During the pandemic, many businesses were forced to ramp up their remote workforce solutions and quickly adapt a digital transformation strategy. Now here we are over a year later, ready to assess what we have learned about cloud and which technologies we should be investing in.
At TBI, we had to set up our own 225+ employees offsite in 24 hours. Like many businesses, we had to figure out how to quickly manage all employees as they safely worked from home, making sure that business could keep running as efficiently and securely as possible.
As expected, security was a top concern and stronger solutions needed to be put in place around firewalls, VPNs and remote connectivity. Employees were using their work laptop or bringing their own device to connect to business systems and applications, driving a need for technologies like desktop as a service, which is a remote desktop connection. Overall, our organization saw many positive changes to our business infrastructure, such as accelerating our voice and collaboration tools to the cloud, making team collaboration much easier.
The last year has caused challenges across industries, given the limitations imposed by the pandemic and the need to adopt technologies quickly and unexpectedly. Many businesses shuttered their commercial and office spaces as they moved their workforce to a WFH scenario, and for some, they will ultimately stay in that mode for the foreseeable future.
From a financial perspective, this allows many organizations to redirect costly expenditures for real estate to transform and grow their businesses as a work from anywhere environment. Transformations such as moving to a private or public cloud, or even to a colocation facility, have been underway at an accelerated pace. It is sensible to re-evaluate current infrastructure, in fact cybersecurity spending for critical infrastructure will increase by $9 billion over the next year to reach $105.99 billion in 2021. Moving as much as possible to a managed hosting provider or cloud provider can help alleviate large capital costs and improve the durability of systems that run the business.
For those with brick-and-mortar locations, major changes needed to be made and continue to evolve around security. Before, these businesses were able to easily setup a secure perimeter with firewalls, using web application firewalls and routers to keep everyone protected while working in the office. Now that everybody is outside those four walls and connecting, you have a much greater security challenge.
It was a challenge for many companies to keep functioning with all the changes and limitations the pandemic imposed. Many organizations found themselves unprepared to have staff connected and accessing systems remotely. For these companies, cloud solutions offered the opportunity to deploy effective solutions and stay operational. The global cloud services market was valued at $264.8 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $927.51 billion by 2027.
The vast majority of companies made investments in cloud-based solutions at the start of the pandemic, so now is the time to evaluate if they are still serving your business a year later. Companies can get started by assessing the current IT setup to identify and eliminate unused resources. Engage the proper resources outside your company if needed to help. Spending money on an assessment (cloud, network, security, voice, etc.) will pay itself back as a truly agnostic look at your business will reveal areas in need of change or improvement, overlooked when you are running your day-to-day operations.
One of the best ways for companies to save money is to evaluate resources and usage before migration. Also consider moving towards cloud compute usage and smarter data center solutions including colocation, managed hosting, public/private cloud and hybrid in order to cut cloud costs.
Companies should be prepared to assess their IT environments on an ongoing basis and execute on plans to move to cloud solutions and colocation solutions as they make sense. It’s important to involve all aspects of the business in the planning for these moves, everyone from upper management to marketing, sales and engineering need to give input so intelligent decisions can be made. If businesses plan effectively, they can avoid costly mistakes with regards to their infrastructure. One of the biggest lessons that the pandemic taught us is how important it is to be open to change and adapting new technologies. Technology is constantly changing, whether it’s on the infrastructure and server side, or whether it’s on voice, connectivity, or security – there’s always opportunities to learn. Embrace emerging technologies, because if you don’t, they’re going to run right past you.