How to Leverage the Cloud for Analytics

Cloud analytics is a set of services involving data analytics and business intelligence enabled by cloud computing. In theory, it entails similar features and capabilities used by conventional data analytics or business intelligence teams but integrates the cloud in some (or all) portions of the process. These may include data storage, data processing, or usage of apps hosted on the cloud. In order to adopt cloud analytics, companies typically collaborate with a technology provider specializing in cloud services. These providers commonly offer cloud analytics as a “SaaS” (software as a service) solution, but some businesses may require a specific implementation, depending on their needs. An example of a custom cloud implementation is a hybrid cloud, which is a computing environment that allows data and applications to move fluidly across the public cloud (a hosted environment shared with other businesses) and private cloud (private IT infrastructure managed within a company and protected by a firewall). Why might a company need a hybrid cloud? Companies that rely on high computing power or demand large processing capacity may find that day-to-day business operations vary—some months or seasons may be busier than others—and they want the flexibility of expanding their storage solution or data processing systems, on-demand. A typical scenario could involve basic tasks powered through the cloud and hosted in a third-party data center, while confidential information or sensitive applications may be retained on-premise or within the confines of a company’s private data warehouse. Given the abundance of data produced by computers and other digital devices, there is a need to expand storage and processing capacities, in order to accommodate increased analytical reporting needs.  Cloud analytics provides a solution. Analytics powered by the cloud provides companies with the necessary infrastructure to store data, and the required agility to recover it as needed. It gives companies the best of both worlds: the reliability of a solid foundation and the flexibility of a nimble environment to expand or scale down.