Automation IIoT Information Technology Reliability & Maintenance Center

Should You Fear Cloud Storage?

Gary Parr | June 28, 2016

Putting company data on a server in an unknown location tends to simply scare people. But cloud data storage is here, it’s not going away and, for most, will be the primary way they store and exchange company information at just about all levels. Should you fear cloud data storage? To answer that question, we turned to Hannelore Fineman, executive vice president and partner, at cloud-based CMMS provider eMaint, Bonita Springs, FL, (emaint.com), to provide some insight into the benefits of cloud data storage and help all of us calm our nervous systems.

While the following items speak positively about cloud-service capabilities, using a cloud service does not necessarily absolve you of responsibility for your data. Hackers sit up all night trying to crack servers. You need to take every step possible to stop them, particularly if they can shut down your manufacturing system.

For a more technical view of cloud-based security, read the two articles from Infoworld, linked at the bottom of this page. For general cyber security information, be sure to read “Do Employees Make Your Network Vulnerable” on p. 27 of this issue.

Also, consider viewing these items as questions to ask of your provider. In other words, treat this information as a checklist. If the provider you’re considering keeps coming up short, caveat emptor. —Gary L. Parr, editorial director

Security in the cloud and physical-data environment
Cloud data environments are constructed inside secure data centers that are protected using keycard and biometric scanning protocols, as well as round-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitoring. Duplicates of all production hardware are reserved and stored onsite to ensure availability of replacement parts in the event of a hardware failure. By storing data in these protected data centers, organizations are able to implement security controls that are economically unachievable with typical in-house, on-premise deployments.

Application and operational security protocols
To ensure application security, cloud-based software providers offer considerable advanced functionality, including role-based access, strong encryption, robust password policies, application-only access, and IP-address restrictions. Stringent round-the-clock monitoring tools, controls, and policies are also employed.

Disaster-recovery and network and infrastructure security solutions
Businesses enjoy reduced risk with enterprise-class data-management processes and policies. Disaster-recovery policies and high-performance infrastructure offer the peace of mind of knowing that data are completely replicated, backed-up daily, and available whenever needed.

Reduced IT department burden
Because software and hardware don’t have to be purchased, installed, or maintained, cloud-based data storage reduces the burden on IT departments or negates the need to hire IT personnel. Updates and upgrades are installed automatically, enabling users to enjoy access to the latest version of the solution with no installation required.

Improved collaboration and mobility
Because cloud-based systems are “hosted” and readily accessible anywhere from any Internet-connected device, they allow improved real-time collaboration and mobility. For example, a technician can update a work order in a cloud-based CMMS using a mobile device, and that information is then reflected across the account and made available to other users. Often, clients who migrate to a cloud-based solution experience enhanced communications between members of maintenance teams, production, operations, and senior management. The technology also allows organizations with multiple locations to share best practices, benchmark performance, and better manage standard operating procedures across the enterprise. MT

Learn More

“The Dirty Dozen: 12 Cloud Security Threats,” Infoworld

“7 Ways to Supercharge Your Personal Cloud Storage,” Infoworld

For more information about cloud-based CMMS software, visit emaint.com.

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Gary Parr

Gary Parr

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