Technology

Raining CAD and CAM: Cloud Storage

Priceless videos of your child’s first steps, photographs from your first dance and messages from long lost friends – the Cloud is the gatekeeper to some of our most important documents and memories, so why don’t we trust it with our CAD/CAM software?

What is the Cloud?

The Cloud is a process that allows you to store your data on an external computer while maintaining your access to the data via the internet.

Large corporations have already made the move to Cloud, or at the very least, store a portion of their data on the Cloud. This has helped to reduce their overheads and increase capability, security and speed. Small businesses, however, are resisting the use of this technology.

What are the benefits of the Cloud?

Using the internet to seamlessly transfer data helps to keep your systems clean, working at an optimised speed and reduces bandwidth use. It supports collaborative projects and communication and cuts the costs of storage. The Cloud is a beneficial data storage system that is helping us increase our efficiency and productivity.

Subscriptions, pay as you go services and easy opt-out contracts are being applied across the board. Netflix rendered Foxtel obsolete, Marley Spoon evolved the grocery run and Afterpay is altering our shopping behaviours. Many software services are moving towards the subscription services, giving customers more control and decreasing costs. Rather than going out and paying for physical storage in one bulk sum, many Cloud services offer subscription models with flexibility to change the amount of storage you need as you grow.

CAD/CAM software, such as Palette CAD or COBUS ConCept, that come with Cloud storage options, mean you don’t have to rely on your own computer’s storage, optimising your system’s speed and reducing money spent on memory upgrades. It means easily collaborating on designs with everyone from your team and allows you to easily share externally with everyone involved. Have a machine break down in one factory? Give access to the designs to a machine in another factory and keep production moving seamlessly.

If it’s so good, why isn’t everyone using it?

Privacy is a global issue and ethics committees and legal systems are still debating and catching up to our ever-evolving virtual world. People are reluctant to share their data, let alone hand over the key to it’s security. However, the idea that your data is more secure on your own office computer is a false sense of security, facilitated by the idea of possession.

Cloud services are constantly evolving and investing in cyber security. In most cases, your Cloud storage provider will have complex and expensive levels of security in place, keeping your data safe and secure from internet pirates. Rather than your office computer, which is likely to have limited levels of security with simple barriers that are easily breakable by hackers and viruses. Or even no security systems in place at all! So, storing your data on the Cloud would more likely increase your level of security, rather than relinquish it.

The other downside? A reliable internet connection is needed to be able to access your data, meaning if you want to update some office documents while you’re out of range on your country cabin escape, you might be out of luck. Then again, how bad would that really be?

What is the future of the Cloud?

Industry 4.0 promises that machines will emulate human interactions, networking and collaborating amongst themselves and with people to decentralise information in favour of information sharing. Cloud storage gives designers and engineers access to the same files, allowing experts to work together in real-time, no matter their location. It is giving diverse teams opportunities to create, innovate and connect, leading to advancement and development at unprecedented rates. It also means more storage capacity, reduced costs and higher security levels.

Should I make the switch to the Cloud?

Cloud storage is the inevitable virtual storage system of the future and an imperative building block for the success of Industry 4.0. The question isn’t ‘should’ anymore, it’s ‘when’. The sooner small businesses implement Cloud storage, the better position they will be in to adapt to future innovation and technology. In the meantime, they’ll be saving money!

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