The COVID pandemic didn’t invent cloud computing, or even usher it to the forefront of the workplace. But what the pandemic did do was change forever the way that we work and how the workplace functions from adopting remote work arrangements to dealing with travel restrictions. Cloud computing, while not new in and of itself, assumed a more pronounced role as the backbone for all of these new functions.
But what does this mean for the typical workplace going forward? Technology experts generally agree that cloud computing will become the new photocopier, so common will its usage be in everything from architectural firms and marketers to restaurants and manufacturers.
To get an idea of what we’re talking about, consider the growth the cloud has already enjoyed. The Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report surveyed 750 global respondents, 99 percent of which reported using at least one public or private cloud, with AWS, Azure and Google the top three public cloud providers. Currently, half of workloads and nearly half of all data are in public clouds, with those numbers set to grow over the next 12 months.
Having so much at stake, many companies have formed designated internal teams to deliver best practices and centralized controls to reduce cost and spur cloud adoption. Of those surveyed, nearly 4 in 10 already have such teams and about as many have a cloud center of excellence (CoE).
Such is not to say organizations are leveraging the cloud effectively or efficiently. While cloud spends are escalating fast – more than 60 percent of survey respondents reported spending $2.4 million and up – as much as 30 percent of that investment is self-estimated waste. Given that, it's not surprising that 61 percent of respondents listed cloud optimization of existing infrastructure in the name of cost savings as their top priority.
With investment in cloud infrastructure going full-throttle – boosted by 37 percent to $29 billion in the first quarter of 2020 alone – it's a safe bet that companies are thinking about more than where to stash last year’s annual report. In fact, the future of cloud computing at work is every bit as ambitious as the dump trucks full of money companies are willing to spend to pull it off.
In the future, experts say, physical data centers (and their humans) will be removed from supply chains, replaced by cloud functions. Also, having seen the havoc that a massive event like COVID can have on operations, many companies will look to bolster cloud resources for business continuity. And, IT executives will have a louder voice in C-Suite boardrooms from coast to coast, ensuring strategic planning happens in lockstep with technological capacity. This will further leapfrog innovation and digitization.
Of course, none of this happens without a downside, specifically cybercriminals. Your average cloud-based system will likely come under attack like never before as criminals view it as the jugular vein of most businesses. As cloud usage has grown so too have cyber attacks in an almost step-for-step pace. Not surprisingly, experts see cloud security as the number-one priority for the industry going forward.
Happily, for at least one provider, the future is now. Kinetic Business Cloud Connect is a scalable, user-friendly, service connecting directly to third-party public and private cloud providers through existing Business WAN for reliable, fast and highly secure private access. Its product, Cloud Connect, functions across all network options with bandwidth capacity ranging from 50 Mbps to 10 Gbps, and is an ideal add-on to an existing SD-WAN, MPLS architecture to complete any network.