COVID-19 has made many companies turn to hosting their software environments in the cloud to leverage web-based productivity and collaboration tools. This has only been enabled by a widespread investment in digital technology infrastructure, including the growth of high-speed wireless Internet (Wi-Fi). However, this raises a question – will the Web be able to handle this sudden huge surge in traffic, or will the bandwidth of cloud-based systems be stretched to the limit?
The New Normal of Working from Home
Even before the pandemic, a growing number of organizations were turning to online platforms to streamline operations and allow for collaboration between distributed teams. The digital transformation of many industries has seen quite a few businesses switch to a partial or wholly remote workforce, powered by software and IT infrastructures hosted through the cloud as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS or a hybrid environment.
Whatever the many, many conflicting projections say, many people will either be forced or, more importantly, choose to work from home for at least a while longer. More likely, several companies will start providing expanded options for remote employees, and if safety becomes a concern again (through a second coronavirus, etc.) will even probably encourage workers to telecommute if possible. In either case, traffic loads will remain exceptionally high and some have worried this could seriously overload the Internet.
Is Cloud Hosted Traffic Going to Break the Internet?
The Internet’s performance depends on many things, including network infrastructure, how things are wired up, and points of presence. But will the internet collapse? Unlikely – in fact, the Internet is built to survive such surges in activity.
But will it affect the quality of service? It can, but it depends on the network infrastructure, the level of demand, and the ability of providers to scale up rapidly. In areas with inadequate or weak infrastructure but with many users, you may expect a slower Internet experience with longer response times. But for those whose infrastructure allows them to make use of multiple paths or partition resource loads, they can continue business as usual.
Teleworking solutions can cope with the increase in demand, depending on how capable they are of scaling horizontally. If they can distribute the load to different parts of their network, it makes it easier to handle that traffic without overloading the entire system. For cloud-based providers, that should not be difficult.
Will the increased demand mean that businesses with their data in the cloud will have a harder time retrieving their data? Businesses that use a private cloud to store their data (often for cybersecurity reasons) will not be affected because they have their own dedicated connections. But those who use the public cloud to store their data may be affected.
Business Readiness for Telecommuting and Remote Work
Companies that are already using the cloud extensively are the most ready for this new normal of working from home. Having a cloud-hosted infrastructure makes them even more nimble to adjust to the increase in demand. Industries and businesses that saw a lot of investment – both financially AND operationally – into establishing a foundation for web-based platforms displayed the most flexibility when COVID-19 hit, and some of the best levels of readiness.
Cloud-based services are elastic, meaning they are quick to scale up or down and much more modular, with customers able to negotiate down to the resource level with their cloud service provider (CSP). But the speed in which companies are able to scale up will depend on their network architecture and the kinds of services they offer. Providers can vary in terms of load delivery, support, and traffic and cybersecurity monitoring.
Some SaaS providers are using a data-driven approach to manage their infrastructure and Internet traffic. They incorporate real-time data to determine where to route their traffic so as to decongest their system and ensure consistent and reliable performance overall. This how services like Netflix have been able to keep their content delivery running efficiently while bandwidth speeds have had to be throttled in some areas.
The challenge is for providers to look for new and innovative ways to manage their traffic and resources. They should also look for ways to deploy new infrastructure to areas with slower, unpredictable internet service.
Learn the Advantages of Hosting in the Cloud
Neither the cloud nor working from home are going to go away anytime soon – this new normal will persist for some time, empowered by digitally-hosted networks with readily available IT resources. Discover how your business can take advantage of real-time data and reliable network infrastructure by talking to the experts at SWK about Secure Cloud Hosting.
Contact SWK today to find out how you can migrate to the cloud with no upfront costs and limited time-free hosting.