If there was a word of the year for 2020, it would be “adaptation.” Earlier this year, across the country and globe, people were encouraged to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of COVID-19. “Remote” became the norm for work, school, and socializing, completely flipping our traditional way of life upside down. Our normal lives were interrupted, and we had to quickly adapt. During our free time we watched Tiger King, made Dalgona Coffee and banana bread, and took on new hobbies. At the same time, organizations quickly scrambled for solutions to help make moving to an entirely remote workforce possible.

While some organizations struggled to make this adjustment, others thrived under these circumstances, and it quickly became obvious that those who adapted and took advantage of new technologies were the ones to succeed. One particular technology that has seen a surge during the past 6 months has been cloud hosting, and when seeing the benefits it’s easy to understand why.

This migration to the cloud isn’t new, in fact cloud computing has grown significantly in the past few years, specifically because of its flexibility and benefits for employees. In fact, 85% of businesses worldwide are already making use of cloud technology to access their software applications and store their data. 

The need for employees to work remotely this year only accelerated this growth, and with organizations choosing to remain entirely remote for the foreseeable future (or forever), cloud computing isn’t going anywhere. 

The current state of the cloud

Cloud computing is a fast growing technology. Even pre-pandemic, it was expected that the public cloud computing market could exceed $266 billion by the end of 2020. Organizations see the value of cloud computing, and know that it’s become an integral part of doing business in the 21st century. 

The onset of COVID-19 and the changing office environment has quickly determined a clear need for cloud computing. In a poll taken earlier this year, 58 percent of those polled stated that they are moving at least some infrastructure to the cloud in response to the pandemic, and 17 percent of those are planning to move their entire software stack to the cloud. 

While many of these organizations were previously concerned about the security and reliability of the cloud, it was out of necessity that they chose to take the leap. A study released by Deloitte reported that cloud computing was considered to be a “most relevant” technology as part of a “next normal” by 80% of their respondents. 

Understanding the cloud

It’s clear the cloud is here to stay, and though it’s impact is quickly growing, many organizations don’t fully understand the cloud and therefore can’t see the benefits. Many individuals don’t even realize that they rely on cloud hosting every day, it’s become such an integral part of our lives and our day-to-day business that it’s become nearly unnoticeable. For example, downloading a new app to your smartphone, or placing an order from Amazon in just a few clicks. In the business world, an organization may use a web form for their HR onboarding of a new employee – this is all made possible via Cloud Computing.

The technical definition of cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing power, database, storage, applications, and other IT resources via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.

PiF is an Amazon Web Services partner, which means that the cloud computing services we provide are exclusively through their platform, and we have the tools and expertise to migrate your organization to the cloud.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud services platform, offering data storage, computing power, content delivery, and other key functions to help your organization scale and grow. AWS is globally one of the largest providers of cloud services, with over 90% of Fortune 100 companies working with an AWS Partner. AWS also has a highly qualified partner channel that’s designed to serve small to mid-market customers (25 to 250 employees), allowing access to the benefits of cloud computing at a reasonable price.

Simple and streamlined

During tough times, the last thing organizations want to do is make things harder for their employees, partners, or vendors. Maintaining “business as usual” is not an easy task, but with assistance from cloud computing, it makes it much easier. 

For any employees, especially remote ones, it’s important to access data quickly. For employees with critical roles that require juggling multiple projects day to day, using cloud hosting can provide them access. The cloud can make accessing and utilizing data simple.

By migrating to the cloud, your employees can easily access the applications they require to complete day-to-day tasks, no matter where they’re located. This spans across departments, job functions, and locations, an AP clerk based in one location can access your ERP just as easily as an Accounting Manager in another. 

An example of this can be seen with our customer, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL), a 1000-employee nonprofit organization that works to promote quality of life with independence for people with disabilities and seniors. PiF Technologies assisted GSIL in utilizing Web Forms to digitize their day-to-day workflows, including hiring, incident reporting, client intake and home certification. Rather than print out a stack of paper for each process and run the forms to and from worksites and offices, it’s all electronic. Key information is filled in once and all forms are automatically populated. Automatic validation ensures that errors and corrections are eliminated.

For organizational processes that require routing, approvals, and data needing to move from person to person, staying connected through the cloud can promote productivity and help continue to move along those key workflows. By not utilizing cloud computing, systems that run efficiently in-office on your own network and server can all of a sudden become useless once employees leave the building. 

On the cloud, you can rely on those same workflows regardless of where your team is located, meaning the work doesn’t stop and you can complete tasks with the same speed as before.

Simplicity now, security for good

Most organizations don’t have disasters top of mind, it’s a scary thought thinking about the “what ifs” of your business. While you hope that nothing ever happens to your data, it’s better to be prepared in case something does. When emergencies happen, how can you ensure that you don’t lose what’s important to your business?

There are cases where data may be deleted by accident, due to a natural disaster (think fire, flood, nor’easters, hurricanes, or blizzards), or due to ransomware or other malware taking over your on-premise server. Hosting your data and applications on a cloud storage system with automated backups can ensure your data won’t disappear forever.

Small to mid-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. They often have limited resources dedicated to cybersecurity and don’t have systems built to protect them and their data. While these attacks may not be entirely preventable, lessening their impact is possible.

The current state of affairs in cybersecurity is bleak. This past year had an unprecedented number of continuous ransomware attacks that cost over $11.5 billion in damages. Businesses fall victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds, up significantly from every 40 seconds in 2016. 

Small to mid-sized businesses believe they’re more immune to these attacks because they don’t have as much to offer as enterprise accounts, because of this false security they often are more lax with initiating security measures and protecting their data. Half of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack, yet many of them don’t invest in resources to keep themselves protected.

By not paying attention to these concerning trends, businesses put themselves at risk for more damage.

Unlike other cloud providers who define a region as a single data center, AWS Regions consist of multiple Availability Zones consisting of discrete data centers with identical power, networking, and connectivity abilities, and each housed in separate facilities to ensure the cloud is always secure. This means that even if one data center is compromised, your data is backed up to other data centers and still protected.

Why your organization is ready to move to the cloud 

There’s no question that the cloud is here. It’s a reasonably priced alternative to on-premise IT infrastructure, and is accessible to every organization regardless of size or vertical. Benefits such as access from anywhere, uninterrupted workflows in departments such as Finance, HR, Customer Service and Sales – especially given the percentage of remote workers, make the Cloud a timely and smart choice for organizations. Beyond the convenience, the added benefits of security and redundancy means that not only will the Cloud benefit your organization now, it will provide value well into the future. 

You don’t have to navigate the move to the Cloud on your own, PiF has a smart team of experts who can make the switch easier, and with our 100% U.S.-based support, we’ll be here for you when you need us. Schedule a demo and have a quick review of the Cloud and learn how its benefits can directly impact your organization based on your exact needs.