This is Part 2 in our series, “Evaluating the Business Potential of Cloud Infrastructure." For Part 1, click here.
In the manufacturing and chemical industries, there’s pressure to modernize. When it comes to IT and security, almost every part of your operation can be outsourced to cloud computing, servers, and data centers. That optimizes up your hosting, maintenance, and upgrading capacity - but the benefits don’t stop at convenience. On the other side of the coin, if you don’t optimize your operations and security, you might be left behind by competitors embracing digital conversion.
Even if you’re not imminently threatened by competitors, there’s a strong business case for how cloud infrastructure can optimize your security, both in terms of data and in terms of your personnel and physical assets.
Agility Is Security
The speed of technology can feel overwhelming, especially to industrial or manufacturing operations that are grounded in physical plants, assets, and products. However, the innovations created by technology’s fast pace are actually opening up new opportunities in security. Outdated IT infrastructure is a security risk waiting to happen. Modernizing these systems prevents risk.
For example, cloud-based systems can roll out more quickly than traditional systems. That makes it easier to stay on track with innovations in security. With more advanced technology, you can more easily customize your cloud infrastructure to be optimal for your site.
Whether it’s crisis communications systems like the AtHoc suite of products, or advanced data analysis that prevents incidents, cloud infrastructure can make a manufacturing site safer. In fact, 73% of manufacturing companies maintain that it’s either important or very important to scale and establish cloud-based supply chain solutions to reduce risk.
A More Democratic Security Offering
Traditionally, security maxed out when a site’s in-house capabilities maxed out. Today, manufacturing and industrial sites can outsource security processes to external servers, storage, hardware, and applications. The cloud creates an environment where the most advanced IT systems are within reach for manufacturers and sites that don’t have the internal resources to access them.
Manufacturers who rely on cloud-based systems don’t ever need to grant access to their internal networks. This is a major security selling point when you’re in an industry that relies on contractors, lone workers, temporary employees, and vendors. With cloud infrastructure, collaboration doesn’t need to create vulnerabilities. An externally-accessed cloud keeps safety at the perimeter, so that internal systems are safeguarded.
Control of Your Site, Customer Control
When you’re managing manufacturing and production on a physical site, traditional avenues don’t allow for high levels of data analysis. With cloud infrastructure, you’re granted a higher level of traceability and data-driven quality control. This visibility means that problems are detected as they occur, as opposed to at the next billing cycle or meter reading, or when a problem escalates to visible levels. Additionally, disparate activities can be captured through a single system or database. Managers across an organization can access the same information in real-time, reducing room for error.
Additionally, you can provide additional security to your customers through cloud infrastructure. You can inform your customers about their businesses through captured data from within the cloud. You can transform supply chains, product design, inventory control, and supplier management. When security risks are shared between your operation and your customers, you can collaborate on finding solutions. Through increased control, you can minimize risk for both you and your customers.
Security and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Creating a more secure environment, both for your people and your data, frees up resources to devote to product development and innovation.