Entering the Clouds – A Guide to Cloud-Based Energy Monitoring

Cloud computing symbol overlaying interconnected nodes

Cloud-based applications and services are being adopted at a breakneck pace.

As of 2022, half of the world’s corporate data is already stored in the cloud, and by 2025, over 200ZB of data will be stored virtually globally. Cloud technology is being integrated across practically every sector and vertical, bringing with it more streamlined operations and efficiency-focused automation.

These digital solutions are providing solutions to age-old problems with remaining connected to remote assets and sites. Before diving into that, let’s first address how cloud computing differs exactly from traditional server-based data storage and localized infrastructure.

Cloud computing vs. local servers – taking operations digital

Diagram depicting the differences between cloud-based computing and traditional servers
Source: Medium

As cloud technology becomes increasingly prevalent in every level of society, its use has become more commonplace in monitoring and managing remote assets and facilities.

Traditionally, connectivity had to be provided by some arrangement of servers located relatively close to the relevant assets or facilities. When those number in the thousands, or tens of thousands, that becomes a massive investment in infrastructure.

Moreover, gathering and organizing all that data requires some form of a centralized hub that can handle that volume of data and process it promptly, which is not always available.

For stakeholders, this means a need to physically reach each site and asset to glean any insight into their operations. This adds up to an untenable system for organizations with wide or even simple networks of facilities and assets.

Cloud-based applications and services have filled that gap, providing high-level remote data collection and processing capabilities without the need for excessive localized hardware and connected infrastructure.

Regarding energy-focused cloud solutions, there are a variety of unique advantages to transferring your remote monitoring and management to the cloud.

Making the most out of cloud-based energy monitoring

Cloud-based energy monitoring and management solutions provide a wealth of benefits over their statically placed predecessors.

Let’s dive into some of the more prominent examples.

Reduced development and operational costs

One of the most significant advantages of cloud-based energy monitoring is the cost reduction both from development and operations that stems from traditional energy monitoring. Without the necessity for servers in relative proximity to your sites and assets, costs are immediately reduced.

These cost reductions also extend to maximizing uptime and reducing maintenance by eliminating the need for technicians to be onsite to access or diagnose any issues that arise. Cloud-based systems can help you remotely prioritize the most worthwhile sites to focus on and ensure stakeholders are aware of those issues in real-time.

Turn dumb machinery smart

One of the greatest challenges to gaining valuable performance insights into your remote assets and sites is the simple fact that most of the machinery is dumb. That is, assets like generators and batteries have no built-in way to connect directly to any remote monitoring and management platform.

Cloud-based energy monitoring solutions use IoT-enabled sensors and simple mobile connectivity to bridge that gap and provide real-time access to performance data. Moreover, introducing a single sensor to an energy asset like a rectifier can provide all the necessary information without requiring extensive installation and hardware costs.

Flexible scalability

A primary advantage of cloud-based energy monitoring is the fact that you can freely expand your network or coverage of existing assets and facilities as needed. Due to the lack of local, physical infrastructure needed, no matter how remote or disconnected a site may be, cloud-based energy monitoring is possible.

Universal data access

As we mentioned before, a primary benefit of adopting cloud-based solutions is the removal of localized infrastructure. However, this goes far beyond cost saving. These solutions provide remote access to your remote facilities and assets’ performance data at any time, anywhere.

Cloud-based energy monitoring is accessible on practically any platform, whether a computer, tablet, or mobile device. This further reduces the need for onsite visits, streamlines operations, and ensures different individuals within an organization can collaborate and have immediate access to the same information.

Digital Contingency Plan

It’s great to have on-demand universal access to your remote performance data, but what if the worst were to occur, and there was a service outage? Cloud-based monitoring platforms also have contingency plans built in to protect your data and have ready backups with all your critical information to avoid an extended shutdown. If the same thing were to happen to a local server, there could be significant data loss, especially if backups are only done on a scheduled basis.

Bonus: keep personnel safe

Depending on the area in question, responding to a service outage at a remote site can go beyond inconvenience and enter the realm of personal safety. Due to the location of many of these sites, the areas surrounding them are less traveled and subsequently have less visibility. Certain groups take advantage of these challenges to steal assets like batteries, vandalize sites, and other acts of mischief and crime.

By using a cloud-based energy monitoring platform, these events can be discovered in real-time, not after the fact. In addition, many malfunctions can be diagnosed or further damage mitigated from the comfort of an office without needing a technician to arrive onsite. This can also give technicians more time to arrive on site safely and reduce the need for an immediate response.

Facing the challenges of cloud data security

One of the most daunting tasks facing any cloud-based application or service is the security and continuity of your organization’s internal and collected data. In theory, one of the distinct advantages of localized infrastructure is the ability to apply comprehensive security controls to those devices.

With virtualized cloud applications, the security controls reside with the cloud service provider. However, that doesn’t mean organizations are stuck relying on 3rd-party providers to secure their and their client’s data.

This is where ISO 27001 comes in.

It is the only internationally recognized information security management standard. Any ISO 27001-compliant organization will reduce the frequency of security audits, streamline information security guidelines and controls, and ensure your staff remains focused on keeping data secure.

The most significant benefit of ISO 27001 is that it provides a direct solution to clients’ and internal concerns about maintaining data security. This standard demonstrates your commitment and expertise in protecting that data and provides a significant competitive advantage.

This standard also provides a recognized framework to protect your organization’s reputation and remain compliant with data security requirements such as GPDR. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of data protection policies.

It’s time to turn your energy monitoring virtual

Galooli prides itself on holding ISO 27001 certification and full GPDR compliance in our effort to provide our clients with a secure, effective, and cloud-based energy monitoring solution. Our energy monitoring platform offers a flexible, scalable solution for real-time tracking of remote sites’ and energy assets’ performance.

With custom thresholds tied to live alerts sent to stakeholders, organizations can ensure their remote infrastructure is performing as expected and optimized where needed. We track KPIs that provide actionable insights organizations can use to maximize their energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, and improve their overall carbon footprint.

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