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Accessing your company data in the new normal: steps to make your business more resilient while gaining access to your data now

As many businesses start to get used to a new normal having overcome their immediate hurdles around working from home, we are starting to see secondary issues emerge. These issues most likely aren’t new but were simply undetected due to most people working from an office environment from within the boundaries of a corporate firewall.

Accessing your company data in the new normal: steps to make your business more resilient while gaining access to your data now

What we see now is that access to data is  now often becoming a problem in and of itself. This can be is due to VPN capacity straining under unintended workloads, and, in some cases, the realisation that critical business data is stored on someone’s PC and they are no longer in the office!

What we are finding is that fixes put in place to enable remote working are now, in some cases, exacerbating other problems that were previously overlooked. The biggest of which is accessing data behind the corporate firewall. Some core systems require direct access through VPNs. But VPNs are struggling under the new pressure, never expecting to handle a whole company working remotely. This has only amplified the fact that data is more siloed than ever, now locked behind poor performing VPNs.

What steps can you take to make your business more resilient, while gaining access to your data now?

Liberating your data from the constraints of on-premises systems can be as straightforward as replicating that data to the cloud. While it may not be possible to lift and shift operational systems that capture data, it is definitely possible to make the data more accessible. By implementing a process of moving that data to the cloud you can provide a way to securely access and view company data. This could be solved in a number of ways, for example:

  • Publishing Power BI dashboards that connect to your on-premises data.
  • Straight bulk upload of raw data to a blob store or Azure Data Lake to provide access to the data. It may not be visual, but at least you now have secure access to your data.
  • Migrate a small set of data to an Azure SQL database giving you a more structured (and controlled) dataset for reporting. 

You may employ more than one of these approaches to overcome any short-term data access and reporting issues that you are facing. Each of these approaches can be transitioned (or transformed) later into a Modern Data Platform (should that be a path that you want to take) so, you don’t need to be concerned that you are closing off options in taking these actions.

For example, we are currently helping several customers begin their cloud journies by leveraging the low-cost, but highly-scalable Azure Data Lake Storage service for analytics. This high performance, petabyte-capable data platform is a great starting point for those new to public cloud as it is built on low-cost Azure Blob storage but is optimised for analytics workloads. In this way, our customers can quickly road-test cloud capabilities, and then scale, expand or integrate other services as and when they are ready. This is a great way to kick-start the cloud journey with minimal capital outlay.

We know that, for some, starting the cloud data journey can be daunting, and we see common concerns arise around:

  1. Understanding the technology and how to access it.
  2. Securing the data such that only appropriate people have access to it.
  3. Managing the platform.

Right now managing the platform may be a secondary concern (to just getting access to the data), so we have created a couple of jump start offers to get you started:

  1. Azure Data Platform Jumpstart – a 10-day engagement to set up a sandpit Azure data environment.
  2. Azure Data Lake in a Month – a 20-day engagement to provision and populate a production-ready Azure data environment

This blog is part of the #ReimagineWork series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download our datasheets, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download our datasheets, click the banner #datareimagine

Posted by: Dan Smith, Practice Lead, Data Insights | 01 May 2020

Tags: Data Analytics, Data Insights, #datareimagine, COVID-19, #ReimagineWork

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