Debunking Cloud Myths: Security and Reliability

  • Jim Shepherd
  • May 23, 2016
  • Innovation and Technology

At every trade show we attend, someone comes up and says, “I just don’t trust that the cloud is secure or reliable.” This myth comes from years of misinformation and, frankly, perceptions created by software vendors that have poor cloud solutions and are desperately playing catch-up.

Manufacturers that buy into this thinking and choose legacy ERP software are unfortunately and perhaps unknowingly locking their business into a model that both their competitors and modern software vendors are moving away from. There is a reason you don’t see industry headlines touting great new on-premise ERP software solutions, and it’s because modern software companies no longer focus investment on them.

Cloud must be part of your business strategy. To understand why, let’s dispel a couple of cloud myths.

Cloud Security

Security is always paramount, and legacy ERP vendors appeal to this fear by telling manufacturers that managing the software themselves provides greater levels of security. But cloud ERP customers quickly overcome this irrational fear by asking themselves honest questions – are we a manufacturing business or an IT shop? Do we think our IT infrastructure is as safe as solutions whose entire business model is based on providing secure service? And can we realistically afford to keep an in-house staff focused entirely on managing the latest security measures?

It doesn’t make business sense to focus manufacturing headcount, budget and effort on something not directly tied to customer value or making quality products. And it’s awfully tough for in-house IT resources to keep up daily with new viruses, malware, and hacking schemes because they’re inundated with helpdesk requests and user needs.

The cloud is more secure, here’s why. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud, for example, supports in-stream packet scanning, continuous application vulnerability and multi-layer firewall testing, and unparalleled facility security. And forget about installing security software one server at a time, one location at a time, or waiting for individual users to log in for new security measures to take effect – security is applied to all cloud customers simultaneously and without interruption.

Reliability

Another myth is that outages occur more frequently in the cloud. This is a result of a few highly publicized cloud interruptions, and detractors want you to think the extreme exception is the norm. It’s not.

There may be a comfort zone in having your ERP server in the IT closet or on a rack somewhere in the facility. How well are those servers backed up when they inevitably fail? What’s the redundancy scheme? If you have multiple plants, are all servers and software backed up with a solid failover plan? Considering how much your business relies on an ERP system for transactions and data storage, hardware and software outages are disruptive and can be catastrophic.

Cloud ERP is far more reliable. While the average business experiences more than an hour of unplanned IT downtime per month, Plex customers across more than 1,500 plants average less than 2.5 minutes! And reliability is supported by a contractually guaranteed 99.9 percent SLA. Plex also provides a routinely validated, geographically dispersed, fully replicated disaster recovery capability. Can any manufacturing IT organization scale this reliably? Cloud ERP employs version-less software updated in real time and without impact in the background. Manufacturers running cloud ERP therefore completely avoid costly ERP server purchases and disruptive software upgrades.

So the next time you hear myths about cloud security and reliability, think about the real reasons why legacy software companies perpetuate those myths. And don’t just take our word for it, industry analysts agree. Consider the level of effort and investment required by your company to support complex IT security and business continuity in-house. Once you dig in, you will quickly find out why cloud ERP is a must-have strategy for your business.

About the Author

Jim Shepherd, Vice President of Strategy, Plex Systems

Jim Shepherd serves as vice president of strategy, responsible for defining our strategic direction across multiple industries and global markets. Jim previously served as vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research company. Among his many accomplishments, Jim was named the first AMR research fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Wesleyan University.

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