Without structure and insight data in the cloud is useless

Recently I wrote a column about how information is like money, as in there’s no point in having it if you don’t do something with it. We felt subject should be explored further as more and more organisations collect data and use cloud storage to store it. Both profit and non-profit organisations are making  the move to cloud-based storage of information as is Government. Adaptation and uptake has taken some time here in Namibia, but general consensus is that it simply makes good sense to use cloud-technology. Having all this information available is, great, just like having access to money, but what to do with it?

Come to think of it, how do you access this data. Not all data is in one central location. Depending on the size of the organisation, the data might be at different branches, different countries or on different enterprise and server systems. This brings with it certain challenges, not least of which are security and compliancy challenges. How can you protect your information if you aren’t sure where it is, or even what information exactly you have stored. We have not even begun to discuss how to use the stored information for the benefit of the company or enhance your stakeholder engagement. This is where data management comes in. There need to be proper procedure in place to manage the data and to keep the data clean, guarantee the data quality if you will. So that there are not multiple entries for a single client for example.

The information should be protected and should only be accessible with those that have clearance to see the data. Certainly this becomes even more crucial when dealing with who can alter, change or add or delete data in the cloud. The rules, regulations and procedures within an organisation need to be set in stone when it comes to this. Otherwise the information becomes compromised, its veracity comes into question and before you know it an organisation is making decisions based on bad data. Which could be disastrous for the organisation and negatively impact stakeholders.

As I equated information to money, I want to take that analogy further. If you are fortunate enough to come into a sizeable amount of money you don’t blindly try to invest it. You seek out financial advisors to assist you in making the right money decision for your situation. With information, which your organisation collects and stores, you should consider the same approach as with money. Speak to experts who can assist and guide the organisation on how to store the data, back-up the data and which storage solution fits your company the best, now and in the future. How to do this securely and ensuring that you adhere to compliancy rules and regulations,  and most importantly how to leverage this available information for the benefit of the company and its stakeholders.

By getting the right advice, tailormade for your data and information needs by experts, you can continue to focus on your core product or services and continuously work to improve the organisation.  Harnessing and using the available data to your benefit is just like selecting the best investment and return option for your money. Make information accessible and get real insight into the data, and make it work for you.