COVID-19: How cloud is ready, willing and able to support home working

17 Mar 2020 03:19 PM

Part of a series of insights on the resilience of tech to changing work patterns.

As a result of COVID-19 more UK office workers are being asked to work from home. The good news is that thanks to a range of cloud services and technologies provided by the industry, and the increased adoption and deployment of cloud by UK organisations, employees are able to access the computing infrastructures, platforms and services they need to work from any connected location. These can include telephone systems using VoIP, video conferencing, business apps, email, file sharing and much more.

However, increased home working has raised some concerns as to whether cloud computing will be able to service an increased demand as more people work from home. Cloud Service Providers including MicrosoftUKCloud and Google have recently released statements outlining the steps they have taken to offer cloud services to those in need and, at the same time, mitigate any surge in demand. These include testing system capability and continuity plans, allocating additional resources to areas where there is increased demand (for example steaming of video content), and thinking about how to keep their own staff safe and secure at this time.

While the move to work from home for an extended period of time may be new for many of us, it is important to remember three key factors that mean cloud computing is more than ready and able to step in and support home workers at this time.

The cloud enables scalability

Firstly, it is the ability to scale up, and down, computing requirements, resources and power (depending on business needs) that has driven organisations to adopt and deploy cloud solutions. For many years organisations have adopted and deployed cloud services to deliver a level of computing scalability, elasticity, flexibility and agility as and when they need it. For example, the ability to scale up the computing power a charity may need during a campaign and on the day of an event when donations may spike. This scalability means that in times such as these, organisations know they can gain access to the services employees may need when working remotely. Today the UK has a diverse and vibrant cloud computing industry that provides a range of agile and flexible cloud services to both public and private sector organisations. These providers invest significant amounts in ensuring the cloud infrastructure and services provided are resilient, safe, and secure; particularly as and when demand varies.

Connectivity is key

Secondly, reliable connectivity to cloud services is critical. As more organisations move business critical data and applications from on-premise to the cloud, the ability of businesses to be able to connect and access cloud services is key to operational efficiency, effectiveness and employee productivity. The availability of quality, low latency connectivity offered in the UK has become a key part of businesses decision to move to the cloud. You can read more here on what the telecoms sector is doing to ensure that their network can deal with the changing patterns of work over the next weeks and months.

Remote working: nothing new

And thirdly, let’s remember that UK employees being supported by cloud computing while they work from home or on the move is nothing new. Cloud services have for many years enabled increasing numbers of employees to become more mobile and agile and embracing new working practices. This support has been positively received by employees and has helped to create a cloud-enabled workforce - vital for the UK’s digital future and not simply in situations such as those we are facing right now.

Along with Cloud Service Providers ensuring their cloud systems, infrastructure and people are there to help businesses at this time, these three factors mean that the cloud computing industry is ready, willing and able to help and support UK home workers now and as we move forward.