Eyes on the cloud: Six predictions for 2014
by Kent Landry - Senior Consultant at Windstream - Monday, 2 December 2013.
Hybrid clouds allow organizations the security of a private cloud, but provide the ability to burst into the public cloud space as necessary. This capability is particularly useful to companies expecting an increase in product sales during a certain timeframe (e.g. holiday promotions, new product launches) as they are saved from having to spin up more servers to accommodate the increased activity. Instead, the cloud provider creates the necessary space and can scale that space back after the activity increase—creating both a cost and time savings for the business owner.

Application interoperability. Sometimes referred to as “cloud federation,” the push toward making virtualized applications operate concurrently across vendor-neutral cloud platforms will continue as workloads and apps are developed to talk to each other seamlessly across clouds.

Interoperability is particularly popular in the healthcare industry as more regulations mandate the use of electronic health records, electronic billing and related cloud-enabled solutions.

The Internet of Everything (IOE). As we saw in 2013, we are becoming a more connected civilization every day with more and more items—tablets, shoes, watches, automobiles, construction equipment, and more— manufacturers are integrating instrumentation and data capture into their products. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg; this machine-to-machine (M2M) trend will increase big data and business intelligence solutions that focus on increasing both customer- and market-specific analysis.

Increased instrumentation drives more proactive and predictive customer interactions aimed at developing customer service strategies and marketing promotions. Typically this information will be used to heighten the customer’s expectation of the product or service and to differentiate from competitors. The Internet of Everything trend has the potential to change the entire customer experience; in my opinion, this trend will continue strong next year and well beyond as the world adapts to big data in everyday life.

Cybercrime activity will continue to rise. With more virtualization and a larger number of entry points occurring through IOE trends, businesses and consumers become more vulnerable to cybercrime. For protection against burgeoning cybercrime, cloud providers will need to be certified in cyber security standards like NIST, PCI DSS compliance, STAR certifications, and other industry checkpoints. The security industry will flourish as organizations increase investment in protecting both their data and their customers with more advanced prevention software and training.

While additional trends are sure to arise, these six have seen significant investment and strong growth in the past year. As 2014 progresses, it will be interesting to see the direction these advancements take as cloud technology becomes more commonplace.


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