August 27, 2020 by Kenneth Fisher
Frequently in our industry we talk about gatekeepers as bad things. We talk about breaking down barriers and making it easier for people to get their jobs done. And so we should. I absolutely agree that we need to go out of our way to make sure people are able to get their jobs done, and that we don’t want to make things difficult on them. That said, part of my job is to be a gatekeeper.
My job is an odd mix of DBA and Database Developer. I’m there to support the developers, to make sure they can do their job, make sure their queries run in a reasonable amount of time, provide access, run scripts where needed, etc. And yes, part of my job is to say No, you don’t need to be a sysadmin. To tell people they aren’t allowed this access or that. To explain to management why data security is important and what the possible ramifications of not enforcing it are. Then once security is in place, I have to be willing to say No, I can’t run that script for you until you’ve followed the approved process. No, I won’t create that stored procedure. It does things that are against our rules.
One of the biggest pieces of my job, even above helping the developers get their jobs done in a timely manner, is to protect the company by protecting it’s data. I expect to have input into the processes that deal with both access to the data and databases and changes to said data and databases. Once those processes are in place my job is to follow them. I don’t always agree, sometimes I think this process or that is unnecessarily difficult and is making the work taking longer than it should, thereby costing the company more money. That said, while I have input and I promise you I will continue to put in my two cents about it, I don’t set the policies but I do have to follow them.
And sometimes that means I’m a gatekeeper. Sometimes I have to say No.