Why Your Mobile Time Tracking System Should Be SQL-based

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Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the construction industry in general.  Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today’s article discusses the advantages of using a SQL-based time tracking application.

What is SQL you ask and why is it important? SQL stands for structured query language and is a relational database management system created by IBM in the mid 70’s and first used commercially by Relational Software, Inc. ( now known as Oracle) in 1979. SQL allows for the creation, update, deletion, access, and storage of data. It was originally designed to run on main frame and mini computers, but because it supports distributed databases, databases spread out over a computer network system, SQL became popular for use with PC-based systems as well. With SQL, multiple users on a network have access to the same data. Although there are several flavors of SQL, an official standard was initially published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1986, and was expanded in 1989 and again in 1992 and 1999.

How does a SQL-based time tracking application help me in my business? Such a system has many practical advantages as detailed by the following:

Scalability – As a business grows it will add customers, jobs, employees, users and other items.  A SQL-based system will be able to absorb these increased transaction workloads and larger databases without a significant drop in performance.

Security – A SQL-based application also provides a higher level of security.  Your data is protected from unauthorized access by integrating network security with database security.  Administrators can set security at the user level by granting “permissions” or authorization to users based upon their designated roles. Encrypted passwords can be utilized to keep unauthorized persons from logging in to the system.

Transaction Logs – A transaction log is a sequential record of all changes made to a database.  It contains enough information to undo all changes made to the data file as part of any individual transaction as in the case of accidental updates or deletions. Transaction logs can also be used as a security tool. If the database administrator suspects a breach of security, he can monitor the transaction log for suspicious transactions.

Automatic Backups – SQL systems come with an automatic backup option that saves a copy of the database and transaction logs. These backups can be used by the database administrator to quickly restore a database when data has been lost or corrupted.

Portability of Data – Data housed in a SQL-based system can be easily ported to other applications such as spreadsheets, query tools, report writers, and application generators.

Obviously, these advantages have been detailed in a very cursory manner, and there are many other factors not listed, but having a SQL-based time tracking application can provide much comfort and peace of mind to the owner. Knowing that tools are in place to protect the data, and that the system will be sustainable for more than just the short term, allows the business owner to focus on the more important aspects of his or her business. If you are looking at upgrading from a paper-based system or from a non-SQL-based time tracking system, you should give strong consideration to an application using SQL.

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