T-SQL Tuesday 131: Data Analogies, or: Explain Databases Like I’m Five!

This month’s TSQL2sday is hosted by one of my favorite presenters, Rob Volk. His challenge for us is to use analogies and explain a database concept like you would to a five year old. I love this idea..because so many of us techies have challenges with getting down-to-earth and simple when it comes to explaining things. We often assume other people are at the same level as we are.
I have many examples but the first one that came to mind to me, was a question my Dad asked me many years ago. He was sitting next to me while I was at work, and saw me get to my work using multiple passwords – first, unlocking the laptop. Then logging in to work on vpn. Then, logging in to the sql server I had to be on. His question was – why do you need so many, isn’t one enough?
I had to explain this using the example of security he had at home, where he lived. His bedroom has a lock.It is to ensure his privacy, and he keeps documents and various things there that he does not want everyone in the house to have access to. The house has a lock…for obvious reasons, of course. We don’t want any burglary or any strangers entering it easily. The community he lives in is a gated community, with a security guard at the gate. Only residents or their authorized guests can enter. Again, for obvious reasons..they don’t want strangers or loiterers in there. Why are so many layers necessary?
Each layer has its own vulnerabilites. There are people within the community who may be security risks. I can have things on my laptop that are personal and I don’t want to get in to work directly without an additional layer that protects the work environment from any accidental breaches I may have. There are people in house who may be guests or other friends and he may not want them to look at all the stuff in his room. I certainly don’t want everyone at work to have access to what I have, as a DBA, that can cause considerable damage. The individual strengths of each layer also cover any gaps that other defenses may have. The fewer the number of people who have access the more secure whatever it is you are securing may be.

Thank you Rob, for hosting.

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