The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to problems that companies did not know existed only four months ago. And many of them are learning hard lessons from this crisis.
Businesses are slowly getting back to business and at some point things will get back to normal… hopefully. The health crisis has shown that some companies are doing better than others. And nine times out of ten, it is thanks to the cloud that they have been able to adapt to the rapid changes imposed by the pandemic. But many other companies have learned hard lessons from this epidemic. And it will be useful for other crises to come, no doubt inevitable. In the last four months, more than in the previous two years, they have been able to measure the benefits of the cloud, but also its limits. These are the three most significant and regularly mentioned lessons:
The cloud is more important than you thought. Many companies have embraced the cloud to run their operations after the fact, often even after deployment. While most IT companies have given the cloud some attention, shrinking budgets and a general lack of understanding have not fostered best practices or the use of technology. During the pandemic, employees were sent home to work remotely. The increased use of public cloud providers and the very high demand for access to systems hosted in the cloud from remote workers, who are also very geographically dispersed, have highlighted the need for operational tools and skills. While self-healing capabilities have proven to be essential to address scaling cloud operations issues, companies lacked all the tools to automate self-healing processes, and / or skills to implement them.
APIs are missing
Companies should put API strategies in place as soon as possible. Data integration, which has always been valuable, has become imperative in a time of rapid change. Additionally, companies need to share the services that are able to tie behavior to data. Both of these issues are addressed by leveraging well-secured and well-managed APIs. Some systems have APIs, such as those provided by SaaS vendors. However, for the majority of custom cloud-based business applications, there is simply no API that provides access to system data and services. Therefore, integrations must employ unique processes that will not be able to adapt to new business needs in the context of the pandemic.
Extending cloud security to remote workers is more difficult than previously thought. This is the other lesson of the crisis. Even though cloud security teams were already supporting some remote workers, companies quickly discovered that the home network their employees connected to had nothing to do with the corporate network. Problems with VPN, virtual private clouds, encryption and legal compliance around data suddenly emerged as cloud security began to suffer from certain vulnerabilities, as a result of remote working by the majority of staff. The security teams were simply not prepared for a situation like this. They worked quickly to establish new policies, trainings and take advantage of better technologies. The reality is, for most businesses, the risk of breach has dropped from 0.0001% to 0.2% in a matter of weeks.
If we want to be positive, we can say that we will probably be better users of the cloud and that we will be more successful in their implementation when the crisis is behind us. Ultimately, as long as we are able to learn from our mistakes, we will be fine.