The unprecedented spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) over the past couple of months has created a surge in businesses utilising cloud computing, mobile devices and connectivity. These are vital ingredients enabling employees to work-from-home and businesses to keep operating.
As this pandemic turns the business world upside down, it is also a test of an organisation’s ability to swiftly, securely and systematically scale online applications and communications software, and provide remote access to all employees.
Social distancing and reduced access to offices have organisations rushing to collaboration, online, and video tools to enable customers to access their services virtually.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Organisations which have already embraced agile working with an infrastructure built around being mobile, collaborative, connected and cloud-based, supported by appropriate business continuity and disaster planning, can hope to weather this storm with less disruption to the business over time. For those businesses that have fallen behind the “digital transformation” curve, and those who may still rely on legacy applications and desktop computers residing in physical offices, the race is on to try to keep things moving. For many organisations that fall into this bracket, public cloud services and the purchase of mobile devices such as laptops and mobile phones have been the silver bullet.
6 ways cloud can keep your business going in a crisis
1. Respond to Fluctuating Demand
In a crisis or other event where you need to scale and react quickly, demand for certain applications and data can change rapidly. With a hybrid cloud environment, you can flex up and down to meet this change in demand. You can easily scale and move your applications and data in your private and public clouds as well as your on-premises infrastructure as and when your capacity and workload requirements change
2. Reduce Capex
During times of uncertainty, adding big-ticket items to the balance sheet can put a strain on cashflow. With the cloud, you can streamline your IT spend, paying for a resource when you need it on an ongoing flexible basis, making cashflow less of a headache. Not only does this simplify TCO calculations, but if executed correctly, you will only pay for what you use. This can reduce your costs as well as making you more flexible. Win-win.
3. Deploying Products & Services More Quickly
Moving everything online is the best way to do business in a lockdown. The ability to release new products and services, website changes and updates and app versions quickly and easily online will be what separates you from your competitors. With a tailored hybrid cloud environment, you can keep your initial ideas under wraps in your private cloud, then push these changes out to the public cloud and scale them up as needed. This will drastically increase your time to market, and you’ll be there for your customers when they need you.
4. A Window into Your Organisation
In the modern age, every company has a wealth of data at their fingertips which can be used to create actionable insights. From employee stats to customer loyalty and other vital sales and transaction statistics, a hybrid cloud model can help you turn amorphous big data into actionable insights. At a time when tough decisions start to stack up, data that can help you make the right decision with solid data to back it up can be invaluable.
5. IT Agility
At a time when resources can be spread thin, and productivity per head can determine the survival or demise of an organisation, the effectiveness of your IT team is more important than ever. Utilising cloud properly can make your IT team more efficient and achieve more in less time, by focusing on transformational change instead of managing on-premise and in-house infrastructure. Plus, having a cloud service provider is like having a specialist third party on-tap, and you may be glad you have them around in times of need.
6. Business Resilience
The ability to scale up and down, enable workers to become fully mobile at the drop of a hat and increasing productivity and agility are all things that make your business more resilient. However, when changes are implemented quickly and there is a requirement for a fast turnaround, the chances of an error occurring or a mistake being made increases – not to mention the increase in risk of cyber attacks. For this reason, backing up critical data across multiple clouds is the key to quick and easy recovery. This way you can spread your risk, and if things go wrong, you can calmly put them right again quickly and without any headaches.
Other things to consider
Working from home… Securely
For many businesses it is still rather alien for their workforce to be using mobile devices and working from home. However, this is now imperative to help ensure the business can continue to run and operate as usual. Employees now need access to hardware such as laptops, mobile phones and desk phones which has created a huge demand for these items and requisite technology. But pandemic-related trade cutbacks have led to frustrated supply chains and shipments taking as much as three times as long as they usually do, meaning demand has outweighed supply, creating shortages and low stock levels.
Security is a critical aspect of home working that is not as apparent to employees but of paramount importance to the organisation. Some see this time of uncertainty and chaos as an opportunity to make a quick buck. Because of this, cyberattacks are on the rise and a big concern for CISOs and other security professionals implementing work-from-home and cloud solutions.
Ensuring that all apps and data are connected and stored securely is no small feat, especially when moving quickly in reaction to events as they unfold.
We need to talk about connectivity
There is nothing more frustrating and counterproductive than a VPN which kicks you off at a critical moment or won’t connect when you desperately need it to. Employees get fed up and may give up when a slow download speed which takes days to download (or upload for that matter) a folder of images or videos puts a halt to their otherwise productive morning.
It’s a given; the UK isn’t exactly a candidate for any internet speed awards. Running your public cloud apps and other workloads over the public internet (at the same time as everyone else in the country) could create some frustrating moments for your workforce.
Cloud for virtual events
Big events are the last thing we should be doing when it comes to the spread of the novel Coronavirus. However, some organisations depend on these events. So considering large groups will be dispersed, and those attending will be subject to fines during the lockdown, what is the solution?
As with many things tech orientated, we need to look no further than the tech giant Google. Cloud Next 20, Google’s free, global event will be hosted virtually, including keynotes, streamed directly to your living room, kitchen or study. You can talk to experts, browse products and services and even see breakout sessions, without even getting dressed.
Virtual events are being embraced across the world, helping take some of the sting out of the lockdown. If a success, virtual events may even be around long after the pandemic has passed.
Daisy has both cloud and analogue collaboration solutions that can enable this kind of activity in your business.