Lonely Together: Why Multi-Tenancy Plays an Increasingly Important Role

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Wed, 30 Jan 2013 13:53:00 GMT

Multi-tenancy – this term now appears in the context of IT and software more frequently. Often “data segregation” is also spoken of. But why? What is the peculiarity of multi-tenant capable IT systems, which advantages does it have and why is multi-tenancy that important? We will address these questions today.

The term “multi-tenancy” allows different departments, business units or companies the joint use of IT systems – without having insight or admission to the data and applications of the respective other user groups. 

 

Multi-tenant IT Systems Provide Efficiency

 

The joint use of multi-tenant IT infrastructure arranges for efficiency. Systems can be centralized and consolidated – this allows for an enhanced administration and control. In addition, costs can be decreased in the long-term – regarding needed hardware, personnel costs (for administration and troubleshooting) as well as license, development and service costs for software (the effort is distributed among all users).

 

No Cloud Without Multi-Tenancy

 
Since the cloud has found its way into many companies, the use of software that is not multi-tenant capable, e.g., for remote access, is unthinkable. Imagine, a (public) cloud service provider does not segregate the data of its many customers. Then, customer A might easily see or change data belonging to customer B. The same holds true for a private cloud in a company – each employee would have insight into the financial or personnel data of all his colleagues. One cannot speak of data security here!
 

Multi-Tenancy: Lawfully Often a Must!

 

Principally, of course, all data privacy laws are applicable. These often require data segregation between the individual parties (e.g., departments, companies, customers) if IT structures are jointly used. In addition, there are industry- or company-specific compliance requirements that need to be considered. As an example, one might refer to an exceedingly secure handling of patient data within the doctor´s/hospital segment – these data are particularly to be protected. More generally, groups have to assure a certain separation of data of their affiliated companies. More information can be found in a recent article of the Computerwoche “Corporate Separateness und Mandantentrennung” (in German).

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