With a constant steam of technology trends weaving their way into people’s lives and business, it’s easy to wonder which ones will stick around and which will fizzle out, even if you work in the throes of IT itself. Yet, ask a handful of any given tech experts which trend has the most staying power, and without a doubt, the majority will tell you Cloud computing.
Just Like New
Why? Because unlike other new tech trends, cloud computing doesn’t need to cultivate staying power when the concept has fundamentally been around since the 80’s. However, as this “trend” gains fervor and slowly becomes a household phrase, questions about the future and impact of cloud computing become ever more important.
So, what is the future of cloud computing? Sahil Parikh, author of The SaaS Edge, puts it the most succinctly: “Today, Cloud computing is a trend. Tomorrow, it is going to be something that we all live with – just like electricity.”
In other words, the Cloud will be second nature in every aspect of our lives. As Parikh continues, “With the ubiquity of the Internet, every device [in your home, business, etc] will be connected to the Cloud in some way or another.”
One of the biggest reasons for such widespread adoption among businesses is simply the low cost. In very basic terms, running your business from the Cloud reduces the need for your own servers and IT guys to run it.
As Angela Denby, Founder and CEO of Java Social Networking, explains, though, decreased overhead is just the beginning. Another benefit of Cloud computing is increased efficiency, “now that employees are able to access files from any computer” or any mobile device.
And, with this flexibility of information access comes increased work-life balance. These are important benefits for any business, achieved at the fraction of the cost of other initiatives. And for these reasons, as Ms. Denby puts it, “Cloud computing isn’t going anywhere.”
What do these benefits mean for the impact of Cloud computing? Ryan MacCarrigan, Director of Marketing at AppFirst, offers some interesting insight. Ultimately, lower overhead costs lead to higher revenue, MacCarrigan explains, and “if moving to the Cloud can help companies grow their revenue, then it’s fundamentally good for the economy.”
Aside from positive economical impact, MacCarrigan also comments that the widespread adoption of Cloud computing will “accelerate the rate of technological innovation, resulting from the democratization of data access.” It’s definitely an interesting and probable prediction; a case of one major trend paving the way for others.
Real Life Impact
For a more applicable example of the benefits of Cloud computing, Ben Cooper, Founder and CEO of Invizsion LLC, explains how Cloud computing plays an important role in the healthcare industry. Coopers explains that, “Cloud technology has enabled physicians and other health care providers the ability to remotely access and update patient medical records.”
In other words, medical details and imaging such as X-rays can be stored via the Cloud so that radiologists and other specialists can offer medical interpretation and advice, even miles away from the physical location of the patient.
In this case, the use of the Cloud can make all the difference between life and death. As Cloud computing becomes more advanced and entrenched in our lives over time, the possibilities are clearly limitless and life-changing.
As technology like Cloud computing becomes ever more advanced, however, the concern for safety and security grows in equal proportion. Steve Santorelli, a former Scotland Yard cyber-crime detective at the non-for-profit Internet Security Research company Team Cymru, offers his input.
“You’re fundamentally trusting someone else to protect your assets,” he explains, “so you need to have a high degree of confidence in them…Your personal email might be one thing, but trusting your company to one huge potential single point of failure is another.”
When it comes down to it, use of Cloud computing simply depends on the company. With some businesses, an office break-in may be of more worry than a computer hacker. Some companies, however, will want to do their homework on the service they’re considering for their move to the Cloud.
Others simply need to be more careful, as Santorelli comments that, “sadly, many Cloud security mishaps boil down to a poor password choice or re-use by the end-user.”
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, it does look like Cloud computing is an integral part of our future, particularly for business. Though this was a brief look at it’s future, these are the issues at the forefront of Cloud experts’ minds. Certainly, if predictions are true, the Cloud will become as second nature as our use of electricity.
What do you think about the future of Cloud computing?