2013 Cloud Predictions [Feature]

Jen Cohen Crompton

As 2013 approaches, businesses are preparing for the new year by allocating budgets, reorganizing resources, and launching new (or optimizing existing) strategies.

During this process, a consideration for many CTOs, IT Departments, and those working to create and manage an efficient [and for most, cost-effective] virtualization infrastructure, is how to integrate and/or best use cloud technology options.

To prepare for the transition into the new year and better understand the direction cloud technology advancements will shift, here are some bold predictions from industry experts who have a real sense of what is to come in 2013. Find out what they are predicting and why it will happen next year.

Prediction One: The Cloud Will Become a Necessity, Not an Option

Cloud adoption experienced quite a boost in 2012. In a July 2012 article, the Wall Street Journal reported that, “[A] survey, conducted by IT industry association CompTIA, found that more than eight in 10 companies use some form of cloud technology.” With the rise in understanding the importance of collecting big data, learning to analyze and manage big data, and the increase of employees wanting to work outside the confines of a desk and the four walls of an office, cloud adoption is gaining ground…and it will continue to increase adoption rate in 2013, making it a necessity.

Those who adopted cloud technology strategies found that the flexibility of cloud technology provided a cost-effective solution to increase storage space as their big structured and unstructured data needed a place to rest. The massive amounts of data were deemed important, but as social media and ecommerce data became more robust, the data sets became larger files requiring additional bandwidth. As Dick Csaplar, Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud, Aberdeen Group, points out, “A survey on cloud storage conducted by Aberdeen in June of 2012 found that the amount of data stored by companies grew at an average rate of 35 percent per year.” Imagine how much data companies will have by the end of next year.

Businesses also experienced a continued uptick of employees who prefer working from home and/or anywhere outside the office rather than being hardwired into the systems. The shift of the corporate structure (using contractors and satellite employees) required flawless accessibility to files and simplified collaboration to lead to quicker idea exchange and business innovation – all problems solved by a cloud.

Prediction Two: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policies Will Be Ubiquitous

BYOD was on the rise in 2012 with a growing percentage of large corporations allowing employees to use their own mobile devices for company related purposes. The reasons are attributed to individuals upgrading their devices quicker than corporations and wanting to have the flexibility to have access to files without being in the office. Companies, while still cautious with this concept, are becoming more accepting and implementing BYOD policies to ensure their confidential information will not be compromised. Even the federal government provides a working toolkit to help federal agencies craft a BYOD policy to ensure all bases are covered.

As Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Logical Operations, Inc., points out, “With more work being done away from the office, employees who can access the company’s systems with their own devices will be more productive,” so the positives of this allowance (increased productivity and a quicker flow of communication) are outweighing the risks.

The issue here is no longer, “Should we allow?” Instead, it’s, “How do we protect and ensure security during employment and beyond employment?” The answer is a defined, specific, and legally approved policy, which is why they will become ubiquitous.

Prediction Three: Hackers Will Hack On in An Epic Way

The most overwhelmingly similar prediction collected from most experts was that there would be a cyberattack targeting cloud services and highly-sensitive and confidential information. Dave Jevans, Founder and CTO of MarbleCloud, believes that the cyberattacks will come from hostile governments and that hackers will implement phishing sites and malware with the goal of stealing data and cloud passwords from individuals’ computers.

Zack Shuler, Founder and CEO of Cal Net Technology takes it one step further and adds that, “A major cloud vendor will be attacked by a foreign hack group leaving their cloud services unstable for days/weeks,” and this will result in a major distrust of the technology sparking a reconsideration of the type of information stored in the cloud. So, security will resurface as a major consideration.

And since the beauty of using cloud services lies in accessibility across devices, the attacks on cloud-based services will not only become a threat and potentially compromise data, but they will also affect mobile devices as mobile malware attacks increase. Ellie Bitton, Senior Director of Product Management-Virtualization at Fortinet points out, “As more businesses migrate to cloud-based services, cyber criminals next year will find a way to compromise them.” Bitton points to an example of Android’s Cloud to Device Messaging that suffered a malware attack, which monitored incoming and outgoing messages without the owner’s knowledge.

So keep your employees close and your hackers closer.

Prediction Four: The Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud Debate Continues…

There seems to be no end in site for the debate about which cloud solution is better, and that’s a good thing since each can be designed for a difference purpose allowing some flexibility in the design of the implemented cloud technology.

Part of the concern with the public vs. private cloud is that most organizations aren’t quite sure what this means and the implications of the decision to go in either direction. Due to privacy issues concerning enterprise data, companies that can afford it, generally opt to create a customized private cloud and/or use a hybrid option where the private cloud stores the data and the public cloud provides the functionality and collaboration capabilities. As Virtustream Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Simon Aspinall believes, “As more enterprises look to move their legacy applications to the cloud, they will find a hybrid cloud to be the most suitable…it [the solution] will combine the scalability and savings of a public cloud with the security of a private cloud for compliance requirements and enable isolation of sensitive data.”

But, as private cloud options become more affordable and organizations see the value in this type of system, adoption for this type of cloud in lieu of the hybrid approach may take over. Vishal Awasthi, CTO at Dolphin predicts that, “we [will] see a trend where commoditized peripheral applications will continue to move into a multi-tenant true SaaS model, while core enterprise ‘system-of-records’ applications will remain on-premise, or at best utilize virtualization on private or hybrid cloud.”

Either way, Andrew Hay, Chief Evangelist at CloudPassage sees, “organizations investing substantial time deciding how to extend their current compute strategy to give them the required cloud capabilities, and some may even consider replacing their technology outright if a migration or augmentation path cannot be found.”

The search for the perfect solution will continue.

Prediction Five: IT Departments Will Change

Since more information will be stored in the cloud, the IT department will have a level of support, based on the cloud service provider, but will have to adjust their skills by learning the  ins and outs of the new technology and serving as a resource on how to support the technology. IT departments might see their staff working to craft and incorporate the necessary BYOD policies and train employees on cybersecurity, something that will become increasingly important.

The Vice President of Cloud Services at Cbeyond, Chris Ortbals,  also sees IT departments becoming more responsible for making informed decisions about the technology choices as companies may “bounce from cloud to cloud. IT leaders will have a better grasp on what to realistically expect from their cloud services…and the transition of the cloud from a bonus to an expectation, will result in lengthier negotiations. Those businesses that began working within the cloud during its early stages…will likely reach, the end of their first cloud contract in 2013.”

So there you have it, some of the top cloud predictions for 2013. Now if only those experts could predict which cloud service will be hacked, maybe they could predict some cloud technology superheroes and prove us all wrong!


About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.