Can the cloud help businesses thrive in the “new normal”?
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 has swept the globe over the past several weeks, forcing entire countries into quarantine and bringing most of the world’s economy to a grinding halt. As first responders do hero’s work, and the rest of us #stayhome and do our part, we all focus on the health of those close to us and long to get back to the old “normal”. During this crisis, companies large and small are shutting their doors; some that can remain in business during this crisis are having their employees work from home, and many of these individuals are doing so for the first time. Many organizations cannot keep up with the reduced business while people are forced indoors for extended periods of time, unable to venture to their normal places. However, some companies were able to make this transition easier than others, the ones that were already in the cloud. The cloud allows people to use products and services from anywhere in the world. During the pandemic, the cloud has become a champion by empowering businesses to remain, well, in business. Many modern businesses already have Work From Home (WFH) policies, but these policies are often limited, intended for “off hours” or short periods of time. For most of these companies, their infrastructure is also not prepared for their entire workforce to work remotely for long periods of time, so they can’t easily scale it up on demand. Clouds are the exact opposite: they are built for on demand use. Most clouds allow you to simply turn up the dial when you need too. In fact, some cloud companies that are in the SaaS market - where resources and cost is directly associated with the volume of users - are seeing record demand Since the global outbreak of Coronavirus, IT professionals at companies all over the world have been rushing to ramp up to allow their employees to work from home 100% of the time. It’s become glaringly obvious in recent weeks that companies already leveraging the cloud have a serious advantage over those that remained with on-prem infrastructures. How can organizations cope if they are not set up to work from home? Most of the world’s governments have forced their citizens into isolation, introducing stay-at-home orders and forcing “non-essential” businesses to close their doors. One of the most astounding challenges to date has been the handling of schools and school children. Schools in the US that had already adopted cloud were able to quickly convert to remote learning because of this pre-work. Instead of trying to understand how to distribute videos, documents, and assignments to students, many schools simply had to ensure students had computers and internet access. Now, many schools and school systems have already announced that they won’t be re-opening before the end of the normal school year, forcing teachers and students to use cloud-based technologies to ensure that learning requirements are met throughout the remainder of the school year, and possibly into next fall. Maintaining Onsite Hardware Companies that are using onsite servers have been scrambling to come up with strategies to manage hands-on activities that come with managing hardware. Unfortunately, hardware needs physical attention. Servers need to be fixed, restarted, patched, or even re-wired. Naturally, most companies with onsite servers are forced to do this maintenance manually, in person. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more inevitable it becomes that these servers will require physical attention. Clouds are ready for that contingency by automating the vast majority of these maintenance actions and having well documented procedures that can be executed by staff that is onsite at the datacenter. Unlike most companies with internal IT, cloud companies already maintained a lot of their sites as “lights out” (no onsite people) before COVID-19, so there was no real adjustment needed. IP and Data Protection This extended quarantine and WFH period expands the possibility that your organization’s most important intellectual property will be created and then stored outside of controlled environments. The doors for IP and data security issues have been blown wide-open. Many employees typically count on centralized storage in order to do their jobs efficiently, but now, they will likely have to forgo their usual centralized storage processes. Perhaps the highest risk group in today’s “new” normal are the small businesses that run critical applications locally on workstations. Many of these organizations depend on their network and physical office for security. Now, those systems have been brought home and are connected to likely insecure home networks that also support their kid’s devices and IOT for their entire homes. Not all of the concerns here are as complex as cyber security. Simple items like backups are broken for organizations all over because their solution is just not designed to backup users at home. Will the cloud help us #openagain? It’s obvious: with the cloud, your company can quickly and easily add bandwidth, remote access, or other scale features all of which can be done on demand without capital purchases or physical installs. Companies that already have most of their critical systems in a cloud are much better prepared to close their offices and work from home with minimum advance notice; going from 50% at home, to 75% at home to 100% at home in just a few clicks, with no purchases, installs, or special training. In situations where you need to add backup for users at home in just a few minutes, being able to add a disaster recovery location or backup data to a physically different geographical location with just a few clicks is a real advantage. As the pandemic continues, and perhaps in some areas worsens, cloud will continue to play a larger and larger role and will become a huge advantage to organizations who are already set up with cloud infrastructure. One thing is for sure: when we finally get through this, the conditions that make cloud more attractive than other infrastructure solutions will be a much more significant part of the IT discussion. Previously, pandemics weren’t seriously considered as a “real” DR scenario and that will absolutely change. You’re forced to use the cloud, so why not pick the simplest option? In a time of crisis, businesses of all sizes are dealing with unforeseen circumstances that require their entire workforce to work remotely for long periods of time. Kids still have to “go to school”, and schools that are already set up with a cloud infrastructure are having a much easier time providing lessons from teachers. A simplified cloud platform like Egenera’s Xterity Cloud provides reliable architecture and is managed by Egenera’s industry leading Cloud Console. Xterity Cloud allows organizations to quickly deploy and manage their infrastructure without burdensome certifications and training requirements that you’ll find with other major cloud providers. Xterity is a global cloud offering that is economical, flexible and very simple to use. The cloud may not “solve” the coronavirus by providing a vaccine or cure, but it will allow scientists, researchers, teachers, government officials, and you and I to work from safe environments while a vaccine is inevitably developed. About Egenera Egenera was founded in 2000 and was quickly named as one of the top 10 startups to watch in 2002. Egenera’s Xterity Cloud platform is a global public cloud offering that is built in top tier data centers with leading connectivity providers, with the mission to simplify the consumption and management of IT resources. Xterity’s simplified cloud console allows organizations to get into the cloud without certifications, developers, or system architects. From their operations in Massachusetts & California, to Japan, the UK, and Ireland, Egenera has established a reputation within the cloud computing industry as a leader in simplified IaaS. Egenera can help organizations large or small achieve their goals by providing 24 x 7 x 365 support and learning the individual needs of your business. Explore a simplified cloud platform and avoid hours of headaches at Egenera.com.