Data strategy, architecture and data culture are the foundations and drivers of a successful cloud strategy.
A robust data strategy is needed to address the challenge of organising and managing increasingly distributed and decentralised data while ensuring that only the right people are able to gain access. The volume of data that organisations collect is growing every day, as is the cost of managing that data.
The flexibility and elasticity offered by public cloud providers is a significant draw, especially for businesses that need to scale their data usage up or down quickly. But security and data sensitivity is an increasing concern for businesses using cloud services, especially in the face of increasing regulation
“To mitigate the very real challenges presented by the cloud, businesses need to have the architecture, data strategy, and data culture in place to ensure their cloud strategy has the right foundations for success,” says Helena Schwenk, VP chief data and analytics office at Exasol.
Ensuring data is organised and prioritised is a key first step. Organisations need to know which data is the most important for their key business functions so they have an idea of whether data needs to be moved to the cloud or not. Data should also be easy to find by those who need to access it, which can be a bigger challenge than it seems especially in large organisations or those operating on legacy systems.
Data strategy is also important. All organisations should have an overarching vision for how data is being used to drive the business, ideally led by a Chief Data Officer (CDO), who is responsible for making sure data is being optimally used and is compliant with key regulations. This also involves deciding on the right cloud approach for the organisation. Every business has different needs for cybersecurity, speed, and infrastructure.
“Not every business needs to move everything to the cloud, for example, a business that needs to protect important business-critical data may opt to keep that data on premises,” Schwenk adds. “A hybrid cloud approach can offer organisations the best of both worlds, allowing businesses to keep non-sensitive data and tools in the public cloud while protecting critical and highly sensitive data on-premises behind their own firewall. Hybrid cloud usage can help businesses manage fluctuating levels of demand for access to data and allow them to quickly respond to future issues that may arise.
“Finally, successful use of the cloud requires a business to have a strong data culture. The data team is of course important for any organisation but training employees in all teams about how to use data effectively is also key for modern businesses to make smart, data-driven decisions. Organisations become more efficient when all employees understand how to access the information they need, whether it’s stored on the cloud or on premises.”