People have been using Excel (or spreadsheet if you fall into that category of people) ever since they came out all those years ago. Thanks to continuous adding of functionalities and upgrades, resourceful and clever people have been able to use it for a wide variety of purposes, often times running entire organizations off one or more spreadsheets. While it used to be more than sufficient, the scenario has changed considerably. With more and more businesses moving to the cloud and data security becoming more important than ever before, this method has developed a potential for a disaster. Moreover, as the business grows, it becomes more complex and handling all of that in Excel becomes even more complicated and time consuming, not to mention prone to disasters from a security perspective.
Often, for a small enterprise, one person would create an Excel spreadsheet customized according to the requirements of the business. He or she would then share this with his or her teammates. No problem in that but if those teammates are in a different country or continent, the company is breaking data protection laws like GDPR. If the person sharing the spreadsheet is not careful enough, anyone with a link to that spreadsheet would have full access to the data making it easy for anyone with malicious intent to sell or manipulate the data. Moreover, because the customizations and macros would be available to all, anyone could make any kind of change even by mistake and this would create a huge problem. There is also the possibility of someone injecting a malicious macro that could compromise a user’s machine. There is even the problem of someone accidentally manipulating data which would mean the older, correct data would be lost forever.
While Excel can be used for a lot of work it should preferably be used either for personal tasks or for tasks involving small teams located in the same area, preferably in the same office and fulfilling a relatively simple functionality. This would keep the data within a small group of trustworthy people.
If more people are to be involved or functionality becomes more complex, the organization should look at better alternatives. One great example would be Power Apps from Microsoft. These are already available with select licenses of Microsoft 365 (Office), so no additional licenses need to be purchased.
Power Apps also provide robust security and a safer environment for multiple people across teams located not just across an area but across countries and even continents which would comply with data protection laws of various countries. With proper configuration, the organization can ensure that people have access to the data that is relevant to them and no one else. With proper validations and audit the chances of accidental data deletion would be minimized and an effect and even automated backup can be configured, just in case someone deletes something by mistake.
While spreadsheets are great for relatively simple tasks among a very small number of people, for any increase in complexity and people involved especially across a vast geographic area, it is best to look for other alternatives
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