In IT management trends

The current pandemic expedited an already increasing shift toward cloud computing for business. The article below shares five specific ways in which the cloud can benefit your business not only during the pandemic, but beyond. CK

Article written by Rashan Dixon originally appeared in Entrepreneur on June 29, 2020.

Cloud computing has long been poised to change the landscape.  predicts that 94 percent of all workloads will be handled in the cloud by next year — and the COVID-19 crisis is speeding up the process.

As the coronavirus whips the business world into a tailspin, your company can’t afford to go unprepared. Old, server-based computing options can be sluggish in the face of today’s high-paced tech world. By adopting cloud computing, you’re ensuring your organization has the digital tools it needs to face down whatever challenges may come next.

More and more companies are being forced to take their business online, but not all of them have the necessary digital infrastructure in place. If you’re hoping to get your business through this pandemic unscathed, you’ll need cloud computing to help. Here are five ways it can.

1. Document Sharing 

In times like these, businesses can no longer afford to let important documents get lost in endless email chains. Cloud-based document sharing is a great way of ensuring that key pieces of content can be viewed and accessed by anyone who needs to see them without hours of digging.

As COVID-19 sends workers home, working together is both more difficult — and more important — than ever. Thankfully, document-sharing platforms have begun responding to the pandemic, with leader  integrating many of its featureswith Zoom to allow for seamless collaboration. Apps like Dropbox or  Docs make it easy to keep a tight grip on your key content, even if everything else is in flux.

2. Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks have always posed a serious threat to the increasingly digitized business world, but the pandemic is only exacerbating the problem. McKinsey research shows that the increase in employees working from home and the pressure faced by some organizations have significantly boosted the possibility of breaches.

Cloud-powered cybersecurity can solve many of the problems businesses face in this realm. Keeping security operations in the cloud gives your company significantly more digital horsepower, with many of the best security platforms utilizing artificial intelligence to detect and paralyze threats in real time.

3. 

Businesses aren’t the only ones hit hard by the pandemic. Consumers the world over are being plagued with uncertainty and reduced incomes. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that the virus is already making it significantly more difficult for call centers to cope, and this is only going to get worse as time goes on.

Taking your customer service to the cloud is a surefire way to help alleviate these problems. Cloud-based customer service carries the benefits of additional speed and bandwidth, but it also can make life easier for your CS agents. Cloud contact center Five9 recently partnered with Google Cloud to allow agents greater access to relevant customer information in real time. Firms need to be able to deal with high call volumes smoothly to function, and the cloud can make that a reality.

4. Remote Working

COVID-19 may have shuttered offices in the short term, but the long-term effects might be just as profound, as 74 percent of businesses plan on reducing the number of employees in their office, even after the virus subsides. Remote work has been on the rise for the past several years, but the recent spike in stay-at-home workers means that businesses need to be able to handle entire teams located outside the office.

The aforementioned document-sharing and videoconferencing platforms are crucial components of any work-from-home model, but these aren’t the only tools at your disposal. While Zoom allows you to make seamless video calls, it also weighs down internet connections and can be unruly at times. Messaging service Slack, however, recently underwent a speed increase and RAM usage reduction, making it a valuable cloud-communication option that won’t prohibit your workers from connecting when they need to.

5. Scaling 

For almost all businesses, this is a time of great uncertainty in regards to size. While some digital firms, such as , are experiencing explosive levels of growth, many are facing the serious possibility of furloughs or downsizing. To stay solvent, you need to be able scale your business up and down on a dime.

Because the cloud doesn’t require a physical server to operate, it allows you to use as much or as little computing power as you need. Research from  has shown that on-site data centers can take up to a year to properly build — time your business likely doesn’t have at its disposal. Cloud computing lets you scale dynamically, without the need for waiting.

With COVID-19 comes an unprecedented number of unknowns, so your business needs to cover all its bases to stay prepared. Moving your company to the cloud offers your business a number of new advantages while allowing you to run all of your key operations, whether you’re in the office or at home.

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