Guest Column | July 24, 2017

Your Secret Weapon For Effective Data Analytics Isn't What You Think It Is

By Ellen Rubin, CEO of ClearSky Data


Healthcare organizations know how to move mountains with limited resources — particularly IT resources. Hospitals, medical research firms, biopharmaceutical companies, and more work to deliver outstanding patient care, drive breakthroughs in the field, and jump hurdles in real time as they arise. To do this, it’s critical to have the support of an IT department and data management system that can scale on demand, deliver high performance, and ensure the security of all sensitive data.

Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations rely on legacy IT architectures which weren’t built for the demands of today’s hybrid cloud world. As a result, companies are constantly expanding primary storage, backup and DR hardware, software, and management resources and struggling to meet the needs of on-premises and cloud apps within their infrastructure. With this model, security risks can pose a constant threat, creating stress and affecting the team’s response time for critical issues.

This focus on data storage can detract attention from a massive resource for any healthcare IT team: data and the patterns, trends, and insights made available through its analysis. Below are three ways healthcare IT pros can change the way they interact with data storage which can effectively cut costs, optimize patient care, and enhance research results.

  1. Embrace Hybrid Cloud

The sheer amount of enterprise data is growing at a massive rate. It’s no surprise many CIOs are investing time and resources in accelerating their hybrid cloud strategies; according to RightScale, 71 percent of companies are now using a hybrid cloud approach. To ensure the success of your hybrid project, however, it’s critical to remember that hybrid ROI comes from not only using the environment, but allowing it to support your entire IT strategy.

For example, organizations in the early stages of a hybrid cloud deployment should remember that hybrid cloud is a project — not a solitary goal. If you’re only using a hybrid environment for DR and archival data, or if you’re managing multiple public clouds, private clouds and on-prem systems, you’re aiming for the same goal as any hybrid proponent: to access all data, no matter where it resides.

  1. Improve Data Access Without Adding More On-Premises Infrastructure

The ease with which an organization can access its data directly factors into its agility and readiness to benefit users. Edge computing, a data access model outlined by Gartner, aims to solve the latency and performance issues that traditionally plague data storage. Organizations use distributed architectures to bring data resources to the edge of networks, where the data can be interacted with and analyzed in real time. Essentially, edge computing pursues the same goal outlined above for a hybrid cloud project: interacting with data in clouds or other services as if it were local.

If your organization is struggling to store large amounts of data, maintain high performance and avoid data access fees, edge computing can help alleviate the roadblocks associated with such issues. The edge model supports many applications including machine data analytics, operational analytics and security intelligence.

  1. Know Your Data, And Cater To Its Needs
    No two organizations are working with the same IT and storage environment. For example, some IT teams tasked with monitoring IT operations and analyzing security data invest in applications like Splunk, or open-source alternatives, such as Elasticsearch and the ElasticStack. For example: While Splunk analyzes terabytes of machine data with ease, for each terabyte of machine data analyzed, it can require up to 23 times that amount in tiered storage. IT teams need to constantly provision storage capacity to support these demands and move data between hot, warm and cold tiers, to fuel Splunk’s performance.

As your IT strategy evolves over time, continually assess the latency, performance, and maintenance needs of the applications and solutions within your infrastructure. To keep sensitive data safe, healthcare organizations should additionally confirm third-party service providers meet high standards for data security through methods such as encryption, key management, auditing, and operational controls. By building an IT strategy tailored for your organization, you’ll prepare to derive better insights, scale your business, serve your clients, protect critical data, and cut costs well into the future.

About The Author
Ellen Rubin, CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning, and go-to-market efforts for fast-growing companies. ClearSky Data’s global storage network simplifies the entire data lifecycle and delivers enterprise storage as a fully managed service. Most recently, Ellen was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud-enablement software company that was acquired by Verizon in 2011.