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PROLAG World manages intralogistics from the cloud

PROLAG World manages intralogistics from the cloud
Cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS) have evolved from trend to standard in recent years, with all the leading providers of WMS and intralogistics systems now offering cloud solutions. CIM recognised the potential of the technology early on and was one of the first companies to provide intralogistics software in the cloud. Besides being cost-efficient and flexible, the cloud model is especially attractive for small and medium-sized logistics companies.
Against the backdrop of recent geopolitical events, however, there is growing uncertainty regarding the security of the cloud and cloud services. Cyberattacks on data centres, the risk of power outages and the issue of data protection have moved into the focus of the debate. The question is often raised as to how sustainable cloud systems like PROLAG World actually are in terms of climate protection.
We address some of these issues in the following, highlighting the main advantages of a cloud WMS but also the many uncertainties associated with it.

Maximum functionality at low cost in the cloud

PROLAG World can manage a company’s intralogistics either as an on-premise solution hosted in-house, or as a cloud solution run from our data centre. Full functionality is guaranteed with both variants. The individual configurations and requirements of any intralogistics processes can be mapped in the cloud solution. The decision to opt for a cloud solution is usually related to the environment rather than on the system itself. Like any other software, PROLAG World requires hardware and places certain demands on this hardware. The system’s computing power is extremely efficient, but depending on the complexity of the intralogistics, high-performance servers may be required to provide the required capacities. Purchasing this hardware is costly and continuous operation requires additional maintenance measures and redundancy. Our data centre guarantees high-level system performance at all times, and service and maintenance are integrated and deployed exactly where needed.

Flexible use with maximum mobility

PROLAG World’s cloud solution can be accessed from anywhere in the world. And thanks to browser-based technology, it’s flexible and can be operated on more or less any device. The responsive interface means that any intralogistics system can be managed on a wide variety of mobile devices. Mobile data transfer via WiFi, LTE or 5G allows a high degree of versatility. This is particularly beneficial for smaller or medium-sized businesses, which often shy away from large-scale investments. It also means that logistics service providers with multiple logistics centres around the globe can use PROLAG World across all of their locations despite differing hardware preferences.
PROLAG World’s cloud solution keeps investment and maintenance costs to a minimum, in other words, making it an attractive solution for small and medium-sized businesses. 3PL providers with multiple locations can also significantly reduce their hardware investments with the cloud solution. At the same time, they benefit from the high degree of flexibility it offers.

Security and the cloud – is data really safe in the cloud?

Despite all the benefits of cloud computing, certain doubts remain: How secure is the cloud? Are power outages a problem? Isn’t the probability of a cyber-attack significantly higher when multiple systems are running in the same data centre? Is there sufficient protection against unauthorised accessing of personal data?
Basically, the cloud can only ever be as good as the data centre manager. To ensure maximum levels of security, we manage our customers’ data and systems ourselves. The exclusive use of hardware from certified partners guarantees the highest security standards in all respects. Our servers are located in German data centres and are therefore embedded in one of the most advanced and secure infrastructures in the world. Even in the event of a regional or nationwide power outage, we provide a high-capacity battery backup system and emergency power generators that can bridge even major downtime incidents. What’s more, CIM guarantees a server availability of 99.9%. This is enabled through full redundancy within and between two data centres. A high backup frequency ensures that even in an emergency, a virtual machine backup can be started immediately.
We need to bear in mind that even decentralised servers can be affected by power blackouts. Whether there is then a suitable emergency power generator available to prevent intralogistics from grinding to a halt is another question.

Cyber security as an essential feature of the CIM cloud

Information security is probably the topic that carries the most fears and prejudices, at least when it comes to the cloud. It’s often said that data centres are attractive targets and much more vulnerable to attacks. In fact, the opposite is often the case: thanks to their very technology, cloud solutions offer effective protective measures against distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), which have seen a sharp increase in recent years. Regular, professionally performed maintenance updates as well as properly trained staff and continuous monitoring, as provided in CIM’s data centres, drastically reduce the susceptibility to this type of attack. We protect our servers against malware infections through network-based malware detectors, gateway virus protection and application detection and monitoring.
Malware infections in particular can prevent irreparable damage in the event of an emergency. An increasing problem for German companies is ransomware – a type of malware that encrypts data and blocks access until a sum of money is paid. Decentrally hosted systems are especially vulnerable to this type of attack, which can disrupt operations for days or weeks on end. Our intralogistics specialists have dealt with a number of cases where customers have switched for this very reason from the on-premise solution to PROLAG World in the cloud. The protective mechanisms for detecting anomalies and attacks in data traffic are far more sophisticated in data centres, and generally can’t be matched by an IT team operating their own servers on their own premises.

Data protection – used sensibly and practically

When it comes to data protection, the GDPR forms the basis for secure data exchange with regard to German servers. All data required to operate intralogistics systems is encrypted for transmission using SSL and can only be read by sender and recipient. The highest security standard we offer in terms of data protection is enabled with secure communication through an IPSec VPN tunnel. Our information security and quality management are certified according to ISO (9001:2007, 27001:2015). We’re convinced that what applies to on-premises solutions also applies to the cloud: Customer data belongs to the customer. For this reason, the use of data by our service team is contractually regulated with our business partners through service, maintenance and release upgrade agreements, for example.

Sustainability and the cloud

The IT industry is often attacked over its contribution to environmental pollution. Decades of digitalisation have resulted in a high demand for computing power, boosting the production of hardware and putting a strain on energy supplies. The energy-saving potential of data centres is so high that especially energy-efficient data centres in Germany can be certified by the government’s Blue Angel ecolabel. Since the equipment in server centres tends to run round-the-clock with a high utilisation rate, the demand for energy is consistently high. And cooling systems for data centres are particularly energy-intensive. What’s more, transferring data over the internet in cloud systems requires high levels of computing power and server capacity, which in turn has an impact on energy consumption. Added to this is the high consumption of raw materials for the production of processors and memories. Companies aiming to make their value chain carbon-neutral must pay close attention when choosing a cloud provider.
We’re pleased to say that we’re on the right track at CIM: As well as multiple initiatives in-house, we ensure that all our servers are hosted in data centres that have committed to specific sustainability goals. A large share of our company’s energy consumption already comes from renewable sources, and the core principles of the circular economy dominate the value chain. And a further important step towards greater sustainability in the cloud is our energy management system which is certified according to ISO 50001:2018.

Integrated cloud solution for intralogistics

Full functionality with high cost efficiency, maximum reliability and information security, and data centre sustainability: This is the trinity at the centre of PROLAG World’s cloud strategy. All functions of the intralogistics system are available and continuous operation is guaranteed thanks to redundancy, a sophisticated back-up strategy and high cyber security. At the same time, we make sure not to forget climate and environmental protection. With this integrated approach, we enable our customers to manage their entire intralogistics in the cloud. This makes PROLAG World’s cloud solution a viable alternative or even an enhancement to an on-premises solution.

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PROLAG World manages intralogistics from the cloud

Cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS) have evolved from trend to standard in recent years, with all the leading providers of WMS and intralogistics systems now offering cloud solutions. CIM recognised the potential of the technology early on and was one…

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