Thinking out Cloud Translating Tech to Business

In the New Era of Remote Work, What’s Your Best Technology Strategy?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on businesses across all sectors, with one of the most apparent being a massive shift toward remote workforces. As counties and states instituted stay-at-home orders, organizations experienced a corresponding and exponential increase in remote workers.

Eli Nussbaum

Was your business equipped to handle the new work-from-home norm? Many are struggling to scale their existing infrastructure to support their IT environment in a way not previously necessary.

With social distancing measures expected to last in some form for the foreseeable future, it’s important to learn from those companies that have successfully handled the remote work migration to develop the best technology strategy to effectively support your remote workforce.


Businesses have been experiencing varying degrees of success in accommodating this new working dynamic. The reality is that organizations that were already using cloud solutions to run their business have had it easier.

Cloud environments provide a key advantage to accommodating surge usage as they offer unrivaled scalability. When your business properly leverages a cloud solution like Microsoft Azure, you can significantly add or remove capacity without substantial advance planning. A company with an infrastructure previously sized for 40 remote users can triple that capacity in about 15 minutes by rebooting and enlarging the infrastructure to take advantage of Microsoft’s readily available resources.

In contrast, organizations that are hosting their own environment may struggle to significantly expand their infrastructure. They must determine if their physical infrastructure can accommodate the unanticipated demand increase. Even if virtualized, workloads rely on an underlying physical plant with a finite capacity. This capacity will be stretched when under unprecedented demand even though instant scalability is crucial to continued operations.

Aside from purely computing solutions, there are many tools in the Microsoft stack that assist in simplifying scalability and reducing reliance on legacy systems. These tools allow organizations to expand function in addition to just capacity. One notable tool is Windows Virtual Desktop, which enables the deployment of a fully virtualized desktop within just a few hours. The cost of this service is limited to the underlying computing cost, and it can provide hundreds, or thousands, of remote desktops on demand.

File share services within Microsoft Azure allow organizations to provide file services to users and systems without necessitating an underlying server, virtual or otherwise. Similarly, Azure SQL Database and SharePoint Online offer the features of servers and server farms without the maintenance, management, security and cost associated with traditional on-site hosted services. The cost to run these tools is comparatively negligible as you’re not paying for operating systems, servers and ancillary tools such as antivirus controls and management.

Azure Traffic Manager (ATM) can provide access to systems whether hosted on premises or in the cloud without the demands of traditional load-balancing or domain name system (DNS) management. Workloads serviced by ATM will invisibly direct users to wherever the active service is running. This can be leveraged for migrating services to the cloud or just for resiliency.

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These are just a few examples of the power of today’s cloud. The good news is, even if you’re not currently operating within it, the tools outlined above are still accessible. The only barrier to being “in the cloud” is making the decision to use cloud-based tools. Within a few hours, a virtual private network (VPN) tunnel can be established, allowing the cloud to function as an expansion of your existing organization.

By incorporating cloud-based tools, you can access nearly limitless data and computing capacity that was unavailable just hours earlier. The only true prerequisite is connectivity — you can’t access cloud solutions if you can’t connect to them. This is no different than your current connectivity requirements.

If your connectivity fails, you lose all access to your data and the ability to perform critical business functions. Reliable and resilient networking demands redundant communication paths and infrastructure to support data communication, whether that data is stored within the cloud or on your servers.


There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses in all sectors to leverage technologies in new ways. From finance to education to medicine, remote access and connectivity have become the new norm.

The upside of this shift is that people are increasingly more comfortable operating when remote. What was once largely the purview of younger generations and traveling executives has quickly become the new default for today’s businesses. There will likely continue to be labor law constraints and physical requirements that will limit some roles to in-person, but we are likely to see an increase in remote workforces in areas that previously were unthinkable, even after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

Countless accommodations are currently being made to accelerate, accept and simplify remote communication and services. Many will remain in place long after this crisis is over. Remote work will be ingrained as the new default. The changes your organization makes today will continue to pay dividends far into the future.