The general debate about the utility of Cloud-based solutions seems to have been settled – over 90 percent of global enterprises report using cloud computing in some part of their business. But do manufacturers hesitant to make the switch have legitimate security concerns, and is there any new tech available that may put their minds at ease?

Cloud computing, in its most basic definition, refers to the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, as opposed to a local server or a personal computer. If you’re alive in 2021, cloud-based solutions are probably an important part of your life. According to, 67% of the world’s enterprise infrastructure and 82% of its workload resides in the cloud, and the average person uses 36 cloud-based services every single day.

Nearly every industry has rushed to embrace the flexibility that the cloud can offer, and manufacturers have proven to be no exception – 66% of manufacturing enterprises reported using a cloud implementation in 2017, and by 2023 almost half the software used by manufacturers is expected to be cloud-based. And because connectivity has become such a pillar of efficient manufacturing, manufacturers who have been reluctant to embrace the cloud will need to do so to meet the technology standards used through their supply chains and address issues quickly, and avoid the disadvantages of using local storage, which include on-site disasters that can destroy local storage and expensive, time-consuming maintenance.

There are other advantages to migrating to the cloud, including:

  • Cost savings. Cloud solutions do not require in-house servers.
  • Scalability. Cloud computing grows with a business and can also scale back when needed.
  • Reliability. Cloud-based technology has fewer technical problems than software used on individual computers.
  • Faster updates. Technology-based in the cloud stays updated – no need for an IT department to make sure every employee has updated software.
  • Marketplace advantage. Better productivity and communications give companies that use cloud manufacturing solutions a competitive edge.
  • Centralized management. Access can be gained from any computer or device in an organization, improving management capabilities. 

In addition, with smart manufacturing techniques that allow computers and devices to communicate with each other to optimize productivity and efficiency becoming standard, smaller businesses that may not have the IT infrastructure to implement smart manufacturing can use cloud technology, making smart manufacturing possible for manufacturers of any size.

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Why Azure?

The Azure platform aims to help manufacturers manage challenges and meet their organizational goals. It offers tools that support all industries and is compatible with open-source technologies, giving users the flexibility to use their preferred tools and technologies.

Other benefits that Azure offers to manufacturers include:

  • Minimal hardware needed on site. Production machines, equipment, sensors, platforms, and systems can all be connected to the Azure cloud and integrated to deliver on a company’s requirements.
  • Hybrid cloud compatibility. Azure solutions can be developed to meet the needs of any business, whether that means solutions on one cloud, across multiple clouds, at a location, or close to the source of data.
  • Compliance compatibility. The hybrid computing capabilities of Azure allow manufacturers to create private cloud infrastructures that enables compliance at all levels.
  • Familiar applications. Applications that most manufacturers already use are fully integrated with Microsoft Azure, including Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, and Office 365. This reduces the learning curve for employees and helps with the implementation of new solutions and systems.
  • A security-conscious approach. It starts with password security. Microsoft Azure has a single sign-on feature, which makes it easy to manage large numbers of users. It also makes it easier for people in an organization to access their platforms, systems, applications, and data without a complex set of passwords to remember. What’s more, a user can implement even greater levels of control over access as required, making access to parts of a system either device or location-specific, which reduces the potential for unauthorized access. 

Azure clouds include hardware and firmware verification for Edge devices as well as added protections against threats such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS). Microsoft also boasts a team of more than 3,500 global cybersecurity experts that work together to help safeguard business assets and data in Azure, with the identification of new threats and quick responses informed by real-time global cybersecurity intelligence delivered at cloud scale.

The right choice for Andea and Manufacturo

Andea has long been a Microsoft Gold-Certified Partner with Microsoft Independent Software Vendor status. A Gold-Certified Partner is a partner company that has agreed to collaborate and establish a close working relationship with Microsoft. This title also proves that Manufacturo was able to achieve the highest standards of Microsoft’s partnership program, which is recognized worldwide.

Holding Microsoft Independent Software Vendor status means that Andea and Manufacturo have officially completed the co-sell readiness process with Microsoft and have confirmed their knowledge and experience when it comes to introducing products and services. As a result, Manufacturo is now officially listed as a solution in the Microsoft AppSource.

Considering the long and successful partnership between Andea and Microsoft and then factoring in the cornucopia of benefits that Microsoft Azure holds for manufacturers, there was really only one choice when it was time for Andea to step into the cloud – and the choice should be a simple one for other manufacturers as well.