Written by Emil Sayegh
One of the biggest stories of the year is the growing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus contagion. The global response is mind-numbing; the public is scrambling, the stock market is all over the place, and there are hundreds of stories published each day discussing the changing death rate, new cases, and even new strains of the virus. Making matters worse, the novelty of the virus, combined with the wildfire spread of emerging news, has made reliable information hard to come by. This historical episode is disrupting lives and business, and great worry is setting in about the ramifications that lie ahead.
Protect Yourselves and the Public
As individuals, we can do our best to protect ourselves by washing our hands, covering our coughs, and changing our habits as we live within our communities. Behavioral changes help us reduce the spread of this virus, but also future potential outbreaks. It has been projected that the impact of widespread infection may overwhelm our healthcare services and infrastructure due to the sheer number of people that will require advanced care. The fact is that the more we can do to reduce the spread, the better positioned we will be to deal with its impact on the healthcare system.
A World of Business Changed
The virus is also changing the nature and priorities of how we work. Travel restrictions and canceled events – including Mobile World Congress, Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit, and more – are affecting airlines, sales opportunities, and the bottom line for many companies. The stock market had its worst week since the start of the 2008 recession due to fears associated with the coronavirus and supply chain disruptions.
Cloud Is Helping Already
The coronavirus has ignited what Bloomberg calls the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” Companies are suddenly having to enable an increasingly mobile workforce. Rife with technical ramifications and considerations, the notion of remote work has emerged a necessity, requiring businesses to consider:
- Which employees must remain in an on-site presence
- How to protect these employees
- What, if any employee functions can be deferred
- Technical discovery and requirements for remote work, including bandwidth surveying
Dependable, secure remote work technology has been available for years, and the cloud has pushed the scalability, availability, and security of these solutions to new heights. Thanks to cloud technologies, a world of web-based apps, virtual desktops, endpoint encryption, conferencing software, Virtual Private Networking (VPN), and other cloud-enhanced tools make remote work possible from nearly any device, anywhere in the world.
Cloud Can Help Even More
Remote work is not the only shift on the horizon. Many organizations recognize that the virus’s impact is testing the ability for businesses to respond to crises that may affect their local back-office IT operations, such as local data centers or colocation facilities. History will undoubtedly highlight the importance of distributed Cloud IT systems in disaster recovery situations. The cloud’s distributed nature is a natural fit and will be the hero in a future landscape that features survivors and victims. Those businesses that rely on cloud capabilities for their IT systems and back-office will benefit by not having to worry about personnel going into their data centers to check, maintain, and monitor their server and storage installations. Businesses using the cloud effectively will benefit the most by quickly leveraging the ability to create resilient and disaster-averse systems anywhere around the world protecting data and business application integrity, as well as support an increasingly remote workforce.
Today, more than ever, the cloud is a partner to business, and cloud technology enables our economies to function by relying less on local conditions. A widespread epidemic validates the need for the maintenance of corporate functionality based on cloud technologies. As companies position to maintain productivity, pushing the corporation into employee homes, and evaluating what to do in general when disaster strikes, it is imperative to rethink disaster recovery plans and explore cloud offerings as mitigation to local disasters.
Provided By Forbes.com