Many companies had already taken steps towards remote working before the onset of COVID-19. Now, thousands of companies are dealing with getting whole workforces up and running at home - and at speed. Whilst this is an unprecedented environment that organisations are navigating through, the good news is that there are solutions available to businesses to combat these challenges. Solutions that can quickly help maintain productivity but also cause minimal disruption to the working environment.
Giving employees secure and agile ways of working by accessing company data from home is what the cloud always promised. With enforced working from home likely to last weeks, if not months, the cloud is more vital than ever. However, as the popularity of the cloud mounted in recent years, with it came some negative press. This was mainly down to spiralling costs after mistakes were made with deploying and operating workloads.
The cloud’s shortcomings
Despite the hype, many operational pain points currently still exist with the cloud. To effectively operate workloads in the cloud, many repetitive and manual processes are also involved, such as sizing, load balancing, deploying, patching, and monitoring and management. While necessary, these are often fraught with human errors leading to delays with the workload’s availability and even security vulnerabilities. As a result, it has been estimated by Flexera that 35 per cent of cloud expenditure is being wasted due to incorrect licensing, inefficient utilisation and lack of automated optimisation.
The technical knowledge required to get a cloud project up and running is costly and often hard to source. Security, maintenance and support has traditionally also resided with the customer, which adds a significant operational burden. And there are significant additional investment requirements for build and migration scenarios. For these reasons, small-to-medium sized businesses often wrongly believe that the cloud is suited only to enterprises with technical expertise and operational capacity.
Automated cloud to the rescue
Despite the cloud being a complex, ever-evolving suite of products, simplified cloud ownership is now possible. The secret lies in automation. By automating the hefty maintenance, security and support requirements of the cloud, organisations can now transition effectively with all management and security issues addressed much more effectively. The automation technology currently available for Microsoft Azure, one of the leading cloud computing services, is set to change the market by simplifying cloud ownership and operations to deliver what the cloud was meant to be. It finally makes the cloud an option for businesses of all types and sizes.
Further, business-critical automation technology now allows you to access, low-cost, software-driven cloud back up in three hours, remote working in three days and to operate a fully autonomous datacentre in three weeks. Not only will transitioning to the cloud enable businesses to meet the productivity challenges set by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will also help save money in other ways.
With the cloud pain-points addressed, organisations can inoculate business-critical environments with far reaching positive impacts. The latest technology can give automated access to work office computers from iPads, laptops - or even TVs - with all the right business resources at their fingertips. Cloud-based collaborative ways of working using Skype or Teams are now becoming indispensable tools of the global economy.
By bringing together cutting-edge automation, service management practices and business intelligent platforms, organisations can finally get the most out of the Azure working environment without paying a penny more than what’s needed, bringing the overall total cost of cloud ownership down.
Leveraging the cloud will see many organisations harness the cost advantages of a more productive, agile workforce. Combined with this, the multiple operational aspects in which costs can also be reduced can cut overall spend down by as much as 43 per cent. By automating the cloud, expenditure and usage can be analysed to detect idle services and optimise licensing to improve provisioning.
Today and tomorrow
COVID-19 may have disrupted long-held working patterns, but it provides an opportunity for organisations to finally address their greatest mobilisation challenges. Many SMBs and enterprises can benefit from the cloud and obtain a cloud environment built for purpose with an option for migrating workloads from on-premises, but with none of the upfront investment costs. This could also be the new way of working in the future to help reduce business’ environmental impact, reducing both the purchasing and housing of IT hardware and unnecessary business travel.
The cloud is the way forward to provide your employees with remote access to data in a secure and compliant way. With the cloud comes the ability of near-limitless scale and capacity with none of the on-premises kit requirements or the large capital costs.
Written by Scott Dodds, CEO, Ultima