Cloud Computing and COVID-19

Tackling COVID-19: How Cloud Computing Throws a Lifeline to Businesses?

With work, education, fun, and entertainment having gone remote due to the COVID-19-driven crisis, businesses and governments are approaching cloud computing services providers to manage the sudden shift in users’ behavior and adapt accordingly.”

The novel coronavirus outbreak is no more sporadic. Spreading in over 185 countries of the world, the outbreak has turned out to be a pandemic, which has put the world’s socio-economic functioning at a halt, all of a sudden. Offices and governments, as well as, markets and customers, everything has stopped in mid-motion as they find themselves in the crosshairs of the pandemic.

At this juncture, IT (Information Technology) — with strong reliability on the cloud — is playing a larger role to keep the wheel in motion.   

The cloud is the answer to many of the questions that arise in the wake of COVID-19, the communicable, infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Given the situation — where approximately 95% of the workforce has been sent to work from home overnight — the demand for the cloud has suddenly spiked. And at the same time, the crisis has created a gap in the demand and supply of cloud services too.  

Microsoft reports that before the crisis, their collaboration platforms had 20 million daily users, a figure that has now grown to more than 44 million. Moreover, in countries such as Italy, which is among the countries that have been hard hit by COVID-19, Microsoft recorded an 8x increase in the demand for cloud services. Whereas, in many of the European countries, the company is also experiencing a service outage, as more and more users shift to the cloud.  

Why do businesses need a cloud adoption roadmap?

Reports suggest that in the wake of COVID-19 the global cloud market is expected to reach $295 billion by 2021. Although the demand for cloud managed services was never glacial, the coronavirus outbreak has certainly skyrocketed it. As a result, businesses are forced to consider building a cloud adoption roadmap to find a way out of the crisis and carry out their business functions without any hassles.

Cloud computing — in the ongoing crisis — is the need of the hour. Customers need it; startups, SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses), as well as, enterprises need it; the world needs it. Cloud computing derives robust solutions for the varied challenges that occur in the prevailing anytime, anywhere culture.  

Common cloud benefits are well known. We have been discussing them for long now. For instance:

  • Avoid maintaining in-house IT infrastructure
  • Pay just for the infrastructure and the services used
  • Build scalable and agile capabilities 
  • Reduce time-to-market for mission-critical services and applications  
  • Respond to the market demand aptly and instantly

But let’s understand the wider perspective on why businesses should mull on building cloud adoption strategies.  

  1. Cloud Computing Services Help Businesses Handle the Shift in Users’ Behavior 

    At a time, when COVID-19 — according to the WHO — has affected over the world’s 215 countries, areas, or territories, the governments see lockdowns and social distancing perhaps the only way to save human lives. Thus, forced to the boundaries of their homes, people are spending more time over the internet. For instance, to read the news, play games online, access streaming services on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, connect with friends and family through social media applications, and to hold meetings through video conferencing. 

    Reports inform that in the last two months or so:

    •    The news websites such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNBC have recorded over 50% increase in the traffic; 
    •    The teleconferencing application, Zoom outperformed Skype, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams; 
    •    Streaming gameplay service providers such as Twitch has recorded a 20% increase in traffic; 
    •    And, TikTok — the video-sharing social networking app — has got a fresh line of blood.

    This is all happening because COVID-19 has spurred activities online and the cloud enables businesses to handle this shift in users’ behavior successfully and seamlessly. Cloud services can facilitate auto-provisioning of enterprise-wide resources, robust disaster recovery plans, and even upscale and downscale of the server as and when required.    

     It is true that COVID-19 bodes dark days for enterprises worldwide, results in a downturn of the economy, and puts the world at a standstill. But — believe it or not — it is also a fact that the adoption of cloud can throw a lifeline to businesses and governments all over the world.  

  2. Cloud Adoption Strategies Help Build an Integrated Business Ecosystem

    The cloud is significantly changing the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industry landscape. Reports inform that currently over 94% of the enterprises worldwide use one or the other cloud services and they intend to put 83% of the workload in the cloud by the end of 2020. A difference that COVID-19 is expected to make, with respect to cloud adoption, will be among SMBs, specifically in the second and third world economies.

    With the kind of problems and challenges posed by crises such as COVID-19, the SMBs might see it as a necessity to avail cloud integration services or develop cloud adoption strategies. It can essentially help SMBs leverage the capabilities of large data centers over the internet and level the playing field as well. 

    A robust cloud adoption strategy means building an integrated business ecosystem in the cloud, where:

    1.    Enterprise-wide data can be stored and managed efficiently with the utmost security
    2.    Data can be processed quickly and made available on-demand
    3.    New applications can be built and distributed to the users 
    4.    Applications can talk to other applications through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)

    But can the SMBs build the cloud adoption strategies alone? Do the cloud service providers such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, IBM, Google Cloud Platforms, and more suffice to their needs?

    No. 

    For reaping the cloud adoption benefits, companies need a true strategic cloud services partner. According to a report published by Gartner, over 60% of companies will depend on the external cloud service partners by 2022 to build native cloud capabilities, multi-cloud capabilities, or hybrid cloud capabilities. Besides, a cloud service partner will also help leverage the primary cloud adoption models that are SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

  3. Cloud Computing Services Are Best Suited to Deal with Business Unpredictability

    The COVID-19 pandemic was completely unprecedented. The global village, including governments and businesses, was not at all ready to deal with it. But it is the cloud that helped the village sail through, at a time when the world could have possibly seen even a greater disaster. 
  • Most of the companies were able to send their employees to work from home overnight; 
  • People had ready solutions for their boredom while following lockdowns and social distancing;
  • News and information are on the fingertips; 
  • Financial wheels have managed to roll on;
  • Educational institutions can offer virtual schooling;
  • And, people can connect with their family and friends. 
     

All this could have not been possible without cloud services. As cloud supports scalability, flexibility, and agility, it is indeed a viable solution for businesses to stay prepared to efficiently deal with variability and unpredictability that suddenly erupts with diseases such as COVID-19. 

Once the COVID-19 dust settles down, the world for sure is not going to be the same. Digital will be in the core of the global village; technology will become the new normal even for SMBs; many of the companies will keep remote working in the offing; rural population will have better tasted the digital, and so on. The digital revolution puts the world at such a juncture, where the workforce needs to learn new skills and where customers demand personalization, data security, and availability. And the cloud, in collaboration with other disruptive technology forces such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain, IoT (Internet of Things), and more, can help businesses deliver all of them.