Key Predictions: the Colour of Cloud in 2014

2014 will be a big year for cloud computing as it makes the transition from stand-alone IT strategy to becoming embedded in existing IT portfolios. Forrester analyst James Staten agrees, saying that 2014 will be the year that IT operations "stop fighting and get with the programme formally by developing real strategies for embracing the cloud, managing cloud-based application deployments and empowering the business to keep being agile."

Savvy enterprises will take advantage of the agility and cost reductions the cloud can offer and, already, cloud has overtaken in-house platforms when businesses buy new applications.

Cloudreach’s predictions for cloud in 2014 cover something of a spectrum:

White

The white hot cloud trends in 2014 will be mobility and data analytics. Data analytics will explode in 2014, with more than 4.4 million jobs worldwide devoted to the field by the end of the year. These professionals need easy access to big data wherever they are.

With the increase of portable, low-cost cloud-dependent hardware like Google Chromebooks and the explosion of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives in the workplace, cloud allows employees to personalise their working experience with their preferred technologies outside the workplace.

On the vendor front, while traditional hardware providers such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM will continue to work on their cloud offerings, Amazon Web Services (AWS) will continue to reign supreme with more computing capacity than its nearest 14 rivals combined.

Green

Cloud reduces IT expenditure and has a neat side-effect. From the attraction of subscription-based (and needs-based) computing to the reduction of supporting on-premise infrastructures, 49 per cent of IT managers believe one of the biggest benefits of cloud is no more upkeep and storage of on-premises systems. Cloud reduces the need for office space and, because data centres are shared, power requirements.

Red

The red alert is for security professionals who need to shift their focus from protecting the network and devices within the company’s walls to protecting the data in the public cloud. Concerns about data privacy, particularly in the wake of the NSA "snooping" scandal is driving a trend towards encrypting data before it reaches the cloud. Ensure your cloud partner can advise you on keeping your information safe, regardless of where your data is held.

Silver Lining

Don’t allow the negative publicity about security to put you off cloud. The silver lining for businesses is that cloud remains the safest place for corporate data in terms of both data breaches and disaster recovery. Forrester’s Mr Staten agrees that disaster recovery will become an even greater strength for cloud in 2014 with the introduction of cloud-to-cloud back-up. As ever, the cost effectiveness of cloud storage and disaster recovery remains second to none.

Blue Sky

Looking a little further ahead, the Internet of Things (IoT), which Gartner predicts won’t be on its hype cycle’s 'plateau of productivity' for another ten years will be underpinned by cloud. 'Things' such as medical devices, vehicles, sensors and consumer devices will capture big data of such magnitude that the best – maybe only – platform on which to analyse them will be the cloud.

Gartner predicts that by the end of next year, 90 per cent of large mainstream enterprises and government agencies will be using cloud computing. That’s not long. It’s going to be a disruptive - but colourful - year for cloud.