One of the more significant changes to daily life introduced across the country in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the move to work from home, and for many, this remote working setup looks set to continue.
Sadly, millions of people in the UK did not get the option to work from home, either facing furlough or unemployment as businesses and industries were negatively impacted during lockdown. In addition, many more key workers carried on working bravely during the crisis to help save lives and keep the country running – for which they all have our thanks.
For those people lucky enough to be working through lockdown, many have needed to adapt their working habits almost overnight, which for businesses, has meant relying heavily on cloud-based technology to continue working remotely. Businesses that were cloud-enabled at the start of the pandemic certainly had a head-start over those that were not.
In May, social media giant Twitter announced it would let some employees work from home ‘forever’, if they choose to. For many of us, this organisational re-shuffle may tip from temporary to permanent; the ‘new normal’, a phrase we’re hearing a lot in the wake of the pandemic.
So, with such drastic changes to the use and demands of cloud infrastructure, how has this affected the cloud industry? This blog post will explore this in more detail and discuss some of the effects we may see going forward.
Many studies looking at the impact of COVID-19 on organisations show increased usage of cloud platforms. In a new State of the Cloud report from Flexera, their findings indicate an increased use in cloud resources among global enterprises and small to medium sized businesses (SMBs).
The study’s findings, which involved 750 enterprise and SMB organisations from across the world, are echoed in another report by database company MariaDB. This study reinforced the fact that COVID-19 is increasing cloud adoption as businesses race to adapt to a new way of working.
In their blog from last month, MariaDB explained: “One trend we saw is that the global crisis is driving cloud adoption. 40 percent said COVID-19 is accelerating their move to the cloud. It makes sense. The cloud lets companies increase capacity without investing in hardware and facilities.”
“Additionally, there is less need to add staff if your cloud provider is maintaining the infrastructure and extending the abilities of your existing team. With the disruptions from COVID-19 and the probability of future disruptions, there has never felt like a more urgent time to move into the cloud.”
Although many businesses and industries are already cloud-native, it seems safe to assume that with COVID-19’s working limitations in the forefront of everyone’s minds, a complete shift to the cloud will likely take significantly less time than previously predicted.
With a huge surge in remote working and collaboration, the tools which enable us to do this have seen a spike in their demands. Microsoft Teams recently logged a new daily record of 2.7 billion total meetings in a single day, with overall usage up 894% since February.
The video conferencing app Zoom reported earnings of $328 million in revenue throughout February to April – that’s more than double from previous years. Since the pandemic began, the net worth of Zoom’s founder has increased by more than $4 billion!
Other industries, such as retail and gaming, are also seeing their usage and demands rise in line with lockdown initiatives. This too is pushing cloud spend, as businesses and retailers scale up their resources to accommodate for the increased demand on their platforms.
With a spike in the amount of people working from home throughout the pandemic, this has added extra strain to keep IT systems safe and secure. A sudden change of working environments, mixed with new business processes and technologies, has unfortunately increased the opportunity for hackers and scammers to take advantage of any vulnerabilities.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Financial Times reports there has been a 6,000% increase in spam. The pandemic has left many of us distracted and very reliant on all things digital, and unfortunately, it seems criminals will exploit this at every possible turn.
The EU’s cyber security network, Echo, recently explained: “This pandemic offers cyber attackers unique opportunities to leverage existing attack tactics, techniques and procedures to exploit new opportunities.”
They cite the issues causing this increase of attacks as “a massive increase of employees working from home, children using home computers for schooling, as well as the human factor and emotions caused by the pandemic”.
Recently in the news we’ve seen large scale cyber-attacks by sophisticated cybercrime groups, and even reports of state sponsored cyber-attacks surrounding the virus and its research on a vaccine. But for the most part, the most significant risk is to businesses and individuals.
We must all take extra precautions to understand and be alert to the risk of cybercrime. As mentioned earlier, the techniques haven’t changed, simply the context. If you’d like some top tips for identifying and preventing phishing techniques, read our previous blog post here.
For businesses, their response to COVID-19 surely would have been very different in a time before cloud technology – in truth, it’s hard to imagine how our lives inside and outside of work would have coped.
One thing is for certain though, it seems that for as long as this pandemic remains a threat, cloud services will continue to play an integral role in enabling many of us to continue working safely and effectively.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, and as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Image credit: andrewtimothy/envato.com
Matthew is Secura's content specialist, producing gripping, emotionally complex, edge of your seat, cloud hosting articles and videos.
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