Top 5 Cloud Trends for 2012
2012 is likely to be the year in which cloud computing becomes even more important for businesses. But what are the major trends that will define the industry over the next 12 months? Here are just five of the most important aspects of the sector this year. Disaster Recovery The use of cloud computing to provide business continuity in the event of a disaster will become vital in 2012. Businesses have been shown the seriousness of extended downtime due to various global events in recent years. With the ever-increasing reliability and resilience of the cloud, it is easy to recommend it as an excellent part of any disaster-recovery plan. The cloud takes much of the burden of data back-up and restoration away from companies, allowing them to save money when it comes to maintenance and hardware. This can then be an investment against the impact of disasters further down the line, whether on a significant scale or localised to individual businesses. This degree of elasticity leads neatly into the second trend of the year. Mobility With faster network data rates, 2012 is the perfect year for the cloud to go mobile. This is sure to go hand in hand with the fact that smartphones and tablets are increasingly popular and more affordable than ever. The consumerisation of portable technology means that businesses are beginning to embrace the use of personal devices for the purpose of increasing productivity. Employees are taking to the idea of using cloud-based platforms to access applications and services from mobile devices since this affords them a greater degree of flexibility. From the point of view of management this is also desirable since it provides the opportunity for improved productivity and a more satisfying working environment. Security Security concerns have been a consistent thorn in the side of cloud adoption because there is a common misconception that migrating data from in-house systems over to a third-party cloud host will put it at risk. Because cloud providers are placed under such scrutiny when it comes to security, there is far more riding on the integrity of the data which is entrusted to their care. Hopefully a move towards a universal security standard this year will instil a greater degree of confidence in companies that were previously wary of migration. Price The cloud is often touted as a more affordable alternative to traditional systems but in 2012 this will become an even stronger argument thanks to falling prices and increasing competition as more providers enter the market. In addition, the actual arrangement of each cloud package will be far more customisable so that businesses can take advantage of a bespoke service that has no unnecessary extras. Scalability and sensitivity to the needs of individual organisations will add value to cloud products in ways that were previously impossible. Optimisation While the cloud is occasionally thought of as some kind of infinite, intangible resource, in reality it is ultimately a product that is based on a finite amount of hardware, drawing from a limited amount of storage. For this reason it will be necessary for providers to use 2012 as a period during which optimisation comes to the fore. It will be a time for the experts working for dedicated providers to combat the issues related to the compression and streamlining of data storage. However, many insiders also believe that the growing awareness and understanding of the cloud will allow businesses to do their own bit to help make data storage as efficient and effective as possible. In-house IT departments and cloud research firms will be working towards the same goal in this respect.