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5 Cloud computing trends for 2017

It’s fair to say that 2016 can be rightfully proclaimed as the year in which cloud computing cemented its position as one of the defining trends – and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.

Across the world, IT giant Cisco estimates that, in five years’ time, 83% of all data centre traffic will be in the cloud. In fact, the shift could be much quicker.

As the year draws to an end, here are five cloud computing trends for 2017 that our experts at Principal think you need to know about. 

 

Cloud software will increasingly replace onsite Software Asset Management (SAM)

The adoption of cloud computing systems will continue to grow as more businesses seek benefits from the opportunities offered by cloud software.

What this means is that businesses will increasingly choose - or in some cases be forced - to move from on-premise Software Asset Management (where the business owns, installs and manages all software used by the company) to cloud solutions. Productivity suite vendors such as Microsoft and Adobe are already shifting customers to virtual platforms, and they won’t be the only ones to make the move.

While it’s a change for businesses, it’s actually a positive one offering greater transparency on pricing and control on licenses that can often save businesses money.

 

Cloud security and data sovereignty are essential

IT security is arguably the biggest challenge for businesses, a situation unlikely to change in 2017. According to the latest annual SANS Institute Cloud Security Survey, a whopping 62 per cent of respondents said they are concerned that unauthorised outsiders could access data stored on public cloud services.

As a result, organisations needs to ensure that their cloud solutions are built upon the strongest foundations. It may appear that all providers are equal, but this isn’t the case. Principal’s UK-based datacentre provides Tier 3 levels of security - the highest currently available, but many aren’t, and it’s not always easy to check.

New changes to EU data regulation rules mean it’s now the responsibility of the business to ensure the cloud solution is safe. Businesses should also note that data sovereignty rules mean that if you store data in a country, that information needs to adhere to the rules of that country. It’s a complex and challenging area for all businesses, but the risk of fines make it something you need to be aware of.

In 2017, as more businesses move to the cloud, we’re likely to see an increase in the numbers of sophisticated and targeted attacks. And it’s not just big businesses that need to be concerned; around 40% of all businesses have been targeted – so beware.

 

More devices could mean more trouble

While not always permitted in the workplace, the practice of sharing information across personal devices is likely to increase. Known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), this form of ‘shadow IT’ can put a company at risk.

Gaining access to your network via a proxy (in some cases simply via an unsecured WiFi connection) can allow a hacker the opportunity to see everything.

As more and more devices seek opportunities for connectivity, you need to remain aware and take steps to limit access. There are lots of things you can do to help secure your cloud, here are just some.

 

Flexibility means productivity

If properly set up, a cloud is an incredibly secure way to run your IT infrastructure, it can also help to improve productivity too.

We’re all working longer and harder, but in the UK our productivity is falling - it’s because we’re not working smarter. A recent study by management consultants Capgemini highlights the massive impact flexible cloud solutions can have. The research shows that those businesses who embrace digital technologies generate more than 9% revenues and can see profits up to 26% higher.

There are some concerns, so it’s essential that businesses invest in – and maintain the spend – on IT security training. Many businesses are re-writing contracts to ensure staff are aware of their new responsibilities – 2017 might be the time you need to do this too.

 

Complexity will mean simplicity

The scope and scale of cloud services is increasing, seemingly on a weekly basis. As a result, the clouds being introduced to businesses are becoming more and more complex.

What this greater integration means is that users will have a better and more complete experience. However, this shift is likely to challenge internal IT departments who may need additional, specialist support to help them design a productive cloud infrastructure.

At Principal, we’re experienced when it comes to working with our clients to design and develop functional and efficient cloud systems. It’s our job to stay on top of tech trends and ensure that organisations extract the maximum value from their investment. This is one trend that won’t change for 2017. 

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