Though it actually crept up on us over the course of weeks (or even months), it felt to many companies like the coronavirus pandemic struck overnight.
The practical implications snapped into place very quickly, after all: the issue snowballed from a vague concern into a matter of great urgency, and everyone had to rush to adapt.
The results have been fascinating, if heavily distressing. Some companies have essentially been put out of business, at least for the foreseeable future, while others have seen huge spikes in demand that are lucrative but may not last long due to supply problems. Yet more have continued operation but using nascent remote working policies.
Rather than treat it as a matter of some confusion, I’ll spoil the answer to the titular question: yes, cloud tech has made it markedly easy for companies to adapt to this new (if temporary) paradigm. What I’m going to do here is detail what’s happening, noting how cloud tech is proving so useful. Let’s get to it.
It’s bypassing the need for complicated software deployment
Before cloud computing became a global standard, the process of getting a set of workplace computers fully equipped with productivity tools was long and awkward. In the absence of tight-knit security, installations needed to be local even after internet connections became fast enough for everything to be transferred online. Technicians would need to address machines individually, or try to link them together in clumsy and intentionally-temporary ways.
Even if companies today were willing to pay IT professionals to visit their offices, they wouldn’t get very far, because offices are closed. They’d need to have them visit individual employees in need of further software, a process that would be slow and dangerous (those IT professionals could easily be infectious).
Cloud technology means that there’s no need for any of that. Software doesn’t need to be deployed, only distributed, and there are companies out there with the expertise to handle that at great scale. They liaise with cloud solution distributors uniquely positioned to negotiate rates with vendors (intY is a good example of this model), package up the needed tools, and support their clients with using them and making the most of them. It’s near-immediate, easy, and safe.
It’s allowing complex work to be done on lightweight machines
Another huge benefit of cloud technology is that it takes the processing load off individual machines. While some tech-heavy companies supply their employees with formidable laptops capable of doing heavy work, many of the businesses that are now being forced to work remotely aren’t in that position. Their employees might have weak company laptops, or even need to work off their personal computers for the time being.
Without cloud technology, those underpowered computers would have had to struggle along, trying and failing to keep up with the demands of modern applications. With cloud tech, it largely isn’t an issue, with the bulk of the work done in the cloud. Put simply, being able to draw from cloud resources allows remarkable hardware flexibility (in some instances, as with Samsung’s DeX, it’s even possible to hook a smartphone up to a display and use that).
It’s keeping scattered teams operating quite cohesively
Internet access alone would have done a lot to keep teams communicating, but phones could have achieved that decades ago. It would also have done much to keep people informed, but that doesn’t need cloud processing. The cloud only enters the equation as a practical necessity when you start talking about productivity, but it makes a grand entrance.
This is because the cloud offers the necessary decentralisation to have numerous people spread throughout the nation (or even across the globe) working on the same file at the same time with everything appearing to be transpiring simultaneously. Think about the complex demands incurred by that collaboration, and factor in a video chat going on at the same time.
Without cloud processing serving as the foundation, that kind of seemingly-seamless experience simply wouldn’t be possible. The result is that companies that rely on large team meetings and group projects can continue with minimal alterations to their operational methods: a fantastic result given everything that’s going on.
For these reasons, and many more, cloud tech has made it hugely easier for companies to cope with the new business model demanded by the coronavirus pandemic. Had this happened a decade ago, the results might have been markedly worse.