Considering the Cloud? Manufacturers Wise to Keep in MInd Three Top Cloud Concerns

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Cloud Computing, ERP Software, Risk Management, SaaS, Software Evaluation, software selection, Strategic Planning

Submitted by Plex Systems, Inc. www.plex.com

Manufacturers are often wary about considering a Cloud ERP system.  Can they trust their production, financial and operational data to the Cloud?

That’s why those manufacturers attending the upcoming Vendor Shootout™ for ERP are wise to take a close look at Cloud ERP demonstrations.

When your production is dependent on a technology, your company’s survival may be threatened by an outage or significant downtime.

Listed here are three of the most common considerations manufacturers have when evaluating Cloud ERP.

1) Security’s a concern. Why should I trust a third party with my proprietary data?

For any mission-critical service, a company needs to choose a well-qualified provider with impeccable industry certifications.

When a company chooses an appropriate vendor to house its data “in the Cloud,” it is enlisting a firm that has dedicated security protocols and processes. In addition to the physical security implemented at modern data centers – compliance with GR-3160 NEBS (Network Equipment-Building System) requirements and the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TIA-942 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers – the IT infrastructure at a manufacturing facility likely exceeds whatever the company has on-premise.

Additionally, studies show that data is more secure when hosted by a third party than in an internal system where disgruntled employees could retrieve and distribute information to harm the employer.

2) Business continuity is a critical consideration. Can I trust the Cloud to deliver?

Most providers of Cloud-based solutions have highly reliable and secure data centers.

For example, Plex Systems, provider of Cloud ERP solution Plex Online, uses two data centers with redundant infrastructures which replicate data offsite, and employ the latest in data-streaming technology. Situated hundreds of miles apart, if one data center were to be rendered inoperable due to a natural disaster or a terrorist event, the other would support the application. Customers would experience little business disruption.

Look for aggressive recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) goals of two hours or less – a target that would be prohibitively costly to meet for an on-premise system.

Scrutinize the solutions uptime record.  For example, Plex Online also has an impressive record of avoiding downtime. In 2011, Plex Online logged a 99.996 percent availability which translates to a mere 23 minutes of downtime per year.

3) Who owns my data? What if the vendor I choose goes out of business or is acquired by another company?

There is no question that the customers own their data, at least with Plex Systems.

Manufacturers can request a full extract of a portion or all of their data, at any time, which can be exported in several file formats.  The only charge from Plex Systems is on a time and materials basis just like any request for a non-support-related request.

The bottom line is the data’s ownership is always retained by the customer and is available at any time.

Plex Systems looks forward to seeing you in Miami for a close look at the cloud, and a discussion of these and any other considerations.

Plex Online is an award-winning Cloud ERP system for manufacturers in automotive, electronics, aerospace, Metalforming and food processing.

For further information, check out the Cloud ERP Resource Center.

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