Data in the World of Cloud

“Cloud First” is now a reality for most companies.

World of Cloud
Data in the World of Cloud

Instead of building new data centers, CIOs are asking if they can use a public cloud provider like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

Instead of deploying on-premise applications, their initial choice is a SaaS provider like Salesforce.com.

The advantages of Cloud – agility, cost, scalability – are well understood. These advantages are driving enterprise technology choices and resulting in more nimble innovation and greater value.

When it comes to data, however, companies are just beginning to realize the implications of a Cloud First strategy. There are three major implications that CIOs and business leaders need to take into account as they rapidly expand their use of Cloud applications and platforms.

The first implication is that data visibility is critical for data management in the Cloud world. When it comes to SaaS applications, it is the SaaS provider who defines the data models and the policies and processes for data management. Most customers don’t even have visibility to the data they have in the Cloud. For instance, how many SaaS apps have their employee data? Which apps have their customer data? The crucial element here is metadata (data about data). SaaS providers will allow customers access to their metadata. By importing and aggregating the metadata, customers can get clear visibility into their data in the Cloud.

The second implication is that, for the foreseeable future, data will need to be hybrid and heterogeneous. For instance, a customer may have standardized on Salesforce.com for their customer applications, but their analytics platforms and their other data sources are still on-premise. Or a customer may be using 25+ Cloud apps, but they want to centralize their analytics into Amazon RedShift or Azure SQL Server. Any data management tools that customers use need to be equally capable in hybrid and heterogeneous environments.

The third implication is regarding data security. While the Cloud provider bears primary responsibility for any security breaches, the customer’s brand is at stake and they have to assume they are just as responsible. Customers therefore have to prioritize the data they absolutely have to secure, and deploy tools and processes to ensure that this happens rigorously. Data prioritization follows data visibility. Once customers prioritize the data that needs to be secured, they can work with the Cloud provider to ensure that the right security controls – like data masking or encryption – are in place.

With the right data management tools and processes, customers can accelerate their Cloud First strategy. And Informatica is a natural partner in that journey. We are the #1 Cloud Data Management provider in the world with over 4,500 customers.

Data is a great competitive advantage for organizations that use it well. Regardless of where the data is located, companies must ensure they retain complete control over their data. Companies must be the stewards of this data, on behalf of their customers. Data is the new control point in the Cloud.

How far along are you in this journey? Have you established the necessary infrastructure to take advantage of this trend? Is your organization ready? Let me know your thoughts.