The pitfalls of traditional databases: Audit and Compliance

Jess Robson  |  19 January 2023

If you're using a traditional operational database, you may have found that bolting on audit and compliance measures can be a difficult and ineffective way to address these important concerns. That's because traditional databases aren't designed to handle these requirements, and attempts to create bespoke audit data trails often introduce more complexity without fully solving the problem.

One common approach to creating audit trails in traditional databases is to use a separate history or audit table. While this can be a helpful tool, it relies on developers remembering to update the audit table and can be prone to errors. For example, if a developer forgets to update the audit table when making a change to the database schema in the operational table, that change won't be recorded in the audit table and could potentially go unnoticed. This can compromise the integrity and accuracy of the audit trail.

Even when the audit table is properly updated, there's no guarantee that it's accurate. That's because it can be worked around or manipulated by unauthorized users. For example, if someone has access to the database and wants to make a change without leaving a trace, they could simply bypass the audit table and make the change directly to the database. This can make it difficult to identify and track data changes compromising the integrity and reliability of the audit trail. You also cannot guarantee that your operational table update has been reflected in the audit table and especially if your database goes down between writing to the live table and the audit table. 

So, traditional databases need to offer a comprehensive solution for assuring compliance but, by their nature, struggle to meet this requirement. They may provide some level of audibility, but they need to ensure that all data changes are properly recorded and tracked, which they cannot accurately do. This can make it extremely difficult to meet regulatory requirements or demonstrate compliance with auditors. 

So, where does Event Store solve this problem? EventStoreDB is a new category of database that is the gold standard for audit and compliance. That's because it is built specifically for event sourcing, storing data as events that maintain the context around changes. This makes it impossible to have any change occur, with the reason behind why the change occurred, without that change being represented in the database. Creating an immutable database that is unmatched for audit, regulatory, logistics, client management, and many other use cases.


In other words, with EventStoreDB, you don't have to worry about bolting on audit and compliance measures or creating bespoke audit data trails. These capabilities are built into the database by default and are not a separate concern that needs to be addressed.

This is a key reason why so many of our customers cited audit and compliance as key reasons for adopting EventStoreDB. Using our database, they could address their audit and compliance needs in a more comprehensive and effective way, without introducing additional complexity.

If you're looking for a reliable and effective way to handle audit and compliance requirements, consider EventStoreDB and the benefits of event sourcing. You'll be able to store and access data in a way that ensures that all changes are properly recorded and tracked, making it easier to meet regulatory requirements and demonstrate compliance to auditors. Learn more about getting started with EventStoreDB here.