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Time Matters Auditing

Time Matters, like many other databases, has an auditing feature.  The purpose of auditing is simple – record chanages to the database so that the database owner can see who is making changes as well as what they are changing and what the data was before and after the change.  In my experience, a lot of legal staff cringe at this concept, seeing it as a monitoring tool and thinking that Big Brother is watching their every move.  Management, on the other hand, views data auditing more as a tool to catch and correct mistakes before they become too serious.

In Time Matters, you can view audit data in several ways.  First, the Master Audit log monitors traffic in and out of the database, records added as well as all changes to audited fields.  It allows you to search for activity on a specific day and is also searchable by Staff.  The Master Audit Log is accessible under the File Menu, Utilities, View Audit Log. 

Audit data is also available within individual records.  This data can be viewed by selecting the Properties button on any Time Matters record.  The Properties button is located just before the Cancel button within most records.  Once the Properties screen opens, you will see an Audit tab.  Click this tab to see changes to audited fields.  Audit data includes the field changed, the date of the change, who changed the record, what the data was changed to and what the data was prior to the change.

Note that I have used the term “audited fields” several times.  While many are audited, not every field in Time Matters is audited by default.  To determine whether a field is audited, right click on a field and select “Customize Field.”  The Audit checkbox determines whether a field is audited.  If you would like to audit a field that is not currently audited, simply check the Audit box.  However, resist the temptation to audit every single field.  Auditing every field will make your audit logs larger, making it harder to find the important data.  Also, in older non-SQL versions of Time Matters too much auditing can slow things down.

The ability to view audit data is controlled by security.  If you cannot view audit data and you need to, change your security or ask your database administrator.

Finally, don’t overlook the Recycle Bin as an audit tool.  The Recycle Bin maintains records that have been deleted from Time Matters until it is emptied.  The properties of any deleted record will tell you who deleted the record.  While this information is available in the Master Audit Log, it is sometimes easier to find a specific record in the Recycle Bin.

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