Every company generates data simply by doing business, and there is a wealth of external data to take advantage of as well. With so much information to manage, it can be difficult to determine the best way to store and analyze it. Many organizations keep their in-house systems to handle their business intelligence needs, but a growing number are turning to cloud analytics provided by external companies.
There are many reasons for choosing a cloud-based solution over an on-premises model. While there are a few cases where on-premises might be a better fit, there aren’t as many as one might expect. Here are some of the advantages of using cloud-based analytics.
For small- and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, the cost of setting up an in-house data analytics solution can be prohibitive. Not only is there a substantial setup cost, but the system also requires periodic maintenance and upgrades. There are many infrastructure components to put into place and integrate with each other, and operating the system requires personnel with particular expertise. Cloud computing requires none of this on the part of the customer. Companies can subscribe to a service and pay a monthly or annual fee for the package that best suits their needs.
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Cloud analytics also provides the flexibility to scale up or down according to current needs easily. Upgrading a subscription plan is much easier and cheaper than upgrading in-house systems. It also means that it is easy to scale up temporarily if there is an unusually large amount of analysis to perform, and then scale back down once things return to normal.
Often, some of the data to be analyzed already exists in the cloud. Collecting data from multiple internal and external sources can be costly, and can result in disjointed data pools and information that not everyone has access to. If everything is in the cloud, it is easier to perform a comprehensive analysis that covers a wide number of areas and can find connections and patterns that would otherwise be missed.
Ease of access
Cloud storage allows both employees and clients to access an organization’s data without having to be on the premises. Not only is this useful to employees who are working from home or are on the road, but it also allows a company to provide better service to its clients. They can access relevant data through the cloud provider rather than having to go through the company’s firewall.
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Security is one of the factors that many people may see as a disadvantage. However, this is a strength rather than a weakness of cloud analytics. A good cloud service provider will have secure systems and expert staff. It will constantly be monitoring and assessing its systems, keeping them up to date against the latest threats. Managing this in-house can be prohibitively expensive, or lead to inadequate security.
Despite the many advantages of using a cloud analytics provider, there are a few situations where an on-premises model may be a better fit. As it needs to be accessed over the internet, transferring large volumes of data to and from the cloud can be time-consuming. If uploading and downloading considerable amounts is a regular requirement, an on-premises system may be a better fit.
Another factor to consider is auditing. If a business has sensitive data with strict legal requirements, it can be difficult to meet all those standards. In this case, it can be easier and safer to keep that data internally.
All told, there are many reasons why cloud analytics services are an ideal choice when it comes to business intelligence. It is important to look into several service providers and their offerings to determine what company and product offering would best suit your company.