All About Cloud Data Management

Managing data with the cloud is a way to manage data across cloud platforms, that is emerging as an alternative to data management. Here’s all you need to know about cloud data management!

Enterprises are growing in size, and so is the volume of data generated by them. In addition, with the increasing number of customers, more people try to access data from different locations. Therefore, data management is one of the most challenging tasks for enterprises today.

Data managers need systems with adequate versatility to deal with the access needs of employees alongside ensuring data security. Therefore, many enterprises are trying to find solutions that can address these issues regarding the use of the cloud. Enterprises should understand the best practices for cloud data management to ensure optimal use of the cloud for addressing multifaceted business issues.

Apart from staying updated with the best practices regarding the management of cloud data, enterprises should also learn from other organizations that have successfully implemented infrastructures for managing cloud data. 

Also Read: A Guide to Azure Data Architecture

All You Need to Know About Cloud Data Management

If you have been searching for basic and comprehensive information on cloud data management, then you have arrived at just the right place! The following discussion would dive into the basic definition, best practices, benefits, and future trends in the management of cloud data.

Readers could also reflect on critical highlights regarding the pillars of managing cloud data. Not only will this discussion help you understand the importance of managing cloud data, but you also know the best approach to start developing a comprehensive infrastructure for managing cloud data. 

What is Cloud Data Management?

The foremost aspect of any discussion about cloud data management starts with the definition. Generally, the management of cloud data is the practice of storing data of a company on an offsite server, owned and monitored by a cloud data hosting vendor. Data management on the cloud ensures the facility of professional support, an automated backup strategy, and flexibility of access from any location. So, what is the exact reason for enterprises to worry about the management of cloud data? 

More and more businesses are recognizing the significance of data in recent times. Therefore, all enterprises are stockpiling data with the intention of deriving value from it at some point in the future. The organic growth of businesses is the foremost reason for which organizations are piling up data. How? 

Organic growth of a business implies frequent adoption of new systems and software and the addition of new devices and endpoints to the networks. In addition, the mergers and acquisitions that an organization makes in the course of their organic growth also lead to more integrations and migrations. As a result, even the most sophisticated and organized enterprises can end up with complex data, distributed globally. 

Another important factor for reflecting on cloud data management definition refers to people. Human error is the most critical setback in the management of cloud data. For example, employees can wipe out important data or delete configuration files unknowingly. Therefore, enterprises need a sound strategy for managing cloud data without having to compromise on access privileges of employees. 

Also Read: AWS vs Azure Database Service Comparison

Fundamentals of Managing Data in the Cloud 

After reflecting on ‘what is cloud data management,’ you must be thinking about the approach to create a promising strategy. Is there any secret trick to create the perfect strategy for managing your cloud data? Yes, there is! The five crucial pillars of cloud data management help you find some important considerations you should take into account an ideal strategy. 

  • Safeguarding Data at Rest 

The first pillar focuses on data at rest. It is obvious that data is at rest in storage, most of the time. Generally, multiple layers of security and firewalls help in safeguarding data at rest. However, encryption is also another crucial aspect, even if your data rests safely in the vault. Encryption of data at rest ensures that any individual stealing it would find only vague lines. 

If you have thought that the probability of a cyberattack is minimal with the defenses you have put in place, then you might want to think twice! Even a careless intern could be a simple target for hackers. After gaining a foothold in an employee’s device, hackers can dig deeper into your enterprise’s networks. 

Therefore, encryption of data at rest is one of the fundamentals of managing cloud data. In addition, you should also ensure proper safeguards for restricting unauthorized access to the decryption key. 

  • Secure Data Access

The next important entry in the pillars is data access. Employees should be able to access data according to their requirements, albeit with controls. The first course of action would be to determine the people who need access to data and the type of data they need access to. As a result, you can fabricate access rights and ensure control over unauthorized access. Authentication of any individual requesting access to data is mandatory. 

Furthermore, the recording of every data transaction is essential to serve the purpose of the audit, if required. The most common instrument for managing and controlling access in Active Directory. In addition, access control precedents should also focus on the scanning of the device that requests access to data. This helps in determining the presence of any viruses or malware in the requesting device. 

Another crucial best practice for access control is to analyze user behavior. Analysis of user and device behavior helps in detecting the deviation of a user or device from normal patterns of use. Subsequently, you can identify any instances of malicious activity effectively. 

  • Protecting Data in Transit

The third notable factor for a reliable cloud data management strategy is the security of data in transit. Therefore, an authenticated, encrypted, and secure tunnel between the authenticated device and user and requested data is mandatory. Encryption of data in transit alongside ensuring that any interceptor could not read the data plays a great role in data security. 

