You’ve probably heard a few scary tales of contractors nearly losing all of their digital data in a flood or fire. Or maybe your business has had a few close calls with data exposure. While ransomware attacks may seem rare, who wants to risk an entire business on one false click, oversight, or mistake?
Hopefully, these stories did not end in disaster—especially for construction firms who manage their own data. For them, these scenarios could have a very different result. After all, cloud applications and storage are still the best way to keep precious business data—like bids, plans, and projects—safe and secure.
But for many in the construction industry, the cloud may not seem as secure as their current systems. When it comes to how infrastructure, data, and mission-critical assets are managed, they are reluctant to make the transition and embrace the cloud.
Overcoming Your Fear of the Cloud
Even though the cloud is the one thing that could save your business in the event of a catastrophe, it represents the unknown. Your reluctance to move to the cloud may have something to do with the following:
- You feel like your infrastructure is safer with your own tested and refined IT practices
- You don’t want someone else managing your data because no one else could care as much as you do
- You worry whether you can access your data when you need it
- You think your data is more secure and less likely to get lost when you manage it yourself
However, many of these barriers can be overcome with a more in-depth appreciation of how the cloud can protect your company’s data. Remember that a cloud provider’s sole business is to make sure its systems are up and running. A few other facts to consider about cloud providers:
- Their business priority is to make sure your data is safe, secure, and available when you need it
- They spend countless hours monitoring their infrastructure, applying security updates, and swapping out hardware
- They eat, breathe, and sleep data management so they care as much about your data as you do
Still not convinced? Ask yourself this hard question: are you in the data management business or the construction business? No matter how dedicated, your IT department has other priorities besides managing data, which makes a self-hosted datacenter less secure than a hosted cloud provider.
Even better, reputable providers like Google or Amazon have hardened disaster recovery plans. When they are responsible for hosting your IT infrastructure, you can rest assured that there is always another remote datacenter standing by in a catastrophic event.
IT Has Role in Cloud Management
Perhaps the weakest argument against the cloud comes from those concerned with how IT will handle this change. What will they do now? More than likely, the IT department has a huge to-do list that could potentially help drive additional revenue and productivity. Even with the cloud, a business will always need IT professionals for workstations, phone systems, routers, Internet gateways, and VPN’s—the list of hardware that needs to be maintained goes on and on. Not to mention, someone has to manage the systems in the cloud as well.
It’s Time to Embrace the Cloud
It’s perfectly natural to resist moving your vital construction data to the cloud. You may even cling to the idea that your infrastructure is safer being managed on-site by your own team. But trading up to the cloud can also bring peace of mind in knowing your data is secure and available—anytime, anywhere.
So, are you ready to embrace the cloud? Disrupting the status quo is hard to do, but if you’re like most construction firms, this isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve weathered similar transitions. Think about how some companies struggle with going paperless—while others hit the ground running with digital takeoff and estimating. Inevitably, if you want to compete, you will realize that you must embrace this technology.
If you’d like to read more about mitigating risk in today’s digital world, check out On Center Software’s step-by-step whitepaper Managing Risk in the Construction Industry. Learn how to keep plans, bids, and projects as secure as the company truck.
Robert Irby is the director of engineering at On Center Software, www.oncenter.com, The Woodlands, Texas.