How IT teams can manage data increasingly held outside of their reach
Mon 23 Jan 2017
IT migrations today are not just about moving virtualised systems to the cloud or moving from one platform to another. There is a whole host of migrations taking place as companies shift to cloud services from on-premise applications, employees move to mobile endpoints, and storage systems get more distributed across the business.
The reasons why IT teams are moving apps into the cloud are valid ones, and the reasons against are reducing, but is now crucial to look at how these changes can be harnessed more effectively. It is important, for example, that IT guides the acquisition process, rather than being asked to handle everything after decisions on new cloud solutions have already taken place within departments. This will help avoid situations where non-IT professionals miss essential data protection or compliance requirements when they go out to purchase new tools.
The feedback from many cloud application providers is that customers should understand what their responsibilities are when they sign up
From a cloud app perspective, a good example is to look at data backup and retrieval around services like Office 365 and SalesForce. Some of the services within Office 365 do not have data backup built into them, so it is up to each company’s IT team to ensure that data is adequately protected. Similarly, the SalesForce disaster recovery process can take up to 20 working days to be completed. While some companies might be able to bear with this, others would not be able to go without customer records for that long.
The feedback from many cloud application providers is that customers should understand what their responsibilities are when they sign up. Customers should take these matters into their own hands.
From a process point of view, cloud services can help companies deal with challenges like infrastructure management and providing more agile services. Shifting to the cloud can also reduce the overall volume of infrastructure that companies have to manage directly and cut the CapEx spend around IT. Additionally, IT teams can get services up and running locally where they are required without needing to put together a full data centre.
Ultimately, cloud offers a new approach to managing workloads. There’s no cost-value in taking any of these legacy workloads and retrofitting them to the cloud, it winds up being more expensive that way.
Already, we see that more than 40% of all corporate data doesn’t get saved centrally and instead lives on mobile devices or in remote offices. Both Gartner and IDC predict that this will increase above 50% by 2020. This is likely to take place sooner in the next twelve months as we continue to see organisations migrate on-premises virtualised applications to the cloud, and more people working using mobile endpoints and on cloud apps.
Linking up some of the information management processes that exist around data…into a more coherent whole is a smarter approach
Responding to this spread of data across the business will need more efficient tools for spotting how and when important data is used.
Personally identifiable information (PII) is a good starting point. How many IT teams can say, hand on heart, that they know where every copy of a customer’s record exists? How many copies are getting created by individuals that want to be productive but aren’t following the rules? Moving services to the cloud can make it easier to track all these changes, wherever those documents are getting created.
Alongside this, there are multiple copies of data for things like backup, DR, archiving, etc. Rather than running multiple copies, it makes sense to consolidate the data involved while still meeting the needs of each use case. Centralising the management and tracking element using cloud can automate this process, letting IT keep control.
Linking up some of the information management processes that exist around data – from ongoing tasks like backup, recovery and archiving through to occasional requirements like legal hold – into a more coherent whole is a smarter approach. IT teams can try and do this themselves through the use of scripts, manual work and internal integration work. However, this is not going to produce a huge amount of value compared to what could be supplied by the vendors and the cloud providers themselves.
Looking at the ecosystem that is developing around information management and cloud, there are lots of opportunities for IT teams to use cloud to their advantage.