Before this year, not many people had heard about cloud computing outside of the IT industry, but 2012 has been a bumper year for all things cloud, especially SaaS, being one of the easiest to deploy. Companies have fretted over whether security in the cloud will be good enough, what to do about compliance, where their data is stored and how much time and money deployment to the cloud will cost.
However, whilst there have been no real rush for businesses to take up cloud in 2012, this has gathered pace in the last few months as companies begin to realise the reduced costs and other benefits of cloud. This is also really because the technology has improved and companies, especially SMBs, are realising how much they can save and how much easier storing data off-premise can be.
What’s developed in 2012?
We’ve seen the likes of Dropbox become more and more popular from a consumer point of view. Of course, it’s the perfect solution for students who want to access their work from any computer with little hassle. Dropbox incidentally has just purchased photo library service Snapjoy, which they intend to integrate into their current product.
In fact, the world of cloud appears to have been adopted much more readily by the consumer market than the world of business. Of course, services such as iCloud, Netflix, Google Drive and Spotify have all driven this, but if you ask the average consumer of these services what cloud is, it’s doubtful many would have a clue.
It’s been a big year for SaaS, with not only higher adoption rates than any other cloud service, but new SaaS services emerging such as On Live’s game service. Video-as-a-Service is beginning to take off for video conferencing, but the biggest adoption has been hosted virtual desktops. This is in part due to such schemes as BYOD as the tablet and smartphone markets continue their relentless march onwards.
However, of course this is not the only benefit as telecommuting is becoming more common and it’s a simple matter to login to your work desktop with a hosted solution.
This has been another biggy in cloud this year; the ability to share files instantly around the globe has meant that outsourcing has become more common and large companies can share information easily between global offices.
Collaboration, as we all know, makes for a more productive and even happier workforce as hours aren’t spent waiting for that email from another office, some hosted desktop solutions can even integrate industry specific apps and it’s just emerging that social intranets using cloud can also make a huge difference to a corporation.
This is because it gives workers a voice, makes collaboration easier and takes away from that feeling of just another faceless office worker sharing information with you. I expect to see this really take off in 2013, along with video conferencing and more use of hybrid solution.
We’ve also seen a lot about cloud security this year, with many seeking to ensure that the industry is regulated and the Cloud Security Alliance working hard to ensure that the cloud is secure and alleviate worries that many companies may have around compliance.
What next for cloud?
2013 should be an exciting year for cloud; everyone recognises the benefits it can bring and further to that, technology is improving all the time to ensure that businesses can take full advantage of the cloud.
The recent proposals by the EU that means that certification will be a driver to cloud adoption, as Europe recognises the fact that adoption could help to improve the Euro-zone crisis.
It will be interesting to see what will happen in the wake of the festive season, as tablet wars continue and more people will be bringing their shiny new devices to work. Many companies have now adopted policies for approved devices and mobile management applications are growing rapidly too.
Whatever the case, cloud isn't a technology that's going away, in fact, quite the opposite as it continues, along with tablets and portable devices, to revolutionalise the IT landscape.