The COVID-19 pandemic has put the world into survival mode. People have been willing to accept drastic changes in their routines and discomforts because they understand it could mean their survival. Businesses that have been reluctant to accept certain technologies or certain unconventional work arrangements have had to revamp their thinking if they want to survive.
For small and medium-sized businesses, surviving the COVID-19 pandemic has meant rethinking and restructuring their IT infrastructure. It has become all too clear that alternative business models and new ways of working are required for short-term survival. Adopting these new models of work may be the key to surviving long-term.
Accelerating the Push to Cloud Services
It is not as if businesses were not already shifting to cloud services. This is a trend we’ve been seeing for several years. However, until the pandemic there were still some businesses and some industries that could drag their feet on transitioning to the cloud and still remain competitive.
These industries understood that in the not-too-distant future they would need to invest in cloud technology, but it seemed like they had some control over the speed with which these investments and changes took place. Now, as the pandemic is forcing offices around the world to close their doors and society has become a massive guinea pig in the largest work from home experiment the world has ever seen, the shift to cloud services has picked up the pace.
Businesses that had already adopted cloud-based services found it easier to adapt to work at home models. They could quickly pivot while simultaneously bolstering their security and adapting their security needs so that they could be used with a decentralized employee base.
Many have compared the pandemic’s effect on business to the effect that a hurricane has on a shoreline. After a hurricane, the shoreline never looks the same. If what we see happening in businesses around the world indicates what our post COVID-19 world will look like, cloud services will be the dominant force in business.
In a recent Sitepoint interview web hosting expert Gary Stevens from Hosting Canada explains further:
“A lot of businesses prefer choosing a web hosting provider that operates on the cloud for their websites because of its flexibility as well. It operates on multiple servers so if one of them goes down, other servers pick up its data, while that’s not the case with the physical servers – if the server goes down your website goes down as well. Still, some businesses prefer physical servers because of their numerous benefits. First of all, being able to have an entire server just for yourself gives you another layer of security.
As the trend towards cloud hosting continues traditional data centers are being phased out to provide faster and more cost effective services for the end customer. Cloud data center traffic will represent 95 percent of total data center traffic by 2021 according to Cisco Systems.
Cloud Service’s Role in Planning for a Remote Worker-Friendly Environment
Businesses are interested in keeping their doors open in the short-term while planning for long-term recovery. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that an on-premise infrastructure cannot provide the same level of agility offered by cloud services.
Many businesses are planning to keep employees away from physical offices even after the pandemic craze calms down. For these companies, cloud services mean that they can have remote employees without worrying about physically installing hardware somewhere.
One of the biggest challenges that businesses with a remote team are facing is learning to manage their team while adapting to operating in the cloud. Business leaders will need to improve their crisis management skills and their employees will need to learn how to work in a decentralized workplace. This requires the physical IT infrastructure and a psychological shift by all involved to maintain a team mentality.
Moving to cloud services requires adjustments by everyone so that a business can operate efficiently without dropping customer engagement. The pandemic is presenting an opportunity for business leaders to lead their organization and help their organization innovate to keep pace with a changing world and work environment.
Not All Businesses Will Survive the Transition to the Cloud
The companies that can offer cloud services that are reliable will be winners in the new economy. Businesses offering cloud-based services to small and medium-sized enterprises will need to find a way to tailor their products to the specific needs of smaller businesses, taking into consideration the fact that as a result of the pandemic many of these small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to get the revenue needed to just keep the doors open.
In addition to the tailwinds pushing cloud adaptation forward, there have also been headwinds. These have been felt in the hospitality and retail sectors. These are some of the hardest-hit areas by the pandemic. Many businesses are simply cutting back their spending because they want to hold onto cash and hopefully ride out the crisis. While they might benefit from transitioning to a cloud service, many of these small businesses just don’t have the capital right now to do so.
If a struggling small business has a cloud environment in place, they could be helped to see how they can optimize their existing cloud environment to align with their available resources with the goal of giving them maximum flexibility and immediate cost savings.
Things Have Changed and Will Continue to Change
There is no reason to believe that the transition we are seeing to cloud services will disappear. The longer the pandemic exists, the more comfortable employees and employers will get with doing their work remotely and working with the cloud. In short order, this will go from being something new to be the new normal.
Necessity is the mother of invention. The pandemic has created the necessity for organizations to reevaluate the way they approach IT and business applications. It has required organizations to show agility and adaptability as they learn to adopt cloud-based services just to keep the lights on.
With time, adopting cloud services will go from being something that is being done because it must be done to becoming the standard. The shift to more cloud services was always inevitable. Was like the Borg Cube on the view screen letting those in its path know that “resistance is futile.” All that the pandemic has done has accelerated this change.
It was thought that a complete shift to public cloud and cloud native would happen over the next two decades. Now, it is realistic to believe that we will see these changes over the next two to three years. Over the past few months, we have seen a drastic increase in investments from the public sector, financial services, and government agencies in cloud services. It will be exciting to see what the business landscape looks like once the winds of the COVID-19 hurricane have blown over.