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Whether you know them as BI or data dashboards the principle remains the same: dynamic data visualization is an essential weapon in any team’s productivity arsenal.
Many businesses shy away from displaying their business-critical dashboards on “public” (i.e. inner-office) screens. This is due to one major reason:
The issue of security is critical, and it remains one of the main reasons why BI dashboards aren’t getting seen by the teams that need them most. And while there are some businesses that have hacked ways to make screens secure, being buried under a pile of wires just isn’t scalable. Or pretty.
While simply connecting a laptop to a screen via a cable – or loading up a device to plug into a TV – might have worked in the past, if you’ve been tasked with showing business-sensitive data on a screen then you’ll understand the logistical nightmare of trying to keep that data safe. And that’s before you’ve even taken scaling this up across multiple screens in multiple locations into consideration.
Finding a scalable and flexible digital signage solution – that is also highly secure – is a bit like trying to find your perfect partner. Hold the flowers...
With ScreenCloud's latest product – Dashboards – creating a secure, scalable and flexible digital dashboard couldn’t be easier. (You can send us those flowers if you like.)
For a detailed Dashboards set up guide, click here.
Grafana is one of a suite of powerful business intelligence tools (like Tableau and Splunk) that seamlessly integrates with ScreenCloud’s new secure Dashboards digital signage software. This allows your Grafana dashboard, and all the data stored within, to be shown on a screen without the need to create a public URL or decrypt encrypted credentials.
With ScreenCloud pushing all encryption to the Cloud using a unique key and IAM role, there is no longer the risk of data being copied from a plug-in device (or that device being walked off with), or network traffic being intercepted. It is one of the most secure ways to show any data on any screen. Which is why we use it in our own offices.
Put simply, Grafana is a data visualization tool that integrates with applications like Graphite or Prometheus for metrics collection and storage. Put even simpler than that, Grafana pictorially shows your team’s tangible efforts allowing for on-the-spot, data-driven, decisions without the need to squint at mass data sets. It basically allows you to visualize, drill down, alert on and explore all metrics regardless of where they’re stored.
Visualize your data: It’s one thing to have data available, but it’s another to understand it. The beauty of Grafana lies in its visualization options, like histograms and geomaps. These can all be fully customized to make monitoring key metrics as easy as possible.
Alerting: With the alert functionality, negative data trends can be spotted before they cause serious issue. By defining alert rules, Grafana will continuously evaluate your metrics and alert you via notification systems like Slack and OpsGenie should those rules be broken.
Mixed data sources: Should your team need to digest a lot of different data, you can combine mixed data sources all within one graph visual, like comparing different time ranges or queries in a split view.
Dynamic drilldown: After creating dynamic and reusable dashboard templates, you can explore your metrics via ad-hoc queries and dynamic drilldown.
Annotations: Add annotations and tags to recognize recurring patterns within your data and run analysis for detailed reporting.
Customize: You can use data source plugins like Jira, Datadog and Google Sheets to communicate and return data in a format that Grafana understands. This will allow you to use data from any of your existing dashboards. Coupled with app and panel plugins, you can create custom monitoring and visualization options for easier data analysis. You can also go one step further than that and build your own plugins using the Grafana Plugins Platform.
Scientific data monitoring
Grid Computing Centre Karlsruhe (GridKa) is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, and they just so happen to visualize their data on a public GridKa Grafana dashboard. This powerful data tool shows how Grafana visualizes everything from cluster utilization to system metrics for its experiments.
Grafana and Zabbix Plugin
Grafana can also visualize complicated data from Zabbix using a plugin to ease monitoring your IT infrastructure. This makes it easy to spot issues with system load time, nginx requests and overall server performance to keep a finger on the pulse of overall server health.
When it comes to sharing Business Information within any organization, there is a tension between the value of transparency and the need for security. A better informed workforce is a more productive workforce, and a more productive workforce directly impacts the bottom line. But opening the door to your company's most critical data will always be a compromise too far if it means that there is a danger that it could be open to abuse. When we looked at what others in the industry were doing and realized that it wasn't anywhere near what we would describe as 'secure', we knew we had to completely rethink the way data was handled for displaying on screens. ScreenCloud's Dashboard feature is the most secure solution available because anything less is simply not good enough for our customers who need to share their data and sleep at night.
With a 14-day free trial (with no need to enter credit card details... or even have a screen), there's no excuse not to see if ScreenCloud Dashboards can help you foster a data-driven work culture.
Alice Gardner, Content Manager
Alice is ScreenCloud's resident wordsmith, based in the London hub. When she's not writing about digital signage you'll either find her in Greenwich Park, one of Greenwich's many pubs or talking about how great Greenwich is.