Written by: Amit Gupta
The COVID-19 crisis continues to confront us in ways that we have never imagined. Despite the disruption caused, the global pandemic has also taught us many new lessons on survival—working and learning remotely, mobilising resources more quickly and innovating at breakneck speeds. During this phase, cloud computing has strongly emerged as an efficacious model that help facilitate some of the biggest transformations that businesses are undergoing.
Initial statistics indicate a clear increase in cloud adoption since March this year. Globally, as much as 50 percent of organisations (both SMBs and enterprises combined) plan to increase their cloud usage in the light of the coronavirus crisis, according to a cloud survey conducted by Flexera.
In India, the numbers are much more promising, with key sectors like education, healthcare and entertainment and gaming consistently moving to cloud to ensure business continuity and resilience.
A recent IDC survey highlights some interesting trends. According to the firm’s “COVID-19 Impact on IT spending Survey” conducted in May 2020, 64 percent of organisations in India are estimated to increase demand for cloud computing as a result of COVID-19. Public cloud is one of the few areas that is positively impacted by the pandemic, thanks to the growing demand for flexible consumption models and pay-per-use options.
Cloud gives an organisation, the ability to scale up and down as per need without any manual intervention or upsizing/downsizing of hardware. Why exactly is Cloud becoming the enterprise’s trusted companion? Here are some answers:
Cloud has made remote working possible
Across sectors, companies had to adapt to remote working models without really having the time to prepare for the bulk of their workforce working from home. Without cloud, this transition would have been a nightmare for many organisations.
Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) model has proven to be a great boon for organisations during this time. This allows employees (who don’t necessarily have a corporate laptop) to access a cloud desktop from anywhere with an internet connection, through their own personal devices. This also meant that the employer does not have to worry about factors such as security, productivity, reliability of VPN connections or scalability. Amazon WorkSpaces—a fully managed DaaS offering, witnessed the "average daily spending" on the service surging by 155 percent year over year in March.
Cloud has provided the right tools for remote learning and collaboration
During the lockdown, educators in the country shifted to virtual classrooms to ensure that the learning continued. Such a quick transition wouldn’t have been possible without cloud-based video and collaboration tools available today. Many distant learning tools came handy for schools and children while adapting to these changes. In the enterprise world, cloud-based video collaboration ensured minimal disruption while maintaining a sense of ‘business as usual’ among employees. For instance, Microsoft Teams saw a usage spike of 70 percent in just one month in March.
Cloud is providing effective disaster recovery methods
A good business continuity plan must be efficient enough to react to the completely unexpected adversaries—including the long-term impacts that pandemics bring in. Imagine this: A single hour of downtime can cost a business over $100,000! (Gartner). Traditional disaster recovery plans revolved around natural calamities, network outages, or cyber incidents which has a much shorter window. The new crisis has shattered these notions and has urged the organisation to look for DR plans that are sustainable over longer periods of time—with resources and data accessible all the time.
DR systems that run on flexible and proactive cloud-based platforms are already the preferred option for many organisations for workload continuity.
Cloud is enabling advanced analytics & AI during the pandemic
From drug discovery to contact tracing to predicting clusters, data analytics and big data have been extensively used by medical researchers and governments in various countries. Analytics is at the center of some of the key industry recovery alliances such as the Rolls-Royce-led Emergent. Cloud has become the platform of choice for extracting relevant information and insights from the massive amounts of data available to governments and businesses. Infinite storage, real-time analytics, flexibility and security are among the reasons for cloud becoming the preferred platform for advanced analytics of health data.
From an enterprise-point of view, organizations that have been wary of moving data science projects to the cloud will now see better value for the cloud. Cloud is predicted to provide much-needed resilience and agility to reorganise for the new world realities. We hope that organisations will focus on their cloud priorities to be winners in a changed economy of the future.
—Amit Gupta is CEO and Founder at Rapyder, a cloud services provider. The views expressed are personal.