Should I move my analytics to the cloud?

2020 is a year of adaptation and change for all businesses. As organizations look to optimize their business, shifting to the cloud is front and center for decision makers. Flexera’s 2020 State of the Cloud reports that over 50% of enterprise data will be in a public cloud by the end of the year—a trend which has accelerated due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

For companies like yours that find themselves faced with the daunting task of digital transformation, Tableau is here to help. Tableau Online, our software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, is uniquely positioned to provide stability and trust throughout your cloud transformation. 

Tableau Online is data agnostic and allows you to provide any data to any user, empowering them to make data-driven decisions. Whether your data is fully on-prem, in a public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid deployment, Tableau Online can provide the analytics solution your organization needs.

What’s the deal with SaaS?

We believe that everyone—from analysts to end users, executives to experts—should be able to harness the power of data to make better decisions faster. The story we’ve heard all year is that data strategies are rapidly evolving. Executives want to maximize technology ROI. IT is looking for trusted partners who can reduce maintenance costs while making data more accessible in an increasingly mobile world. Analysts want to move faster than ever, from curiosity to business insight. These are the reasons why we built Tableau Online to be trusted, agile, simple, global, and connected to your data.

Trusted, secure, and compliant

Tableau Online is a trusted and secure platform. All data in Tableau Online is encrypted at rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys. Any data in transit between users and Tableau Online is encrypted using HTTPS/TLS.

Tableau Online is fully SOC 2 compliant, and the environment is regularly put through rigorous testing, both internally and externally. Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) mean the highest level of contractual privacy protections in the industry for Tableau customers. You can be confident and sleep soundly knowing your data is protected by the latest in security technologies. For more information, please see our security overview.

Agile

Tableau Online can help customers worldwide prioritize speed and accessibility to realize the value of their data transformation faster than ever before. Anyone can spin up an analytics environment in a matter of minutes because you don’t have to invest in setting up hardware.

We saw within the first three months, almost double the adoption that we expected.” —Wes Gelpi, Red Hat. 

Read more about Red Hat’s Tableau Online journey here.

Agility does not stop at deployment. As your organization grows, you don’t have to worry about optimizing topology or scaling data source usage because Tableau Online has the resources you need at the ready to scale and empower users quickly.

Simple

Building and maintaining hardware infrastructure can be costly and time intensive. Coupled with hiring and enabling server administrators, the overhead around your analytics deployment can quickly skyrocket. Tableau Online has experts who maintain the hardware infrastructure for you (including scaling, upgrades, and regular maintenance), and administrators to manage the backend environment on your behalf. Learn more about the site administration tasks that you can control and customize.

Since Tableau Online is a shared service, you can count on your analytics always being available. Check out the Technical Resource Planning Matrix viz to see how much of the administrative overhead Tableau Online manages for you:

Global

Backed by the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tableau Online delivers global reach with regional scale. Scalability allows customers to globally operate while providing in-region support and meeting local compliance standards. Currently, Tableau Online offers nine regions spanning the US West, US East, Europe (Ireland), Japan, and Australia, with more regions slated for activation in the near future. 

While many variables can determine your system’s latency and throughput, the constant is location. When entities—data, applications, or services—are closer to one another, latency is lower and throughput higher. If you are strategically moving your data to the cloud, Tableau Online moves you closer to your data.

Connected to your data

Tableau Online is the preferred choice for customers who have data in the cloud—from applications like Google Analytics to cloud databases like Snowflake or Amazon Redshift. Tableau Online also supports traditional databases like SQL Server, whether deployed on-premises or in a public cloud infrastructure. Tableau Online can connect via Tableau Bridge if your data is housed on-premises or in a virtual private cloud. Wherever your data lives, Tableau Online will meet you there.


An example of a strategically diversified data strategy is how we leverage Tableau Online here at Tableau. We use on-premises SQL Servers and partner with Snowflake, AWS Redshift, Google BigQuery, Azure Synapse, and more. Regardless of where the data lives and each business unit’s needs, we can analyze it from Tableau Online, significantly increasing our speed to insight.

How do I determine if Tableau Online is right for my organization?

At Tableau, we aim to provide flexibility and choice in your analytics deployment, which is why we offer three deployment options: fully on-premises Tableau Server, public or private cloud-hosted Tableau Server, and our SaaS offering, Tableau Online. When thinking about data transformation to the cloud, the key considerations include your analytics landscape, the tradeoffs between SaaS vs. self-managed software, your data strategy, and your compliance requirements.

Analytics landscape

Undecided about Tableau Online or Tableau Server? Both options have merit. Asking these questions about your analytics landscape can help clarify which is best for your business:

1. What is our current SaaS footprint? Do we leverage other SaaS platforms like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and others? If so, Tableau Online is the best fit as you have already started your cloud transformation.

2. What is our current cloud data strategy? Are we planning to move some, if not the majority, or all of our data to cloud platforms? While Tableau Bridge does keep on-premises data fresh, most Tableau Online customers have considered a more comprehensive cloud data strategy.


Check out the complete list of data freshness options for Tableau Online.

SaaS benefits and tradeoffs

If you’re already using other SaaS products, you likely have an understanding of the benefits and tradeoffs with these products. Tableau Online is an excellent choice for companies with a SaaS-first IT strategy. 

Tableau Online owns the responsibility for system uptime, updates, maintenance, scale, and performance. We are committed to a 99.9% or better uptime across the globe, and all of our regions worldwide are staffed 24/7. 

If launching fast and at scale without managing hardware or infrastructure is important to you, Tableau Online is the best fit. Tableau Server deployed on-premises or in the cloud could be better for your organization if you prefer to have full control over your environment's release, scale, and maintenance. 


Tableau Online is fully available outside of your network firewall and built for a remote and mobile-friendly world. To support users who rely on mobile devices to access Tableau vizzes outside of the traditional network firewall, Tableau Online makes the setup, management, and usage from these devices simple.

Data strategy and compliance

Tableau Online is built for hybrid environments, with many customers using a mix of cloud and on-premises data stores. Connecting to cloud data warehouses like Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, and Google BigQuery is seamless through Tableau Online. We also provide customers with Tableau Bridge to easily bring on-premises or private cloud data to Tableau Online. However, data connectivity has some limitations, specifically with connecting to legacy data sources, like cubes.  

While these may initially seem to be blockers, our teams will work to find a solution that meets your needs. You can learn more about our full list of data connection options in our Keep Data Fresh Help guide.

Depending on your industry, the data your business collects and analyzes might have specific compliance requirements. One example is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a set of compliance laws regarding handling medical records in the United States. While Tableau Online is not currently certified for HIPAA or personal cardholder information (PCI), our Tableau account team has helped healthcare and financial services companies successfully navigate deploying Tableau Online where it makes sense. 

Unlike SaaS, Tableau Server offers you full control of your environment because you run and manage the Server inside your own network. Many customers opt for hybrid deployments, mixing Tableau Online with Tableau Server, depending on their data compliance requirements.

How do I get started with Tableau Online?

If Tableau Online sounds like the right fit for your organization and you are ready to start today, start a free 14-day trial.

Already a Tableau customer? If you’re currently using Tableau Server and are considering migrating to Tableau Online, please reach out to your Tableau Account team to discuss migration options (service-based and self-serve are both available). We are here to help you and your business through your cloud transformation journey.

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