Information and communications technology has hit a peak of sorts in the past few years, as virtually all organizations are now using the most advanced solutions, gadgets and software, with cloud computing positioned firmly at the center of strategies. Not so long ago, cloud computing was only in use among half or less of America's businesses and public sector organizations, but more recent reports place this rate at 90 percent and above.
Not all companies are using cloud computing for all of their IT needs, but most are leveraging the services for at least one function and planning to expand out their use over the next few years. The most recent study from GigaOM Research and North Bridge Venture Partners recorded a 500 percent increase in Software-as-a-Service between 2010 and 2014, and even higher growth in Platform-as-a-Service throughout the same period.
In terms of expanding strategies, the researchers found that nearly half of organizations are using the cloud to innovate and boost profit margins, while 45 percent have been running their operations in the cloud or will do so soon. There is no denying that the cloud is the basis for the foundation of modern IT, and will remain as such for the foreseeable future, meaning small businesses should be looking into deploying a wider range of these solutions in the near future.
If you want a quick overview of the core functions cloud computing can be used to complete and support, check out this quick video from Kevin Murtha on the matter:
Now, despite the cloud being commonly discussed and used for years, this does not mean that the technology - and its pain points, benefits and challenges - are not changing constantly. Rather, some of the more long-lasting trends surrounding the cloud computing market have shifted significantly in the past few years, and some analysts believe that they will really gain traction in the next 12 months thanks to increased maturity across the marketplace.
CloudTech recently reported that a new study conducted by Vanson Bourne and backed by a leading cloud computing provider revealed that security is no longer the massive impediment standing in the way adoption it once was. From the beginning of cloud computing and through nearly a decade of its rise to prominence, security capabilities have long been the most obstructive concerns of leaders who were researching the potential uses of the technology.
More recently, the fears have been found to be largely based in non-factual musings, and have even begun to flip on their head, so to speak, with analysts suggesting the cloud could likely enhance protection for most organizations compared to legacy IT. According to the news provider, the study found that 38 percent of 500 decision-makers surveyed cited security as the reason they chose to migrate their systems and processes into the cloud.
Considering the fact that closer to three-quarters of businesses would cite this as the reason not to migrate only five or six years ago, this is a substantial trend to watch for entrepreneurs. Data breaches have been among the most worrisome problems in the private sector of late, and small-business owners will be able to reduce their risk by partnering with managed services providers that focus on compliance and security.
Of the respondents who participated in the survey, CloudTech pointed out that 80 percent are no longer being held back by complexities and challenges in the security discussion. Perhaps not that surprisingly, the source also cited the Vanson Bourne finding that showed consultative services are improving prospects and experiences for end users, IT departments and security professionals today.
"Cloud has long been associated with a loss of control over information, but more and more businesses are now realizing this is a misconception," Brian Kelly, an executive involved in the report, told CloudTech. "Organizations are increasingly seeing the cloud as a means to keeping their systems and information safe and in the year ahead security will be an accelerator, not an inhibitor, of cloud adoption."
With this in mind, it might be helpful to know a few of the other trends that will impact the cloud, and how companies can prepare their IT from a foundational standpoint, to navigate these challenges and changes that are still to come.
"Security will need to be a focal point this year."
Security will need to be a major focal point in the coming months, especially as it relates to core infrastructure, collaboration tools, platforms, software and more. Small-business owners who do not find ways to reduce their risk of breach might be more likely to experience an event than ever before given the sharp increases in prevalence and subsequent damages.
However, this danger is not the only matter that will impact the foundation of modern IT. Rather, the hottest trends in corporate and consumer technologies will really tell the story of corporate IT in 2016.
The following trends should be on all small-business owners' radar:
- Mobility: Networks, infrastructure and unified communications systems are generally impacted by the introduction of BYOD and other mobility strategies.
- Analytics: Storage arrays, networks, endpoint management solutions and a range of other core IT matters will play a significant role in the success or failure of big data programs.
- Remote work: Telecommuting programs have exploded in the past few years, and companies that enable greater agility through seamless access to core IT systems will be more successful.
- The Internet of Things: With more endpoints and data comes a greater need for control and accurate monitoring across infrastructure, platforms and software.
By the end of 2016, entrepreneurs should work toward the goal of bolstering their ICT and operational agility, and cloud computing can certainly be used to achieve several objectives in this arena. Because of how complicated certain aspects of migration can be, the use of a managed services provider for deployment, integration, optimization and long-term maintenance is preferable as it essentially eliminates risks associated with inaccurate implementation.