Cloud Technology – is it progress or just hot air? Some of you may be familiar with the term ‘cloud computing’ – or you may think it’s just another buzzword. Well, it’s definitely a real thing, despite its nebulous description, but what is it and can it help your manufacturing business? Before we look at what it is, and the benefits it offers, let’s see how the Cloud came to be – and how we did things previously in business.
Back in the early 1980s before the rise of the personal computer, if your manufacturing company needed payroll or sales figures calculating you probably had to employ the data processing services of another business who specialised in number crunching. Today, things are no different. But with Industry 4.0 and the rise of the Internet, it’s possible to use cloud software to do the same job faster, buying in computer services using cloud computing, and this is referred to as having your data in the Cloud. But what exactly is cloud computing, and can it make your manufacturing business run more smoothly?
WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING?
At its most basic, the Cloud is an alternative to keeping all the hardware and software on your pc. The information can all be stored on your company’s network (provided for you as a service, and accessed via the Internet). You can access all your business data and applications from anywhere and at any time, for a reasonable cost. Sounds complicated? Well, for the user it doesn’t matter exactly where the information is stored or how it works. The fact is that it’s there, its accessible (and secure), and it doesn’t need to live on your computer, eating up your available memory. The ‘Cloud’ reference is just an interpretation of the Internet in general. So, cloud computing is a way of outsourcing your IT (information technology): you buy in computer services from Internet providers.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD COMPUTING?
• It’s a managed service. One of the most desirable things about using cloud computing is that it is managed elsewhere. So, you don’t need to worry about having the right software licenses, updating software, worrying about viruses or backing up files – all this is managed by the provider, leaving you free to do your job. • It’s available on demand. Often bought on a pay-as-you-go basis, you can access cloud computing services in the same way as you might purchase utilities or a phone SIM. You can buy as much or as little as you need, so there is little financial risk. • It can be public or private. It comes in two forms – public and private. Public cover such companies as Amazon, as well as free services like Google’s email. Private works in the same way, but is accessed through a secure network connection – meaning your data remains safe. So far, so good. But what about the pros and cons of cloud computing?
THE PROS OF THE CLOUD
The pros are fairly self-explanatory. Why would a busy manufacturing business spend time and investment in running and maintaining a complex and large computer system when they can access all the benefits quickly and cheaply online? Wouldn’t your sales team’s time be far better spent generating sales than upgrading software, running antivirus protection and worrying about crashes? The Cloud allows you to access what you need, when you want it; without the concerns that come with managing a large computing system.
THE CONS OF THE CLOUD
It’s also worth thinking about the potential downsides of the Cloud. Although not many, they do exist. There are two major ones – the first being that it’s an ongoing investment. So, instead of the start-up cost of installing a computer system with a one-off capital – you are investing in ongoing monthly payments that may (or may not) cost your manufacturing business more in the long term. While upgrades and replacement software need to be taken into account, not to mention time for your employees to operate the systems, its certainly worth bearing in mind and doing the math to make sure it is a wise investment for your manufacturing business. Additionally, remember you will need a reliable and quick internet connection, so if your broadband is weak, its probably not currently for you.
CROFT AND THE CLOUD
Staying at the forefront of innovation is pivotal in sustaining a successful business. Here at Croft, we know it’s vital to keep a finger of the technology pulse, and so we have been using the Cloud for nearly sixteen years now. When we first took tentative steps into cloud computing, it seemed an exciting move with endless possibilities – and it has proved to play a significant role in our successes in a niche marketplace. I firmly believe that technological development will continue to shake up the manufacturing industry across the globe. With a dramatic increase in Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) becoming a commonplace technology, the cloud is another step into the future. When technology is harnessed as a business enabler and combined with cutting edge manufacturing processes, the impact is dramatic – and will enable those prepared to embrace is to take their manufacturing company to the next level.
At Croft Filters, we pride ourselves on being a leading manufacturer of bespoke filters, with over three decades of experience in our industry. Over the years, weve helped companies from countless backgrounds solve their filtration challenges – no matter how complex. Our commitment to creating highly bespoke and customised filters means that were always ready to address any problem our customers might have and help them improve their productivity and efficiency as a result. As specialists in custom filtration, were always ready to tackle the latest demands of our new and loyal customers – no matter what they may need from us. Thats why were continuously investing in the latest tools, technology and even the future generations of manufacturing talent. Whether youre in the pharmaceutical industry, power generation, food and beverage, oil and gas, or a range of other sectors, you can rely on Croft to help you make the most of your filtration strategy. With our state-of-the-art tools, award-winning custom filter options and additive manufacturing knowledge, were always on hand to help you accomplish your goals for a more efficient and productive business.