How cloud computing can help in the fight against Coronavirus
The spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has dominated media coverage lately, with a seeming hour-by-hour update as the pandemic unfolds.
What started as a health crisis in China’s Wuhan city has become an economic nightmare for every country in the world. Its ripple effects have been felt across many different sectors of industry, with a global economic slowdown being the inevitable result.
No-one could have predicted the snowball effect of Coronavirus, whose worldwide death toll of 8,778 and counting has far surpassed that of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-2003, where 774 people died.
On government advice, many UK businesses are trying to delay the transmission of Coronavirus by allowing their staff to work remotely. Those that cannot work from home are being encouraged to practise good hand hygiene and observe social distancing – this is increasingly apparent across breakfast TV programmes, with presenters sitting 2 metres apart.
Whilst these measures are designed to protect the most vulnerable in society, the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic is hurting many businesses who do not have the resources or infrastructure to allow their staff to work from home. This has a detrimental effect, especially on those employees who are in the “high risk” health category and therefore are less likely to recover from contracting the virus.
Twitter has moved beyond the guidance of encouraging employees to work from home to make it mandatory for their 5,000 staff. This is not something that all businesses would be able to do, but it is an ideal that many can strive for if their infrastructure allows it.
Remote working capability
One way to reduce future disruption to business output is to use a cloud service provider. With cloud technology, staff can work from home or, indeed, any location where there’s an internet connection. They will still have access to their desktop, apps, files and data, therefore being isolated will have a lesser impact on their capacity to work.
With the decision that schools will close to halt the spread of the virus, flexibility for parents to work from home has become more important than ever. Cloud computing allows employees to work at any hour of the day. So, for staff who are at home with children, they can be productive in their downtime or outside of usual office hours.
Predictable monthly costs
With Coronavirus predicted to cost the global economy £217bn in the first quarter of this year, many businesses will be looking at ways of reducing expenditure. Using cloud computing, you pay a monthly usage fee to your provider and this encompasses all the costs of operating and maintaining your cloud infrastructure. Cloud services are a reoccurring expense which is easy to forecast for in your IT budget.
Improved resource allocation
Making use of the cloud means that tasks like monitoring your network for threats, tackling connectivity issues and software upgrades are taken off the hands of your IT staff. The result is that their valuable time is freed up to focus on core business objectives.
Additionally, using cloud servers means that there are no space requirements to host physical servers and their supporting infrastructure, such as air-conditioned server rooms. So, you can reconfigure your offices in a way which best suits your business.
Scalability to suit demand
Another benefit of investing in hosted cloud servers for your business is that services can be scaled up or down to suit your requirements. For periods of growth, instead of having to purchase more servers and software licenses, you simply rent more storage space, acquire more bandwidth and increase access to software programs. If there is a dip in demand, you can decrease your services with a call or email to your provider.
Whilst the Department of Health has predicted that Coronavirus will reach its peak within the next 3 months, the uneasy truth is that no one knows how long UK commerce will take to recover from its far-reaching financial impact.
However, one thing is painfully clear: ALL businesses need to assess their operational resilience against global risks like Coronavirus. For many, cloud computing will provide the key to ensuring that they are well-prepared for the next unprecedented crisis.