Your organization cannot succeed without access to accurate, reliable and secure data. If your meticulously gathered data suddenly evaporated or became corrupted, you could face massive losses of productivity and revenue capable of bringing your entire organization to its knees.
Microsoft Access is a tool that many organizations have used for years to manage their data, but there are many reasons why this application puts your organization at risk.
Access databases are dangerously tied to the devices on which they are stored. First, your productivity is limited to the moments that you are tethered to that device. If your certifying board is conducting off-site exams, for instance, the staff will either not be able to make remote updates to critical documents, or will have to risk transporting a device that holds your most valuable asset. Your accuracy, ability to manipulate data, and revenue generation instantly expand if you have secure remote access to a full array of functionality.
An even larger negative impact can be felt if there is a hard disk error on your device. A hard disk error can instantly ruin the data your organization has worked so many years to collect. The same devastating issue can arise when a network cable fails, or any other equipment malfunctions.
A cloud-based application with redundant backups resolves all of these issues. You can access your data 24 hours a day and trust that data integrity has been maintained at the highest level.
There's the need to keep data secure from equipment malfunctions, but you also need to secure data from would-be attackers. Microsoft Access has very poor security. Yes, you can use password-protected encryption to limit authorized users, but once someone has access to any of the information, they can view and manipulate all of it.
A more robust security approach with innovative technology includes field-level encryption, targeting which specific data points are available to specific users.
Without even this simple layer of security available, it almost goes without saying that Access fails to incorporate Two Factor Authentication or any other advanced security features.
Those advanced security features are one important step necessary to protect from an even greater threat to your organization...
According to a 2017 statement by the US Justice Department, "On average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. That is a 300% increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day in 2015." They estimate that over 100,000 computers are affected worldwide every day.
Ransomware is a process by which cyber-attackers exploit system and hardware vulnerabilities in order to encrypt your data, completely locking you out of any functionality until you meet their demands. Even if you pay a cyber-attacker, there is no guarantee they will return your data unaltered.
Office 365, the suite that includes Access, is currently Microsoft's fastest-selling product, so it is no surprise that it gets plenty of unwanted attention from hackers. According to CIO magazine, Office 365 inboxes receive 80 billion messages each month, and "more than 20 million contain malware or phishing messages." These are simple and deceptive tools that open the door wide open for criminals to destroy your organization's most valuable asset.
Similar to the dangers of hardware failure, the Access application itself gives users abundant opportunities to carelessly ruin their valuable data.
Many non-technical people perceive Access, a recognizable application included in the Microsoft office suite, to be very easy to use. This means that users with no database experience feel empowered to enter a database and make changes that can have catastrophic ripple effects.
Other common causes of data corruption in Microsoft Access are power interruptions and unexpected system shutdowns. Data can also be corrupted if the program is exited without following the proper save and close protocol.
Beyond data corruption, you could experience complete data loss if someone accidentally deletes a database file - this happens!
All of these reasons contribute to our next issue...
Many IT professionals refuse to support Microsoft Access. The databases are most often created by non-technical users, and the work required to maintain and update sloppy coding is seen as a wasted effort.
Data is one of the most essential parts of the certification management process. If you can't receive support for your management solutions, then you put your organization at risk every moment of every day.
Databases are incredibly complex, no matter how simple they appear to the layperson. If you are relying upon Microsoft Access, good luck when it comes time to upgrade to a new version. The smallest communication error between your old system and new could make the entire database crash. And when that happens, will you have the IT support you need to fix the problem?
Robust customer support is one of the hallmark traits of ROC-P. Our team executes a thorough onboarding process with boards and staff, and continues to be highly available for your organization as you implement and grow.
If your people, data, and finances are important, contact ROC-P today, and find out how our Certifying Board Management System (CBMS) can take your organization to new peaks of performance in as few as four weeks.
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