database as soon as the reply reaches your inbox, will fill this out. This is very helpful if you are conducting a survey, product research, status reports, and even events organization.
  1. Easy to combine Excel and Access with Sharepoint Both Excel and Access is capable of connecting to Sharepoint. The difference is Excel only supports read-only connection as compared with Access read and writes connection in linked Sharepoint lists. Seems like Access and Sharepoint works well together both online and offline. Users have the option of working with Access database locally and go online to update changes in the Sharepoint site.

This only proves that both Excel and Access might have differences and limitations, but working together will make your business data process easier. Imagine them like salt and pepper, so different but complements one another.

 

Source: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Top-10-reasons-to-use-Access-with-Excel-2a454445-13cc-4b39-bc2f-d27fd12ca414

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Why Use MS Access

I am writing about this question, because I would be asked this question hundreds of times in a year. So here are the reasons.

MS Access was a really intelligent product that Microsoft added to its professional office pack. The reason that it is intelligent is really due to what it can do for an office.

Here are business accepted facts:

  1. Data is vital and essential for a business.
  2. Quality Data leads to better decision making information, and hopefully better decision making
  3. Successful business use their data to their advantage.

MS Access is a Data tool shed. I will clarify this by stating what is in MS Access.


Database Tables
. This is actually a very simple part of MS Access. It can create a database structure very simply and easily. Sometimes too easily, as

Instructor with Students in Computer Lab --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Instructor with Students in Computer Lab — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

many people create databases, that actually don’t understand databases or what the client needs now and possibly in the future, it is the lack of understanding that has given MS Access the poor reputation, The database is also only for smaller amounts of data, e.g. 20Mb. However, what is brilliant about this area, is the ability to easily link to larger databases e.g. MS SQL.  This means you have the power, speed and ability of MS SQL, and can link this to a simple tool like MS Access.

Form Generator. The form Generator in Access, is quite a powerful tool. There are automatic form creators, and many standard forms that a person can down load, plus it is really easy to create a form from scratch, with very little training. Normally if writing in another language, a lot of programming time is spent creating the forms and the functions of the form. This is a very GUI based form generator.

Report Generator. There is a report generator included in MS Access. For many products they recommend other report generators e.g. Crystal report writer, or you write all your reports almost from scratch. The report generator is GUI based and very easy to use, with far more flexibility and options that a product that is only a report generator.

Queries. This is the way a user can ask a question of the database without being a programmer. So with its GUI the user can easily ask questions. Queries however can also do many functions, information displaying etc. The queries can also run stored procedures from remote databases. This is really brilliant if you want speed and access to data as well.


Visual-Basic-TutorialProgramming Language.
MS Access uses VBA or Visual Basic as is base programming language. The MS Access product can be compiled, and
there are many off the shelf packages that have been totally written in MS Access that users are not aware of.

So, in answer to the question “Why use MS Access”. The answer is simple, It is a main stream Microsoft product. It has loads of features and the cost is unbelievable. It is free for users to use an application written in MS access, and only the developer of the application needs a licence, that is about $99.00 or included in the Professional pack.

If you are considering a new product, this creates the fastest and cheapest RAD (Rapid Application Development) application to prove and test your theories. So without spending huge funds on a potential idea, MS Access will prove if it will work, and then the chance of success has just increased.

They state the 90% of Database Applications fail.  This is generally because of poor specifications, lack of budget, poor programmers etc. By developing a RAD first, the limitations of a spec are instantly found and can be resolved. Without huge time or money expenses, you can check your idea will work, and you can even run trials from the MS Access version. Plus, you have not only a specification, but also an actual working prototype to base your product on.

The question really should be, Why aren’t more people using MS Access.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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