The cloud is much more than the place where our ever-growing digital collections live. It’s also driving a transformative shift in the business arena.
Migration to cloud-based computing is gaining momentum. A 2015 Cisco market analysis projects that global cloud IP traffic will nearly quadruple by 2020 and will account for 92 percent of data center traffic.
Cloud-based computing employs a network of remote servers on the internet instead of using a local server or hard drive to store and process information. Although the concept and technology dates back to the dawn of the internet, it was online retailer Amazon’s launch of cloud-based services more than a decade ago that made cloud computing a household word.
Forward-looking industry professionals point to several major trends in cloud computing in the coming years.
A new Forrester Research report says 2017 will see major growth in business applications. “The No. 1 trend is here come the enterprises,” according to Forrester analyst and primary report author Dave Bartoletti. “Enterprises with big budgets, data centers and complex applications are now looking at cloud as a viable place to run core business applications.” The Forrester survey of 1,000 North American and European technology decision-makers found that 38 percent planned to build private clouds, 32 percent were going with public cloud services and the rest planned to use some form of cloud technology in the next year.
Cyber attacks and data breaches have put everyone on guard, no matter where their sensitive data is stored. Data security has been one of cloud computing’s biggest challenges. Most companies that opt out of using it do so because of security and data privacy concerns. But many believe that as developers step up to the plate with new advances in security practices, perceptions about cloud security will change.
Until now, the financial services industry — a prime target for cyber crime — has not been an early adopter of cloud technology. That’s about to change as the industry recognizes it as a way to improve client services. While the majority continues to favor an in-house technology structure, companies are beginning to realize the efficiency and performance cloud-based systems offer in terms of analytics, security and data recovery.
FutureVault is a sophisticated and secure cloud-based digital safe deposit box designed to store and manage financial, legal and personal documents so that users can safely share information with advisors or family members. The Toronto-based company was co-founded in 2014 by technology and media venture capitalist G. Scott Paterson, who is now FutureVault chairman and CEO. G. Scott Paterson foresees a paperless world within five years, where banks, wealth managers, law firms and others will offer clients digital storage for bills, statements and other documents.
More companies are moving to mega-cloud providers like Amazon and Google instead of having to invest the money and time needed to maintain an in-house cloud/data center. Credit and banking giant Capital One moved from its private cloud platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS). And NASDAQ OMX partnered with AWS for its Market Replay, which lets investors quickly find historical stock price information.
An emerging trend is the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in cloud computing. Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon Web Services have all launched machine learning and AI-based cloud services. In 2016, IBM introduced Project DataWorks, a cloud-based data and analytics platform designed to enable AI-powered decision-making. While AI and machine learning applications for the cloud are still in the early development stages, they’re poised to energize and drive growth in this exciting frontier.