What’s on the Horizon in Cloud Technology

Cloud technologies are evolving rapidly to meet an ever-expanding demand from corporations to provide cost and organizational efficiencies. What are the areas of growth in 2022 and beyond?

Artificial intelligence capabilities are expected to be integrated more and more into SaaS platforms to produce highly tailored and optimized applications. Multiple examples of these exist already in the form of chatbots, user-specific behavior analyses and other “smart” applications.

Cloud security is a hot topic among corporate executives as high-profile cases of data breach continue to make headlines and the threat becomes increasingly mainstream. According to one source, cybercrime increased last year by a whopping 650%. For this reason, the kind of data security offered by a cloud provider is a primary selection criterion. Some corporations elect to distribute data storage over several different cloud platforms to minimize risk, but fool proof strategies do not yet exist. Even with additional safety measures in place, private and public entities alike are still at risk when it comes to data security infrastructure. This is an area that is ripe for innovation and growth.

Minimizing risk of data breach is not the only reason for a private or public entity to rely on multiple clouds. Corporations often have multiple clouds—as opposed to just a few—to address specific needs. In fact, it is quite common for an organization to have several public clouds and multiple private cloud systems as well in a hybrid cloud situation, each with unique purposes, capabilities and requirements.

Areas of growth in the context of multi-cloud formats include enhancing an organization’s ability to work seamlessly between cloud platforms and to expand the capabilities of each. This may mean that providers of public cloud services develop additional capabilities to appeal to a greater cross-section of discerning customers.

Corporations increasingly look for operational flexibility, a high degree of data oversight, and top-notch organizational capabilities as well. Data fabrics are increasingly used as a means of identifying and linking separate data storage locations in order to provide an overarching organizational theme. With the use of application programming interfaces, cloud fabrics identify core functional commonalities among distinct siloes of data and give corporations the ability to access similar data managed by separate cloud providers.

Containerization is yet another aspect of innovative and specialized data management that is gaining ground. This concept offers corporations a way to organize an application and its supporting files and associated components into a unique “container” or “library” of related items. This gives the application versatility and the ability to run seamlessly in different computing environments. Thus, the use of containers is of particular interest to entities that seek to capitalize on a hybrid cloud operational strategy. Each container is relatively small in size and thus multiple units can be run on one server, again providing multiple efficiencies to the corporation that chooses to use them.

With multiple clouds at play, corporations want to be able to compare performance and monitor analytics across all cloud platforms. For this reason, cloud automation is an emerging trend and an area primed for growth. Via a dashboard or similar window into operations, an organization can compare for performance, security risks and other analytics. With similar, if not identical, infrastructure across all platforms, an entity can capitalize on machine learning to draw key conclusions, improving oversight and overall efficiency as it considers how the business operates as a whole.

In response to dominance by a few centralized data processing giants, edge computing is the answer to data stored on a central server that is vulnerable to factors like bandwidth, latency and security. Edge computing seeks to minimize the secondary effects of overburdened and centralized clouds with the construction of regional data centers, which gives companies access to the reliability of data stored on a local server.

An industry-specific cloud is designed to address the needs of a particular industry like finance or healthcare. These are companies that are often subject to a host of additional industry-specific regulations. Healthcare is the type of industry that can also benefit from additional automation in particularly sensitive areas like patient data management.

Cloud-based platforms were conceived in part due to the inability of desktops and physical servers to manage large volumes of data. Desktop applications were then reconfigured for cloud-based platforms. Cloud native applications, however, refers to applications that are not simply platforms redesigned for the cloud, but applications that were cloud native or developed originally for the cloud, which means they may offer an edge in terms of agility within the cloud and overall functionality.

We anticipate tremendous growth in cloud computing. From issues of cloud security to data fabrics and cloud automation, business, government and private individuals are primed for even greater levels of performance. Opportunities in the cloud are only just beginning.