Connected safety – and in particular the use of cloud applications to collate, present and archive data – is an important evolutionary step for gas detection, and one that is here to stay. The benefits it conveys, including greater safety, easier fleet and compliance management and automated, error-free data capture, are too important to overlook. However …
We live in an era where data is king, and most organisations are acutely aware of their duty to comply with data protection rules. Failure to do so can result in harsh financial and reputational punishment; consequently, some organisations are wary of centralising records in the cloud (and sometimes anywhere else) for fear of data breach via malware, hacking, DDoS attack or simple human error.
While this is understandable, it absolutely need not be a barrier to the use of transformative technologies like Crowcon Connect. All of the relevant risks are well managed and mitigated, and in fact the cloud is a far more secure (and customisable) environment than many people realise.
How does cloud data storage work?
In simple terms, when a Crowcon gas detector is connected via the internet to the Crowcon Connect software, the data passes directly from the detector to the cloud. It does not interface with any other software, applications or data: in that sense, the stream of data is entirely isolated. Exactly the same applies when the system is used the other way around, i.e. when a user accesses the cloud solution via a connected device.
When we say that gas detector data ends up in the cloud, this is to use ‘cloud’ as a bit of a catch-all term. So, let’s break it down. Many people understand the cloud to mean a hosted environment (i.e. the data sits on a server somewhere, where it interacts with the software). Many assume that ‘the cloud’ is effectively shorthand for ‘a server rack in a datacentre’ and that is often true. But because we know that customers vary in their hosting preferences and needs, the ‘cloud’ that Crowcon Connect exists within can be provided to clients in various forms.
The Crowcon Connect system is hosted and manged on the Microsoft Azure cloud instance hosted in Dublin, Ireland. This is an extremely secure set-up that exceeds the usual Microsoft standards (which are already very robust), and is accessed via an internet connection as we have seen. However, according to need it can also be formatted for use in the following ways:
- API – the use of an API allows the user to draw upon the Crowcon Connect database in combination with existing databases: some organisations favour this because it allows them to continue using their current dashboards and report tools, but with fleet-wide detector information.
- On-prem – this term is short for ‘on premises’ and it means just that. If required, Crowcon can create a local version of the portal, which means that all data remains on the organisation’s own in-house servers. Some users like this because it gives them absolute control over their data.
- Own-cloud – it is also possible for Crowcon to create an implementation on an organisation’s own cloud, which ensures that all device data remains on their server, within their control.
How safe is it?
In all cases and formats, the use of connected safety in this way has been made extremely secure. Full details are given in our IT FAQs document, which you can read by clicking here.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of using a connected safety solution for gas detectors are numerous and potentially transformative. With gas detection that connects to cloud software you can enhance safety, productivity and compliance, and when the gas insights provided are integrated with wider business data, they can be used to make important and lasting improvements. Want to find out more? Click here to read more about Crowcon’s own cloud software solution.