Steven Harrison predicts how business use of cloud computing will develop and change during the next 12 months:
Hybrid is the equaliser
Whilst cloud computing has become an integral part of IT systems, concerns around vendor lock-in, licensing restrictions and security mean that businesses are still resistant to moving all IT operations into a hosted environment. As a result, the hybrid cloud will become the deployment model of choice for those organizations that want to leverage the elasticity of the cloud in tandem with existing infrastructure. The challenge for organizations adopting a hybrid approach is ensuing that systems can run in parallel and operate as one environment to guarantee performance uptime.
The year of cloud accountability
As businesses of all size continue to migrate infrastructures to virtualized platforms, the demand for service provider accountability will reach its peak. Now that cloud migration is no longer an 'if’ but a ‘how’, organizations will be looking beyond the cheapest solutions that are popular on the marketplace and calling for a new level of standards from cloud providers. Service level agreements will be examined far more closely and there will be increasing pressure for regulation of the cloud. This demand for accountability will only continue to intensify as more and more businesses consider migrating critical business applications to the cloud.
Time to telecommute
A recent survey of 100 business executives by Exponential-e revealed that 72 percent of employees still struggle with their company’s flexible working policy due to IT issues, despite the technology that enables telecommuting already being readily available. The research also showed that 62 percent of employees feel they would have a better work/life balance if they had more access to flexible working.
To maximise productivity and employee satisfaction, businesses need to realise that the technology is there to enable a flexible and mobile workforce. With the wide availability of cloud services, what once seemed like a distant dream for businesses is now a reality and 2015 will be the year in which remote working effectively becomes commonplace.
Absolute security is a myth and a new approach to information security is required for businesses to successfully protect themselves against the vulnerabilities that exist in today’s infrastructure. Security that recognises the user based on action rather than merely credentials is absolutely paramount for the protection of the hybrid cloud, and will gain traction over the course of 2015. As a result, the industry will witness the rise of intelligent, context-aware security solutions that can tackle an evolving threat landscape.
Corporate data at risk on the public Internet
Over the next year, businesses will realise that corporate data puts it at high risk of being compromised if they are relying on the public Internet to transport it. As the volume of big data continues to expand across corporate networks - and as companies work to gain more value from the reams of information available - businesses will look towards private cloud computing infrastructures that operate within their firewalls. Having a reliable, robust, low-latency network that provides secure, fast and uncontested connectivity to both private and public cloud providers is critical to protecting data. Adopting this approach, will enable businesses to become much more dynamic in the way they utilise data.
Steven Harrison is lead technologist at Exponential-e, the UK-based cloud network provider.