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article imageHow cloud giants are fighting against coronavirus Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 9, 2020 in Technology
Several leading cloud giants launched programs to assist orgs and encourage developers to address COVID-19 concerns. Expert Colin Dawes looks into the different strategies being considered.
Examples or cloud computing companies being proactive include Microsoft, which launched an Azure-powered Healthcare Bot service to assist frontline organizations, and AWS, which committed $20M to develop a faster and affordable COVID-19 test
To learn more, Digital Journal spoke with Colin Dawes, Chief Solution Architect, Syntax.
Digital Journal: How important is cloud technology for businesses, in general?
Colin Dawes: Cloud computing is the critical element for organizations seeking agility, scalability, flexibility, reliability and cost-efficiency to create value for their customers. Moreover, cloud computing powers further digital transformation.
Moving your workloads to the cloud allows IT to rapidly adapt to changing demands with minimal lead time. This enables the business to innovate faster, differentiate from competitors and lower costs while attaining more customers at a reduced acquisition expense.
The business also has access to a greater variety of services in the cloud and can scale up or down quickly and pay on a per-use basis. Cloud services also make it easier for employees to collaborate and connect to shared corporate resources from anywhere in the world.
In addition, cloud services help mitigate the risk of downtime and data loss and improve service reliability. With critical services and data hosted remotely in secure, redundant colocation facilities, a company can suffer a power outage or natural disaster without data loss. They can restore quickly from backups and even continue operations remotely while their physical offices are inaccessible.
DJ: How can cloud technology help with healthcare?
Dawes: Specifically, cloud computing facilitates greater collaboration, enables telemedicine, expands research capabilities and augments epidemiology efforts.
The essence of effective healthcare is collaboration, so any factor that improves collaboration has the potential to improve treatment. Cloud computing improves the flow and exchange of information. This not only improves awareness and reduces errors but also lessons administrative burden, freeing up these individuals to provide more primary patient care.
Telemedicine is powered by the cloud’s remote accessibility of data and enables the provisioning of healthcare remotely. This adds convenience and accessibility to healthcare delivery while improving the patient experience. Cloud-based telemedicine can extend healthcare coverage and treatment to all phases, including prevention, treatment and recovery.
Cloud computing enables advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, all of which can then be applied to traditional and big data to identify previously concealed patterns, trends and other insights not otherwise apparent. In this matter, the cloud improves the research capabilities of the healthcare industry and can lead to a better understanding of our genes, potential treatments, drug interactions and the determinants of health and disease conditions in the populations.
DJ: With the specific coronavirus pandemic, how is cloud technology being utilized to help with the fight against the virus?
Dawes:Cloud computing has been essential for studying the epidemiology of the coronavirus pandemic. Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in the population. Cloud computing’s enhancement of epidemiology has been essential to identifying risk factors for the coronavirus disease, modeling the global spread of the disease, identifying targets for preventive healthcare, and shaping public health policies.
DJ: In what other ways can big tech help with the health emergency?
Dawes:Outside of their typical roles within their industry, large technology firms have an essential role to play in communicating accurate information during a health emergency and dispelling misinformation. Misinformation during a global health crisis can be devastating as it can disrupt public health efforts, create conflict between individuals and groups, and hamper humanitarian efforts.
DJ: How can businesses be protected from coronavirus scams and cybersecurity threats?
Dawes:The global coronavirus pandemic has created an environment in which malicious actors can more easily use social engineering (an umbrella term that includes phishing, pharming, and other types of manipulation to trick people into divulging personal information or other confidential data), to exploit a company, in addition to more typical cybersecurity threats. Combatting cybersecurity threats requires the typical elements of endpoint security, enhanced monitoring and system validation, identity and access control, and intrusion prevention and detection systems.
However, minimizing the risks posed by social engineering exploits requires that all employees and partners go through security awareness training that provides education, training and testing for phishing, ransomware and other types of attacks.
DJ: After the coronavirus issue has gone away, how will the world of technology change?
Dawes:While organizations have long known it is possible to run your entire IT organization in the cloud, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the cloud’s benefits, including speed, flexibility, agility, scalability and reliability. When faced with the requirement to work remotely, many organizations were unable to rapidly scale up their remote connectivity capabilities and provide access to all employees who require it. Many other organizations were forced to procure additional infrastructure and licenses with undeterminable contract lengths, simply to be able to provide basic services to their employees. Faced with the potential of recurring “waves” of this pandemic, more and more organizations will adopt a “cloud-first” approach and hasten their transition from traditional on-premises applications to the cloud or other cloud-native solutions.
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