When Cloud Meets COVID-19: Threats and Opportunities

How cloud providers react to the pandemic will vary, but it is possible to thrive during and after the crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way organizations work and function. The increase in the number of workers working from home using conferencing and collaborative systems emphasizes back-end support services and increasing traffic on networks connecting users to those services. Only providers with a stable and abundant architecture that delivers uninterrupted customer service will handle the increased load.

Their business continuity plans also question cloud providers. They have to address challenging questions, such as whether their public cloud model is adequately flexible and robust to meet increased demand and if it will continue to provide services if support staff are ill. They need to demonstrate that the supporting infrastructure is stable enough to ensure continued access to public cloud services and that the network infrastructure can accommodate increased traffic volumes.

But to do this, cloud providers need to consider the risks, opportunities, and events that may arise due to the pandemic. They need to show how prepared they are to cope with unforeseen demand spikes. On the other hand, though, they still have the opportunity to show the strength and adaptability of their services tested by the sudden and drastic rise in the number of people working from home. Cloud providers must also keep an eye on evolving events and ensure that they are proactive in meeting demand. Many who want a reactive approach would fail.

Increased demand poses threats to cloud services

Cloud service providers should be mindful of the problems emerging from increased demand. In addition to remote work, interactive activities in live meetings and streaming platforms would add stress to the already growing demand.

Operational support for cloud services will need to be managed when operating remotely or with fewer personnel. Supply chains will be affected by short supply due to production facilities located in China and other areas affected by current events. Those cloud services that have not been checked for stress may not be equipped to handle these risks.

New technologies present opportunities

The cloud storage model is inherently designed to manage fluctuating demand and, if implemented correctly, should be able to accommodate increased needs, such as those caused by the COVID-19 crisis. However, few providers have reserved enough capacity to make the change. Many who can demonstrate their strength and adaptability can do so. For example, they deliver discounted or free-of-charge collaboration and conferencing services, demonstrating the power of emerging technology and virtual reality, making virtual meetings more natural, or establishing new alliances with telecommunications companies to enhance their telecommunications cloud offerings. By taking advantage of these and other resources, cloud providers will have a natural effect on how much cloud-based digital work is becoming a trend rather than an exception.

Provide services to offset IT spending cutbacks

No company has been unaffected by the pandemic, and cloud providers should keep an eye on ongoing impacts. Further demand for collaboration and video conferencing will continue, but, at the same time, a looming market recession may reduce IT spending along the way, which means less technology spending. Oversubscribed providers will apply higher prices, and private networks would be more pressured than the public internet.

Cloud providers can alleviate consumer concerns by demonstrating their ability to manage rises in remote work and building trust by checking their data centers, networks, and services and reminding customers of the output results. Providing financial relief to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises may help ease their burden.

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When Cloud Meets COVID-19: Threats and Opportunities