Future of cloud computing: trends in data security, AI, IoT and more

For businesses looking at digital transformation in order to grow and remain competitive, cloud computing is a key enabler. Whatever stage your business is in terms of adoption of cloud technology, it’s important to understand the future of cloud computing, its trends and what this technology can do for your business.

The power of cloud-based technology lies in the fact that it can give your business access to various resources like computing power and storage, without the pains of managing those resources. Because it’s powerful and cost-effective, and can be deployed rapidly, businesses realize that adopting cloud computing is the way forward.

One of the advantages of cloud that made it extremely useful (and visible) during the Corona pandemic is its flexibility. Thanks to this technology, businesses could switch from offline to online modes with a great deal of ease, without having to worry about security. This has led to a substantial uptick in the number of businesses considering embracing cloud or expanding their existing usage. And this number is only going to increase in the future.

In this post, we look at some of the trends in cloud computing, especially in the context of how they will improve and transform businesses.

1. Improved focus on data security

With every passing day, cyber-attacks are getting more sophisticated. Regulations for data breach are getting increasingly stringent. And as more businesses turn to IT, digital assets are facing heightened risks. As a result, more businesses than before are realizing that handling all this by themselves could be overwhelming, not to mention the strain their resources would be under.

One of the cloud computing trends that emerges with this is that of data security. Because of the sheer scale of their operations, cloud service providers would be in a better position to effectively overcome these challenges on behalf of companies opting for cloud.

We foresee cloud vendors putting in place even more elaborate governance systems and robust infrastructure with which to provide better security to clients. With a security-first design and virtually impregnable firewalls, these service providers are equipped to easily defend your data from bad actors.

Sturdy access management and identity protocols, encryption and value-added services like data masking will add further layers of security. All this, and more, will make the cloud of our near future more secure and more reliable.

2. Better usage of AI and ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are extremely capable, yet companies do face challenges while actually putting these technologies to use. The principal challenge, in almost all cases, is the absence of a clear strategy and understanding of how to best leverage them.

Thankfully, cloud services companies have this figured out. As we dig deeper to understand the future of cloud technology, we are increasingly convinced that with better governance, improved policies and deeper expertise, cloud vendors will better leverage AI and ML for their clients.

For instance, cloud services will help clients draw more gains from big data. Consistent frameworks, stronger systems and economies of scale are some of the benefits that clients will begin realizing right from the early stages of cloud adoption.

And because of all this, businesses will have access to cloud-based services that were, independently, out of reach for most of them earlier. In that sense, it will democratize technology because more businesses than ever before will enjoy clear, tangible benefits.

3. More of hybrid and on-premise cloud

In the early stages of cloud, end-user organizations and businesses adopting cloud had limited choices. As a result, they were also constrained by the limitations of whatever model they chose.

The coming year will witness a major shift in the cloud landscape, because hybrid models will evolve further and offer more choices to users. Amongst the various benefits that are visible with the trends in cloud computing, flexibility stands out. It will become easier for you to select the features you want, instead of a take-it-or-leave-it deal.

Consider this: you might decide to get space from one cloud platform and deploy technology on a different cloud platform. You can also use a mix of private cloud and public cloud, and then combine it with some on-site infrastructure that you think most suits your needs and budget. That lets you be in charge, because you can opt for different providers for data processing and storage.

Your cloud consulting services partner will balance the varying features of each model. They will optimise your choices and make the transition smooth and productive. Finally, they will ensure your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) remains low even while you reap all the benefits of the fusion.

4. The growth of edge with cloud

A well-known study by Forrester says edge computing and cloud will compete and collaborate in a meaningful manner. This points to the evolution of new business models that “facilitate the deployment of edge”, powered by improved AI and wide-spread use of 5G technology.

Prima facie, cloud technology and edge computing appear to pivot in different, if not outright contradictory, directions. Cloud is essentially about centralizing the processing of data, irrespective of where the data originates. Edge, on the other hand, is about bringing computing and related services closer to or almost at the point of data source.

The convergence of the two is among the major cloud trends. Placing data centers closer to the data source achieves at least three goals. One, it leads to a considerable increase in processing power. Two, it eases loads on the cloud’s processing resources. And three, it can minimize the time-gap between a client request and server response, also known as latency.

