Cloud computing is one of the nine pillars of Industry 4.0, and it’s a fundamental component of success in the interconnected industrial environment, with multiple impacts in the sphere of asset management. So the question is, Why are some organizations still hesitating?
Currently, the market for enterprise asset management (EAM) software is poised to grow from $5.1 billion in 2019 to $8.2 billion by 2024 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%. One of the key drivers is the rising demand for cloud-based EAM solutions, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets report. For organizations that have been looking to gain a 360-degree view of their assets and extend asset life cycles through improved monitoring and maintenance processes, cloud solutions are essential.
Here’s how cloud-based EAM software benefits asset-heavy industries now and in the future—particularly when it comes to making data both more accessible and secure.
Why are enterprises racing to the cloud?
For asset-intensive manufacturing industries, the biggest roadblock with on-premises software solutions is the need to invest in IT infrastructure and management that can require planning new capital expenditures months or years in advance.
The pay-as-you-go model of cloud-based EAM software and its inherent agility when it comes to scaling solutions based on demand have been critical in pushing enterprises to the cloud.
The rich feature set of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions available in the cloud is an enticing factor for enterprises who do not want to reinvent the wheel. Solutions with built-in capabilities to manage asset costs, maintenance, and inventory make for easier implementation.
For small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer financial resources, the cloud provides a level playing field when going up against bigger players, as SMEs can now leverage low-cost EAM solutions. According to MarketsandMarkets, the SME segment for the EAM market is growing at a faster pace than for larger enterprises.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, “the leading cloud service providers will have a distributed ATM-like presence to serve a subset of their services.”
This essentially means that there will be concentrated micro data centers catering to geographically close users.
These exciting trends suggest positive growth for the fourth industrial revolution.
Adoption of the cloud by manufacturers
Nutanix, Inc.’s Enterprise Cloud Index reveals that the manufacturing sector has been a frontrunner in this race, prioritizing long-term digitization initiatives over short-term goals.
One trend that demonstrates the rapid onboarding to the cloud is the adoption of hybrid clouds, with 91% of survey respondents choosing this model. Hybrid clouds refers to sourcing solutions from multiple cloud providers, and a combination of public and private clouds.
“The deployment of hybrid clouds in manufacturing and production companies has currently reached 19% penetration, slightly ahead of the global average,” according to the Enterprise Cloud Index.
This indicates a willingness to experiment with different cloud-based software solutions, rather than becoming locked in to a single provider. It also indicates manufacturing organizations are willing to use different cloud strategies (including private, public, and hybrid) to serve different needs.
These are all great signs for the future of enterprise asset management, but manufacturers still have some concerns. One of the biggest is data security.
The concerns about data security
Concerns about data security seem to split the manufacturing industry right down the middle.
On one hand, 34% of manufacturing organizations mentioned security and compliance as the main reason for moving their workloads to the cloud.
On the other, some enterprises are holding back from migrating to the cloud due to concerns about data security. In a Forbes report, 66% of IT professionals claim security is their most significant concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy.
In the case of EAM solutions, too, several enterprises feel a loss of control as they transfer critical and confidential data to the cloud and worry that this data may be stolen. In some cases, organizations are worried about exposing intellectual property.
What’s clear is that there is less understanding in many enterprises about what the cloud can offer in terms of data security. Most organizations who are late adopters have become comfortable with their on-premises security solutions. In reality though, these solutions are often outdated and have not been tested for their ability to protect from current, more advanced threats.
The truth is that the data in the cloud is just like data that resides anywhere else. Appropriate measures need to be taken to protect it. In fact, the cloud, with its readily available security solutions, makes it easier to protect your data.
How cloud-based EAM software protects your data
As enterprises gain more expertise moving to the cloud and more case studies and examples emerge, best practices to protect your data have become apparent. Here are some of the features available in cloud solutions that enable better implementation of data security.
Granular data access
Using identity and access management tools to administer granular access is the first step to protecting your data fort. Cloud-based EAM software makes it easy to manage user permissions and grant varying degrees of access by role. For instance, administrators can see the labor costs of maintenance activities, while technicians or operators can access only what they need to use—such as asset details, work orders, and inspections.
Choosing private over public clouds for certain types of data is a strategy used by many manufacturing organizations to safeguard their data. Fifty-six percent of manufacturers surveyed for the Enterprise Cloud Index said that they run enterprise applications in a private cloud. While most EAM software solutions are securely hosted on the public cloud, manufacturers can use the private cloud for data they want to keep separate, such as customer data.
Cloud providers have unique offerings to address this challenge. For instance, Amazon Web Services has a GovCloud, which is embedded with checks and measures to protect federal data and comply with specific government regulations.
DevSecOps is an additional layer over DevOps that integrates development, QA, and deployment along with security controls. The idea is to catch security issues earlier in the development process, when they are easier to address.
To implement this yourself, you need an IT team with specific cloud security skills. Fortunately, with cloud-based EAM software, this is already built in.
How ManagerPlus improves data security
As a cloud-based EAM solution, ManagerPlus brings greater transparency and accessibility to your asset data while eliminating infrastructure costs and improving data security.
ManagerPlus uses Microsoft Azure to manage its data, which means manufacturers don’t have to worry about on-site data centers being targeted by cybercriminals or being destroyed in natural disasters. Azure also supports encryption at rest, which means the data is encrypted not only in transit but also while it’s stored. This adds another strong layer of protection for customers.