If there's one constant throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it's a universal feeling of uncertainty. Internet services like cloud storage have become essential for many companies, but this raises some questions as well. As quarantine continues, how will it affect cloud solutions and home networks?
Few people called the reliability of the cloud into question before the pandemic. The unprecedented surge in internet use brought on by quarantine may cause some to doubt the resilience of these systems. Networks and data centers haven't seen a test of strength like this before.
The internet is essential to carrying businesses through this time of remote work. Will all the new stress affect things like network strength and cloud solutions?
Increased Demand for Cloud Solutions
In response to the rapidly-spreading virus, many businesses have urged their employees to work from home. Even industry giants like Amazon have had to adjust their operations in the face of the pandemic. In March, the company told its hundreds of thousands of employees to work remotely if they can.
As employees have transitioned to working from home, demand for cloud solutions has skyrocketed. Microsoft's Intelligent Cloud segment saw a 27% rise in revenue in the last quarter, likely due to quarantine. Cloud providers are some of the few companies seeing an increase in profits during COVID-19-related shutdowns.
Employees need cloud storage solutions to access work files without company devices. File sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive are also essential so that workers can collaborate over long distances. The rising demand for these services is good news for cloud providers' finances but may also affect networks.
Stress on Last-Mile Connections
As internet usage rises from factors like increased cloud adoption, some people worry about their network strength. Internet service providers (ISPs) likely won't give way to this uptake in use, so the internet itself can withstand it. The same may not be true of last-mile internet connections, which can cause problems for some employees.
Last-mile connections, those leading into a home or office, are more vulnerable to significant changes. While ISPs may have the capacity on their end to handle all the new traffic, home networks may not. In some areas, employees working from home may experience reduced internet speeds or even connectivity issues.
Companies' web-based applications may require significantly more bandwidth than a standard home connection offers. Offices typically have high-speed, high-bandwidth internet connections so that they can use these applications without trouble. It's unlikely that employees have similar networks in their houses, though.
Many employees also have families that are now all working and schooling from home. With multiple people using bandwidth-consuming applications at once, these networks may have trouble keeping up with demand. As a result, some employees may experience some difficulties trying to use company cloud solutions.
Changes Facing Data Centers
Rising cloud use also presents some changes to the data centers that host these critical operations. Many companies relying on hybrid clouds also rely on data centers to keep their information secure. Complications related to the coronavirus outbreak force these centers to make quick adjustments.
All internet functions rely on data centers in some capacity, so these institutions are dealing with significantly higher demand. They need to make sure they can handle continued increased use, which for most, shouldn't be a problem. If a center needs employees to work remotely, though, it may be more challenging to meet this new demand.
Data centers may have to work harder with fewer employees. On top of providing consistent service, these companies may need to increase security as well. COVID-19 has spurred an increase in cybercrime, putting the information in these places at risk.
Thanks to increased demand for their services, data centers will likely have sufficient finances to upgrade as necessary. That doesn't guarantee anything, though, especially in the face of staff shortages and rising confusion. Data centers have held fast so far, but the future remains uncertain.
Clouds, Connections and Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the cloud in a strange variety of ways. On the one hand, it's led to financial gain for cloud providers and data centers. On the other, it's presented the same companies with a new set of challenges.
Most of the concerns involving network strength and cloud solutions revolve around home networks. The reliability of last-mile connections is the most vulnerable point for companies at this time. The businesses that perform the best will be those that adapt to meet their employees' new needs.