Cloud-based solutions can have a negative meaning in some people’s minds by privacy and security concerns that can be prevalent among commercial cloud products. That’s a valid concern with some of those commercial solutions.
However, you’d be remiss to overlook cloud-based solutions designed for industrial applications. These products are designed to be highly secure with customized policies that help further protect proprietary information and processes. We’ve been hearing from more companies lately about how cloud-based networking solutions can be used in industrial applications – and most importantly, how they stay secure. Read on to find out a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive about how cloud technologies can be used in industrial applications.
A: The top benefits of a cloud-based solution in this comparison are redundancy, reliability, and scalability. The redundancy aspect can help protect your data, as it’s securely held – in essence, it’s protected in the case of a breach, major weather event, or other catastrophic issue at the physical premises. It’s also continuously updated and highly secure, making it very reliable. While on-prem solutions can be highly reliable as well, they can still be affected by user error, system downtime, or similar events. And lastly, cloud-based solutions are more easily scalable – it’s more cost-effective and simpler to connect new devices or networks to a cloud-based solution than for the same update to be made within an on-prem solution.
A: Industrial cloud-based solutions feature top-notch security measures. For all cloud-based products, security is ingrained by now in the process and development of the solutions. When you hear of security-related cloud incidents, these are typically commercial data breaches – not issues affecting industrial cloud-based products. A key factor when choosing cloud-based solutions is to look into their security infrastructure. Defense-in-depth measures are a must – this is a concept that features multiple security mechanisms to ensure access to critical systems is protected. These measures can include token-based two-factor authentication and single sign-on policies that companies can deploy. Another priority may be to ensure the solution adopts the Zero Trust security policy, about which the National Security Agency issued guidance in 2021. This strategy is based on the idea that security threats can be present both inside and out of a company, and that there shouldn’t be implicit trust in any part of the network that could potentially be breached (whether that’s an employee who’s been the target of a scam or a device). The result is a focus on policies and systems that enable continuous verification from a variety of sources. One security feature of cloud-based solutions that can help in Zero Trust policies is the ability for companies to either select a prebuilt password policy or build their own within the solution’s infrastructure.
A: It’s typically cheaper in the long run to automatically and continuously get the features that make industrial cloud-based solutions valuable. Many solutions use a “pay as you go” model. An important factor in either of these models is the knowledge that in addition to the functional aspects of the service you receive, you’re essentially paying for consistent upkeep of your cloud technology. In solutions like these that are constantly evolving, that subscription price goes in part to ensuring continuous security and updates to ensure proper measures are followed – and that any proprietary information stays as secure as possible. Getting these kind of updates with a subscription-based on-prem solution, however, can be more costly due to the larger-scale upgrade deployment and training involved, which is a point in cloud-based solutions’ favor when it comes to these ongoing costs.
A: Absolutely not. Consider even commercial data sources like Netflix – even though the streamer’s in the cloud, it doesn’t mean that everyone knows just how often you’ve seen your favorite “Seinfeld” episodes. For industrial cloud-based solutions especially, measures are taken to ensure access and proprietary information is kept under strict lock and key, with even the cloud service having zero visibility into your data – and no way to access it, an absolute must-have condition when it comes to security measures. Consider as well opting for security features that allow a specific user at your organization to enable or shut off access for different vendors or even in-house specialists as needed to ensure access to data is limited to those who need it most.