Friday, July 31, 2015

Automation Technologies Pty Ltd

Cloud Security – Who’s in Control of your Cloud?

A common issue where Cloud Computing is concerned the security of private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud systems; who can access what information and where they can gain access to this data. Public clouds, for example, pose multiple risks to privacy and confidentiality as data is potentially available to anyone – generally this is not the case for secure cloud systems adopted by business.

The question then for secure clouds: how is security implemented and who is managing it? Do you leave it in the hands of your Cloud service provider and IT Department, or do you up-skill staff to look after this critical job? Depending on the platform you use and security structures needed by your organisation, this can be relatively simple or exceedingly complicated.



THE GENERAL CONSENSUS ON SECURITY

This year the Ponemon Institute was commissioned to survey IT security practitioners to identify how people felt cloud security had progressed over recent years. They found that the general consensus was that while overall security had improved, there were still doubts that needed to be addressed with a balanced opinion on whether security concerns have either stopped or slowed cloud adoption, or have had no effect.

There were mixed opinions as to who was responsible for SaaS (Software as a Service) application security with a share of responsibility falling on the cloud and SaaS developers, Cloud Computing Providers, Company IT and End Users.


Similarly to SaaS, there were mixed opinions as to who should be in charge of security of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) which was found to be increasing in demand, with half of those surveyed believing IaaS will continue to be important in meeting future IT and data processing demands.



IaaS is spreading fast - Statistics

OUR OPINION

Assuming that the cloud platform and data centres the information is stored within are secure, emphasis on security then relies on the needs of individual businesses. Evaluating IaaS resources before implementation goes a long way to pinning down and identifying who is going to be responsible for the security of your data. Each option between providers, IT and end users has advantages and disadvantages. For example, allowing end users to manage security options over data they work with avoids possible costs by your Cloud Service Provider yet may lead to security breaches if the end user is not trained sufficiently. In the case of a smaller company, making the time to manage additional tasks may be unrealistic, in which case, allowing your service provider to maintain security may be the better option.

Automation Technologies goes a long way to provide suitable PCI DSS level security options for all business types using our ISO9001:2000, ISO13485, ISO14000 and FDA 21 CFR 11 compliant platform, VisualVault. The first step is identifying the security needs in your business then creating a security structure that most suits the way your company operates and available resources.

Contact us today for a free consultation and discover how we can tailor a cloud security structure suitable to your business Contact Us

Image source: CA Technologies (2013)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Automation Technologies Pty Ltd

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

With the ever increasing popularity of cloud computing implementation within business, it is good to know why companies are choosing to move to this platform for storing their company data using online electronic document and data management systems - eDRMS.

There are many benefits of being able to store company files in a secure and easily accessible location available to employees at any time of day, from anywhere in the world. The following five points are a few of the benefits for choosing to upload data to a cloud:

1. Reduce spending on IT and Technology Infrastructure

Using a Cloud Service Provider takes a lot of strain off business as the need for IT Staff and IT Infrastructure is drastically reduced. As information is uploaded to a web-based cloud system, your Cloud Service Provider maintains data, backups and Technology Infrastructure.

This approach also allows your business the flexibility to easily scale up or down operation and storage requirements as cloud systems are generally ‘pay as you go’ – there is no need to purchase and install hardware upgrades as your Cloud Service Providers takes care of this for you.


2. Improved Accessibility and Productivity

Using a web-based cloud system gives you access to company data anywhere, any time. This facilitates more flexible work practices for company employees by allowing access to files from home, while on holiday and even during the morning and afternoon commutes. An employee with a cold or flu can stay at home, continue to contribute and avoid making your other employees sick!

Having your company data backed up and stored in a secure location is integral in minimising losses in productivity due to power failure, fire, natural disasters or any other crisis that may occur. The ability to easily resume operations using your safely stored data will greatly minimise downtime.


3. Collaboration and Document Control

Cloud environments give companies the power to not only share documents, but more importantly, choose which documents they wish to share and with whom to share this information with. If you work on projects involving several parties, cloud computing gives you the power to share the same files with employees, suppliers and third parties while restricting access to private company information. Allowing third parties to upload files to your cloud also means all parties involved may increase their collaboration efficiency.

4. Competitiveness

Clouds give small and medium sized business access to the kind of technologies big business use without the associated price tags; it allows smaller companies the ability to act faster than larger competitors as ease of scalability is increased and the costs and time involved decreased.

5. Ease of Use

Cloud systems are generally easy to use; this in turn reduces training and further increases productivity. Many systems are highly customisable with any modifications you require handled by your Cloud Service Provider.

Transferring your business information is straightforward and requires no new hardware or software installation – all you need is a web browser and internet connection.

