The State of the Cloud: What’s Next?
Whether you’ve made the jump or are still thinking about it, here’s what you need to know
Your IT department may be excited about it - or in denial about it - but either way, the cloud is here to stay. In fact, worldwide spending on cloud services is expected to reach $266 billion by 2021, with mid-sized businesses spending one-fifth of those dollars. Here’s the state of the cloud right now and what to prepare for in 2018.
Iaas, PaaS, SaaS
Let’s start with a quick refresh on the three main models of cloud computing your company can take advantage of:
• Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): This requires the most hands-on work for your tech and IT teams, but it also offers more control and customization options. You’ll get access to the basics: servers, networking and storage (either physical or virtual) and build everything else yourself.
• Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): PaaS is the happy medium for many developers. You’ll get all the IaaS compute, networking and storage tools that IaaS offers, plus operating systems, middleware, and database management. You manage the applications your company develops, and the cloud handles everything else.
• Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): This option is the whole enchilada - and it’s also the most popular, accounting for two-thirds of cloud dollars spent in 2017. Users access services via a web browser or app without thinking about the hardware and OS under the hood. Popular software such as Office 365 and Salesforce utilizes this model.
So what’s new?
Right now cloud service providers are raking in tens of billions of dollars annually, so there’s plenty of innovation on the scene. Here are a few things to look out for.
AI floats into the cloud
The cloud isn’t just a place to store your data and run some code anymore. Soon businesses of any size will be able to use it to access machine learning and development, too. Late last year Amazon Web Services launched a slew of new machine-learning services that’ll let app developers transcribe or translate text, analyze videos and more.
And in January Google announced its new Cloud AutoML, which will let users train their own custom machine learning algorithms without writing a single line of code.
Cybersecurity as top priority
Sadly, there’s been no slowdown in major security breaches - in fact, one in four companies using public cloud storage has had data stolen. If your business hasn’t already migrated to the cloud, there’s a good chance cybersecurity concerns are why you’re hesitating. The good news is that cloud providers are well aware of this risk and are investing heavily in tools to keep your data secure.
Google recently announced its new Cloud Security Command Center; in January Amazon purchased Sqrrl, a security startup with roots in the NSA, to beef up AWS’s security. Look for more security-related acquisitions and announcements from all the big players.
Blockchain arrives on the scene
Don’t worry: You don’t have to convert your cloud-based ecommerce services to Bitcoin…yet. Yes, Blockchain is best known as the foundation of cryptocurrency trading and wallets. But distributed ledger technology can be used for other things - such has preventing hackers from tampering with sensitive records stored in the cloud. So it makes sense that Google is working on blockchain-related tech to bolster their cloud business.
Expect to hear much more about this in the coming months.