At the end of last year, we predicted that cloud computing would remain a hot technology trend in 2012 – particularly on the security front. As more and more firms move to this platform, we continue to see the technology and processes within the cloud evolve to support the growing needs of its users.
Following are five key cloud computing trends to look for in 2012:
1. Education will remain important.
The industry came a long way in 2011 in terms of learning about the cloud – what it is, how it works and more. But believe it or not, there is more to be learned. In 2012, we expect conversations to go to a deeper level and focus on topics such as cloud security, operational best practices within the cloud and cloud technology specifics.
2. Cloud security practices will expand.
According to a 2011 cloud computing survey by VMware, fifty-one percent of IT executives named security as their top cloud computing concern. As security standards evolve and come to fruition, organizations such as the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) will continue to put forth best practices for maintaining secure cloud environments – whether public, private or hybrid. You can read more about the latest version of the CSA’s “Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus on Cloud Computing” here.
The type of cloud environment does still play a role in security (or at least concerns about security). According to VMware’s “Global Cloud Computing Adoption: Transformation Is in the Air,” more companies are leveraging hybrid enterprise clouds that combine the best of both public and private cloud environments.
“Public clouds without transparent security controls, that can’t be audited against security standards organizations demand today, are unlikely to support their business or IT transformation. This makes them less appropriate for hosting data that is mission-critical or subject to compliance requirements.”
3. Cloud technology will evolve.
The foundation technology the supports cloud computing will continue to evolve as more and more enterprises adopt this platform. At Eze Castle, we rely on technology hardware and software experts such as VMware, NetApp, Cisco and Microsoft to provide our clients with best-in-breed technologies and platforms. As cloud traffic continues to increase, these vendors will need to expand and evolve their product sets to meet the growing demand and maintain the speed, reliability and predictability that come with the cloud.
4. IT staffing requirements will change.
One question on a lot of minds is what the effect of increased cloud adoption means for IT staffing. And while the first thought is to assume staffing needs will be cut due to the cloud, it is not necessarily the case. The cloud does change requirements for IT professionals, however.
In 2012, we expect to see demand for new IT skill sets, particularly as they relate to the cloud. “Cloud credentials” will come into play and may give a boost to both current employees and new applicants. As the cloud continues to evolve, so too must the knowledge and understanding of those IT professionals who manage it.
5. Service Level Agreements will be top of mind.
Like with any other technology, end users and technology providers will need to work together to create and maintain comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLA) to protect both sides. SLAs relative to the cloud should include key criteria not limited to:
Availability and performance requirements
Security and privacy controls
Disaster recovery expectations
Escalation and troubleshooting processes and procedures
Change management procedures