Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York State, has garnered much national attention with his daily COVID-19 press briefings, and many see him as a beacon during difficult times. Rightly so; New York State is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 infections and is a bellwether, along with California, New Jersey, and Washington State, for the whole continent.
Cuomo’s strategy is data-driven, it’s about planning for the future. Helping people make informed, data-driven decisions is why we developed an AI-enabled predictive dashboard on Vizion.ai. (See, for example, this dashboard tracking COVID-19 impacts in real-time in all 50 states and worldwide).
We are all working together as a nation to get through this healthcare crisis and that’s what we are about as a people, and what America is about as a nation. That’s why we are offering a free Cloud Filer software instance for six months in either AWS or Microsoft Azure for customers that need to provide remote workers with fast access to data.
But what might happen when all of this is over?
Cuomo’s statement on that topic, from his briefing earlier this week, was “I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get to a new normal.”
Similarly, the way we all work after this pandemic is over will be a new normal – we will not go back to the way we used to work before. We’re seeing accelerating change as enterprises shift the entire way they think about IT and about how they offer a partial remote workforce access to files so that everyone can collaborate.
The big shift in IT
If the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it is that IT has had to step up and deliver on the promise of being adaptable, flexible, and instantaneous in a secure environment. As the demand for systems to support remote working accelerates, so are fundamental changes in IT, storage, and business continuity.
The demand for “remote everything” has exploded. Tools like Zoom, Teams, and WebEx are seeing exponential growth as they meet the needs of remote workers, distance learning, and even families all craving to remain productive and some just trying to stay in touch. But in the background, data services must meet the accelerated demand as global organizations are under pressure to deliver continuous data operations that support consistent access to data anywhere, at any time, at the same enterprise performance users are accustomed to.
The current state of IT has created the perfect storm for cloud services, driving demand in the public and private cloud. In order to scale infrastructure to meet demand, businesses are turning to cloud-first and SaaS-first applications. Consider for a moment your business is in a geography that is under complete lockdown, and it isn’t considered an essential service? IT can’t even get to your premises, let alone add VMs to a legacy three-tier datacenter. In essence, your datacenter is landlocked, and you are out to sea.
It would be remiss to cite the pandemic as the only reason for the demand. At Panzura, we were evidencing a surge in demand for remote-working solutions long before. Something we saw in the fact that our subscription revenue for our cloud file system and data management software grew 237%, and enterprise customers more than doubled their cloud data capacity since last year.
It is a cloud and SaaS-first world
Those customers who are comfortably transacting and sharing data in the cloud and deploying SaaS-first applications are one step ahead of the game. They are embracing the fact that it is no longer good enough to force people and applications to link purely to a physical data center to process and “engage” with their data. This has inadvertently lessened the “pain” of the current transition to a remote-first, not just cloud-first world.
With a global cloud file system, our customers are benefitting from true data mobility and consistency. Remote working and remote connectivity only work when your file system can keep up – no matter where the data resides, on which device an application is, including if this access is across multiple clouds. Inconsistency in data versions can cripple a business. With a global cloud file system, we bring the data to the user at the ultimate edge. This is uninterrupted business continuity.
It is less of a shift than it is a fundamental change we are seeing unfold around us. In the past, we used to refer to business continuity in the context of the last mile. Today we are talking about enabling the last block or the last home. It is a brave new world where enterprises must enable remote working as a way of life, and not as a future option.
Security efforts must be heightened
It is also a world where security concerns continue to grow. As we move users further away from the datacenter, so do we leave space open for security attacks. Cybercriminals don’t have a conscience and right now they are upping their game to take advantage of the fact that it only takes one remote worker, toiling away in their home office, to let an attack into your network. Business needs to take a hard line on security, fortunately, our customers don’t pay ransom because they don’t face ransom attacks.
Using an immutable data architecture, Panzura clients benefit from immunity from ransomware, on-premise, in the cloud, and from whatever device their remote workers are using to enter the network. Today our global cloud file system, military-grade security, and Freedom filers ensure data is secure, protected, and can be accessed and recovered in minutes.
Our Vizion.ai offering further expands on the security quandary this new world is presenting. Using a combination of Freedom Filer + Vizion.ai, users have the freedom to do file audits and protect the business against IP theft. Too often clients have no idea what has caused a data breach, or how to track down missing files. Those who have Vizion.ai’s audit capabilities in place get alerts to unusual activities and pointers to potential risk vectors.
Both give that little extra peace of mind needed when IT is juggling so many moving parts to ensure secure business continuity.
Business continuity success
The pandemic will pass. In its wake, I anticipate that IT’s reliance on datacenters is going to contract, SaaS-based services are going to escalate in popularity, and IT will forego conventional approaches to storage. Interest in the public cloud will shift to actual use cases, and enterprises will embrace mobile-everything as a de facto standard for users to operate wherever they may be freely.
If I reflect on where we were five years ago, we were in a position as a business where potential customers told our sales teams that Panzura was too far ahead of the curve. Our technology too advanced, and the need for remote working was by no means a business necessity. Today I am proud to be an integral part of our current clients’ business continuity, disaster recovery, mobility, remote access, and their business apps continuity success stories.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you empower your remote workforce.