07 March 2024

Should I Store My Farm Data In 'The Cloud'?

Staying on top of your farm admin and having access to real-time info is crucial for a smooth and successful farming operation. With rural areas now having better access to the internet, one tool that can greatly benefit some farmers is 'The Cloud'.

Many farm man­age­ment soft­ware com­pa­nies are now using The Cloud to auto­mat­i­cal­ly store and share your information.

If The Cloud is some­thing you are con­sid­er­ing but you’re not quite sure about it yet, we’ve put togeth­er the fol­low­ing arti­cle explain­ing the top 4 ben­e­fits to farm­ers to using Cloud-based stor­age as well as some of the rea­sons some of you may want to keep your data sole­ly on-premise.

Briefly, the 4 main ben­e­fits to stor­ing your farm data on The Cloud are:

  1. Access­ing your real-time data from wher­ev­er you are
  2. Always hav­ing access to the most up to date information
  3. Allow­ing easy access to oth­er stake­hold­ers (Accoun­tants, Sec­re­tary, Farm Manager…)
  4. The Cloud is always auto­mat­i­cal­ly backed up

Here at SUM-IT Agri­cul­tur­al Soft­ware, whilst we know that although stor­age in The Cloud can offer farm­ers a host of ben­e­fits, this does not suit every farm­ing set-up. That is why we offer our cus­tomers a choice of whether or not they store their data in The Cloud or local­ly on their PC, backed up online to our office.

What is The Cloud’?

Before we dive into the ben­e­fits, let’s first under­stand what The Cloud’ means in the con­text of farming.

In sim­ple terms, The Cloud refers to a net­work of online servers that are used to store, man­age, and process data over the inter­net. This means that instead of your data being stored only on your farm’s PC, it is instead made avail­able to any­one with the rights to access it, from any­where in the world at any time.

This tech­nol­o­gy allows users to access and update data from any device that can link with the inter­net, mak­ing it a con­ve­nient and effi­cient solu­tion for some farm­ers. These oper­a­tors could include your Sec­re­tary, Farm Man­ag­er and Accountant.

In this blog post, we start by explor­ing four key ben­e­fits of using The Cloud and how it may help the way you man­age your farm.

What are the ben­e­fits of stor­ing my farm’s data in The Cloud?

#1. Access Your Data Wher­ev­er You Are on the Farm

Gone are the days of being tied to your office to access impor­tant busi­ness information. 

With The Cloud, you can now access your data from any­where, at any time, using any device with an inter­net con­nec­tion. Whether you are in the field, in the barn, or even on the go, you can eas­i­ly retrieve infor­ma­tion such as crop yields, live­stock records or debtors lists and cus­tomer infor­ma­tion. This flex­i­bil­i­ty allows you to update your records and make informed deci­sions on the spot, lead­ing to improved effi­cien­cy and productivity.

For exam­ple, you may want to quick­ly view whether a cow is in calf or whether a par­tic­u­lar sheep has received med­ica­tion. You may also be meet­ing your Accoun­tant or Con­sul­tant and need access to your exact cur­rent finan­cial posi­tion. All this can be done wher­ev­er you are when your data is being held in The Cloud because you’re view­ing the data in real time.

#2. Always View the Most Up-To-Date Information

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits of using The Cloud for farm­ing is the abil­i­ty to access real-time data and ana­lyt­ics. With tra­di­tion­al farm­ing meth­ods, farm­ers often have to rely on man­u­al data col­lec­tion and analy­sis, which can be time-con­sum­ing and prone to errors.

Hav­ing instant access to real-time data allows farm­ers to make informed deci­sions about their farm­ing oper­a­tions, such as when to irri­gate, fer­til­ize, or har­vest. It also helps them iden­ti­fy poten­tial issues ear­ly on, such as pest infes­ta­tions or nutri­ent defi­cien­cies, and take cor­rec­tive action before it’s too late.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Cloud-based solu­tions often have the abil­i­ty to inte­grate with oth­er sys­tems, such as weath­er data or pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture tools, pro­vid­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive view of your far­m’s data.