The ideal strategies for safeguarding data in transit involve the selection of the right firewalls and VPN (Virtual Private Network) services. Compartmentalization of endpoints could help you keep data safely in silos during transit. Most important of all, virtualization can help you ensure that data doesn’t stay on insecure devices. 

  • Check the Arriving Data

Another critical aspect deals with the safeguards of data upon arrival. You should check the authenticity of the data that arrives at its destination. Effective management of data is possible only if you can prove data integrity alongside presenting evidence in the audit trail. Focus on arriving data could also mitigate the risks of infection or breaches. 

Common examples of threats such as phishing attacks can show the importance of verifying the authenticity of arriving data. Generally, phishing attacks might show up on a user’s device as authentic data. If users click on it, they run the risk of downloading malware that could compromise even the most carefully tailored defenses. 

  • Resilient Backup and Recovery

Any individual would assume that, with the above-mentioned pillars, security and management of data are no longer your problems. However, you can encounter unexpected threats for which you need to prepare adequately. Therefore, backup and recovery processes have become an integral component of modern infrastructures. 

On the other hand, frequent testing and validation of your ability for restoring backups and recovery are essential. Furthermore, you should also ensure that all your backups are not in one place. Use multiple cloud accounts for distributing your backup data and keeping it separate from the production data. You may also want to focus on backing up cloud infrastructure configuration information for cloud data management. 

Enterprises should also ensure the storage of a critical copy of all backups and cloud configuration with adequate safeguards against deletion and tampering. A separate backup account having a ‘write-only’ policy with facility for backup and archival data could help in this case. Therefore, enterprises can ensure the comprehensive availability of their disaster recovery systems and backups with ease. 

  • Data Governance Regulations 

Regulations establish the basis for the integrity of various data management infrastructures in the cloud. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is one of the prominent regulations that implied the simplification of data governance through establishing compliance deadlines and rules on the requirements.

The SOX Act is a reliable instrument for safeguarding the integrity of data governance systems in various enterprises. According to the regulation, enterprises have to bear major accountability for the creation and maintenance of an archive of corporate records. Therefore, enterprises look for systems that are cost-effective and can comply with the requirements of the SOX Act.

The SOX Act establishes its effectiveness in promoting data governance through three essential rules.

  • The First Rule of Section 802 of the SOX act refers to the destruction, falsification or modification of records, and the associated penalties.
  • The Second Rule of Section 802 refers to the retention period for the storage of records and the best practices for secure storage of business records.
  • The Third Rule in Section 802 of SOX focuses on the type of business records eligible for storage such as electronic communications and business records. 

The comprehensiveness of SOX in ensuring efficient data governance is evident in the compliance requirements for the act. The regulation requires CEOs and CFOs to acknowledge responsibility for the documentation, accuracy, and submission of all financial reports alongside the internal control structure to the SEC.

The act also requires an Internal Control Report outlining the responsibility of management for internal control of electronic records, and the reporting lines up the chain. In addition, you have to place formal data security policies in place by communicating and enforcing them throughout an organization. One of the notable requirements of SOX compliance is also evident in the documentation for proving SOX compliance. It is crucial to ensure regular maintenance and update of your data management framework, according to SOX.

Also Read: A Guide to AWS Data Management

Advantages of Managing Data in the Cloud

Now that you know about the pillars for the ideal management of cloud data let’s reflect on the benefits of cloud data management. The benefits could show you the reasons for which you should invest efforts in creating the ideal data management strategy. 

  • Security

As you can see above, the most critical benefit of efficient cloud data management refers to security. Sophisticated solutions for managing cloud data present better security imperatives in comparison to on-premises solutions. Reportedly, 94% of enterprises adopting the cloud report considerable improvement in their security stature.

An ideal cloud data management strategy would reduce the risk of data loss in the event of hardware failure or device damage. In addition, companies that specialize in data management and cloud hosting can apply advanced security measures and best practices.

  • Flexibility

The benefits of cloud data management also involve the flexibility for scaling your services according to your requirements. Enterprises could add up more compute or storage capabilities according to their requirements. Therefore, enterprises could ensure adequate cost savings by avoiding payment for services they don’t require.

  • Data Governance

One of the notable aspects is the assurance of data governance with better security. Cloud storage implies ease of data access from any location, according to the requirement. Such type of access can help in promoting a collaborative work culture to enable employees to work together on specific data sets and share insights.

  • Safeguards

The focus on safeguards for data at rest, data in transit, and arriving data is commendable. As a result, enterprises could find a single source of truth for different data points with a properly tailored data management strategy. Companies could tear down data silos alongside maintaining clarity and consistency of data with a well-governed and integrated solution for managing cloud data.