The Forrester study further mentions edge will carry “cloudlike solutions deployable to anywhere”. Because data capturing, storing and processing will be nearer to the data source than ever before, businesses will get contextual insights and thus be able to become more responsive to customer needs.

Businesses may opt to connect with the cloud only when they need, the rest of the time they will store and process data at their own end. This means they will be able to exercise better control over data security, in the context that regulations require them to. On the whole, such cloud trends suggest better agility for businesses even while they enjoy advanced cloud-based applications.

5. The widening reach of IoT

Wired estimates that there are at least 10 billion devices connected to the internet today, while Gartner places this number at 25 billion – both way more than there are people on earth.

The humongous number of connected devices will lead to one thing: a flood of data. These IoT devices therefore will play the role of a conduit – collecting data from various sources. Then, by leveraging the power of cloud-based applications to store and process data, IoT will generate more insights for businesses with which to drive product innovations and improved customer service, among other things.

Moreover, the technology will be able to send out alerts in case of malfunctioning, failure or inconsistency of performance. Hence, IoT platforms will create novel cloud computing trends in the manufacturing sector as well because of the sheer data they will be able to generate.

6. Gaming gets serious

That cloud giants like Amazon are dedicating cloud capabilities exclusively to game development companies is one of the strongest proofs that the growth of gaming will be powered hugely by cloud. And this growth is further evidenced by an estimate which says global revenue in online games will cross a staggering 23BN US dollars.

Cloud trends present a strong case for gaming in that gamers may no longer have to invest in expensive hardware. To further support that trend, we are seeing online entertainment platforms (particularly Amazon Prime and Netflix) add further games to their inventory of digital content.

7. Storage capacities expand

If cloud were to be summed up in two phrases, it’d be massive storage and sophisticated hardware. With tons of data being generated, stored, processed and consumed everywhere, cloud is pretty much the surest and the safest way ahead.

With cloud becoming even more widespread, economies of scale will trickle down further to the end-user. That means not only more storage at affordable prices but also enhanced security at all levels. Estimates vary a little, but most experts agree that for cloud, storage capability could grow 2X or thereabouts. As a natural extension, we will see more businesses relying on cloud for strategically processing the same data they have stored on cloud.

8. Containerization and Kubernetes

The primary objective of containerization is to encapsulate software in a way that it can run consistently across diverse infrastructure, including cloud. Because cloud offers varied and advanced computing abilities, the growth of containerization and Kubernetes will be in sync with the future of cloud technology. For instance, one of the increasingly popular trends in cloud computing is using Kubernetes to design cloud-native solutions.

Containerization helps segment cloud for microservices. A variety of microservices can be developed, each of which may have diverse requirements in terms of configuration and storage. Because the cloud is segmented, such microservices will be able use those different segments and thus satisfy their respective requirements.

Two of the many important applications are DevOps and application modernization. In DevOps, services will be deployed and scaled using containers. With application modernization, older applications using dated technology can be ‘modernized’ enough to be transferred to cloud.

9. Cloudnative turns promising

Wouldn’t it be exciting to run your analytics software outside your ‘regular zone’? Current cloud computing trends suggest this might soon be possible, at least where you use Kubernetes platform. Consequently, building, operating, and scaling (and even migrating) apps will become easier, more efficient, and more flexible.

We expect to see more open-source projects getting underway as cloud opens up new possibilities. Businesses building and trying out new applications will have more freedom to experiment and juggle various alternatives.

Summing up

Cloud has long ceased to be a distant, on-the-horizon technology. It’s here and now, widely embraced and enthusiastically utilized. The future of cloud computing augurs well on all counts: improving data security, bringing multiple technologies, expanding storage capabilities, fueling gaming, edge computing playing a bigger role… As cliched as it may sound, the possibilities are truly endless.

The most exciting part about the future of cloud technology is that it will likely unravel even more opportunities than one can predict. We will continue to see more solutions being developed and popularized while keeping cloud in the center. Businesses and customers will continue reaping rich dividends with cloud, which is what should be the goal of all technologies.