#3. Easy Access for Oth­er Stakeholders

Farm­ing is rarely a one-per­son oper­a­tion. Often, you work with Part­ners, Farm Sec­re­taries employ­ees, Accoun­tants or even Con­sul­tants who need access to the same data you do. The Cloud allows you to share real-time infor­ma­tion with these stake­hold­ers, ensur­ing every­one is on the same page. Whether it’s shar­ing crop progress with your agron­o­mist or live­stock health records with your vet­eri­nar­i­an, The Cloud makes col­lab­o­ra­tion seam­less and effi­cient. You won’t need to wor­ry that your herds­man or accoun­tant is ever view­ing out of date information.

It may even save costs as it eas­i­ly allows oth­er stake­hold­ers to use and update your data in real-time wher­ev­er they are. This may mean your farm sec­re­tary can work from home more often or you can eas­i­ly meet remote­ly with your accoun­tant, sav­ing trav­el cost and time.

Often, soft­ware hous­es will also allow you to set per­mis­sions on what each oper­a­tor can see, so you’re nev­er giv­ing away too much info.

#4. Always Backed-Up

Farm­ers under­stand the impor­tance of pro­tect­ing valu­able data. Los­ing crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion due to a com­put­er crash, data hack or phys­i­cal dam­age can be dev­as­tat­ing to your busi­ness. By using The Cloud, your data is auto­mat­i­cal­ly backed up and stored on secure servers. This means that even if your com­put­er mal­func­tions or is dam­aged, your data remains.

Using The Cloud can bring about peace of mind, know­ing your data will always be avail­able and you don’t need to remem­ber to do your own reg­u­lar back-ups, whether this be on a mem­o­ry stick or anoth­er hard dri­ve. Depend­ing how you do your back-ups, this can save time and expense which is always wel­come on the farm!

Why might I not want to store my farm’s data in The Cloud?

While Cloud data stor­age offers many ben­e­fits, there are also some poten­tial draw­backs that farm­ers should con­sid­er before mak­ing the switch.

Depen­dence on Inter­net Connection

One of the main draw­backs of stor­ing data in The Cloud is the depen­dence on a sta­ble and reli­able inter­net con­nec­tion. With­out this, farm­ers may not be able to access their data when they need it. This can be a major issue when rely­ing on real-time data for deci­sion-mak­ing and can be a rea­son to opt for oth­er options such as mobile apps that can be run offline.

In rur­al areas, where inter­net access may be lim­it­ed or unre­li­able, this can be a sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­er to using Cloud data stor­age. Farm­ers may need to invest in addi­tion­al equip­ment or ser­vices to ensure a sta­ble inter­net con­nec­tion, which can add to the over­all cost of using Cloud stor­age. That’s why we have made Cloud com­plete­ly option­al with our SUM-IT pro­grams.

Secu­ri­ty Concerns

Anoth­er poten­tial draw­back of stor­ing data in The Cloud is secu­ri­ty con­cerns. While Cloud stor­age providers have secu­ri­ty mea­sures in place to pro­tect data, there is always a risk of data breach­es or cyber attacks. This is espe­cial­ly con­cern­ing for farm­ers who store sen­si­tive data, such as finan­cial infor­ma­tion or cus­tomer data.

To mit­i­gate this risk, farm­ers should care­ful­ly research and choose a rep­utable Cloud stor­age provider with strong secu­ri­ty mea­sures in place.

Here at SUM-IT it was vital that we chose a well-trust­ed, man­aged Cloud ser­vice with a strong rep­u­ta­tion for pro­vid­ing con­sis­tent and secure access and stor­age to han­dle our client’s data.

Data Own­er­ship and Control

Some farm­ers do not like the idea of putting all of their sen­si­tive data into The Cloud. Although most stor­age providers assure us that your data is kept safe and secure, some peo­ple may have con­cerns over data own­er­ship and con­trol and pre­fer to keep all their data sole­ly on-premise.

Down­time and Ser­vice Disruptions

Like any online tech­nol­o­gy, Cloud stor­age is not immune to down­time and ser­vice dis­rup­tions. If a Cloud stor­age provider expe­ri­ences tech­ni­cal issues or out­ages, farm­ers may not be able to access their data when they need it. This can be a major issue for time-sen­si­tive oper­a­tions, such as plant­i­ng or harvesting.

