Before the arrival of COVID-19, around 70% of people were already working remotely and relying on cloud solutions for everything from data storage right through to team communications.
The pandemic has greatly raised our reliance on the cloud, with the global impact of COVID-19 on this sector expected to grow from $233 billion (2019) to $295 billion by 2021, according to a Global Forecast report by IWG.
The main reason for such growth is the increased need for SaaS (software as a service) solutions, examples of which include Dropbox, Google Apps, Concur, Cisco, and WebEx.
Other areas that are enjoying burgeoning growth include digital payment, online shopping, and streaming services.
Why the Cloud?
Cloud computing has many benefits, some of the most necessary of which include their ability to streamline personnel workflows, reduce IT infrastructure costs, and the ability to scale with changing technology.
Today’s remote workplace requires workers to respond quickly to requests for information on everything from data to shared images and video files.
Cloud computing services can be personalized to a business’ needs, since it can be used to back up data off-site, save on the expense of hardware, and enable companies to manage and amend data regardless of where they are in the world. Thanks to the cloud, staff are working together virtually and efficiently in locations worldwide.
Which Industries are Growing Fastest in the Area of Cloud Computing?
Some of the industries which have relied far more intensely on cloud computing since the arrival of COVID-19 are the retails and consumer goods segments, followed by IT and ITeS. Online shopping has boomed during the pandemic in a variety of sectors — including supermarket goods and fashion.
Grocery e-commerce, for instance, saw a huge spike in the second week of March, when shoppers turned to the Internet for items that were no longer available in grocery stores.
The situation has evidently changed since the initial days of the pandemic, but many customers who began shopping for goods online in March saw the utility and practicality of doing so, meaning that these habits may very well continue even as the health crisis eases off.
With many still practicing strict social distancing measures, retail will continue to be cloud-reliant for many months to come.
The Healthcare Segment and Cloud Computing
Healthcare is another area in which savvier, more secure cloud infrastructure has become vital since onslaught made its presence felt so strongly across the globe.
One area in which a greater need for secure cloud solutions has grown, is that of electronic health record storage. There has also been a boom in telemedicine, which for many has become a lifesaver during the peak of the crisis.
This service (and closely related ambulatory services) need cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms to improve service and time management.
Cloud-based applications are also vital for health professionals wishing to analyze existing data to predict how many beds, ventilators, and other crucial equipment will be needed.
In addition to retail and health, other industries that are investing more in cloud computing include banking and financial services, telecom, energy and utilities, government and public sectors, and manufacturing.
As stated by Protocol’s Tom Krazit, the pandemic has forced financial services companies to wake up to the benefits of cloud computing.
He writes, “With the notable exception of Capital One, only in the last few years have the bulk of these companies started to realize they need to refashion their tech infrastructure and move at least some tasks to the cloud.”
Failing to do so, he adds, will result in consumers moving to newer companies that rely heavily on cloud-based technologies.
Why Has the Financial Sector Waited So Long?
Financial services have lagged behind, often because of fear regarding security problems. However, pioneers such as Capital One have been building all new apps on AWS for five years now, and has been closing numerous data centers relying on old tech.
In 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced it would be running applications on the three major cloud providers and keeping its own infrastructure. Bank of America is also working closely with IBM to develop customized cloud service solutions.
New Developments in Cloud Computing
Some of the most interesting innovations in this sector include HPE’s new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, developed to create a smoother remote working experience.
In March of this year, Alibaba directly addressed the COVID-19 crisis by creating CT image analytics tech to identify the specific features of COVID-related pneumonia in CT scans.
Many more specialized developments are required in a world that is still struggling to come to term switch ‘cohabiting’ alongside this virus.
The boom in remote working and online sales has led to a stronger reliance on cloud computing. This is evident in a number of sectors – including retail and healthcare.
Financial services have also woken up to the need to rely more on cloud storage, which is safe, effective, and efficient for use by teams working across the globe.
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Author: Charolette Danzig