The need for high-quality, first-party data has become more prevalent than ever before, as publishers and advertisers alike grapple with increasingly complex data privacy regulations, and face off against walled gardens for audiences’ attention.

Your data is only as valuable as it is clean. This is true regardless of what platform(s) your company uses to store and manage customer information. When you’re up against a deadline, the last thing you want is to be worried about the accuracy of your data. Enter the database audit.

Auditing your databases enables you to track and understand how your records are used and gives you visibility into any risks of misuse or breaches. When you conduct an audit, you can monitor each interaction with the data and log it to an audit trail. This will provide insight into which records were touched when and by whom. Regular database audits can help your business run more smoothly and securely. In this article, we’ll cover where you should focus your efforts and how to get started.

Investing in your database

  1. Data quality: If you’re a publisher, it pays to treat your database with attention and care. After all, you control where your customers’ ads end up online, and the more accurate audience targeting you can provide advertisers, the more they’ll trust you and remain loyal clients. Clean customer data is the key to success here.
  2. Compliance with data privacy regulations: This needs to be top of mind for both publishers and advertisers in today’s digital landscape. Database audits can help increase your company’s level of compliance (or maintain it), empowering you to act on new business opportunities with the confidence that you’re storing user information properly.
  3. Protection against data breaches: The importance of security to user trust and customer relationships can’t be overstated. “There are many components attached to your data, and any one of them can become a reason for data breach or theft,” cautions this article by DBmaestro. Conducting regular database audits means you’re less likely to be vulnerable to a threat—or blindsided by one.

Focusing your efforts

Auditing your databases doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are a few areas to hone in on:

  • User access: The fact that humans use databases is one of the main reasons why these tools will never be completely free from error. Human error rates can be as high as 10%, and this can hinder both data quality and customer service efforts. Your best defense against human error is to be able to pinpoint mistakes quickly so that you can rectify them—which a database audit will give you the visibility to do.
  • Security risks: Sometimes, users view or extract data from systems unintentionally. However, it’s your company’s responsibility to control who can access what information. An even more serious concern is malicious activity such as hacking. You can protect your customers’ data from these threats by conducting regular audits to see where you may have gaps in security.
  • “Auditable” data: Your company may be asked to participate in an audit related to government, financial, or health regulations. Any data that could be audited by an external party should first be run through an internal audit. This will empower you with the information you need to answer questions about who has access to what data, and why.
  • Data cleanup: We’ll say it again—your data is only as valuable as it is clean. The larger your database gets, the more critical it is to keep the system organized and easy to navigate so that users can find and extract information quickly. You should audit “all important tables, views, procedures, links, and runtime logical flows” to keep your system tidy, says DBmaestro.
  • Customer experience: When a customer contacts your company with frustrations about their account, you need to be able to act quickly, which means you don’t want to waste time fumbling through a messy database searching for records. Database auditing allows you to improve the time it takes to access information, which ultimately improves your customer service and boosts your bottom line.

Finding an expert partner

Now that you see the value a database audit can offer your business, you may be wondering when you’re going to find the time to get it done. You don’t have to tackle this task alone. As a leading provider of media sales technology, Lineup Systems’ database auditing service allows you to optimize business performance without a ton of legwork on your end.

We will capture a referenceable record of changes within your database so that you can dive deeper into your change record for compliance purposes. We’ll also monitor your most important data tables for you automatically, and provide running reports to your team.

Customers including Telegraph Media Group, The New York Times, Admeira, Hearst Magazines, and Singapore Press Holdings all rely on Lineup’s database auditing service. If you’re interested in joining the ranks, contact us to learn more.