When offices were ordered to close in March, in line with measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, many found themselves unprepared. Existing IT infrastructures were put under unprecedented – and unexpected – stress as total stop-work orders went into place. Workforces were sent home, while important data and project files sat – inaccessible – in on-site servers. As staff tried to keep business moving as usual while working from home, interruptions, delays, and outages made it even more challenging.
Not all companies have managed the shift to a virtual office, or at least not gracefully. Organizations with significant on-premises infrastructures have struggled to work around pandemic lockdown restrictions. In fact, some companies have been unable to operate at all since they were locked out of the office without access to their physical servers. Now, if they want to survive this moment of crisis – however long it will last – they need to make some tough decisions.
Companies on the Cloud Have Already Pivoted in Place
What types of companies have managed to pivot in place with grace? Those that already relied on cloud infrastructure performed this unprecedented remote work pivot without hesitation. With just a day or two of warning, they were able to shift to entirely WFH operations. Instead of needing to reconfigure everything to a distributed infrastructure, it was simply a matter of physically stretching their workforce out. They didn’t need to push back project deadlines and they’ve kept up a normal level of productivity.
To give you an example from this sector, look at companies like I.S. Partners. Their auditing team is currently utilizing the same cloud computing platforms and technology that it is used to using for assessment and attestation activities. Only now it is able respond to the restrictions in place and provide entirely remote auditing and compliance services. This means that their clients’ security and compliance efforts can keep to the set schedule even without on-site fieldwork.
The strategic advantages of cloud computing have become so clear in this moment. It facilitated an agile and dramatic shift when business continuity demanded it most. So, we expect that these companies will really think twice about bringing processing back in-house when offices are able to open up again. And, once the pandemic has passed, I believe many will opt to expand their cloud usage.
Why More Companies Are Now Rushing to the Cloud
Essentially, we are currently running the biggest remote work experiment in history and it’s expediting the shift to cloud services. Now, and in the near future, we’re going to see flocks of companies migrating from a reliance on traditional data centers to hybrid or full cloud infrastructures. Here’s why:
The Cloud Enables Remote Activities.
Though many business owners and CEOs never thought they would need to have their whole workforce operating remotely, here we are. And the cost of losing months, weeks, or even just one day, of productivity is scary, if not lethal. Enabling staff to work at the same capacity as they do on-site is invaluable at a time like this. Unsure of what the future will hold, the remote capacity of the cloud seems more crucial than ever.
With the help of cloud data centers, businesses can support WFH activities. Work and collaboration can continue as usual thanks to memory, storage, and processing power that respond to demand and guarantee access to data.
Then, using virtual desktops, employees can log in from any device – and from anywhere – and pick up where they left off. With the ability to use the same applications and programs they are accustomed to, there’s a seamless transition to working in the office, at home, or on the go. Plus, all the computing power is delivered by the cloud, so even low-capacity computers can handle heavy workloads. This resolves many of the security and capacity problems presented with bring-your-own-device policies.
The Cloud Ensures Availability.
Cloud infrastructures are designed for versatile distribution and high availability. Even when you have so many people working from home and accessing data contemporarily, cloud providers can keep up. They take advantage of multiple data centers and shift workloads on the fly to deliver uninterrupted service. VPNs, on the other hand, often aren’t ready to scale to that level and shows signs of stress when usage exceeds regular capacity.
The Cloud Helps Cut the Upkeep.
Cloud environments virtually eliminate internal IT maintenance tasks and allow companies to refocus staff time and energy to more valuable efforts. Under regular circumstances, this is a big advantage and cost savings.
In the current pandemic situation, this is a huge advantage. On-premises and traditional data centers are kept up by IT techs, valuable personnel who may not be able to work remotely. But, who can keep these physical systems operating if even technicians are on lockdown? Instead, the cloud service provider and the IT staff can respond to requests virtually. This is another reason why more companies than ever are considering cloud solutions.
The Cloud Allows You to Shift the Risk & Share Responsibility.
When a crisis hits, the IT system needs to be reliable in order to help the company survive. Yet, they are under more stress and are more vulnerable to threats than ever. Cybercriminals are infamous for taking advantage of times of concentrated international attention and fear. So, in times like this, IT managers really see the benefit of being able to shift some of the risk out of house – to AWS, Azure, or a private cloud.
When an organization entrusts a cloud provider with their IT infrastructure, they enter into a relationship founded on the principle of shared responsibility. The benefit for organizations in regulated industries is that they can share the burden of security and compliance responsibilities. Working together – as a team – managed cloud services make sure that your company’s security policies are upheld and designated compliance procedures are followed.
These incredibly valuable advantages have encouraged many companies to expedite their move to the cloud.
Considering a Move to the Cloud? Keep This in Mind…
Migrating data securely to a cloud infrastructure and setting up a customized virtual desktop takes time. We understand the urgency to make the move now in response to the pandemic. It’s important, though, to plan appropriately and expect there to be a transition period. To ensure business continuity, partner with a managed cloud service provider who will assist your company through every step of the process.
We also anticipate a wave of malicious attacks looking for vulnerabilities on cloud infrastructures set up hastily during and soon after the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it is critical that the data security posture be implemented properly by a professional. When it’s done correctly, the cloud has scalable security controls that provide a high-level of defense against denial-of-service attacks and other cyber threats.
With that in mind, the time to consider shifting the cloud has passed. It’s time to make the move. Because virtual and remote operations are likely to stick around long after the pandemic is gone.
Watch the recent session held by our AWA division. Webinar: “Cloud Basics”