Cloud Data Management: A Foundational Understanding

With company databases growing in size, and multiple people trying to access the data from numerous locations, managing that data has become an increasingly challenging task. Today’s data managers need a system that is versatile enough to meet all of their employees’ access needs, while still guaranteeing data security. Many companies are finding solutions to these data difficulties using the cloud. 

Using the cloud to solve multifaceted business problems requires understanding cloud data management, staying up-to-date on best practices, and learning from other successful organizations.

What is cloud data management?

Cloud data management is the practice of storing a company’s data on an offsite server that is typically owned and overseen by a vendor who specializes in cloud data hosting. Managing data in the cloud provides an automated backup strategy, professional support, and ease of access from any location. 

 

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7 benefits of cloud data management

The benefits of a cloud data management system are consistent with the overall benefits the cloud has to offer, and they are considerable.

  1. Security: Modern cloud data management is often more secure than on-premises solutions. In fact, 94% of cloud adopters report security improvements.

    First, because cloud data management reduces the risk of data loss due to device damage or hardware failure. Second, because companies specializing in cloud hosting and data management employ more advanced security measures and practices than companies that invest in their on-premises data.

  2. Scalability and savings: Cloud data management lets users scale services up or down as needed. More storage or compute power can be added when needed. Companies can then scale back after the completion of a big project, to avoid paying for services they don’t need.

  3. Governed access: With improved security comes greater peace of mind regarding governed data access. Cloud storage means team members can access the data they need from wherever they are. This access also supports a collaborative work culture, as employees can work together on a data set, easily share insights, and more.

  4. Automated backups and disaster recovery: The cloud storage vendor can manage and automate data backups so that the company can focus its attention on other things, and can rest assured that its data is safe. Having an up-to-date backup at all times also speeds up the process of disaster recovery after emergencies.

  5. Improved data quality: An integrated, well-governed cloud data management solution helps companies tear down data silos and create a single source of truth for every data point. Data remains clean, consistent, and up-to-date.

  6. Automated updates: Cloud data management providers are committed to providing the best services and capabilities. When applications need updated, cloud providers run these updates automatically. That means your team doesn’t need to pause work while they wait for IT to update everyone’s system.

  7. Sustainability: For companies and brands committed to decreasing their environmental impact, cloud data management is a key step in the process. It allows organizations to reduce the carbon footprint created by their own facilities, and to extend telecommuting options to their teams. 

 

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Best practices for a cloud data management strategy

Managing data in the cloud is going to look very similar to managing an on-premises data store, with a few extra considerations. Many cloud providers will help with some aspects of data management, but a company is ultimately responsible for their own data management.

  1. Start with a plan. Dumping data into the cloud is not “cloud data management.” Will you move all data to the cloud? Or create a hybrid environment? Who needs access to what data? Where should different processing tasks take place? ETL vs. ELT is a good conversation to have now.

  2. Maintain clean data. This is incredibly important, as other data management practices depend upon it. Keeping the data “clean” means ensuring that the data entry is accurate and that there are no duplicates or other errors.

  3. Backup the data (often). Most cloud providers will automatically run regular backups. If a company is hosting its own cloud, however, make sure the IT department is running regular backups.

  4. Don’t forget about data governance. An existing data governance policy for on-premises data can be updated for a hybrid or cloud data management architecture. Moving data to the cloud, however, often means extra compliance issues need to be considered, so make sure those don’t slip through the cracks.

 

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3 real-world examples of successful cloud data management 

It’s no surprise that many data managers are choosing to pursue cloud-based data management as their best business option. Across a number of industries, the cloud has proved to be an invaluable tool for advancing business.  

Cloud data management for healthcare 

Accolade is a healthcare information services provider that aims to improve the experience, outcomes and cost of healthcare for providers and patients. 

Accolade uses a cloud data management system to merge data from diverse medical records — both from the patient and the patient’s family members — in order to compile the most thorough possible portrait of the patient’s medical history and potential risk factors. This allows the doctors and hospitals using Accolade’s data services to access the most accurate and complete information available to them when making important decisions regarding their patients’ health and well-being.

Cloud data management for finance

Australian wealth-management company Class needs to be able to generate frequent, detailed. If the data is difficult to access, or only certain people have access to it, the reporting process bottlenecks. 

Class uses cloud data management to improve governed, self-service access to data and dramatically reduce the average amount of time required to generate reports.

Cloud data management for agriculture 

Bayer has created a machine learning tool to help farmers identify the types of weeds growing in their fields, just by uploading a simple photograph. Although the process may be simple for the farmers using it, the technology behind it is fairly complex. 

Bayer hosts a large amount of plant data in the cloud and uses it to train a machine learning algorithm. This algorithm can identify the weeds growing in the fields and help farmers make good decisions about the best way to handle the current growing environment.

The future of cloud data management 

Data management has been rapidly evolving from outdated, locally-hosted storage systems to a much more versatile and reliable cloud data management module. Although local data storage was the industry standard for some time, this preference is changing as businesses become aware of new developments in cloud storage technology.

Over the next few years, more and more companies will migrate to the cloud as their preferred method of data management. Data will play an increasingly important role in the ability of organizations to stay competitive in their respective fields. This projection further emphasizes the need to achieve and maintain an efficient data management structure that will allow a company to keep pace with a fast-paced and constantly evolving business landscape.

Getting started with cloud data management 

Cloud data management is changing the way businesses think about data. The cloud provides versatility, security, and professional data management assistance. No matter how good your business data is, it must still be kept up-to-date and secure, and must be available to the people who need it, whenever and wherever they need it. 

The key to effective cloud data management is in efficient data integration and holistic data governance. Data in the cloud can be as ineffective as data on-premises if it is not seamlessly integrated and thoroughly governed.Fortunately, Talend Data Fabric is a unified suite of apps for data integration, governance, and for modern, efficient cloud data management. Only Talend offers a single collection of apps that can be seamlessly scaled as needed in order to deliver trusted data at the speed of business. Try Talend Data Fabric today to get started with effective cloud data. 

| Last Updated: September 18th, 2019