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Building Your Cloud Strategy From Your Data Strategy

The cloud is above us, and if you’re in business today, it’s all around us, too. Today, IT is faced with enormous opportunity, but at a cost of understanding how the cloud and IT come together to support the business.

At DataWorks Summits in Singapore and Japan, we covered a number of topics around enabling next-generation data platforms. Business professionals discussed how they’re making the move from legacy data stores to modern data architectures. One big question came up repeatedly: How will the cloud affect your data strategy? And how should it? The answer is that your cloud strategy should be built based on your overarching data strategy. Let’s take a look.

Solving the Storage Problem

One of the main results of the big data phenomenon is that everything is generating data—from smart doorbells and thermostats in houses to electrostatic detectors that are embedded in roadways to measure traffic and speed over time in a smart city. Where does all of this data go? Traditionally, business data has been generated within the confines of corporate systems and stored in traditional SQL-based data warehouses—they’ve been core to businesses for a long time now.

But when new fire hoses of streaming data and unstructured information are coming at you nonstop, you need new places to park that information until you can get it in a form you can understand and put to use. The cloud has played a huge role in dealing with this storage problem: You can spool up access to terabytes of storage and plenty of computing power, which has made the cloud a key player in today’s data architectures. To develop your cloud strategy, think about where you currently get your data from, and plan your ideal cloud infrastructure around that.

Knowing Where Your Data Lives

The cloud allows you to embrace agility and respond quickly to changes in your environment and your operating model, but a hybrid model may also multiply the number of locations where any individual piece of data can be, or even where copies of—or links to—that data might reside. You could have a data lake in your office in the United States, a cloud-based data lake in Europe, and a hybrid data lake in India. The same piece of data might be in all of those locations.

You know that data protection is a hot topic for regulators around the globe, and many regulations and laws apply to data that lives in distinct jurisdictions. That identical piece of data might be subject to three different sets of regulatory frameworks. Your data platform needs to be able to handle those regulations, give you a map of all of your data that might need to follow different regulations, and support your data team with the tools they need to harness that information and comply with the laws. Finally, you need to be agile and nimble—as new data sources are brought online, that data needs to be understood, classified, catalogued, and available to manage—automatically.

Working the Cloud Into Your Data Strategy

Cloud and IT go hand in hand. Any business strategy that uses, consumes, and relies on the cloud needs a comprehensive, well-thought-out data strategy, and that data strategy has to include a complete data governance plan. Otherwise, you will find that your cloud strategy will be holding your business back.

As you define your data strategy, ask questions like:

  • Where does our data live? Where can we find our data on premises, in our cloud services, and in transit?
  • What are the classifications we put on different types of data?
  • How long do we retain data, based on those different classification types? Do we retain data differently depending on which tier or in what location of our data lake it’s stored?
  • How do we identify multiple copies of the same data, and how do we link those together so they’re treated consistently for management and governance purposes?
  • Can we adhere to the regulatory policies in the different jurisdictions in which we operate and store data?
  • Do we know where every piece of data lives right now—and has lived in the past, and can we clean up those tracks?

Your cloud strategy is just one part of your overall data strategy. Keep these tips and ideas in mind as you map out your architecture and plan.

Learn more about how to make your cloud strategy an extension of your overall data strategy by downloading this webinar.

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