Just as every shop’s data is different, manufacturing data storage and software requirements can be just as diverse. Taking the time to understand what is best for your operations, staff and resources is important to successfully transition to the cloud and using cloud computing. Check out these five considerations that you should keep in mind before moving your data.
- Who will have access to what data?
Your operations likely generate large volumes of data containing valuable information, making data privacy increasingly more important. Just as Human Resources files must stay confidential, not all employees need access to certain manufacturing data. Designs and IP for example, need to stay private. Review the data you plan to capture in the cloud and identify how it will be segmented to accommodate the appropriate user permissions.
- What measures are required to keep your data cybersecure?
Does the cloud service you have selected have high grade encryption and firewalls? Will cybersecurity be handled by in-house staff or by a third-party provider? Will your staff work to keep the information safe (not share passwords, lock unattended computers)?
While it may feel easy to ignore, the manufacturing sector is the third most vulnerable to cyberattacks (IBM X-Force Threat Index of 2017). Cyber criminals actively seek to hack and obtain manufacturing data for malicious purposes. Additionally, you may have responsibilities to remain compliant to certain cybersecurity standards such as the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). Take the time to assess and understand your operation’s cybersecurity strengths and vulnerabilities.
- How and when will your cloud-stored data be accessed?
Will the data be accessible at any time? Will access to this data location be restricted? Decide if your team needs to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to securely access your company network offsite. And, don’t forget to review what software will be connected to your cloud. It’s important to understand from where in your system employees will access the data they need.
- In what format will your data be stored and used?
You can collect and store data from several sources: machine and facility sensors, material suppliers and more. This data can be analyzed to identify opportunities for improvement. However, for the data to be actionable, it may need to be converted into a relevant format. Software such as Juxtum Connect is available to make data ready upon collection. And, cloud-based data visualization tools deliver real-time manufacturing data in an easily digestible format.
- Which manufacturing processes will be directly impacted by moving to the cloud?
Data you collect and analyze can be utilized to improve processes on the production floor and beyond. The cloud makes software improvements and the latest cloud-based digital manufacturing and design software such as modeling and simulation programs more affordable and accessible for many manufacturers. Analyze how your move to the cloud will affect your various manufacturing processes and create a plan that ensures the appropriate data is constantly updated in the cloud to achieve desired improvements.
Begin your journey to the cloud by answering these questions to identify what is important to you and your operations.