The upcoming year is a critical time for the cloud. As more and more companies are looking to leverage cloud solutions and managed services on a large scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has put cloud technologies in the spotlight.
Companies and other institutions are increasingly relying on remote workforces to maintain operations. In turn, more data and resources are moving to the cloud, where they can be accessed by remote employees. Many companies around the world have seen how their move to the cloud helps them stay resilient during challenging times. Beyond simple business continuity, the cloud offers companies new opportunities for data security, streamlined operations and productivity.
Cloud providers have taken note and are moving forward accordingly. Look no further than Microsoft’s (News - Alert) (News - Alert) direction to its partner community. At this year’s Microsoft Inspire digital event, Microsoft executives identified four priorities to its partners: remote work, business continuity, secure environments and cloud migrations.
These priorities are the top goals for IT service providers who are working hard to best support clients during this pandemic. However, to achieve these priorities, companies must first be able to migrate data remotely and securely. As more and more companies consider the cloud, they are finding opportunities where, at first, they only saw challenges.
Remote migration in the world of social distancing and changing needs
For companies needing to upgrade their digital environment, remote migrations allow digital transformation to take place immediately. Not all IT work requires people to be on site, especially when leveraging cloud-based tools. Much, if not all, of a cloud migration can be done while working remotely. This means that these migrations can be completed while adhering to social-distancing guidelines, both for the IT service provider and the end-user company.
Depending on the project size and needs, remote migrations can be completed relatively quickly. For companies that need an urgent transition, a basic cloud migration of email and applications like Microsoft Teams or Skype (News - Alert) (News - Alert) requires anywhere from 24 hours to a full weekend to move the entire workforce. This can set the foundation for further upgrades to be implemented and lead to enhanced efficiencies and scalabilities for your company.
In the rise of remote work, connectivity enhances productivity
Communication, collaboration and engagement – these three priorities are of the utmost importance for business continuity. In a remote world, technologies and tools are needed to support virtual communication and collaboration that foster digital engagement. Without them, businesses run the risk of falling behind in a competitive, ever-changing environment.
Remote migrations allow companies to stay connected by deploying collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams. These tools help employees engage virtually and stay on task. Even as they work remotely, employees empowered with collaborative tools stay engaged and interactive, whether it’s with co-workers or customers. You can use video conferencing and chat to hold meetings, share files and manage project updates. Additional workloads can also be moved to the cloud, which allows employees to increase productivity while working from home. This ensures that operations will keep humming no matter where your workforce is located.
Cloud-based data is secured data
Security is a paramount concern when migrating data. Companies want to make sure their data is being protected and that it doesn’t fall into unwanted hands. Fortunately, the cloud offers greater security protections than on-premises infrastructures. Network updates and monitoring ensure necessary upgrades are implemented and vulnerabilities are identified. Being in the cloud also protects data from sudden loss and damage due to power outages, natural disasters or other unforeseen accidents. This is not the case with on-prem servers, which are more vulnerable to these types of accidents.
Even when operations are running smoothly, the cloud gives companies a boost in data security. Most notably, cloud users can employ single sign-on, which enables users to login with a single ID and password to securely access multiple applications across their company. Single sign-on allows the IT department to control access to sensitive data by adding or removing employee access or setting role-based permissions from a single location. Additionally, a suite of security reports, policies and audits help manage security around employees, applications and systems.
Less is more: Consolidate environments and integrate systems
As the pandemic grew, many companies quickly moved to remote work. This urgent demand led to MSPs quickly spinning up new tenant environments for customers to deploy cloud technologies.
While these strategies were effective in the short term, companies now find themselves in need of larger cloud-enablement plans to ensure smoother operations and improved cost management for their digital environment.
Remote migrations allow companies to consolidate their multi-tenant environments for streamlined operations. The benefits are clear. Cloud solutions work more effectively, IT teams are afforded better command over system management, and companies can stay ahead of evolving compliance regulations while pushing out cloud security updates.
Additionally, being in the cloud enhances the integration of workplace systems. Be it HR, finance or legal, the cloud makes interactions across multiple systems more seamless. Improving how these systems work together not only bolsters operations monitoring. It also leads to more efficient performance and increased profitability.
Beyond business continuity, new opportunities
Cloud technologies enable a remote workforce to continue business operations with minimal interruption. With the resources they need right at their fingertips, employees are increasing their productivity while organizations are becoming better equipped for remote work. After the initial rush, companies are establishing their remote working infrastructures, enabling them to successfully operate remotely both during the current pandemic and in the future. Technology plays a central role in mobilizing a remote workforce, which in turn, is opening a new category of software to emerge that addresses the organization, engagement and development of employees. The opportunities are there for the taking.
The broad transition to the cloud is rapidly evolving. Cloud solutions continue to improve and allow businesses to maintain operations amid unprecedented market changes. More and more, companies are finding new ways to achieve success. By leveraging remote migrations, businesses can implement the technology they need to ensure business continuity and reach new levels of efficiency and scalability.
About the author:Mark Rochester is the principal product architect at BitTitan, where he works closely with the product management, sales and marketing teams to build market-leading products and features that address real-world problems. A seasoned service delivery professional with experience at some of the world’s largest enterprise service providers, Mark specializes in cloud and infrastructure, SaaS (News - Alert), and Microsoft Azure, Exchange and Office 365 systems and environments.
Edited by Maurice Nagle