COVID-19 & Benefits of the Cloud

    The lives of many and the global economy have recently been thrust into uncertainty. As of this writing, COVID-19 has forced many businesses to cut hours, lay-off workers, or even close permanently. Not to mention the operational strain currently placed on the healthcare system, delivery/shipping services, and those from almost every other industry. We know this will pass - it's what will happen between now and then that has many concerned. For the businesses that can, having employees work from home has become the solution to slow the bleeding.

     Will US businesses that were previously against it now let sick employees work from home instead? Or will a realization of lost productivity cause businesses to dig their heels in once and for all that you need to be in the office to be productive? Many have written about ways to better work from home and how to keep a connection with co-workers despite the proverbial water-cooler no longer being there. Then of course there is the technical aspect of more people being on the Internet at one time - Netflix reducing streaming quality, ISPs lifting data caps, gaming services buckling at the increased demand, Zoom exploding in popularity and the increase in phishing emails and websites taking advantage of it all.

     But what has allowed so many businesses to shift to the work from home model (some faster than others of course)? Years of migration to the cloud and consolidation of services. 

Chart: ZDNet

     VPN appliances overwhelmed with connections just to send/receive email? With only an Internet connection you can connect to Microsoft Office 365 and allow VPN connections to provide other services.

     Trying to close deals and need a reliable phone and video connection? Utilize Jabber, Teams, or Zoom and it will be like you never left the office.

     Files too large to transfer over a VPN? See Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox, SharePoint etc.

     Need to stay on top of your projects even though you're not in the office? Atlassian offers JIRA Cloud.

     Now are all these and other cloud-based products perfect? Of course not. And using a cloud-based solution isn't always the best answer. But I wholeheartedly believe the mainstream adoption of cloud services has helped ease the pain for many companies transitioning to the work from home model. I can only hope it will also allow them to survive until the quarantines are over and the world can return to normal.


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