Cloud data management: A foundational understanding

With data volumes and data sources exploding in size, and multiple people trying to access data from numerous locations, managing that data has become an increasingly challenging task for many organizations. 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 through cloud computing.

Using cloud services 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 at an offsite data center that is typically owned and overseen by a vendor who specializes in public cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or MicrosoftAzure. Managing data in the cloud provides an automated backup strategy, professional support, and ease of access from any location.

7 benefits of cloud data management

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

  1. Security: Modern cloud data management often delivers better data protection than on-premises solutions. In fact, 94% of cloud adopters report security improvements. Why? First of all, cloud data management reduces the risk of data loss due to device damage or hardware failure. Second, companies specializing in cloud hosting and data management employ more advanced security measures and practices to protect sensitive data 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 to accommodate changing workloads. 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 dataset, 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, and can help mitigate the effects of ransomware attacks.
  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, up-to-date, and accessible for every use case, from real-time data analytics to advanced machine learning applications to external sharing via APIs.
  6. Automated updates: Cloud data management providers are committed to providing the best services and capabilities. When applications need updating, 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.

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 healthy data. This is incredibly important, as other data management practices depend upon it. Keeping data healthy means ensuring that it’s valid, complete, and of sufficient quality to produce analytics that decision-makers can feel comfortable relying on for business decisions.
  3. Back up the data (often). Most cloud software-as-a-services (SaaS) 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.

2 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 and use cases, the cloud has proved to be an invaluable tool for advancing business.

Cloud data management for cybersecurity

Imperva is a cybersecurity leader whose mission is to protect data and all paths to it — internally and for its clients.

Recently, Imperva created a unified data warehouse stack using Talend, AWS, Snowflake, and Tableau. This central hub integrates multiple data sources and is now used across almost all of the company’s departments and lines of business. Implementing this single source of data across the organization has created an environment where data is clean, healthy, and accessible for multiple uses and fresh, agile business insights.

Cloud data management for services and media

Infopro Digital is a French company whose business covers three areas: publisher of professional services (leads platform, industry solutions, sale of databases); trade show organizer; and owner of some sixty B2B publications.

In early 2019, the company decided to make data a key component of its business strategy for a more in-depth management of its activities. This was a considerable challenge, given that the organization relied on 400 databases operating as silos. “We already had systems in place, but we wanted something more responsive and faster,” explains Florent Massiera, Director of Architecture, Digital and Big Data.

So Infopro turned to the cloud, building out a data solution with AWS, Snowflake, and Talend. Now, business units can connect datasets previously set up as silos, which allows them to do things like tracking subscriber consumption by connecting the subscriber database with data related to their behavior, while maintaining compliance with data regulations like GDPR.

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 undertake digital transformation initiatives and 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. For any business to succeed, it must ensure that its data is healthy so that everyone in the organization has access to the data they need, when they need it, without worrying about its validity.

The key to effective cloud data management is in efficient data integration and holistic data governance. Data in a cloud data lake or data warehouse can be as ineffective as data on-premises if it is not seamlessly integrated and thoroughly governed. Fortunately, Talend Data Fabric is a single platform with a unified suite of apps for data integration, governance, and for modern, efficient cloud data management. Only Talend offers an ecosystem of cloud applications that can be seamlessly scaled as needed in order to deliver healthy data whether that data lives in an on-premises, multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud environment. Try Talend Data Fabric today to get started with effective cloud data.

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