Data management: multiple clouds, one strategy

As more organisations adopt a hybrid cloud model, they need to ensure that they can manage their data across multiple locations

Cloud strategies are revolutionising the way in which organisations become agile in creating new digital services. While greater agility enables organisations to beat the competition and become first to market, the need for customer loyalty and higher-quality customer service creates sustainability with increased consumer confidence and trust. These strategies lie at the heart of any organisation’s success in the digital age.

There is, however, an additional key driver required to create a data-driven business. This involves leveraging data to develop greater value, while at the same time mitigating risk associated with irresponsible data use. Creating value through the effective use of data improves customer service and service quality through personalisation, while responsible data compliance increases customer confidence, driving data consent.

For organisations to become data driven, they require technological change. This means placing significant investments around new digital services, adoption of cloud and effective management of data. Perhaps the greatest challenge for organisations is that stakeholders of these innovations sit in both the line-of-business and IT departments. Collaboration is key to support the pace of change as well as enabling IT to create the operational rigour and discipline needed to deliver service quality.

The challenges presented by this collaboration are varied and complex. They include new services being created in the cloud led by DevOps, the exponential increase in data volumes linked to digital interactions with customers owned by the chief data officer and data location challenges linked to data sovereignty regulations policed by IT.

Other challenges arise from digital compliance, which requires a change of approach by the data privacy officer, as well as increased investment in resilience and business continuity driven by the threat of ransomware and data loss with IT owning this responsibility. The opportunities for collaboration are vast. However, the risks are increased by departments operating in stovepipes.

“It’s essential, therefore, that the IT department and the line-of-business teams work closely together,” says Jason Tooley, regional vice president Northern Europe at Veritas, a leader in the data management market. “Only by doing so can they reap the rewards of an agile, secure cloud and data management strategy that will become the foundation of the organisation’s digital transformation.”

Customers are driving the adoption of cloud especially for new digital workloads, creating large amounts of unstructured digital data, which reside on public cloud service provider platforms. Customers are realising the operational capabilities and service availability in the cloud, as well as the management of data, is their responsibility rather than that of their cloud service provider. In case of a data breach, it is the organisation that will be fined and suffer the associated reputational brand damage rather than the cloud service provider.

“In private cloud transformations, supporting workloads that can’t be moved to a public cloud service provider, the focus is on the same cloud characteristics of performance, scale-out, elasticity and economic benefit,” says Mr Tooley. “In private cloud environments with greater IT control, customers can utilise the same operational capabilities that they have used in successfully managing service and data. They can apply these capabilities to current workloads and new workloads in a consistent way.”

Customers are now openly talking about data management encompassing protection and recovery, governance, resilience and business continuity as key tenants of their ability to maintain service and become a data-driven business. This forms part of their wider multi-cloud strategy.

“Managing data from the point of view of risk on the one hand and value on the other is a fine balance,” says Mr Tooley. “It’s essential that capabilities allow for increased democratisation to empower the line-of-business stakeholders who are looking for pace and autonomy. But it’s equally critical that IT brings its expertise and experience to dealing with the challenges faced in supporting the ‘run the business’ requirements. The need to support on-premise mission-critical services, virtual applications and new digital workloads in a consistent, reliable way remains the primary goal for both IT and the business.”

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