Computer scientist and BCS fellow Charlie Bachman recommends associating a record of which a user or users can modify or delete data with that data.
This would help tackle the problem of illegal or inappropriate changes by limiting not only who can access the data but who is allowed to modify it.
"Some edits might be [also] classified as to require dual authorship to authorise changes," he said
However, it is system integration that Bachman, who has been working with data systems since the 1950s, sees as the enduring problem.
Merging new application systems with existing ones will remain the biggest management problem as long as there are databases, he said.
This challenge is to be the focus of Bachman's presentation to the British Computer Society's database management interest group on 21 October.