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Qrew Member
3 months ago

Optimizing Quickbase Admin Console Connected (Sync) Tables for Effective Governance

Approximately 5-minute read

In the ever-evolving landscape of data management, Quickbase's Admin Console Connected (ACC) tables (known also as Sync tables) stand out as a pivotal tool for administrators. These tables are more than just a feature - they represent a methodology for streamlined data governance and management.

This blog post delves into the strategic setup and utilization of ACC tables, guiding you through a journey of efficient administration and governance of your Quickbase realm.

The Governance Starter Kit

To establish a comprehensive governance framework, realm admins need to create three core applications. These three apps lay a solid foundation, which allows for easy expansion and subsequent modifications.

Step 1 - Create an app called Admin Console Sync Hub: This is the centralized location for all ACC tables and is crucial for warehousing data points that the realm admin will use in the Realm Insights app. Less is more in this app. It is not advised to add relationships, reports, roles, users, etc. This is essentially a data repository that updates according to the app manager's specifications. ACC Tables currently include Users, User Access, and Applications. It is important to create this foundation to prepare for future tables that will be added.

Step 2 - Create an app called Realm Insights: This is where the Realm Admin will slice and dice all realm data to get a holistic understanding of the realm and its overall health. It shows how Apps and Users are being utilized and what they interact with in the Realm. It will also help develop, enforce, and maintain policy with Quickbase and ensure alignment with your company IT (Information Technology) strategy.

Step 3 - Create an app called Realm Logger: An advanced audit log that tracks specific attributes with a defined granularity. Some examples of data tracked would be App Deletions, User token Additions, User token changes, User Access additions/removals App Manager changes, etc. Through the utilization of Pipelines, this app creates logs from changes in data in the Admin Console Sync Hub app and the Realm Insights app. Although some of these attributes may be tracked in Audit Logs, this methodology allows flexibility and granularity based on the need of the client’s organizations.

Admin Console Sync Hub Overview

It is important to note that each ACC table should come with a Pipeline. The Pipeline has multiple purposes. It copies data from the Admin Console Sync Hub into Realm Insights. It also logs its results in Realm Logger and changes/additions/removals of the data that was interacted with.

ACC Table Pipeline Process to log a Deleted App

ACC Table of Applications updates once a day. When the table updates (or at a scheduled time), the Apps Pipeline fires. It updates the Realm Insights Applications Table with the updated data. The Pipeline then compares the updated data and removes all records (apps) that are no longer in the Apps Table of the Admin Console Sync Hub. These records are then added to the Realm Logger Apps Deleted Table. Now the Realm Admin can see all App deleted in the Realm and the attributes they choose to maintain.

Separation for Simplification

A common question is why this solution keeps the Admin Console Sync Hub and its ACC tables separate from Realm Insights. While integrating directly into Realm Insights is possible (and often necessary for certain API integrations), maintaining separate entities simplifies app management. This separation prevents the need for re-architecting Realm Insights with each new ACC table addition (read about our expansion plans below), enabling a more streamlined update process through pipelines.

This method has proven easier to scale and allows the client to build the solution as they see fit. There are a wide range of building skillsets, and technically, you may not want a pipeline per ACC Table. You may want to use one pipeline or twenty. The point is to prepare for scale and keep applications limited in roles and scope so that a “Franken-App" does not occur.

User Token Added as ACC after a Few Months

Example: A Realm Admin imports a User Token file from Admin Console on a weekly basis in a Table labelled “User Token” in Realm Insights. In a few months, the Realm Admin has been told a new User Token ACC Table is going to be made available. There are many reports, workflows, and relationships associated with the User Token table in Realm Insights. Once the User Token ACC Table is made available, the Realm Admin can create a pipeline to copy the data into the Realm Insights app.

NOTE: All Quickbase plans include audit logging, which is accessed from the Admin Console. If you decide to set up your own audit table in the Realm Logger app, this can be a great tool to facilitate custom reporting and notifications. However, any audit records saved to a Quickbase app can be modified or deleted if the roles in the app allow this. That means the Realm Logger may not meet your needs if you plan to use it for compliance purposes. To determine the right approach in that case, please make sure you consult your legal team first.

Use Cases

Here are some examples of some of the data insights you can gain by just leveraging the three ACC tables that exist now:

Users – Users in the Realm

  1. How many non-company emails are being used in the realm
  2. Anytime a user changes permissions:
    • Can Create Apps
    • Realm Approved
    • Realm Admin
    • Super User
    • Pipeline create permissions
    • App Admin
    • Can Create User Tokens
  3. Non-Realm Approved Employees
  4. Users to Deny (based on length of time not accessed)
  5. Users that have Never Accessed an app, but still have Access

Access – Users and their app access

  1. # of App Access per User
  2. App Level Permissions per User per App
  3. # of Apps Accessed per specific timeframe

Apps – Apps in the Realm

  1. How many applications have not been accessed in 90/180/240/360 days
  2. # of Apps per App Manager
  3. Apps Created per Year
  4. Everyone on the Internet Apps
  5. Apps with or without Vendor Access

Anticipating Future Expansions

Quickbase's commitment to growth is evident with the planned introduction of new Admin Console connected tables, encompassing User Tokens, Pipelines, Groups, Tables, Pipeline Access, and Solutions. These additions, expected throughout 2024, highlight the need for a robust foundation to facilitate easy scaling.

Conclusion: The ACC tables are more than just a single feature. They are a cornerstone of effective Quickbase governance. By understanding and implementing these strategic practices, you can transform the way you manage your realm, laying a foundation for growth and efficiency. As more data points become available, scaling becomes much easier as you mature with the product and the product adds additional ACC Tables and APIs.

Explore more about connecting ACC tables in our help center article.

For in-depth information and if you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to your sales or service support contacts.

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