The COVID-19 pandemic is fueling reliance on remote work, thereby increasing the need for cloud computing in organizations.
The video conferencing platform Zoom has received a 300% day-to-day increase in use, according to a JPMorgan study. Additionally, Microsoft’s collaboration platform Teams saw a jump in 12 million daily users the week of March 18. In India, 64% of organizations are expected to transition to cloud computing amidst the pandemic. In Europe, a cloud computing project dubbed Gaia-X—a collaboration between the European Commission and the French and German governments—aims to create a European-based cloud environment that will lessen the continent’s dependence on private companies.
“Cloud computing, which has been touted for its flexibility, reliability and security, has emerged as one of the few saving graces for businesses during this pandemic,” writes Evan Ellis, CEO and President of K2, in Forbes. “Its use is critical for companies to maintain operations, but even more critical for their ability to continue to service their customers. However, many organizations have lost sight of the original purpose of the cloud and are therefore failing to fully harness its potential.”
The Benefits of Transitioning to the Cloud
Without cloud computing, this large-scale dependence on remote work would not be possible. As the pandemic pushes more organizations to rely on the cloud, it will likely speed a shift from hybrid public-private cloud models to fully-integrated cloud models. According to David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP, the benefits of fully transitioning to the cloud include:
1) Flexible storage: Because the public cloud is more flexible than physical storage, it offers benefits such as virtual servers that don’t need to be managed manually, quick access to on-demand storage with no limit to the amount you can store, and the ability to embed resiliency.
2) The ability to shift processes to different areas in the cloud and maneuver around disruptions.
3) Enhanced security features including identity advanced encryption in flight and at rest, multifactor authentication (MFA), access management (IAM), and biometrics.
4) Advanced remote control over assets in the public cloud in situations where physical assets cannot be accessed, such as the current situation of widespread business closures during the pandemic.
How to Adopt Fully to the Cloud
To transition fully to the cloud, Ellis recommends the following steps:
1) Have a plan: Make an assessment of your current infrastructure before moving forward.
2) Prepare your apps: Some apps may already be ready to move to the cloud, while you may need to be modernize or replace others.
3) Make the commitment to transition fully to the cloud: Enable and train your users to utilize apps in the cloud. Additionally, prepare to adapt to a cloud system that will require smaller and more frequent updates.
Understand the Challenges
Before moving forward, you’ll need to consider the challenges involved. First, inexperienced IT professionals may inadvertently expose private data when transitioning data to the public cloud—meaning it is vital to make sure they are properly trained before making the transition. Second, it’s important to have a good understanding of how much storage you will need to provision before you make the switch.
“The overall message here is that there is value in looking at potential cloud computing solutions,” writes Linthicum. “When the crisis passes and IT falls into a ‘new normal’ routine, enterprises should assess how well they fared through the event by checking in with their ops teams. If your ops teams have worked regular days during the crisis, chances are you had the right mix of cloud or noncloud technology. A stressed ops team could mean there is much that can be improved.”
Understand the Cloud
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(3 June 2020). 64% Indian firms to adopt cloud computing amid COVID-19 pandemic: IDC. The News Minute.
Potoroaca, Adrian. (4 June 2020). France and Germany back plans to create a European cloud computing ecosystem dubbed Gaia-X. TECHSPOT.
Linthicum, David. (26 May 2020). Leveraging The Cloud During The Pandemic. Forbes.
Ellis, Evan. (22 May 2020). The Current Pandemic Gives Cloud Computing A Needed Jolt. Forbes.