A legitimate system that permits staff to easily accomplish data-related tasks is critical to the success of any enterprise.
With that being the case, every business should implement database management tools. But with a vast variety of possibilities, it can be challenging to choose the right option, especially, when speaking about data management.
To find out what should be the key elements when choosing a database management provider, the Cybernews crew reached out to Tatiana Krupenya, CEO of DBeaver, a free multi-platform database tool for anyone, who needs to work with databases.
Tell us the story behind DBeaver. What has your journey been like?
In 2011, DBeaver appeared as a pet project of our future CTO. At that time, no one could have imagined what path this idea would take and in what form it would exist now.
The modern history of DBeaver began in 2016 when its source code was published on GitHub. DBeaver's open source community has been growing rapidly: by 2017, it already consisted of 300,000 users; now, it is more than 6 million. We highly appreciate our community and their contribution to DBeaver's improvement.
The first commercial version of DBeaver appeared in 2017, and we conceived it as an app for enterprises. We created a product that could not only cover the main issues in the database management process but meet the requirements of high-level security standards. These goals are getting to become more and more relevant every year.
Can you introduce us to what you do? What are the main issues you help solve?
I’m a DBeaver CEO. As any CEO, I’m responsible for many administration questions, internal coordination, and product development strategy. But one of my primary work responsibility is to help customers with different issues related to their databases and internal data management processes. In the beginning, DBeaver was just a tool to write SQL queries.
Now, it’s a part of enterprise infrastructure where all employees, from DBAs and developers to analysts and content managers, work with different databases together. I constantly communicate with our users and technical and reselling partners to improve the user experience at all stages when people come across DBeaver.
What are some of the worst mistakes companies make when handling large amounts of data?
I believe that one of the main mistakes leading new projects or even companies to severe problems is the wrong choice of databases for solving their tasks. These days we have hundreds of databases: relational, BigData, and NoSQL. It's easy to get caught up in trends, great promotions, or advertisements, and the path is often a dead end.
Biased decisions at the start can become obvious when the company's founders try to scale their business, and the failure to timely migrate makes the situation even worse. I heard stories about projects tied to database limitations so many times that I wanted to recommend thinking at least twice before choosing some database for your project.
Another interesting issue is more often can be found in big old companies. These companies have collected data in their databases for years. The storage and processing of big data carry a great responsibility regarding security. And the most trivial step that many companies take at this stage is to limit access to data for most employees completely. I believe that modern business has to be data-driven. You must analyze the information you have to make any business decision.
If you have a large amount of data, you need many people who will work with them. Almost all databases these days have advanced security settings based on roles and permissions compatible with high-security standards. The companies who set up their infrastructure for working with data on different levels will win in the market.
Do you think the current global events are going to have an influence on the ways in which threat actors operate?
The world does not stand still, especially in terms of technology development. It makes the problem of storing and transferring personal data and other sensitive information more and more critical and challenging to solve. Small companies are struggling a lot, as they often lack the resources to implement sophisticated security systems.
Previously, small security holes could go unnoticed for a long time, but in today's world, you can lose essential data in just a few minutes. That’s why regardless of the size and development strategy of the company, it is important always to keep abreast and make timely decisions to improve the security level.
In your opinion, what IT and cybersecurity details are often forgotten about by new companies?
There is not something new here. It’s much easier to follow the security standards from the beginning of the project than trying to meet their requirements when your system is in production already and has real customers, especially when we are talking about the data.
I don’t want to say that you have to use all possible security tools and methodologies; sometimes, you don’t need them. But it’s not something that we will think about later. At each stage of the company development, we have to evaluate where we are and what we have to do to make the customer journey safe.
Why do you think companies often hesitate to try out new and innovative solutions that would enhance their business operations?
The answer is straightforward: trying innovative solutions is often difficult and expensive. Companies need to have experts who are familiar with new technologies, or they have to educate their employees. The migration process from one technology to another can take months, in the case of databases - years. And, of course, no one can guarantee that this new technology won’t die in a year or two.
Because of that, for example, some financial companies are ready to embed new technologies only if they are 5 or even 10 years old (and not new, actually). Is it good or bad? I can provide arguments for both. The decision depends on every particular case.
What tips would you give to companies looking to get more value out of their data?
Today, companies that are not afraid to give access to data to non-technical specialists, such as analysts, are one step ahead.
Data is useless if it's just stored on servers or local machines. They must work and be helpful, and for this, employees must have access to them.
Besides database management solutions, what other actions should businesses take to upgrade their cybersecurity posture?
The security issue concerns not only data but also processes in the company. The key to success can be called certification and standardization systems. The main thing is to choose the right one and adapt it to the company's needs.
And finally, what’s next for DBeaver?
Our main point is that working with data within the company should be understandable for all involved in the process. The main goal is that all employees could speak about data in the same language, share scripts, create reports, analyze them and get the most out of them, never mind what databases they use and how many of them.
DBeaver was created and continues to develop in order to help create a single infrastructure for all departments of the company, which would make data workflows more simple and as safe as possible.