By Milind Borate, Co-founder & CTO, Druva
With remote work becoming the “new normal,” businesses have replaced informal discussions with online messaging, augmented data centers with the cloud, and secured their data from outages and cyber-attacks with SaaS solutions. As per IDC’s COVID-19 Impact on IT spending Survey, due to the pandemic 64% of the organizations in India are expected to increase demand for cloud computing while 56% for cloud software to support the “new normal”.
The future of work is not about where you are, but about how quickly you can move. While most organisations are ensuring business continuity by supporting remote work, market leaders are capitalizing by reforming their entire approach.
Laying the foundation
As cloud-based collaboration has supplanted in-person interactions, across every industry, the first step is to make remote workers as productive as possible. This means organisations will have to keep them connected, get them the resources, they need, and protect them.
The value of cloud connectivity and collaboration, however, extends beyond Zoom meetings and sharing documents with Microsoft Office 365. In some cases, it has literally worked as a lifeline to keep our society moving forward, it has been useful in current times for doctors to connect with patients. The telehealth services have helped reduce the risk to the patients and decrease the load on the hospitals.
There is merit in expanding cloud infrastructure to support the natural growth of their applications. With supply shortages constraining data centre expansion, most companies have turned to the cloud as a safety value. Migrating simple workloads to IaaS and SaaS solutions helps to free up resources for their business-critical applications.
Many IT departments are adopting SaaS protection solutions to combat the rise of cybercrime, as remote workers provide an ideal target for phishing during the pandemic. Preventing a ransomware attack is ideal, but one needs to ensure recovery, as well. Since the data and control is “air-gapped” in a cloud protection solution, ransomware protection and recovery is automatically built in, which keeps their business environment safe and compliant.
Accelerating the business
Focusing only on survival during challenging times is the biggest mistake companies make, as those who prepare for the future stand to become market leaders upon economic revival. Leaders are cognizant that moving too early is almost as dangerous as moving too late, so they ensure that any investment is elastic.
Agility begins with giving employees more autonomy to make decisions. Remote working makes consensus-based decision making almost impossible, therefore, leaders are empowering their employees to make data-driven decisions. Since their data is protected in the cloud, teams can now dynamically access and analyze it, and then release the resources. With a minimum of cost, organisations can make better, faster, and more decentralized decisions.
A business can move with velocity when teams can deploy and expand applications on-demand, without having to wait for capital purchases or IT support. Fortunately, today, a secure, protected cloud platform can provision new applications, along with data migration with a minimum of financial and compliance risks, across business lines.
When the world adjusts to the “new normal” customers, employees, and regulators will expect more transparency around data privacy. Businesses will need to find and manage data for subject access requests, e-discovery, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requests. Cloud and SaaS lets IT shift focus from infrastructure management to data management and handle the compliance requirements while enabling the business to deliver solutions for their customers.
The current challenges should settle the debates within organisation about adopting public vs private cloud. Requirements of an organisation should be at the core of making any architectural decision. Most of them require infrastructure that can be scaled automatically in any region of the world, need to move quickly without any capital expense and IT needs to offload both management of the infrastructure and core services like data protection. Since private cloud cannot meet these requirements, customers need a mix of public cloud and SaaS applications.
There are three rules to follow in the shift to cloud and SaaS. First, don’t use the cloud for applications and workloads that require a complete re-architecture. Second, use SaaS applications for core services, rather than trying to run them yourself. Third, understand your network requirements and configuration to avoid errors leading to performance and security issues.
As the COVID-19 situation is fluid, nobody knows what challenges face us next. Companies that embrace the agility of cloud and SaaS solutions not just for business continuity during the crisis, but to drive the future of their business are best positioned to respond. The future of work is here. Are you prepared?