Analytics – a head in the clouds?

While it may not have been commonplace, the term cloud computing was coined during 1996, inspiring what has now become a staple of modern technology. Here, Greg Richards, sales and marketing director of business intelligence and analyticsexpert Connexica, looks at the development of this technological platform.

Today, the internet is flooded with a diverse range of apps and programmes. Microsoft Outlook describes attaching a file to an e-mail—rather than uploading to a cloud server—as the ‘classic old-school method’, Sony has made huge investments in its cloud-based gaming service and the steadily increasing number of Chromebook sales points to a shift in how consumers perceive and interact with the internet.

With such a range of applications, it is little wonder that companies have sought to expand. However, aiming to stretch these online capabilities to cloud-based analytics, alongside more traditional storage-based solutions,presents a new array of potential problems.

Speed and ease of implementation is a key issue that adds unnecessary complications to deployment when it comes to housing analytics in the cloud. While most business-intelligence software is built around rapid implementation, the fact remains that it is not a simple task to incorporate cloud-based software into an already established system. This is even before considering the maintenance costs and extra training required to keep the solution operational.

Another issue is privacy. Of course, handing over your data to a remote server has huge security implications, as made painfully obvious to the victims of the infamous Apple iCloud hack in 2014. How can businesses be sure that their data is stored beyond unimpeachable security systems when the world’s most valuable company was unknowingly allowing hackers to access personal customer data?

Yet this has not stopped businesses such as Google embracing the cloud as its newest platform for expansion, ushering in a new era of internet competition. Could it be that the big names in technology have forgotten the importance of return on investment (ROI) that is vital to businesses the world over? With the initial time investments and subsequent maintenance, basing analytics in the cloud may inflate the price far beyond competitors offering non-cloud services.

With a plethora of business intelligence (BI) and analytical platforms in direct competition with one another, the perceived necessity to innovate, evolve and offer increasingly complex software is a trend that does not offer consumers any real value. Local authorities, for example, require immediate improvements to unify their data that cloud-based analytics simply cannot provide due to the sensitivity of the information involved, such as revenue information they may not wish to disclose.

It’s for this reason that business intelligence software should, for now at least, avoid becoming reliant on the cloud to store analytics. Instead, businesses should look at search-based analytics software, such asConnexica’s CXAIR, that creates a local index of important files. In the instance of loss of internet connection, this data is still accessible to businesses and still safe from infiltration.

Cloud computing has come a long way since 1996 and, unlike many other nineties trends, has certainly got better with age. However, it is not yet the best option to house sensitive data safely. After all, the emotional distress of Take That breaking up is nothing compared to the feeling of discovering your important informationhas been compromised.