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Data Management in the Cloud Computing Era

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Seven Rules for Information Governance in the Cloud

A roadmap to information governance in the cloud.

One of the more uncomfortable things about cloud computing is that it shines a spotlight on data management and governance. The data management skills of most IT organizations are sorely lacking. So when someone suggests that they need to start using cloud computing services to save money, the first thing that comes to mind is how they will manage which data is stored where.


Of course, nobody wants to admit that they might have a data management issue. It's much easier to object to cloud computing on the grounds of security issues.

 

But like it or not, cloud computing is coming, and with it a need to focus on data management and governance. In fact, the folks at EMC recently asked the customers that sit on the company's Leadership Council for Information Advantage to come up with some recommended approaches to managing data in the age of the cloud.

 

While the council has a lot of good thoughts on the subject, the one that stands out most is "the need to own your information." Far too many cloud computing providers, in the name of simplicity, skimp when it comes to giving customers the management tools they need to govern their data. So it's little wonder that there is a lot of resistance to public cloud computing.

 

The good news, says Whitney Tidmarsh, EMC chief marketing officer for the EMC Information Intelligence Group, is that vendors will get better at delivering data management and governance tools that customers can federate across private and public cloud infrastructure. In the meantime, IT organizations would be well advised to start thinking about data in terms of its business value and then developing management policies that reflect the true value of that data.

 

Not everything that goes into the cloud needs to be absolutely secure. But when sensitive information is stored in the cloud, the IT organization absolutely needs to be able to impose its governance policies on it.

 

When all is said and done, this data management and governance issue will slow the migration to public cloud infrastructure more than any other. But like most things IT, it's a solvable problem that frankly requires more disciple than actual technology. In fact, when you think about cloud computing at its highest level, it's all about imposing discipline and repeatable processes on IT practices. But none of that can happen unless we can manage the data.

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