How Cloud Usage is Changing in A Pandemic

By - July 10, 2021

More than a year after the pandemic began, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a continued impact on the way that businesses operate.  The rapid response and shutdown of business as usual in March 2020 sent companies scrambling to connect their employees to their email, core system applications and everything else they use on a day-to-day basis.  As a result cloud adoption has soared. Globally, the market for cloud infrastructure is projected to grow 35 percent in 2021, according to the Forbes article “Why Cloud Technology is Expected to Dominate 2021”.

Since many employees switched to remote working last year, businesses are seeing that as they reopen, those employees want the flexibility to continue working from home for various reasons. RSM has seen a tremendous amount of companies evaluating their office leases and deciding it doesn’t make sense to continue them. Over the past six months specifically, RSM has seen an uptick in clients moving forward in eliminating as much of their on-premises infrastructure as possible, downsizing to a smaller office or even eliminating their office space(s) altogether.

The increase in cloud migrations has not been partial to one industry in particular. Retail sales were driven mostly online with brick and mortar stores closing for a significant period of 2020 so RSM assisted with many e-commerce transitions, but other industries were just as impacted.

As the pandemic began

Businesses that had already started transitioning to the cloud were able to adapt to “the new normal” rapidly.  These businesses may have had to work through smaller hurdles of remote user connectivity for all employees, selecting their online meeting provider and were able to focus on their employees.  These businesses were already working with some cloud functionality, with applications like Microsoft 365, simply just expanded their cloud footprint and took more of their workloads off-site during the pandemic.

On the other hand, businesses that did not have a cloud footprint or remote work capabilities for their employees struggled. When the pandemic began, everything shut down so quickly, (essentially over a weekend in many cases) with little to no advanced warning. Businesses were left to make things work remotely in the best way they could, sometimes not in the most secure manner.

As the pandemic continued, companies began adopting better cloud solutions and security measures. More companies required their employees to use VPN to access their servers, then began implementing two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication, employees must sign in with their user name and password and then meet an additional requirement before being allowed to access a system or website. Cybersecurity concerns continue to evolve as the pandemic alters the threat landscape.

As companies continue to move toward cloud-based operations, the role of IT is changing. The on-premise IT employees aren’t needed to manage the cloud pieces the way they once had to oversee the office’s servers, hardware, storage, backup, etc. Instead, they can focus on helping remote users with access or connectivity issues. Leveraging cloud solutions with the help of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) allows the company and its IT to focus on the business.

Increased budget for cloud transitions

In the last year, the spending on cloud resources has increased tremendously. As companies eliminate their office space, they are freeing up money in their budgets for cloud subscriptions. It’s unlikely we will ever see businesses operate infrastructure fully on-premises anymore. Instead, we expect to continue to see more seamless collaboration between remote and onsite workers.

Clients continue to request assessments and reviews of their infrastructure and hardware.  Pricing estimates for the costs of cloud migrations and cloud subscriptions have increased. Companies are scrambling somewhat as they take a hard look at the numbers, trying to evaluate their spending and their next steps. They want to know what their budgets will look like for the rest of the year if they eliminate their hardware and reduce their real estate costs.

RSM not only offers those assessments and estimates but can also make recommendations and provide roadmaps for navigating a digital transformation journey. The goal is to make the process smooth and improve the experience for the end-user.

As your company continues to adapt to changes in response to the pandemic, find out more about how we can guide your business as it makes the transition to the cloud. Schedule a call with one of our experts today.

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