Advantages & Disadvantages of a Computerized Database

By Steven Hill

Databases allow the storage and retrieval of large amounts of information. Before computers, databases were limited in size by physical constraints. Computerized databases have removed those handcuffs, enabling a seemingly endless amount of digital data to be stored. Before purchasing or using a database, consider the advantages and disadvantages of such usage.

Ease of Storage

Databases make it easier for you to enter and store data. The type of data stored can range from customer information to personal material, such as a catalog of books or movies. Databases allow you to automate the storage of this data. After you have set up a database to collect whatever information you wish stored, the collection process becomes streamlined. By investing a small amount of time configuring a database, you can save large amounts of time in data entry.

Information Retrieval and Security

Storing and organizing information in a computerized database makes that information more easily accessible. Unlike using a file cabinet database or library, the user can simply type a query into database management software and have the results delivered quickly. The database can also be secured against unwanted access. Databases can use security features such as data encryption and password protection to avoid the possibility of information breaches.

Complexity

Computerized databases are complex applications. They require a great deal of programming knowledge to create. Due to the variety of data that might be stored in a database, any such application must be custom-made to suit that particular type. Programs often require specialized hardware and software to work. Because of this complexity, database software can prove expensive to create and purchase. Should a database become damaged, transferring the contained data can be difficult or impossible.

Incidental Costs

By choosing to use a database, you may incur incidental costs. Not only must you purchase the database application itself and any required hardware, you must learn to use it. If you run a business, you must pay for your employees' training. This training might entail hiring instructors, sending employees to classes or even having them learn on the job. No matter how you choose to train them or yourself, you lose the time put into training and the money that could have been made in that time.