Systems like VisualVault also incorporate workflow processes, you can use workflow to further simplify your business processes and procedures by allowing the system to automatically notify users of certain events, for example; an automated Email notifying management that a new company report has just been uploaded and requires reviewing before it may be accessed by users within the cloud.

These are just a few of the benefits Cloud Computing offers; systems like VisualVault take this even further with the inclusion of electronic forms and databases which gives your business even more flexibility and choice with how you wish to operate.

Automation Technologies understands information management challenges in business and seeks to supply solutions tailored to your specific business requirements, contact us today for a free consultation enquiries@autotechfm.com

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Automation Technologies Pty Ltd

Case Study: Delta Diesel Maintenance Management System Development

Background Information

Delta Diesel have a large maintenance portfolio of mechanical equipment throughout NSW. A typical contract with a customer will have a contract duration (e.g. 1 year ), in which they will be required to conduct a monthly service on that customers mechanical equipment. They also conduct ad-hoc services on equipment in the case of failure.

Whilst Delta previously had an maintenance management system, it had many shortfalls, including not providing them with the level of flexibility they needed for optimal efficiency and lack of off-site access. This led them to the implementation of an alternative information management solution.

Problem Statement

Our client was not satisfied with the shortfalls of their previous maintenance management system. Delta saw a number of main areas that could not be met by their previous system:
  1. The inability to customise the system to suit their business’ needs. The maintenance scheduler did not give them the level of forward planning required for optimal efficiency. Work orders months in advance could not be accurately planned. The system did not cater for customising fields, workflow or any other aspects of the system.
  2. The inconvenience of requiring software installation. The added infrastructure, administration requirements and nuisances involved in maintaining software on premise was impacting Delta Diesels core operation.
  3. The inability to incorporate mobile and tablet based maintenance management. Delta foresaw the benefit of having a mobile workforce, with mobile devices allowing for real time management and tracking of job completion. Their current software supplier did not have a mobile based version to suit their needs.

Analysis of options

The primary requirement of the new maintenance management system was the ability to mould to the requirements of Delta. Of particular importance was the ability to generate all work orders upon creation of the maintenance template (for example, a monthly maintenance that has a contract duration of 12 months will create 12 work orders). This, in turn, would then provide the ability to modify respective work orders providing instructions to their technicians specific to that months job.

Delta also saw this project as an opportunity to procure a system that would be flexible enough to cater to their evolving business needs, including customising fields and automating workflow. This led to the requirement of the system providing flexibility for future improvement initiatives.


It was envisaged that the new solution would be tablet/mobile compatible to allow out-of-office access. In the analysis stage, it was identified that it would be beneficial to customise the mobile app to be streamlined for specific activities conducted on-site. The need for flexibility was thus paramount in this project.

Solution

VisualVault offered the client a comprehensive solution in the planning and monitoring of their work orders throughout the entire work order lifecycle. Via three interlinked modules, Delta has the ability to seamlessly manage all their maintenance activities:


CLIENT MANAGEMENT MODULE

Via an electronic form, the user logs all relevant details about their clients including contact details, address, and any other relevant information.


MAINTENANCE SCHEDULER MODULE

Once they have their client information recorded in the system, they can then create scheduled maintenance templates for that client. Information such as frequency (e.g. monthly/quarterly) and duration of contract are included, which are then used to batch create the Work Orders for that maintenance contract.


WORK ORDER MODULE

Work orders are either batch-created automatically via the maintenance scheduler module, or entered manually for ad-hoc jobs. The work order module is key in planning all maintenance operations. Users log in, and immediately see all relevant work orders assigned to them, and is role specific depending on whether that user is a technician conducting on-site maintenance work, or administration handling invoicing duties.

VisualVault is a Software as a Services (SaaS) solution, requiring only a reliable internet connection for full use. This has meant that Delta has been able to reduce the time spent on hardware and software administration, and is able to focus on its core operation of scheduled and reactive maintenance services.
The ability for the solution to be tablet and phone compatible has further increased efficiency within the organisation. Technicians can review maintenance tasks on the fly, providing real time access to up to date data.

Looking Forward

Our client is extremely happy with the VisualVault implementation. The enhanced ability to forward plan in detail on all maintenance activities is a key feature that has significantly improved efficiency in the organisation.
The implementation has provided the client with scope for further improvement. A key advantage of VisualVault is its flexibility to mould to the businesses needs, and this has given Delta a multitude of opportunities for improvement initiatives. These include; automating the workflow of service orders, streamlining the mobile/tablet interface, and optimising data input for increased invoicing efficiency.


Contact us to learn how Automation Technologies can improve your business processes today, email: info@autotechfm.com

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