12 cloud predictions for Christmas: Connection is king

Andy Perrin, senior product manager for cloud at Virgin Media Business, tells us what he thinks will happen in cloud computing during 2012.

Forrester said recently the cloud will be moving into its “awkward teenage years” in 2012. While there is a lot of growing up to do in the market, I’m positive that 2012 has a lot in store for the cloud.  

Clear road to a secure cloud

The biggest concern around the cloud has been, and will undoubtedly continue to be, security. The hype in the market has caused confusion and the burning question has been ‘am I really jeopardising the integrity of my data by going for cloud based technology?’

The simple answer is no – not if you choose your provider carefully. I think businesses of all sizes will become more familiar with identifying the key questions to ask a potential Virtual Cloudsvider: ‘where is my data stored?’, ‘who has access to it?’, ‘what controls and protections are in place around access to the data centre, as well as to the cloud infrastructure itself?’ and ‘what SLA guarantees are there around the integrity of my data?’.

The end result will be to highlight the cloud can rival or even surpass the security offered by on-premise solutions. 

I think we will also start to see a focus on harmonisation of laws governing the handling of data. In January 2012 the EU will be publishing new proposals to reform the 1995 Data Protection Directive, which is a step in the right direction to give businesses more peace of mind that putting their data into the cloud won’t breach regulations. 

Embracing remote working
One of the most appealing things about the cloud by far is its ability to set businesses and workers free from traditional IT constraints. With increased virtualisation, including virtualised desktops, and more cloud-based apps being used, staff will not be bound to one desk in one office.

This could pave the way for more convenient hot-desking and increasingly mobile staff. It started in 2011, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a massive surge in this kind of working during 2012, with public sector organisations also embracing this type of working as much as the private sector.

Cloud, combined with the consumerisation of IT in the workplace, is going to drastically change the way we all work. While there are clear benefits, this trend will also raise some key challenges for IT managers and CIOs as they look to keep control of their IT.

The connection is king
It seems obvious, but network requirements are one of the most under-discussed elements of the cloud. Simply put, if you move services to the cloud then you are going to need a powerful network to connect to them. 

In 2012, as businesses start using more applications and infrastructure in the cloud, I expect they will begin looking much more seriously at their network requirements.  

The public internet supported the “tyre-kicking” of the cloud, but as businesses start to move more mission critical services into the cloud, things like latency, performance and security of the connection will become front and centre of their planning.

Sign up for our free newsletter