Deployment problems such as configuration drifts and friction between the various stakeholders/developers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems today’s typical DBA is having to address. It has also become tough to implement policies and find the resources to enforce them.

That’s not all. The aforementioned issues need to be solved while still addressing the faster time-to-market requirement without compromising on quality. Things become extremely tricky when the organization is scaling up fast or migrating its database to the cloud, another Covid-19 trend.

The Problems Caused by Covid-19

As mentioned earlier, Covid-19 has presented IT professionals with a new array of problems that will possibly not go away even when a vaccine is successfully released. Companies will keep feeling the burn for years to come and corporate culture (i.e – working from home) can become a common practice going ahead.

1 – Lack of Funds and Resources

Organizations are losing money, which is forcing them to trim down operational expenses. This means that IT professionals are being fired or given less working hours. As a result of this, all of the remaining working staff are putting in extra hours, making more errors, and causing bigger issues down the line.

Additionally, as per Gartner, cloud spending in 2022 will reach levels that were previously expected to be attained only in 2023 or 2024. While this move was initially believed to be a natural evolution of DevOps, fast tracking this can also lead to a wide range of operational and technical problems.

2 – Compliance Problems

DB professionals don’t have just their daily tasks to complete. With so many mandatory protocols like GDPR, HIPAA, and SOX to follow, they have to make sure all requirements are met with zero slip-ups. Add the lack of manpower or resources and you are looking at a potential disaster waiting to happen.

3 – Poor Communication Standards

Working with remote teams and cross-continent collaboration were already big challenges. Connecting the dots in fast-growing development environments is not an easy task. But now things have become even more complicated, with all developers working from the safety of their homes.

Virtual access, remote work, and multiple machines are becoming big headaches, with productivity being directly affected due to work from dozens of remote locations at any given time. There are many remote management solutions coming up, but most of them are yet to gain maturity.

4 – Unexpected Security Loopholes

There is little margin for error when it comes to compromised Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI). DB professionals are the last line of defence in today’s organization, with malicious bodies bypassing traditional security solutions with increased frequency.

5 – Technical and Login Issues

Developers are now logging in from dozens of locations on a daily basis, creating additional problems for IT workers, who already had to deal with manual script creation and track changes with Excel spreadsheets. This can lead to endless fixup cycles and inconsistencies leading to unstable releases.

These issues, that are being magnified by Covid-19, are putting the DBA (amongst others) in a tough spot. Without proper solutions, they can’t check projects constantly enough for code accuracy and optimal quality. They can’t monitor and tag changes consistently enough to show them in JIRA stories.

Did You Know?

Remote work practices due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an exponential rise in phishing attacks against databases hosting sensitive medical data (PHI), a serious HIPAA compliance threat, as per EFF.ORG.


Automation to the Rescue

Companies are recognizing the importance of having a comprehensive database automation solution in place to address the Covid-19 challenges.

1 – Effective Use of Resources

Pushing out releases quickly, while preventing accidental overrides, and reducing application downtime caused by database-related errors is now achievable without wasting time, money, and resources. Automation will help you model, visualize, and assure one release after another with zero issues.

As a result of creating an automated pipeline, your organization’s developers can focus on what they do best – innovate. Lesser QA and mitigation professionals are required due to the enhanced quality of the application code, which will require minimal post-release updates and patches, if at all.

2 – Better Compliance Standards

A detailed history of all database activities carried out in all environments can now be kept automatically. All changes, successful or not, can now be registered, detailing the involved stakeholders, complete with a timestamp and user IP address. Simply put, this automatic process is a compliance booster.

Related: The Anatomy of a HIPAA Compliant Cloud Database

3 – Improved Communication

Having a centralized dashboard to view and manage permissions and policies makes life easier for DB professionals. Even having multiple teams in different locations is no longer a problem, since permissions can be granted, edited, or even revoked with just a few clicks to make user management a breeze.

This in turn allows all teams to be in the loop when it comes to releases and eventually boosts cross-department collaboration and communication.

4 – Optimizing Security

Also, databases are currently facing threats that simply cannot be handled by conventional security solutions such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), detection software, and traditional perimeter defenses. Only modern DB automation tools can help monitor internal controls for best results.

5 – Error-Free Database Management

Security and governance tools allow you to enforce organizational policy, manage permissions, define roles, and meet compliance regulations while maintaining a detailed audit trail. By automating your pipeline, you can easily specify (and manipulate) access, duties and rules for all database activities.

Doing so allows DevOps and automation teams to prevent unauthorized and undocumented database changes and keep team members from straying from defined processes. A comprehensive solution should be able to provide you with out-of-the-box policies and support for customizable project-specific policies.

As a result, DevOps teams and related stakeholders always have an idea of what is going on via one centralized dashboard, with complete transparency into the policies, roles, and permissions being implemented. This allows all sides involved, remote or in-house, to stay productive with zero operational hiccups.

Final Thoughts

DevOps is all about small and fast iterations, which helps multiple team members work together with zero errors and issues. This is a sharp turn from rigid corporate structures to flexible and dynamic teams. However, this methodology isn’t complete without a sound automation solution.

Deployments can often be slow, cumbersome, or even risky. DB professionals often face code freezes and configuration drifts due to poor management. But automation allows DB and automation teams to deploy more often, which means the changes are incremental and easier to reverse.

Embracing the automated DevOps mindset allows product and development teams to create better organizational momentum. This strong alignment makes it easier to achieve performance, productivity, compliance, and security, while ensuring optimal product quality with fast time-to-market.