To mit­i­gate this risk, farm­ers should research the reli­a­bil­i­ty and up-time of poten­tial Cloud stor­age providers before mak­ing a decision.

Cost of Data Storage

While Cloud data stor­age can offer cost sav­ings in some cas­es, it can also be cost­ly for farm­ers with large amounts of data. Cloud stor­age providers typ­i­cal­ly charge based on the amount of data stored, so farm­ers with large datasets may face high­er stor­age costs.

Addi­tion­al­ly, if a farmer needs to access their data fre­quent­ly, they may also face addi­tion­al costs for data retrieval. This can add up over time and may not be fea­si­ble for farm­ers with lim­it­ed budgets.

Here at SUM-IT we only charge £4/​month for each addi­tion­al set of Accounts data11/​month for the first dataset) and there are no addi­tion­al charges for fre­quent access to data or data retrieval. There is also cur­rent­ly no lim­it on the size of each dataset.

This price also includes access for oth­er stake­hold­ers such as Farm Sec­re­taries, Accoun­tants and Vets (with per­mis­sions set by the farmer them­selves) so they can view and analyse your real-time data. All they will need to do is down­load SUM-IT soft­ware for free on their PC or lap­top and get access with their own pri­vate login and password.

If I use The Cloud for my farm man­age­ment, do I always need access to the internet?

Yes, you will need a reli­able broad­band con­nec­tion of 4MB+ speed at all times when run­ning TOTAL2 in The Cloud. As per most oth­er farm man­age­ment pro­grams run­ning in The Cloud, users aren’t able to down­load a copy and run it offline.

How easy or dif­fi­cult is The Cloud to use for my farm?

Usu­al­ly, run­ning your farm man­age­ment soft­ware is no dif­fer­ent whether you are using The Cloud or using stor­age on your PC, lap­top or tablet. How­ev­er, some farm man­age­ment com­pa­nies are sole­ly Cloud-based where­as oth­ers are pure­ly premise-based and the ease of use of dif­fer­ent farm soft­ware varies.

At SUM-IT we offer you the choice of whether you wish to run in The Cloud or not and all our pro­grams are designed to be used by farm­ers with lit­tle to now pri­or com­put­er expe­ri­ence. Our TOTAL2 range of farm soft­ware is par­tic­u­lar­ly intu­itive and farmer-friendly.

What is the process of mov­ing my data to The Cloud?

If you are already run­ning our TOTAL2 soft­ware, then it would sim­ply be a case of trans­fer­ring your data in to us and our in-house team here at SUM-IT would move all your nec­es­sary farm data up to The Cloud for you.

If you are a new user of TOTAL2, your infor­ma­tion will be made avail­able to you on the Cloud from your ini­tial purchase.

How long will it take to move my farm data to The Cloud?

If you are an exist­ing cus­tomer, typ­i­cal­ly it will take just a cou­ple of hours, but we always like to give 24 hours, after which you will freely be able to access your data wher­ev­er you are.


Cloud data stor­age offers many ben­e­fits for dif­fer­ent farm­ers, includ­ing con­ve­nience, effi­cien­cy and peace of mind.

How­ev­er, there are also poten­tial draw­backs to con­sid­er, such as depen­dence on inter­net con­nec­tion, secu­ri­ty con­cerns, and data own­er­ship and control.

Here at SUM-IT farm soft­ware, we are unique in that we are giv­ing farm­ers the option of whether they would like their data stored in The Cloud or local­ly on their machines. We appre­ci­ate everyone’s oper­a­tions are dif­fer­ent and many farm­ers sim­ply do not have reli­able enough inter­net access to make Cloud stor­age feasible.

If you are in two minds about The Cloud and would like to dis­cuss any of your con­cerns with our in-house expert, please feel free to give Ben John a call on 01844 213 003 and he will hap­pi­ly answer any ques­tions you may have.

Alter­na­tive­ly, you can book a live demon­stra­tion of our Accounts soft­ware here, avail­able with the option of The Cloud.