But as the pandemic begins to recede and lockdown conditions start to lift, it is becoming increasingly clear that the cloud can serve companies well in another regard – hybrid working. Although opinion varies between organisations about quite how much people will be allowed to work remotely, there are unlikely to be many that don’t allow any degree of home-based working. Indeed, a June 2021 survey by Gartner reported that 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time (1).
As many companies have already discovered, this has implications for technical resources that must be carefully addressed. Ensuring that home-based workers have adequate computer equipment and bandwidth is one thing. But they will also need to be able to draw down and upload data and other resources without encountering delays or system outages.
Coping with uncertainty
Fortunately, this is another area in which the cloud can really play to its strengths. Indeed, the ability to support working practices that are likely to change and remain unpredictable for years to come is one of the strongest cases for cloud migration at this specific point in time.
What is certain is that more people will be needing to access core company systems remotely than ever before. This poses a distinct challenge to legacy and/or on-premise systems, which are more likely to be vulnerable to being overwhelmed or compromised by sudden surges in activity.
Hence for any company now looking to provide remote access as a matter of course – and for potentially large workforces – there are some very important requirements to bear in mind. In terms of their core systems they need to be able to: support sudden and dramatic spikes in traffic and usage caused by remote access, as well as the transportation of very large files; be able to add additional capacity – including for new team members or access points – at short notice; and be able to take advantage of ongoing upgrades with regard to new features, security patches and so on.
In truth, it is only a cloud-based solution that can now offer this sort of comprehensive feature-set. In our own world of building automation, there has been a decisive trend in favour of partnering with leading cloud providers to ensure that systems remain secure and supportive of changing needs. At Priva, we chose Microsoft Azure because of the standard components it provides, as well as its extensive security measures. The result is that Azure now provides the cloud foundation for a wide range of our solutions.
While there have been a few murmurings in recent weeks from financial services companies about returning more emphatically to the office, the likelihood is that most businesses will implement some form of home working. So in terms of supporting reliable remote access and maintaining security provision, it’s arguable that there has never been a better time to migrate to the cloud.