Organizational implications of online databases
The internet has had profound impacts in the marketing world, greatly shifting the need for databases from heaps of papers to virtually digitized bodies of information. Private individuals and organizations have benefited mostly from the proliferation and current expanse of the internet, making information systems and databases more efficiently and effectively managed with minimal physical constraints and difficulties. The transition from a ‘paper database’ to an ‘intangible’ one has greatly revolutionized the management of organizational databases and system information.
This research is specifically aimed at substantiating on the implications of online databases to the marketing organization both at the positive and negative perspectives in the context of the latest innovations in the internet. Moreover, this research is aimed at looking into the future of online organizational databases in terms of the recent and potential developments in the internet, especially in terms of external and internal threats and database progress.
While the internet has greatly altered the management of databases among organizations, this research proposes that both positive and negative implications of the internet on these databases have prompted organizations using online databases to be more vigilant with their system. This research also proposes the idea that, because of the recent developments in internet and technology, the adoption of online databases results to diminished human intervention and, hence, lesser need for manpower in database handling and management as well as a heightened or an increasing dependency on the internet.
The features of the internet are filled with positive consequences on one side. The growing reaches of the internet throughout the globe give its users such as organizations with huge database requirements the capability to put into virtual pieces their massive paper records (Wallsten, 2005, p. 502). This translates into a diminished need for ‘real’ office space.
Putting up an online database requires internet connectivity, which means that any organization seeking to establish an online database of its records and other relevant information should have computers with internet connection. Although this may result to additional expenses, it nevertheless generates the decrease in manpower for managing the immense amount of database (Goffe & Braden, 2000, p. 8). This corresponds to lower financing in terms of manpower salaries. One of the important things needed in terms of financing is the funding of minimal manpower specializing in online database handling.
Indeed, one of the main features of an online database is the capability not only to store huge amounts of database in intangible quantities but also to retrieve the contents of the database with minimal human interaction and physical constraints. As long as the database remains online, ease of access in terms of storing and retrieving is hastened and completed with efficiency.
Another positive implication of online databases for organizations is that the information needed to disperse across geographical boundaries can be distributed or ‘posted’ immediately (D’Souza ; Walton, 1997, p. 125). For instance, an organization with an online database can easily post a memorandum to the public or to its staff from across states or countries through its online database, thereby keeping its members updated with the recent developments in the organization.
If generated properly, the ‘relational’ type of database used in most sites in the internet prevents the occurrence of data duplication and corruption in the database (Müller-Merbach, 1991, p. 523). In a general sense, corruption of files and the duplication of data in the database can result to losses in the organization specifically in terms of database integrity. Since relational databases prevent this from occurring, the organization is guaranteed of a more efficient and intact database which is able to save loads of file size.
The positive implications of an online database can be roughly summarized into two main categories: efficiency and accessibility. While the internet has swiftly developed in more recent times, organizations have also swiftly used the internet in order to further their objectives and system management. Nevertheless, this is only one side of the reality behind online databases of organizations. These positive implications would have to come at a price.
The rise of the internet has not only spawned positive effects—electronic criminal activities or electronic civil disobedience and electronic threats in the integrity of online databases (Peterson, 1999, p. 37). Electronic civil disobedience (ECD) is oftentimes carried out in a manner that is not physically violent or, at the very least, in ways that do not involve direct physical contact. Online databases may become prone to attacks by groups seeking to carry out criminality in cyberspace. One of the ways in which these groups spread terror in cyberspace is by infiltrating online databases and either crashing the system in its entirety, removing important files in the database, or adding files into the database which are designed to destroy a significant part of the database.
Since these criminal events are electronic, therein is the difficulty to concretely identify the criminals. More importantly, maintaining the online database requires an ever increasing knowledge on the technicalities involved precisely because the features of the internet are evolving and so are the criminals who pose potential threats to the online databases of organizations.
For instance, online databases inclusive of an instant messaging system for its clients or staff members are prone to certain types of ‘worms’ or self-replicating codes that may be meant to hack the database or infiltrate the system (Peterson, 1988, p. 310). As the ‘worm’ is transferred through the use of the instant messaging system, the absence of advanced security tools in identifying and preventing ‘worms’ from infiltrating the database only complicates the problem and the threats that come with it. Electronic criminals such as online database hackers are well-aware of this issue.
Once these worms have infiltrated the database, the significant and confidential information about the organization and the structure of the database becomes prone to hacking. This may lead to a corruption of the database files, a removal of important documents that support the structure of the database, or perhaps the crashing of the entire online database rendering it useless for users and database handlers unless an immediate remedy is available.
Moreover, shifting from a database that uses physical space and labor to an online database inevitably results to changes in the organization’s manpower. This can be observed in terms of either the repositioning staff members of the database handling and safekeeping section or the relieving of a certain number of employees unnecessary in the handling of the online database. In any case, both would significantly lead to an alteration in the structure and composition of the organization and may require certain adjustments such as finances. In the event where several employees will have to be relieved from their position out of necessity, the separation or severing packages for these employees translate to financial adjustments in terms of the compensation packages (Chelius & Smith, 1990, p. 260). This, of course, applies to cases wherein the database of an organization shifts to an online version.
