cloud in a pill

The Cloud May Be ITs Antidote for COVID-19

These are unprecedented times where it's hard to get anyone to pay attention to anything other than the COVID-19 epidemic sweeping the globe.  Within the current swirl of confusion people are trying to figure out a lot of things: how to work from home, how to balance households suddenly on lockdown - and in this environment it's likely that gaps in key infrastructure might go either unnoticed or unaddressed.

But what if we are looking at a prolonged period of distributed work?

  • Buckle up: this it going to take a while
  • How can the cloud help?
  • Putting a mitigation plan together

Buckle up: this it going to take a while

The signs are there if you look for them to that indicate this is not a day or even week-long phenomenon.  The stock market (which typically prices in a 6 month horizon) has sent Zoom stock through the roof:

Zoom Stock chart

And the last comparable outbreak the world saw, the 1918 Spanish Flu, typically ravaged cities over a 9 to 18 week period.  That's a really long time to ignore gaps in IT infrastructure.

How can the cloud help?

The cloud can help address the COVID-19 - and other potential significant business disruptions (hurricane, earthquake, etc.) - in 3 key ways: 

  1. 100% supportive of remote work
  2. Rapid deployment, scalable tools
  3. Geographic distribution

1. 100% supportive of remote work

While this may seem an obvious point, all cloud tools are - by design - built to work with a completely remote workforce.  It's important to point this out, however, because until recently this was a "nice to have" not an absolute requirement for IT systems.

2. Rapidly deployable, scalable tools

Because of the scale of cloud and the billing model of pennies, all cloud tools are necessarily rapid to deploy and scalable.  Because of the need to rapidly address and fill gaps, the battle tested tools the Cloud provides are a perfect solution.

3. Geographic distribution

While certainly more important in creating resilience in geographically specific phenomenon (earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.) the geographically distributed nature may be helpful in addressing COVID-19 issues as well. Different countries and regions are being effected on different timelines, depending on response by government and community action.  Additionally, unprecedented usage of the internet, particularly with heavy broadband activities like video streaming may stress the system and cause localized issues in connectivity or performance.  By diversifying geographically the Cloud can help ensure that an issue in one location remains contained.

Putting a mitigation plan together

While Metal Toad would be happy to help with a professional executed Business Disruption Cloud Assessment, one of the first steps, triage can be started today.  Our recommended approach is to divide IT infrastructure into three categories:

  1. Healthy (green) - Healthy systems should be those that are already cloud-based or don't require any periodic or regular physical maintenance and are able to scale to meet potential demand.
  2. Vulnerable (yellow) - Systems should be categorized as vulnerable if they are still operational and performing as needed but could require either physical maintenance (hard drive replacement, power cycle, no VPN access, etc) or could potentially see demand spikes that could lead to failure or slow down.
  3. Broken (red) - Broken systems are simply that: they are not working, cannot be accessed remotely, or are significantly impaired. 


COVID-19 as both trigger for stress testing and a window of opportunity to repair these systems provides a significant opportunity for moving our organizations to a better future if we look at it from the right vantage point.  it's highly likely that the continued disruption it is causes is something that will be impacting us for a matter of months, not days or even weeks. And it's unlikely that we will have another such opportunity to align organizations around a need for system improvement.  Let's take this opportunity and make the IT world a better place!

Date posted: March 20, 2020

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Metal Toad is an Advanced AWS Consulting Partner. Learn more about our AWS Managed Services

About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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