  • Auto-updates

Enterprises could also reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities with effective infrastructures for managing cloud data. In addition, companies could also allow the facility of telecommuting to their teams with cloud data management. Cloud hosting vendors managing cloud data ensures automatic updates when required. Therefore, any team doesn’t have to face any downtime in even an update. 

Examples of Managing Data in the Cloud

If you are still not sure about adopting solutions for managing cloud data, you should take note of the following examples of data management.

Example 1:

A wealth-management firm based in Australia, Class, utilizes cloud data management for improving governance and authentic access to data. As a result, it can reduce the amount of time needed for developing reports.

Example 2:

The example of Bayer also shows the applications of managing cloud data in agriculture. The machine learning tool of Bayer trains on the massive collection of data about plants. As a result, farmers could identify the different types of weeds in their fields, only by uploading a photograph. 

Example 3:

The use of cloud data management in healthcare is also a notable example of its efficiency. A healthcare information services provider, Accolade, leverages a data management system for collecting data from the patient and their family members.

As a result, it can create the most accurate representation of the medical history of a patient and risk factors. Therefore, doctors and medical professionals could utilize Accolade’s data services for making critical decisions regarding the health and wellbeing of patients.      

Best Practices to Implement Cloud Data Management

With so many benefits, it is inevitable for any enterprise to look for the best practices for cloud data management. You can easily find many vendors and cloud providers to provide you the services of managing cloud data.

Even if the management of data on the cloud is similar to the management of on-premises data, there are certainly important considerations. The vendor would provide support for specific aspects of data management.

On the other hand, the enterprise itself is responsible for its data management concerns. So, the following best practices could help you get your cloud data management done right!

  • Start with a Precise Plan

The most basic requirement for reiterating successful examples of cloud data management is a plan. You need to set some clear priorities for the management of cloud data, such as whether you want a hybrid environment.

Some of the other considerations that you should take into account refer to the data you want to migrate to the cloud and access privileges. When you start with a definite plan, your chances of creating a sound strategy improve considerably!

  • Clean Data

One of the critical factors in data management practices is the maintenance of clean data. Maintaining cloud data ensures the accuracy of data entry alongside checking for duplicates or any other errors. 

  • Backup and Recovery

As discussed previously, the importance of backup and recovery systems is very crucial for managing cloud data. The majority of cloud providers run regular backups automatically. However, it is essential for the enterprise to ensure that their IT department runs backups at regular intervals. 

  • Don’t Ignore Data Governance

The significance of data governance is undoubtedly one of the prominent aspects of cloud data management. Therefore, enterprises should transform their existing data governance policies according to architectures for managing cloud data. The migration of data to the cloud also implies the need to address additional compliance issues.

Also Read: Factors Affecting Disk Space Requirements for SQL Server

The Future of Data Management with Cloud

By following the above-mentioned best practices, enterprises could fabricate the ideal strategy for managing their cloud data. Most important of all, an enterprise could follow the best practices for getting started with cloud data management effortlessly.

Now, you may be wondering about the long-term implications of the practice of managing cloud data. What does it hold for your future? Let’s find out some of the trends that will dominate the cloud computing landscape in 2020. The trends will have a significant influence on the outcomes of managing cloud data for enterprises. 

  • Serverless Paradigm

Serverless computing would be one of the notable trends in the future of cloud data management. The serverless computing paradigm would introduce additional flexibility in managing cloud data alongside improving control over expenses in cloud hosting. 

  • Faster Systems for Data Management

Quantum computing would not only improve hardware for cloud computing but also address emerging cloud data management needs with ease. The progress of innovation would empower many servers and computers for faster data processing in comparison to existing benchmarks. 

  • More Investments in Cloud Security

Investments in cloud security would increase substantially, thereby strengthening the emphasis on managing data in the cloud. Enterprises could leverage the symbiotic relationship between cloud data management and data security while gaining adequate cost-savings. 

  • The Use of Machine Learning

The migration of data to the cloud will also improve new opportunities for interacting with company data and deriving exceptional insights. Therefore, the future of cloud data management would involve instruments for leveraging machine learning to ensure intelligent data storage. The cost-effectiveness of software-defined storage and accuracy are some of the crucial advantages that you can expect in the long-term with the management of cloud data.

Final Words           

Therefore, getting started with cloud data management seems to be the best option right now. If you want to stay in line with the fast pace of development in cloud computing, then data management should be one of your priorities.

The applications of cloud data management are refining the ways in which enterprises perceive and interpret data. Readers should note that the cloud offers considerable advantages in terms of versatility and security for data management.

So, what are the most important ingredients to successfully manage data on the cloud? Enterprises have to focus on holistic data governance and reliable data integration for gaining the optimal benefits of data management. You may have the best-organized business, brand, products, services, and employees. However, all of these factors are practically powerless without data.

So, take the big leap towards the future right now, if you want to stay ahead!                                   

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