The past year has seen a major transformation of the global workforce from brick-and-mortar to digital as many people have shifted to work-from-home.
Much of this has been possible thanks to cloud technologies, which have helped deliver the tools and services necessary for day-to-day working instantly and on-demand. In fact, cloud adoption has accelerated more than anyone expected, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
From healthcare to retail, hospitality, tech startups, education and financial institutions, and more, organizations large and small have realized the need for securely managing remote teams in the cloud while expanding capacity, and increasing flexibility and cost efficiency. Businesses that don’t adopt the cloud quickly could not only be left behind but could also experience a greater risk in terms of security, efficiency and productivity.
Indeed, the cloud is further enabling the future of work – even as many return to the brick-and-mortar workplace – and leveling the playing field for small-and-mid-sized businesses.
“Cloud computing gives small business teams (SMBs) access to a variety of digital services that were once only attainable by large corporations,” said Jared Ruth, Director of Marketing – Cloud | Channel | Carrier for Cox Business in Orange County. “In fact, SMBs that embrace technology such as the cloud outperform those that are slower adopters.”
Below, Ruth – along with his colleague Ron Lev, General Manager of Cox Edge Services – takes a deeper dive into how the cloud is enabling today’s and tomorrow’s workforce while shaping a successful enterprise strategy.
The Great Migration: If you already didn’t know, the benefits of migrating to the cloud include scalability, flexibility, cost efficiency, maintenance and security. But let’s take that a step further. When migrating to the cloud, it’s critical to have an easy-to-establish, secure and reliable Ethernet connection from your office – even if it’s from your home.
“It’s important to choose a cloud services provider that can help protect your business, stay compliant, and reduce DDoS attacks,”
Ruth said. “For example, at Cox Business, by using a private Ethernet networking service, we deliver secure, direct access to cloud-based applications to increase security for your network.”
Businesses using the cloud should also make sure their critical applications are operating efficiently with a network that’s always up and available. In terms of efficiency and reduced costs, the cloud helps businesses stay on budget while improving operations.
In today’s ever-changing business climate, having on-demand access to data anytime, anywhere and without interruption has become a priority for many organizations. The cloud delivers that.
“Business owners must have access to the information they need available at their fingertips – whether they are on their mobile phone, tablet or PC,” Ruth said.
Driving Collaboration & Innovation: Just because the world is put on hold doesn’t mean that innovation stops. The disruptions and new work “normal” that emerged from the pandemic have shed a brighter light on the need for cloud technologies to enable organizations to thrive and drive innovation – even if teams are working from their living room and even across time zones.
“The pandemic has made moving to the cloud more of a necessity instead of a choice when it comes to fostering collaboration among teams,” Ruth said. “Businesses that adopt the right cloud strategies now will not only be ahead of the curve, but will also propel their mission and inspire collaboration and rapid innovation.”
Ruth advises choosing a cloud services provider that will work with you and your team to evaluate your businesses’ current goals and infrastructure, as well as onboard you to your ideal cloud environment with virtually no disruption to productivity.
Transparency: When deciding on the right cloud services – whether it be Desktop-as-a-Service , Managed-Device-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and more – transparency is key, especially when it comes to pricing.
“Organizations should choose cloud services that meet their business needs and enable them to focus on their business, with predictable monthly costs that help them effectively manage their budgets,” Ruth said. “For example, unlike many managed cloud service providers that charge extra for co-management, Cox Business includes it with all of our services. We can also fully manage your system or you can self-manage. You decide what combination makes the most sense for your IT team and business. Regardless, you see everything in a single- pane portal and retain full visibility and control.”
Living on the Edge: Although cloud computing continues to play a critical role for enterprise infrastructure and the changing world of work, Internet of Things (IoT) devices are transforming how we live, work, travel, and do business. This is where the edge comes in. In an effort to further support the growing work-from-home culture, as well as boost productivity for businesses, services providers such as Cox Business are leading many of their customers to the edge of the cloud.
Basically, edge computing is computing that’s done at or near the source of the data, instead of relying on the cloud at one of a dozen data centers to do all the work.
“With edge, we are bringing the cloud to you, our customers,” Lev said. “It gives our residential and business customers access to the next generation of connected services and experiences by bringing valuable processing power closer.”
With Cox Edge, users get improved resiliency, reduced security risks, enhanced performance, consistency, and a seamless end user experience.
Moving data infrastructure, applications, and data resources to the edge can also enable faster response to business needs, increased flexibility, greater business scaling, and more effective long-term resilience. The edge reduces latency and provides more processing of data close to the source.
“Cox Edge puts servers back in the local community for anyone to use for things that require low latency and need quick calculations, like computers, vision systems, sensors, and autonomous cars. Edge enables these servers to be geographically nearby,” Lev said. “So while Cox Business Cloud Solutions are anywhere, Cox Edge is even closer and uses existing infrastructure we had originally built for customers to watch TV or for the Internet.”
According to IDC’s worldwide IT predictions for 2021, COVID-19’s impact on workforce and operational practices will be the dominant accelerator for 80 percent of edge-driven investments and business model change across most industries over the next few years.
“Whether you’re building IoT, telehealth, AR, VR, voice, UI, or retail solutions like personalized ads or shopping cart optimization, you need a new kind of infrastructure,” Lev said. “To meet users’ expectations for speed, availability, and security, you need to deploy your workloads close to users. That’s where the edge comes in.”
The Future of Work: So what cloud strategy is best for your business? It could be a combo of both cloud and edge computing. In fact, forward-looking organizations are beginning to consider how to selectively employ both. Combining edge computing and the cloud enables both rapid response times and big data processing.
“As the workforce becomes more diverse and spread out, businesses will continue to look to various cloud services to identify ways to improve productivity, mobility, speed-to-market and reduce costs,” Lev said. “Whether you run a global Fortune 100 company or small three-person business, choosing the right cloud strategy will ensure your future success and a happier and more connected workforce.”