Gartner’s top 10 technology trends for 2015 was bound to include Cloud Computing. After all, the cloud has been disrupting the way IT services are delivered for almost ten years now. What is different is that trend has finally really hit its stride. Gone are the questions of whether cloud computing will really take off. Now, IT professionals are more concerned about what the cloud will bring and how to handle security concerns.
To fully understand the evolution of cloud computing, you have to start at the beginning. In the sixties, J.C.R. Licklider introduced the idea of the intergalactic computer network;â what we now call the Internet. But Licklider’s idea was actually much larger than that. His vision was to have the entire globe accessing programs and data from anywhere at anytime. Although the Internet does fit this bill in some respects, cloud computing is a much closer fit to the original vision.
The main hindrance to realizing the vision of cloud computing has been bandwidth. Made available in the 1990s, we saw the initial increase in bandwidth that allowed for the growth and popularization of the Internet.Â It wasn’t until the advent of services such as SalesForce (1999), Amazon Web Services (2002) and Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (2006) that organizations began to develop and deliver true cloud-based services. By 2009, cloud computing had hit its stride and we saw the advent of such services as Google apps.
But, this is not the end for cloud computing’ growth. Decreasing network and bandwidth costs will encourage ongoing development of apps that use the intelligence and storage of the client device. “Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style,” said David Cearley,Â vice presidentÂ & Gartner Fellow. While network and bandwidth costs may continue to favor apps that use the intelligence and storage of the client device effectively, coordination and management will be based in the cloud.”
Today, IT professionals must recognize the benefits of cloud computing – increased storage, flexibility and cost reduction and balance implementation with caution surrounding security and support costs. In the long-term, two main concerns will continue to shape the future of cloud computing. First, the availability, cost and available bandwidth for high-speed networks will dictate the speed at which cloud computing evolves. As costs decrease, cloud applications will evolve to support simultaneous use of multiple devices. Many of us are familiar with the second-screen phenomenon as coordinating television viewing with a mobile device. Cloud computing applications will extend far beyond that to gaming and enterprise applications that use multiple screens, wearables and other devices.
The second and larger concern for cloud computing is security. Â In the beginning phases of cloud computing, CIOs were largely concerned about whether to invest in cloud computing, given security concerns about privacy, data ownership and data integrity. What resulted was a mix of cloud computing centers both within the company firewall and outside of it. However, the business and IT benefits have convinced organizations to make use of cloud computing. In fact, the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently released these statistics about cloud computing:
- 68% of mid-market (i.e. 500-999 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees) organizations use SaaS today.
- 41% of mid-market (i.e. 500-999 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees) organizations use IaaS today.
- 35% of mid-market (i.e. 500-999 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees) organizations use PaaS today.
As organizations continue to adopt cloud computing, we will continue to see innovation around security. We will also see a growing number of organizations with elaborate cybersecurity plans.
Where are you in executing against your organization’s plan for cloud computing?