Is Your CMMS Data Safe in a Cloud-Based Software Solution?

CMMS Software / January 2020

A Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) has long been an effective solution for businesses wanting to store all possible CMMS data regarding their vast range of equipment and assets. Whether it’s inventory orders or operational data, such as preventive maintenance reports, this information can be vital to an organisation and its operations. When it comes to selecting the right solution to store your CMMS data, there are two main formats: cloud-based and on-premise. One allows for mobile access via cloud technologies, the other is hosted on its own server.

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What CMMS Data Can Be Collected and Stored?

CMMS software applications have the ability to store, collect and effectively automate a business’s maintenance management data from a wide range of sectors inside the company.

Essentially, the CMMS data that is collected can be anything relating to company equipment, assets and other operational items such as manuals, maintenance notices and licences.

This stored data can then be used to help plan maintenance, stock levels, asset security, purchasing, work orders, scheduling/planning and staffing levels.

Although, the data a company chooses to input is distinctly at the discretion of the business owner. They may choose to only store data regarding large and more expensive equipment. While other owners may want to store information about the maintenance operations of equipment.

But, whatever the need, there are many benefits to collecting and storing your CMMS data. Advantages include better organisation, extended equipment lifespan, and reduced operational costs such as unplanned downtime.

Collecting CMMS Data can reduce the Cost of Unplanned Downtime

A survey in 2018, by Aberdeen Research, estimated that the cost of unplanned downtime across all businesses totalled $260,000 per hour.

Storing CMMS Data in a Cloud-Based Solution vs On-Premise

Although both formats operate in a similar way, the key difference is the ability to access your CMMS data through an internet connection on any device.

Whereas an on-premise set up will use its own servers and equipment, the maintenance data in a cloud-based system is hosted by a third-party and accessed via the cloud. The third-party, in this case, is the software vendor.

Users of a cloud-based solution usually benefit from technical support and hosting from the provider. As the vendor may also be providing systems to a range of other companies, economies of scale can mean that advances and improvements can be rolled out more quickly.

An on-premise system, however, is installed on hardware and servers that are maintained within the business. An on-premise set-up is more common within government or other high-security industries, although cloud-based systems have substantial security measures in place.

But, one main difference between this and a cloud-based set-up is the significant in-house resources it needs to maintain, secure and operate. This can also mean that some functionality, or development time, isn’t quite as advanced as a third-party provider.

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The Benefits of Storing CMMS Data in a Cloud-Based System

As well as the ability to run a successful and effective CMMS solution without the need for huge in-house resources, cloud-based systems can have many other benefactors. In fact, we’ve picked out seven advantages to storing and securing CMMS data in the cloud:

Ease of Access and Availability

The USP of any software solution offering cloud capabilities is its accessibility, and CMMS software is no different. With a cloud-based CMMS application in place, businesses can access their critical data through an internet connection using a browser, phone, device or app. Unlike an on-premise CMMS that can only be accessed on-site, cloud-based software is available at any time and from anywhere. Which can be extremely useful for improving the collaboration between teams based in multiple locations.

Less In-house IT Requirements

As with most modern software applications, cloud-based CMMS software can be a cheaper solution than on-premise. This is mainly because of the hardware, infrastructure and technical support that is provided by the third-party vendor. Hardware and infrastructure often require significant investment, as well as staffing and expertise. Whereas cloud-based software just needs a login and an internet connection. Equipment and data can also be monitored 24/7 without the need for constant manual monitoring.

Immediate Updates to Secure CMMS Data

With a cloud-based CMMS system, updates are a breeze. They usually just need a staff member to log in and approve it. And, often, these updates may just happen automatically. Whereas, updates to an on-premise solution would need much more investment. This can be in terms of time, expertise, money and resource – to update appropriately. Which can be an issue with time-sensitive or compliance-related updates.

Security and Support

By outsourcing systems to a third-party vendor, security and support are handled externally. And, because of this, the support you need is given almost instantly. Vendors will have a team available who understand requirements and regulations, as well as provide robust security measures to a range of clients. This is key, as within your system you’ll be transferring and storing sensitive CMMS data that needs to be kept as safe as possible. To anyone who has managed a large-scale IT project in the past, troubleshooting software and security issues can be expensive. Even getting the right expertise can be difficult in-house. But, this is where cloud-based solutions of third-party servers are easing the costs.

CMMS Data Recovery

A data breach is a major issue for any business, especially if it’s required for audit, inspection or compliance purposes. But, with cloud storage, CMMS data can be continuously backed up to multiple servers and locations – usually either every hour or overnight. Essentially, storing your data on cloud servers can also help protect your system from ransomware or malware attacks.

Quicker Implementation

On-premise solutions are usually slower to implement than cloud-based software. This is often because of the need to invest in servers, hardware and tasks – along with training and onboarding. CMMS software, with cloud capabilities, can usually be set up quickly due to the expertise and experience of the vendor.

Improved Information Sharing

With a web-based Application Programming Interface (API), data can be shared between a cloud-hosted CMMS and the other existing systems in an organisation. This means that there’s less need for manual input, or having multiple systems dealing with the data in a different way.

Bonus: It’s Better For the Environment

And finally, as a bonus, cloud-based CMMS solutions work out to be much more environmentally friendly than on-premise. This is due to less paperwork and equipment being required, which can reduce the environmental impact of a business.