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Three Cloud-based BI myths busted

Apps and data have been heading overwhelmingly into the cloud for the last few years, and the business world is increasingly (if reluctantly) following suit. From cloud-hosted data warehouses and software-as-a-service business intelligence (SaaS) to cloud-based dashboards and data analytics, organisations of all sizes and ilks can easily find a cloud-based alternative to their existing BI technologies.  But there are still some widespread misconceptions about cloud-based solutions, even among CTOs. We’ve picked three of the most common to debunk:

 

“Self-service BI”? 

Self-service BI is usually a misleading term. Just because a tool is hosted on the cloud, it still requires regular management, including consistently adding and adjusting data. If you’ve adopted a Cloud BI solution that uses conventional BI architecture, it’s likely to require many service hours and have very little flexibility for change – not exactly what’s implied by many Cloud BI vendors when they describe a product as self-service. 

Remember, the Cloud just refers to a location. There’s a massive difference between a fully-managed BI service in the Cloud and simply shifting where your data is stored by installing your BI software on a ‘virtual’ computer. All considerations worth taking on board when you’re making a strategic decision about how to tackle your BI requirements.

 

Security

Marc Clark, head of cloud strategy at Teradata, recently discussed some pervasive falsehoods exposed in a 2017 survey of 900 international business leaders on the future of cloud strategy. 40 percent of respondents listed security as a top concern, whether they were already using cloud-based solutions or not, with 25 percent of them worried about increased security breaches as a direct result of moving data to the Cloud.

However, Clark described Cloud security as “...more robust and more reliable than on-site security”, using recent, large scale breaches at US stores Target and Home Depot – which both occurred on premise – as examples. This doesn’t mean that it is risk-free of course, just that there are still some outdated notions floating around that a CTO looking for an efficient Cloud-based solution should be questioning.

 

Latency issues

If you really want to be realistic about the potential pitfalls of a Cloud-based BI solution, Clark suggests you look no further than latency issues, which are still widespread yet barely discussed when compared to security concerns.

These can be caused by a range of factors, including but not limited to: varying numbers of router or ground-to-satellite communication hops which depend on the geographical locations of servers; delays due to the unpredictable workloads that are part and parcel of Cloud-based systems and shared WANs that can lead to multiple stoppages.