As we gradually emerge from a nationwide shelter in place, businesses across the country will be opening up to an uncertain future. One certainty is that we will not return to business as it was just a couple of months ago. We have already seen shelter-in-place measures lifted, with some states, counties and cities slowly reopening.

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As more organizations return, we should anticipate that we will experience localized shutdowns if we see virus flare-ups. With this in mind, companies must be agile enough to evolve as the situation changes. The cloud presents several ways to help organizations pivot.

Work from Home ― End-User Computing

When it became clear that sheltering in place was inevitable, organizations quickly found ways to keep many of their employees working from home with temporary setups. Hardware purchases, jerry-rigged file sharing solutions, and switching to audio and videoconferencing solutions became the order of the day. It seems clear that remote work will become the new normal for some employees. With that in mind, organizations need to think about how to best support this possible long-term trend.

AWS has some end-user computing technologies that can help. Amazon WorkSpaces is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that delivers a consistent and manageable environment for workers to use on almost any computing platform including Chromebooks, iPads, Windows-based PCs and Macs.

In other cases where the objective is to deliver virtualized applications and not entire desktop environments, AWS has Amazon AppStream 2.0 to deliver applications through any HTML5-compliant browser.

Migration to the Cloud

Organizations must now find ways to be more responsive, and AWS has a proven track record of delivering computing infrastructure for businesses of any scale. Usually, when we talk about the scalability of the cloud, we’re referring to provisioning a little more conservatively and relying on our platform to provide burst capacity as needed. This is very difficult to achieve in private data centers and colocation facilities with rows of racks full of servers.

More importantly, in a colocation facility, it’s unreasonable to get rid of racks full of servers when they’re not required; the investments have been made. In the future, we may need that capacity again. But when that time does come, will the technology we bought some time ago still be appropriate for our current needs, or will we be forced to reinvest after having laid old infrastructure idle?

The Cloud Solves Today’s Challenges

There’s never been a more opportune time for organizations to seriously contemplate adopting cloud technologies. The cloud offers businesses the ability to be responsive to the unpredictable times we find ourselves in, and the opportunity to significantly reduce or expand a cloud footprint rapidly. In some cases, that may mean simply using smaller compute instances, and in other cases, it may mean getting rid of excess compute capacity.

Shelter-in-place conditions also pose significant challenges to engineers who must be in the data center to perform certain duties. Cloud-based deployments have no such limitations. Everything can be done from an API, command line or console, remotely.

The current challenges we’re all facing are also opportunities. Migrating to the cloud right now may seem counterintuitive, but it will solve a number of significant challenges, ultimately allowing your organization to reduce risk and find innovative ways to move forward.