Six benefits of cloud-based computing for the oil and gas industry
Cloud-based computing allows businesses to use a system of remote servers hosted on the internet (the “cloud”) to store, manage and filter their data. Instead of storing large quantities of data in on-premises servers, cloud customers pay a monthly fee to a data centre to manage, maintain and upgrade their remote server system.
In recent years many companies in the oil and gas industry have started to make the switch from in-house data storage to cloud-based services. Businesses such as BP, and ExxonMobil have invested heavily in cloud-based platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. Here’s our look at some of the major benefits cloud-based computing can bring to the oil and gas industry.
Better use of big data
Oil and gas companies have been generating vast quantities of data for many years, using a huge array of sensors to measure, control and monitor industry functions. This data should help companies identify and solve problems more efficiently but the difficulty of storing such large quantities can hamper this. Cloud-based computing offers oil and gas companies the opportunity to store their data offsite in scalable servers that adapt to their requirements. When stored effectively data can be used much more easily to optimise production. Planning and maintenance can be predicted, field operators can have easy access to data that helps them make better decisions and potential problems can be spotted and resolved more quickly.
A recent Accenture report into cloud-based computing in the oil and gas industry showed that the number one reason for switching to cloud services was to keep pace with change. Oil and gas companies fear being left behind and losing their competitive edge. Cloud-based computing increases companies’ agility, helping them make decisions more quickly. Effective use of their data allows analysis of business processes, production methods, maintenance planning, asset management, workforce handling, supply chain and customer relationships, which can be used to inform and implement new models in shorter time frames.
Moving computing to the cloud means a business no longer has to buy enormous expensive servers or has to find the space to house them. Without the need for constant server maintenance companies can streamline their IT teams. Data centres provide all the expertise necessary for keeping your servers up and running – power outages are less likely, thus improving productivity, and data contracts can mitigate the cost if the servers do go down.
Increased security and compliance
In the early days of cloud-based computing security fears were the biggest problem. Giving a third-party access to sensitive data can be a daunting decision. However, in recent years fears have diminished considerably. Data centres invest hugely in their security services, hiring the most highly qualified security experts and providing state-of-the-art defences against online and physical attack. They also manage your security standard compliance for you, removing the need for specialist employees. Keeping data in-house carries its own security risks and considerable costs – servers must be constantly updated to achieve the latest security standards and every physical and Wi-Fi entry point must be secured.
Storing data in the cloud allows companies to work more efficiently. Document management, supply chain management and customer records are all kept in one place accessible to whoever needs them. Collaborative cloud-based systems such as Google Docs mean several team members can work on a document at once wherever they are based, which is particularly important in the oil and gas industry where companies may have employees across the globe.
Reduced environmental impact
Oil and gas companies are sensitive to their impact on the environment and are always looking for ways to reduce it. Cloud-based computing means servers are used more efficiently, thus using less energy. Data centres themselves invest heavily in reducing their environmental impact and optimising energy use. In a more environmentally aware world, oil and gas companies benefit from being able to demonstrate their commitment to reducing their impact.
OMS and the cloud
OMS work with both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. During a project, data generated by OMS systems is stored securely in the cloud and available immediately to clients, inspectors and operators.
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[5 minute read]
By James Sale