As Published In
Oracle Magazine
January/February 2009

COMMENT: In The Field

Keeping Up

By Ian Abramson

Make sure that your knowledge is current and cutting-edge.

Keep up, or the world will leave you behind. It’s an old saying but still true. As Oracle professionals, we need to learn, network, and do everything we can to ensure that we and our organizations take the fullest advantage of our technology investments. We need to keep up so we can anticipate future problems and solutions.

One area that changes constantly and gets only more important is security. Recently, the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) conducted a survey and subsequently published a report— Enterprise Data Insecurity: Are Organizations Prepared for the Threat From Within? The 2008 IOUG Data Security Report —which shows that 20 percent of respondents expect a data intrusion in the coming year, either from within their own organization or from an external source. 31 percent feel that internal misuse of data is a high risk.

Data is at risk. Many users today have access to a lot of data, especially business intelligence data, which may include sensitive financial or trade information about an individual or organization. Yet somehow many organizations still allow their “super” users to have unfettered access to data. Even if we trust our users, controlling access to data and monitoring identification and authorization controls, as well as actions and activities, is important.

Detecting threats is one example of what to do to mitigate risk. By keeping up with your Oracle knowledge, you will know that Oracle Audit Vault can do exactly this kind of monitoring in a consolidated environment.

The security survey also shows that 25 percent of databases do not encrypt identity information. Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition, includes many security features, including encryption, within the base product, so be sure you know what your database can do.

If you want to learn more about security and encryption, the IOUG is partnering with the SANS Institute, a leading security organization, and in 2009 the IOUG will be bringing leading technology education to the membership at a great discount. This is a terrific example of how the user community provides vital information.


Next Steps


 READ Enterprise Data Security

If your training and education dollars are scarce, try the one place where you can get the most-comprehensive educational experience, created by real users: COLLABORATE 09, to be held May 3 through 7 in Orlando, Florida. More than 7,500 customers and business partners will converge for a full array of Oracle technology and applications sessions and demos to help attendees keep up.

COLLABORATE 09 helps users of Oracle technologies and business applications gain greater value from their Oracle investments by showing real solutions to business issues that can save their companies money. The event offers customer-to-customer interaction and insights from technology visionaries and Oracle strategists. Every user event helps attendees understand what’s coming and how their organizations can make the most of it.

For instance, the recent announcements of the HP Oracle Database Machine, Oracle Exadata, and Oracle’s support for cloud computing are important as we move toward the adoption of new solutions to improve our business efficiencies. These events bring us together; the advantage of learning from our peers is, as we hear often, “priceless.”

Keeping up financially has never been more important. What Data Professionals Earn: The 2008 IOUG Salary Survey illustrates that people who understand how to interpret business and translate that into technology solutions will earn more money. In addition, the survey shows that members of user groups earn more than nonmembers. This result isn’t a surprise; members tend to be leaders in the community and in their organizations. The user community is the place to stay on the leading edge and ensure that you maximize your earning and learning potential.

As technology and the economy both change, we know that we need to keep up. One way to do that is to become a member of the IOUG or join your local user group to network in your own backyard. These are the places you will share knowledge with your fellow Oracle professionals, but most important, you will learn from the experiences of others. Your participation will allow you to be an Oracle user leader and let you stay ahead of the pack.

Ian Abramson
( is president of the IOUG. Based in Toronto, Canada, he is an industry and technical consultant providing expert guidance in implementing solutions for clients in the telecommunications, customer relationship management, and utilities industries. He is coauthor of Oracle Database 11g : A Beginner’s Guide (Oracle Press/McGraw-Hill, 2009).

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