Even as businesses move towards more normal operations after more than a year of unprecedented changes, they would be remiss to overlook the lessons learned from the pandemic. Businesses and government organizations were able to succeed with the support of cloud technologies, but for many, the lack of pre-pandemic preparedness should have leaders thinking about how to future-proof their operations. Organizations across the globe should become familiar with what cloud-based networking can enable to ensure they are ready to thrive in the post-pandemic era.
In a recent survey, Extreme Networks found 66% of participants said COVID-19 impacted their network plans and strategies. The unprecedented restrictions the world faced brought cloud networking into the spotlight, and many business leaders now understand having a reliable cloud infrastructure can do much more than enable remote access. Improved agility, lower costs, and heightened security are just a few of the wide range of features a sophisticated cloud-based network can offer.
Retailers will likely experience a massive boost in foot traffic as restrictions continue to be lifted, and cloud-driven networks can offer businesses new resources to take advantage the revitalization of in-person shopping. Yet, Extreme’s survey found only 22% of retail networks are currently managed in the cloud. Offering public Wi-Fi to customers can provide convenience for shoppers, but can also provide a new avenue for improving customer engagement. Features like push notifications can inform shoppers about sales and promotional items they may miss under normal circumstances. These connections can provide businesses with valuable metadata that can help improve numerous business decisions, such as foot traffic analysis and success rate of product placement.
Hospitals and healthcare workers will certainly need cloud-based networks in a post-pandemic environment. They can use this connectivity to improve patient and employee experiences. Extreme discovered only 14% of health organizations report using cloud-driven networks. Administrators can use IoT devices to monitor patient status from remote locations, so doctors and nurses can operate more efficiently while delivering quality care. Cloud-based networks can also allow hospitals to set up telehealth services, so patients can receive care from anywhere. With new contact tracing solutions, like the MTRX K1, healthcare workers can instantly screen visitors for signs of illness to prevent new outbreaks.
Government agencies should be particularly swift in upgrading cloud capabilities, with only 15% of surveyed government agencies currently report using cloud services to manage their IT infrastructure. Not only would cloud-driven networking benefit their citizens, governments would also have critical meta data to govern public areas for safety and security purposes. Public connections would also allow state and local governments to quickly notify the public in the event of an outbreak, and citizens can have a reliable connection to agencies to remain updated on crisis developments. The last year has shown that being connected is essentially mandatory in the modern world, so now is the best time to provide public access to make sure anyone can connect at any time.
Cloud-driven networking made working through the worst parts of the pandemic much easier to navigate. Now that organizations understand what can be accomplished, upgrading legacy networks with cloud-based tools and services is essential for the post-pandemic world. Extreme Networks can provide any sized organization with a wide range of cloud services to become prepared for the future. Analytics, security, communications, and automation can help businesses, schools, and government agencies flourish in our return to normal living.