In the Age of COVID, Cloud Operations Management is Flying

Rather, rarely, in the pandemic context, can we see a positive point. However, successive shutdowns and widespread teleworking have forced organizations to seek new technological solutions tailored to their productivity requirements. It is here that the management of operations mode Clouds (the Cloud) has become an attractive alternative for a growing number of carriers and warehousers.

Why?

Because this way of managing operations allows for greater flexibility in the organization, increased productivity on the part of employees, reduction of time loss, total integration of its activities as well as total protection of its sensitive data. But all this is only possible if you choose a host that knows how to maintain and make your data accessible at all times.

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What is a Cloud?

But let’s start at the beginning. What is Clouds ? Or, as president of Céritar technologies, Jean-Philippe Sicard, laughing said: “Here’s the clouds ? »Really confusing, the term Clouds should not, however, be taken in the strict sense.

In fact, the Clouds is a metaphor for saying that data, once stored on an external host, is accessible by employees and employers, wherever they are in the world. “It’s simple, senior transport consultant Luc Gervais told us, a server the host agrees to keep at home. »

An external server, therefore, that provides access, via a single computer (tablet or cell phone), an Internet connection, software, an identifier and a password, to the data of the remote business. “The Clouds enables more flexible management of employees (time sharing, telecommuting), allowing the organization to reduce its office space and overall operating costs, says Mr. Sicard that the company, which is a company software based in Longueuil, in Montérégie of Quebec, followed this trend by reducing the size of its own offices during the pandemic.

Choose the right software

When available, the data, which is uploaded to a server by clouds, should be organized and centralized so that employees, depending on their level of authority or responsibility, have real-time access to information pertaining to them.

To do this, there are several software programs on the market that may or may not include all of the organization’s data. Depending on the complexity of their needs.

“An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, for example, is a type of software that brings together all of the company’s functions in one place,” explains Mr. Gervais, one of which the two professional commands are make an objective analysis of the needs of the transportation organization before proposing appropriate solutions.

Be inventory, accounts receivable and payable, accounting, parts, payroll, purchasing, performance, risk, inventory and compliance management, warehousing, logistics operations, vendor accounts, income statement, garage, apportionment or fuel taxes, a platform powered by ng Clouds can include, in real time, everything that would otherwise be siled by each department.

The manager of a warehouse can, for example, check, in real time, the movement of goods even if he is in Paris, Tokyo or Moscow. Same reality of an employee working from home.

“A boss who wants to see accounts receivable must physically go to the accounting office, request that the document be printed before returning to his office. Using management mode Cloudshe will have direct and real-time access to all data of all departments of the company thanks to his office computer, an Internet connection and access to his software through Clouds”Said Mr. Gervais.

Choosing the right software

The software. Master card in the management of its fashion operations Clouds, software is the primary tool around which it is possible to improve efficiency, accessibility, security, organization and productivity. Software variables are numerous and customizable, but we can distinguish two main families with regard to transportation: the generic high-volume solution and the personalized solution.

Mr. Sicard, whose company specializes in designing software for transportation and warehousing, explains: “A higher volume and growing company will want software that is fast, easy and economical to deploy, will adopt a generic non-customizable software. This solution is generally preferred by small businesses in transportation and warehousing. »

“A small organization, Patrick Millard of Millogiciels told us, doesn’t necessarily have the means to buy a server and software to manage its day-to-day operations. storing its data in the cloud at a lower cost and adapted to its needs would be a valid solution. »

Custom solutions, which are more expensive and complex, are typically considered by companies whose activities benefit from the complete integration of their various divisions. It is here that the integrated management mode Clouds may reap some benefits to the organization.

The software solutions offered by publishers are as versatile and adaptable as organizational requirements, management complexity and available budget to integrate internal IT operations as well as linking software. partner. external.

Once the right software has been selected, the manager needs to ask himself the question of the host, the security and the availability.star of its data.

