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In today’s world, most employees wear id badges that are scanned as they enter and leave any building. Security guards are present as an added measure. These safeguards have been put in place to insure the safety of the employees and protect the firm’s physical assets. Data is one of the firm’s most valuable assets as it contains critical customer information and the intellectual capital of the firm. This data must be monitored, controlled and safeguarded for the firm to thrive and grow.

As companies, continue to focus on cost controls and the plethora of legislative acts such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, HIPAA and Privacy Act, data usage monitoring is essential. Another area driving the need for data monitoring is the increase in dynamic SQL access to databases. This type of dynamic access has led to spikes in database activity, missed service level agreements (SLA) which has resulted in poor application performance and unhappy clients. These and many other reasons have moved data usage monitoring to the top of many IT company’s priority list.

Data usage monitoring has typically been in the DBA domain as they have used it for performance and tuning purposes but now individuals across all levels of the organization require access to this data. This article describes data usage monitoring, its collection techniques and the third party products that use these techniques as well as how the usage data can be leveraged to provide value to the firm deploying it.

What is Data usage monitoring?

Data usage monitoring is the process of transparently acquiring and analyzing database usage activity. It does not analyze the underlying data values, which is data quality monitoring, but how the clients are using the tables and columns that comprise the database. Data usage monitoring will be able to answer the how, what, where and when questions about data usage patterns. It can not on its own answer the “why” question but it can provide important insights by analyzing client access patterns.

What information is collected?

A data usage monitoring tool will capture Data Manipulation Language (DML) commands executed in the database such as select, update, delete and insert and Data Definition Language (DDL) commands such as create/drop/grant statements as well as external programs and stored procedures executed against a database or a data warehouse. For example, the statements below would be captured by a data usage monitoring tool.


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