For businesses in the industrial sector, the ability to use cloud services efficiently is becoming an increasingly critical competitive factor. Cloud services now make it possible to implement scalable applications easily and with significantly less effort than in the past. At the same time, information technology, operational technology and automation technology continue to converge, creating new challenges for machine builders. Here, PC-based control technology offers a way forward, providing a comprehensive platform that enables them to exploit IoT infrastructures to advance globalized industrial production. Setting up secure and scalable connections between geographically distributed control systems – to support big data or analytics scenarios, for example – is only the first step; the second is to ensure that these interconnected systems are as easy as possible to operate and maintain remotely. And this is where TwinCAT Cloud Engineering comes in: It enables the TwinCAT Engineering and Runtime products from Beckhoff to be instantiated and operated directly in the cloud. With easy access through the Beckhoff website, this cloud-based solution allows registered users to perform a range of tasks, including the creation of TwinCAT Cloud Engineering instances; these instances can connect to physical control hardware over a secure transport channel. Access is charged for according to a fair pricing model under which users can initially try the cloud service for free, then choose whether to continue using their instance once the trial phase expires. Users also enjoy all the benefits of the TwinCAT control architecture, plus location-independent collaboration options based on a source control repository.