Cloud: A silver lining for businesses amidst pandemic

by August 17, 2020 0 comments

Soma Tah


Indian businesses have started leveraging Cloud technologies to a great extent as they attempted to cope with these uncertain times, ensure business continuity, and power innovation- making way for greater adoption of Cloud across various industries

Embracing the New Normal of Work 

The unprecedented global crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic has not only rendered states, and people helpless and homebound, but made it equally challenging for businesses to operate as usual. With Remote Work becoming the new normal, organizations had no option apart from adopting cloud infra and cloud services for business continuity.

The need to work remotely caused a huge spike in demand for cloud-based collaboration, security, and productivity tools to ensure business continuity. Video conferencing tools and Virtual Private Network (VPN) became more important than ever. Organizations are also using cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions to onboard new remote workers.

Due to stringent lockdown and social distancing measures, industries like media, retail, education, and healthcare also have embraced cloud-based tools for new demands online entertainment, gaming, shopping, virtual classrooms, and e-consultations, etc.

The empty offices and full homes, however, posed other challenges. As per data shared by ComScore, India saw a 36 percent increase in Internet use between February and March 2020, and the average time spent on the Internet increased by 23 percent creating immense pressure on the network infrastructure. But edge solutions providers, regulators, and carriers all came forward and took steps to reduce load during peak traffic times and helped businesses avert any online gridlock.

Powering Contactless Solutions

COVID-19 crisis had shoved us all into a no-touch world, leaving a large piece of the jigsaw puzzle for the businesses to solve- figuring out the ways they can create new customer experiences, and no-touch interfaces that align with a contactless world.

Providing quality experience with minimum physical contact was one of the most challenging tasks at their hands as retails, travel, hospitality, and airline industries started reopening across the country. The same is true for the banking industry as well. But building contactless and branchless banking requires web-scale applications. Hence going forward we will see organizations focusing more on building cloud-native applications as they are better at responding to change and uncertainty. Enterprise Kubernetes platforms also allow businesses to take their ideas to market faster by providing developers with a consistent, secure, and zero-configuration development environment.

A vast majority of people will continue to prefer touchless interactions post – covid pandemic also, reveals a recently conducted survey by Capgemini survey. Besides speeding up adoption for touchless interfaces, this pandemic has created a unique opportunity to accelerate the use of voice-based interfaces in physical settings, and facial recognition technologies, mobile-based contactless transactions also. Cloud will be a major enabler for these contactless technologies and solutions.

Fast-Tracking Business’ Cloud Journey

India has witnessed rapid digital adoption, as people and businesses adjusted themselves with the new ways of working.

Although Digital Transformation itself also has been a broader requirement that continues to drive the demand for cloud solutions for the past few years, COVID-19 crisis made it an absolute necessity for many businesses to prioritize their digital transformation agenda.

The pandemic has brought everything to a standstill. Inability to woo customers, declining sales, and stalled production, piled up inventories made businesses recognize the value of new-age technologies like Cloud, and embrace digital tools.

A substantial increase in usage of cloud infrastructure is also being observed in the sectors such as BFSI, Healthcare, Education, and Events, etc. With social distancing becoming a part of day-to-day life, educational institutions adopted remote learning, patients opted for an e-consultation with their doctors, and events turned completely virtual.

Bharat Akkinepalli, Lead Consultant, ThoughtWorks said, “COVID-19 has made financial enterprises, for the first time, to leverage cloud computing and open up firewalls for people to securely work from home. The highly regulated sector benefits from having its core banking services managed as part of the private cloud and its customer facing services hosted on public clouds (closer to customers)”

Pay-per-Use models see an increased demand

More companies are looking to maximize resources and move from Capex and hardware-based systems, to Opex and ‘as a Service’ solutions.

The India cloud market will witness an increased adoption with public cloud leading the forefront of all infra-related investments. IDC’s Covid-19 Impact on IT spending Survey found that 64 percent of the organizations in India are expected to increase demand for cloud computing while 56 percent for cloud software to support the new normal, as it enables businesses to scale at speed, at a predictable cost.

Keeping the crisis in mind, many Cloud solutions providers have also been extending free access to their tools for small and medium business usage.

Rise of Distributed Cloud Computing

The COVID-19 crisis has proved the value of public cloud services in supporting businesses and workers even in the Distributed Workforce scenario. Public cloud providers have now begun to distribute their public cloud services to different geographical locations. The operation, governance, updates and evolution of the services are the responsibility of the originating public cloud provider. In this way, the cloud is broken up into multiple smaller datacenters in different locations. The benefits it provides include reduced latency, lowered overhead costs, and improved compliance with data-location related regulations.

Speaking on the new trends in Cloud Computing, Sid Nag, Research VP at Gartner said, “We are seeing increased availability of distributed cloud from the hyperscale cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud with offerings such as Outpost, Stack and Anthos respectively. Distributed cloud computing is a style of cloud computing where the location of the cloud services is a critical component of the model. Distributed cloud supports the tethered and untethered operation of like-for-like cloud services from the public cloud ‘distributed’ out to specific and varied physical locations.”

The lines between IaaS and PaaS are also blurring, pointed out Sid. Gartner defined this as CIPS (Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services). The degree of integration may vary but it includes the use of a single self-service portal and catalog, shared identity and access management, a single integrated low-latency network context, unified security, unified monitoring and unified billing. Most customers that use a hyperscale CIPS provider, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, have adopted a blend of the provider’s IaaS and PaaS capabilities. IaaS resources are typically supplemented with cloud software infrastructure services, such as dbPaaS, aPaaS and iPaaS, explained Sid.

Security continues to remain on Slippery Slope

Security remains a major concern, no matter where you are in terms of the cloud journey. The sudden transition to Remote Work has made it more difficult to manage. Also now that people are working from home, the organizational data is spread across multiple clouds, cloud apps, personal devices and data centers. It is critical for organisations to secure their data and their people wherever they are.

As this was the first time many of these individuals were working away from a secure corporate environment, they were vulnerable to malicious attacks from hackers who were eager to exploit people’s fear and anxiety over their personal health.

A cloud security research conducted by Trend Micro highlights misconfiguration as the primary cause of cloud security issues. Hence, it recommends some best practices which can help secure cloud deployments:

Employ least privilege controls: restricting access to only those who need it.

Understand the Shared Responsibility Model: Although cloud providers have built-in security, customers are responsible for securing their own data.

Monitor for misconfigured and exposed systems: Use tools that can quickly and easily identify misconfigurations in your cloud environments.

Integrate security into DevOps culture: Security should be built into the DevOps process from the start.

Experts Speak:


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