[Answered] “Although there are various advantages of centralising and consolidating data, but it has serious associated risks and consequences.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. What is centralised database?
Body. Advantages and disadvantages of centralised database.
Conclusion. Way forward.

A centralized database is a database that is stored, and maintained in a single location. Users access a centralized database through a computer network which give them access to the central CPU. It has various advantages but also carry inherent risks.

Advantages of a centralised database:

  1. Centralized databases are more efficient and economical as compared to decentralised database as it require lesser amount of infrastructure and labor, power supply and maintenance costs are all minimised.
  2. A central database is easy to control and manage than a scattered decentralised database.
  3. It allow data consolidation and data integrity is maximised, as the single storing place of all the data also implies that a given set of data only has one primary record.
  4. This aids in the maintaining of data as accurate and as consistent as possible and enhances data reliability.
  5. It enable better data security, as the single data storage location is easy to mange and handle.
  6. It is easier to assess data by the end-user due to the simplicity of a single database design. This help in reducing inefficiencies and complexities.
  7. It allow easier database administration. Data kept in the same location is easier to be changed, re-organized, mirrored, or analysed.
  8. It will strengthen coordination among various agencies and public and private organisations.
  9. Updates to the data are easy and can be immediately received by every stakeholder.

Consequences and risks of centralised database:

  1. It has inherent risk of privacy loss as any attack on database will jeopardise identities of many.
  2. It may lead to mass surveillance by governments and companies as a centralised database is in hands of few and is easy to exploit.
  3. Centralized databases are highly dependent on network connectivity. The slower the internet connection is, the longer the database access time needed will be.
  4. Limited access by more than one person to the same set of data can lead to major inefficiencies in the system.
  5. Any hardware or software failure will lead to loss of all the data within the database with no scope of recovery.
  6. Centralising it means that a single data breach can compromise all aspects of your life. This is a bigger security risk.

Thus although centralised database has many inherent advantages that can help in good governance, it also carries bigger risk of data piracy and privacy. Further it involve various technological and infrastructure challenges especially related to maintenance. Thus all these aspects should be considered before proceeding to centralised database.

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