Cloud Computing during Covid
It would be easy to state that technology has helped enterprises and service providers to carry on working during the covid19 outbreak. But delving deeper into what exactly has been the key to enabling people to work from home and keep business-critical services going, there is one key constant to all of it: Cloud Computing.
While the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams are gaining traction with consumers and businesses alike, the reason millions of people can use this technology simultaneously is because of the benefits of cloud computing.
These benefits are well documented: cloud infrastructure enables companies to scale up and down with flexibility so they can cope with volatile conditions like those currently being experienced, while software-as-a-service, or SaaS, apps mean companies do not have to worry about scaling up their hardware and bandwidth to cope with huge demands.
Cloud adoption has been increasing rapidly in recent years, as part of strategies to improve the scalability of organisation’s data centers while reducing IT costs and risks.
According to Gartner, estimates forecasted the public cloud services market would grow by 17% this year (worth $266.4 billion) based on the trajectory we were on prior to the Covid19 pandemic. This, it turns out, was a relatively conservative estimate.
2020 marks a new era for cloud computing, driven predominantly by the challenges posed to us by Covid-19. Its adoption has increased beyond what experts could ever have imagined at the start of the year, and innovative new uses have been developed, opening-up opportunities previously unimaginable within such short timescales.
Public cloud is the most popular and is accessed via a third-party provider. It’s simple to set up an account and provides the unlimited space needed as businesses outgrow their local network or private cloud. Scalability is simple with public cloud, too, with most providers offering fees simply based on how much they use.
Private cloud, on the other hand, is an exclusive platform, meaning businesses can customise the cloud environment to match their exact needs and scale it according to their usage.
Hybrid cloud options tie together the benefits of both private and public cloud. It offers the safety of a private network but adjusts to usage demands. Organisations can store their most sensitive data on a secure private network while leveraging the size and scalability of public cloud to store less sensitive information.
If we go back to the cloud opening up new opportunities for companies and industries, what exactly do we mean by that? Well for one, cloud is supporting the international scientific research community in their vaccine development efforts. By allowing researchers to create computer models to map how the Coronavirus is infecting human cells, cloud and AI has given scientists a head start in designing a vaccine to block this process, shaving years off normal development timeframes.
The switch to remote telemedicine for GPs and consultants has also been heavily facilitated by cloud technology. This is an extraordinary shift away from surgery-based appointments which have been the default way of accessing healthcare until now.
Governments have also been able to deliver new user-centered digital services for the first time. A great example of this is the furlough scheme - or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – which has, with relative ease, allowed businesses to claim back the wages of millions of employees on PAYE.
In both the private sector and public, cloud adoption has helped businesses of all sizes to mobilise their staff remotely and teams to continue to work collaboratively while apart. In many cases, businesses have been forced to leverage home working for the first time.
It’s clear that during this global pandemic, the value of cloud has been demonstrated and proven. While it’s difficult to predict how and when the pandemic might end, we can be certain that there’s a bright future ahead for cloud technology and the organisations who adopt it.