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Can a Hybrid BI Solution Create a Secure and Cost-Effective Source for Innovation?

by MIke Gomez

Feb 08, 2018

IT departments are continually tasked with identifying innovative and cost-effective methods to leverage consumer data.  Whether it’s to determine product and service offerings, set prices or launch promotions, companies increasingly rely on data analytics to provide a competitive advantage. 

Often, IT departments are also responsible for maintaining robust data security practices and policies, which ultimately protect customer data.  Unfortunately, these IT priorities are in conflict in many organizations when evaluating cloud-enabled Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. Data savvy companies mitigate the divide in operational reporting and department silos by implementing organization-wide data governance. Whether a branch of the IT department or an independent consultancy, such as CCG, other groups also help regulate BI in organizations through the implementation of a BICC, or Business Intelligence Competency Center to relieve the strain on a single department.  Following a data strategy to unify the departments from data silos, creating a company-wide cloud storage strategy allows users to access governed data and encourage self-service.

Many articles supporting the security benefits of cloud computing have been written, but fear of the cloud will remain until more organizations become familiar with the safeguards that are put in place to protect data.  Whether the conflict is justified or unjustified, a well-planned hybrid BI Solution can support an organization’s short-term data security requirements, foster innovation and lay the foundation for long-term data security and cloud enablement strategies.

Organizations can implement hybrid solutions by leveraging products such as Azure Stack to deliver Azure services from internal data centers. Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, which brings cloud computing to on-premises environments.  Confidential data can be hosted internally and can be integrated with Azure products using a consistent set of services, tools, and interfaces via Azure Stack. 

The following Azure products can be integrated with on-premises solution components and provide innovation capabilities that may not be possible if hosted on-premises due to the required capital investments for hardware and support services:

  • Azure Data Lake Store and HD Insight – Store and process petabytes of social, web, audio, video, clickstream and device data. 
  • Azure Machine Learning – Build prediction models from data stored in the data lake to forecast profitability, gauge customer sentiment, detect fraud, perform advertising and churn analysis.
  • Power BI – Can be hosted on Azure Cloud or on-premises and can integrate with relational databases, Azure Data Lake, Azure Machine Learning and SaaS Solutions (e.g. Bing, Salesforce, and Google Analytics) to produce reports and dashboards that are accessible from any device.

Depending on the sophistication level and size of an organization’s data records, these supporting services may be a necessity to drive answers organization-wide. Organizations only pay for the services and storage used, scaling up or down as needed and quickly spinning up environments or virtual machines to test, prototype and launch new solutions. 

As organizations protect against data access threats and effectively integrate their policies with cloud security products and services, they can realize additional benefits and cost savings by moving more technology components to the cloud.  Aside from the cost saving, establishing a hybrid model can be an effective way to see if a complete on-cloud migration is right for the organization.

Whether a complete cloud migration or a hybrid option, there are many options to consider when designing a storage solution. If you would like more information on moving to the cloud, click here to download our eBook: Building a Business Case for the Cloud, or contact a cloud expert at 813.265.3239.

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