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ViewpointJul17b

5 reasons to trust jobsite applications to cloud-based solutions

Today's jobsites rely on any number of programs and applications to keep operations on track. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the office to site monitoring and collaborating tools in the field, these digital technologies are critical to a project's success and the safety of its workers.

As important as they are, however, these systems can also be costly and time-consuming to run, maintain, and upgrade on an ongoing basis. For this reason, more and more project owners are turning to the cloud.

“There's definitely been a movement towards hosting construction applications on the cloud as opposed to on-premise as IT professionals and executives become more and more familiar with the benefits,” says Aiden Dalley, product marketing manager with Viewpoint Construction Software.

No doubt, moving applications from on-premise servers to a cloud-based solution has its perks. Here are five:

Disaster-proof: From blackouts to equipment failures and floods to fires, applications hosted by on-premise servers are subject to a range of physical threats.

On the other hand, says Dalley, “If there is a disaster, having that data in the cloud means you have access to multiple backups and those applications can still be downloaded and used by mobile networks. It also means your business doesn't grind to a halt because your on-premise systems have been temporarily taken down.”

If considering the cloud, he adds, it's important to ensure that a high-level business continuity is being provided; ideally, something that is fully certified by the Uptime Institute.

Cost friendly: Many companies underestimate the amount of money it takes to implement, monitor, and maintain critical applications on-premise. After the upfront cost of system hardware and IT professionals, however, the price of maintaining that equipment, protecting data from theft or corruption, and upgrading it regularly adds up.

“There's a lot of cost and time investment you need to make that many people don't take into account,” offers Eric Vasbinder, senior product manager for platforms with Viewpoint. “When you're using cloud-based solutions, though, you're leveraging someone else's hardware, someone else's software platforms, and their capabilities to maintain it, upgrade it, and secure it. It's available to you whenever and wherever you need it, and you don't have to invest all the time and effort in IT.”

Data security: Hosting applications and data on-premise may feel more secure, but without a fully-trained cyber security team, that data is vulnerable.

“Security in the cloud is robust and, in most cases, provides more protection than what can be achieved on-premise,” says Vasbinder. “Our cloud offerings, for example, are provided by an internal team of full-time operations personnel, guided by policies and procedures developed by experts in information security and cyber warfare. These in-house staff members are augmented by our datacenter infrastructure providers who have teams of people chartered with maintaining and securing customer environments, and who have significant investments in security technology and expertise.” 

Vasbinder notes Viewpoint's internal teams and external partners work around the clock to ensure the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of its customers’ data. It's hosting is also certified as Tier IV Gold by the Uptime Institute and uses a multi-layered defense-in-depth security model enhanced with defined controls and compliance with standards such as PCI DSS, TIA 942, and SSAE 16. 

“That kind of investment in cyber security is something that can't typically be matched by a single company,” he adds.

Data integrity: Applications that are hosted in the cloud are supported by constant software updates and monitoring, whereas programs run on-premise can often threaten data integrity due to lack of maintenance.

“You cannot deny the tremendous burden that contractors encounter keeping software packages up to date,” says Dalley. “In this situation, many contractors can delay needed maintenance to save time and costs, but that can result in significant unforeseen future problems.”

There are also contractors who run a version of their solution on a database that hasn't been supported for years, but it just keeps chugging along.

“What happens then when the contractor upgrades their OS to block a new security issue, such as the WannaCry ransomware?” asks Vasbinder.  “In that case, their older version of database server could now have issues working with their new OS version, resulting in strange performance issues or even data integrity issues.”

Better accessibility: Many jobsite applications serve to keep crews and project stakeholders on the same page and ensure top-quality outcomes at each milestone. Being hosted in the cloud ensures those applications can be accessed via a web portal or app anytime, anywhere, and on any number of devices.

“In today's construction environment, it's important that jobsite applications and project data are protected and always available in a high-performance way,” says Vasbinder, adding, “When they're kept in the cloud, you have those guarantees.”

Eric Vasbinder and Aiden Dalley are with Viewpoint Construction Software, a provider of innovative construction-specific software solutions to the global construction and capital project industries. For more, visit www.viewpoint.com


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