Close on the heels of its winter cloud release, Informatica announced near immediate availability of Informatica Cloud Spring 2013 released (“Spring release”) on February 20th. Customers will be upgraded this Saturday, February 23rd. As I observed in a previous informatica-thaws-its-integration-cold-snap/index.html" target="_blank">blog on Informatica Cloud posted not even four weeks ago, Informatica continues to expand its portfolio of connectors and enhance the features of its templates, and this holds true for the Spring release as well.
Of particular interest in the Spring release are connectors covering Microsoft Dynamics, Amazon Redshift, Oracle CRM On-Demand, and Intuit QuickBooks. There is no obvious correlation between these new app connectors, but that is exactly the point—the breadth of Informatica Cloud’s integration portfolio is unmatched in the industry. It also exemplifies how quickly Informatica is moving to keep Informatica Cloud up-to-date
; Amazon Redshift data warehouse service went generally available today and Informatica already offers a pre-release connector.
What enables, however, Spring release to differentiate itself from its predecessors are new features focused on security and compliance. Specifically, the Cloud Data Masking service will make it far easier to make sensitive data invisible, as applicable, to cloud developers and testers. It will also help seriously cut the time required to create developer sandboxes that deal with sensitive information. The data masking feature, still in pre-release, is delivered as a SaaS app, is wizard-driven, and Informatica offers a full yet flexible set of masking rules which can be mapped to compliance policies. The wizard also enables developers to create masking rules for custom data formats. Finally, Informatica makes it easy to ensure that data masking already performed on-premises matches cloud scenarios, and vice versa, for compliance purposes—essentially delivering its Persistent Data Masking offering as a cloud service.
Continuing down the security and compliance path, Informatica has also added two other compelling features: (1) Storing connection credentials wherever they are needed, on-premises or cloud—Informatica calls it “Hybrid Security Options for Storing Connection Credentials;” long winded, but you get the idea. (2) Org-Level Blackouts which provide administrators the power to specify black-out periods to shut down integration or information management activity, ensuring the cloud statis needed for upgrades.
There is no reason to list all of the improvements in the Spring release, so suffice it to say that Informatica has again, in what looks like a quarterly cloud update release cycle now, delivered a wide footprint of improvements. But in particular, I believe the security related improvements of the Informatica Cloud Spring release are spot on, for in ESG’s recently published 2013 Spending Intentions Survey, (a) cloud computing services ranked #1 in terms of planned increase of IT spending over 2012, and (b) security and data protection concerns ranked #1 and #2 respectively as factors preventing more pervasive or initial usage of cloud computing services. The bigger truth is easily apparent in this mini-analysis: Informatica is investing heavily in the cloud where IT spending will grow the most this year, and Informatica is directly addressing the primary concerns of IT regarding cloud computing: security and data protection.