Cloud computing is being adopted by businesses and consumers alike, with migration expected to grow faster than ever in 2012. People are beginning to see the cloud as a viable alternative to in-house systems because it is more scalable, powerful and affordable. Here are the major trends which are likely to shape the cloud industry this year.
The approach to the cloud taken by most companies and individuals is not one of uniform usage. This means, in short, that both private and public cloud platforms are being used as adoption increases. The result in 2012 will be that a greater reliance on cloud service management will grow out of necessity, because otherwise this tangled web might be difficult to navigate.
There have been continual arguments about the security of cloud platforms, particularly those which operate publicly. However, 2012 should be the year in which providers are able to finally prove that they are well equipped to protect the services which they control. This is necessary because industry regulations and compliance are combining with wider legislation on privacy to make it difficult for businesses to operate in the cloud without receiving assurances in these key areas. The easiest way for companies to ensure that they adhere to rules on data security is to use a private cloud over which they have direct control, although the cost savings associated with using a public platform should still make this method attractive for some.
The agreements signed between cloud vendors and their clients have previously been weighted towards the provider, which is understandable given the relatively immature nature of the industry as a whole. However, with a greater understanding of the cloud being achieved by businesses in 2012, most will be in a better position to hold their corner and secure contracts that include terms to ensure the proper governance of their access to the platform.
User Expectations Alter
Since anyone with a broadband internet connection can start to use cloud services today, there will be a wider understanding of what cloud platforms should provide and how they might reasonably be expected to operate. This means that businesses will be even more concerned about the type of customer experience which is available through any cloud-based services in which they have invested. The cloud will become the storefront of the digital age, so additional monitoring and measurement tools which judge how well users are responding will be demanded by companies across the globe.
All of these trends essentially boil down to the idea that cloud vendors will be expected to perform much better in 2012 than in previous years, because the level of expertise among the wider business and consumer markets is growing. People are no longer disengaged from the idea of the cloud. In fact, the opposite is true, because many broadband internet users access cloud-based platforms every day, even if they are unaware that they are doing so.
Most insiders see the rise of cloud computing as a good thing because it helps to eliminate the problems of flexibility and cost which used to influence the allocation of in-house systems and hardware in the home. As long as providers can keep up with expanding expectations and increased legislative and regulatory requirements, they should be able to continue their rise to prominence.