The effects of COVID-19 continue to disrupt “business as usual.” However, there are opportunities for strengthening business processes and even growth that were not present previously. Here is XTIVIA’s top 10 list of things your DBA could be doing to help make the most of this pivot point in business.
1. Contingency Plan. Create a contingency plan for if/when your critical staff gets infected and is unable to work. A lot of people think DBAs and System Administrators just sit around and wait until there is fire to fight, but what do you do if they are MIA (missing in action)? Answer: have backup resources in place either in-house or available from an outside vendor.
2. Planning and Testing for Disaster Recovery. If you have a plan for disaster recovery, test it; if you don’t have a plan, make one and then test it. If you don’t know what this means, speak to someone who does.
3. Security Standards. Maintain security standards now that everyone who can is working remotely. Is the auditing and monitoring of your precious data resources up to date with all the new remote workers? Can you tell who is making what changes where?
4. VPN Capacity. Work with your networking team to ensure you have sufficient VPN capacity. This is not necessarily DBA-specific, but if the DBAs can’t log in, your databases are at risk. (We saw this with one of our customers when their VPN usage increased 300%.)
5. Update Documentation. When your DBA becomes unable to work for any reason, good documentation of processes and procedures will help smooth out the gaps.
6. Alerts and Notifications. Ensure alerts and notifications are going to a wider audience (like a distribution list or at least to multiple people); this can eliminate single points of failure.
7. Update Patches. Keep your plans in place to patch database and operating system software with a priority for security patches.
8. Communicate. Maintain paths of communication with your team and clients. As your internal staff and client staff may fluctuate, make sure you have a channel that goes to more than one individual.
9. Health Checks. Make sure your DBAs are still checking on the health (performance, security, recoverability, etc.) of your systems so their focus is where your business needs it to be for optimal operations when it comes to your data.
10. Employee Care. Make sure you are taking care of your people. Exhausted people are vulnerable to stress and potential illness. Make sure your DBAs, system administrators, and the rest of your teams are taking care of themselves by taking breaks, getting sleep, and, dare we suggest, taking some quality downtime? Check-in with them to get a feel for their mental state and support them in positive self-care practices. (Note: this also applies to you!)
Taking these actions can keep your business running as well as your databases optimized and secure to minimize further disruption in your operations.
And, should you find you need help, Virtual-DBA is here for you. We offer 24/7 remote managed services, Health Checks, tune-ups, migration services, etc. If your need is database-related, we can help!