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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it, in many ways. While its impact on our day-to-day lives has been huge, the impact has been even more dramatic from a business perspective: the social distancing norms, staggered operating hours to limit crowds, the masks, shields, and barriers. From the business continuity perspective, companies have had to adapt themselves to the new normal very quickly.
During this global crisis, one technology that truly came to the rescue of businesses big and small was the cloud. The cloud made it possible for businesses to keep their operations running even with staff working remotely. With all critical data stored online, all that was needed was a compatible device with an internet connection and it was business as usual…well, almost.
Here are some core business challenges that were resolved due to the cloud.
- Access to core business data and services that were needed for smooth day-to-day operations: tools such as email, communications and CRM tools now have major offerings in online services.
- Data security concerns, though not entirely non-existent, were largely addressed thanks to multiple layers of security offered by many cloud service providers through MFA. Has your business enforced them?
- If you transitioned from localized to cloud services, there’s a chance that it allowed you to put off purchasing new hardware because the processing load was removed from aging systems. Some businesses allowed employees to use home computers for work, but we caution against that. See the note at the end of this article for details of why.
Pre-pandemic, what was perceived as a benefit for employees (the permission to work from home) was now mandatory for survival of the business. Even businesses that allowed some employees to operate from home before had a tough time migrating their entire setup to the work-from-home model. We’ve learned a lot and new solutions have become available. How many Zoom meetings had you done before the world turned upside-down? Now Zoom is a standard means to meet—even if much of a team is in-person, some still attend virtually. Technology has always changed rapidly, but these last few years seemed to see it transform so many things that once seemed far-fetched to common everyday functions. The future will continue to be interesting for sure!
NOTE ON PERSONAL DEVICE USE: We advise against the use of unmanaged personal equipment for business use. You may be able to get away with allowing personal phones with some good security policies, because typically these are not shared with other individuals. We would strongly caution against allowing use of personal computers and tablets due to the risk of installation of risky software, browsing of websites that pose risks and would otherwise not be allowed on company equipment, unmanaged malware protection if any, unknown status of security patches, shared profiles among multiple people may allow access to files that contain sensitive data. Allowing your employees to use personal equipment may seem like a quick fix, but it could create a world of hurt for your business in the form of a data breach down the road. For this reason, we advise that only managed equipment be used to access your company data.