How the cloud has risen in the shadow of a global pandemic
In a disrupted world, cloud computing role's has never been so important as it is now
The impact of the coronavirus has been deadly. While factories, shops, malls and offices have closed down, organizations are trying to rework their businesses to survive and stay operational in a virtual world. The world has been forced to operate one of the biggest 'work from home' experiments. In this experiment, the cloud has risen to its claim of being scalable and resilient. The sudden shift of millions of people to a remote work infrastructure has been made possible only due to the cloud.
The cloud is powering a host of services that have made people productive. From cloud-based collaboration tools (Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, WebEx) to cloud-based telephony tools, almost every service is possible only due to the cloud. Due to the restrictions in physical meetings, online education has been favored heavily. UNESCO estimates that more than 1.5 billion learners -- or 90% of the world's student population are confined to their homes. Many countries and states have hence started online classes, with some countries like South Korea switching to online education for its students. The cloud is the foundation for powering most of these initiatives.
For call centers, a cloud-based call center solution is proving to be critical to provide the much needed support to customer queries and maintaining business continuity.
The might of the cloud
Besides powering a gamut of online services, cloud has become one of the biggest forces today. Almost all the leading cloud players have committed their resources to lead the fight against Covid-19. Google, for instance, has launched the rapid response virtual agent system, which allows organizations to quickly setup virtual agents. Google has also made it easier for organizations to add Covid-19 content that enables the virtual agent to take advantage of content from organizations that have already launched similar initiatives. Organizations can create chat or voice bots that answer questions about Covid-19 symptoms.
To help data scientists in their effort to combat COVID-19, Google has also made a hosted repository of public datasets which are free to access and query through its Covid-19 public dataset program. Researchers can also use BigQuery ML to train advanced machine learning models
Similarly, Microsoft in partnership with other firms, has created the Covid-19 Open Research Dataset. This is a collection of more than 29,000 scientific articles about the coronavirus group of viruses for use by the worldwide research community. Salesforce which recently launched its Salesforce Care solution for Healthcare Systems, designed specifically for healthcare providers experiencing an influx of requests due to COVID-19, has announced additional free solutions to help companies in any industry to stay connected to their stakeholders.
With the cloud, telemedicine or virtual healthcare is an option that has been explored by many patients and service providers.
A natural partner for disaster recovery
The cloud is a natural partner for disaster recovery, and has been time tested in times of natural and other climatic disasters. In the current scenario, the cloud's emphasis on reliability, scalability and time tested distribution zones across continents and regions, offers companies assured and quick access to critical IT assets from anywhere. A DR in the cloud option also gives firms the option of not having to deploy their personnel to go into their data centers to check or maintain their IT infrastructure. To meet demanding remote workforce demands, companies can also use the inherent capabilities of the cloud to scale quickly.
Going forward, the cloud's importance is only going to increase, as more and more companies start looking at how they can quickly migrate their applications from on-premise locations to the cloud.
Today, more than any other time in the world, the cloud role as a must need technology has only grown in stature.
Nitin Mishra heads the product management and solutions engineering functions at Netmagic Solutions. During his nine years with the company, he has been responsible for conceptualizing and packaging hosting and managed services focused on IT infrastructure requirements of Internet and Enterprise applications.