These are only some of the numerous negative implications of having an online database owned and operated by any organization. As the threats progress to more advanced forms, there arises the need for more advanced safeguarding measures for existing organizations which have established online databases and for future ones.
Online Database Safeguarding: Evolution
As the threats to online databases become increasingly complex, the vulnerability of these databases also increases the need for more advanced types of safeguarding measures. This ever increasing need is a compelling reason for organizations operating with an online database to increase their support for their databases. On a larger perspective, it also serves as an indicator that these organizations have become more acquainted with the issues involved that they have become more vigilant than ever. This is, again, one of the many implications of an online organizational database.
In order to counter the threats and prevent these threats from infiltrating the database, organizations would have to rely on specially trained and skilled programmers adept at securing online databases. In particular, the employment of skilled programmers amounts to financing this additional measure for safeguarding the database (Litan & Rivlin, 2001, p. 316). It only indicates that vigilance over the internet comes at a price for which the organization must be willing to pay. Otherwise, mere vigilance alone without the actual processes designed to materialize this vigilance will not suffice.
Richard Cardinali (1995), in his seminal work “Safeguarding Databases: Basic Concepts Revisited”, suggests several basic yet powerful measures for safeguarding databases such as online databases of organizations. Some of the basic measures any organization may take include enabling of passwords to prevent external and unwanted access, audit systems designed to keep the content of the database intact and cleanly integrated, careful personnel screening especially those who have wide access to the essential contents of the database structure, and the creation of software security systems intended to counter software threats just to name a few (Cardinali, 1995).
By having an advancing or evolving database in terms of its internal security features, the online database becomes lesser prone to certain vulnerabilities such as worm infiltration, system hacking and other cyber crimes. The protection measures intended to safeguard the database system further implies that the organization is giving an ample amount of importance to its online database as they should (Coles, 2001, p. 76). This indicates that the organization is not only confined operating within its usual office building setup but has already expanded into the cyber world. By doing so, the organization has also evolved an extension of its whole into the intangible stream accessed daily by millions of people from around the world.
In essence, the evolution of these online databases have resulted to a corresponding evolution of the organization manifested not only in terms of the manpower or human resource adjustments within the organization but also in terms of the extent upon which the organization is willing to preserve its ‘virtual’ extension—the online database.
The adoption of an online database leads to an increased or a heightened dependency on the internet. While an organization decides to establish an online database, it may not be fully aware of the effects the internet may bring to the organization (Bowers, 1994, p. 710). One of these many effects is the event wherein the organization becomes all the more dependent on connectivity to the internet in order to achieve its objectives introduced by its online database.
For instance, as the organization begins to expand its efforts in providing additional security measures designed to protect the online database, much—if not all—of these security measures will have to function through the aid of internet connectivity in order to carry out its essential mechanisms. This translates to the presumption that the security measures will be useless if the database itself is not online. Since the organization’s aim is to provide online accessibility and efficiency of the database, it would have to be kept online almost every time unless a system maintenance is needed. The protective measures would have to depend, to a certain extent, on the databases’ connection to the internet.
Another instance is when the online database has certain features such as enabling the client to download files or stream audio or video files from the database. Basically, this cannot be done if the database is offline even if the client has an active internet connection. More importantly, downloading files from the database requires certain connection speeds to the internet especially if the size of the file being downloaded is huge. Some of these instances are video downloads from databases such as instructional videos, a video record of a recent meeting of the organization provided for the employees who were unable to attend, and several others.
As the online database becomes more complex in terms of primary content, additional features, and breadth of clients being served, the demand for the online database may significantly increase as well. With a strong inflow of online visitors, the database would have to be maintained efficiently and kept online as much as possible. This would lead to the need to extend the length of time of the database’s online availability while keeping at par with the recent adjustments and maintenance with the system’s features.
In the coming years, the evolution of online databases will be more revealed. Gone are the days of ‘punch cards ‘ and massive amounts of paper files and folders, VHS tapes and cassette tape audio recordings. Database management becomes more and more intertwined with computers and the internet. With the rise in technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and three-dimensional holograms, the future of online databases are not far from being introduced with these innovations perhaps in the coming years (Clark, 1999, p. 353).
In conclusion, the internet has invited organizations to establish online versions of their databases for a wide variety of reasons, and most of these reasons are leaning towards the positive impacts of an online database. Marketing ideas and files with ease of access and management has been largely made efficient by the internet. On the other hand, there are also negative implications that beset online databases. In spite of the current measures to counter the potential threats to online databases, the evolution of the internet also spawns more advanced forms of cyber crimes and internal errors in these databases. An increased dependency on the internet by these online databases becomes more observable. The future of online databases is promising albeit filled with an ever increasing wave of threats.
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