Private cloud or public cloud, that’s the question

To this question, Sylvain Pruneau from CAT answers: “The private cloud is when you entrust your own servers to an external host, while the public cloud is where the host’s servers are used to store your data. .For the director, the information technologies within this transportation company located in Coteau-du-Lac, in Montérégie, the choice depends on the strategy of each company and the specific needs it wants to meet.

CAT Global (trucking brokerage division), telephony, email and conference management as well as accounting have been transferred to Clouds according to various technological solutions-hosting software provider (Mercury) for brokerage, the Montreal company Voxsun for Internet telephony, Microsoft and Office 365 for emails and conferencing, and its hosting provider Azur for accounting – CAT is currently considering whether an investment of several hundred thousand dollars in servers is necessary.

Centralization of its infrastructure

“We have reached this stage: centralized, on a single infrastructure, the information and servers of all our companies scattered throughout North America. This choice will be made in between clouds private, management directly in our area or entirely in a clouds audience. But so far, our thinking suggests that there is a 95% chance that all of our infrastructure will be put out of our offices.. »

For Luc Gervais, choosing to centralize the company’s data and management software to an external third party makes sense. “The clouds is fast, safe, efficient and economical. You don’t need software licensing, no in-house IT team taking care of IT, no updating and no seasonal investment. »

Louis-Philippe Sicard proved: “The advantage of clouds is the technology (performance, storage, functionality, security) is regularly updated by the host and/or the software publisher. Unlike in-house solutions, where the technology can quickly become obsolete, too advanced or very difficult to support for a small system, the Clouds tend to reduce internal resources and/or subcontractors whose mandate is to periodically upgrade the company’s solutions. »

Cybersecurity

In addition to the monthly costs paid by the company for its use of clouds – number of users, amount of bandwidth used, complexity of management software, etc. – the question of cybersecurity remains at the heart of the decision to entrust, or not, its data to the outside.

Can I steal my data? Will I still have real-time access to my software? Is the host reliable? All of these questions were posed to our four specialists. The answers, fortunately, all go in the same direction: it’s safe, but you need to do your homework BEFORE signing a contract with a host.

Patrick Millard states that “the host is legally committed to making the data entrusted to it available and secure at all times. For Louis-Philippe Sicard, that customer data in Canada, American and European is hosted according to the order of external subcontractors in Canada, United States and Europe, the CR4 cybersecurity standard is mandatory.

The CR4 standard

The CR4 standard indicates that servers are redundant, links are redundant and infrastructures are physically and digitally protected. If the hosting of the server and data is done in the offices of the company, then it is solely responsible for its management.

For Luc Gervais, data control and their protection against cyberattacks (hacking) pass, for a Canadian company, through a Canadian host. “In the United States, it’s a bit more dangerous than in Canada, he says, where intellectual property is more protected here.»

In the case of CAT, Sylvain Pruneau believes his company has, until now, been well protected against “hackers.” “We have done our homework, and we are always on the lookout for potential new threats. We also ensured, thanks to a recent audit by a company specializing in cybersecurity, that our processes were streamlined and improvements were identified. I am personally convinced that with redundancy in the secondary data center, our data will always be safe. »

Redundancy

“Redundancy, Mr. Pruneau explains, is a copy of data transferred from one” data center “to another (by the same company, but in a different city, province, state or country) in just a few nanoseconds. This additional protection reduces the risk of a cyberattack damaging data and preventing the business from functioning normally.

Widespread among recognized hosts, “this skill, Mr. Sicard tells us, reduces risks for the carrier and the warehouseman. It’s also a very good question to ask the host or software publisher before making finance: Where will my data be stored, and to whom? »

It is precisely here that the advantage of managing operations Clouds makes sense. “You pay for your usage on the monthly installation. In return, the host offers you to greatly reduce the risk of hacking by doing, on a daily basis, to ensure the best protection of your data. how By applying cybersecurity best practices internally. You can then focus on the productivity, efficiency and growth of your professional activities, concludes Mr. Pruneau.

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