The cloud industry had quite a year in 2016, with everything from Salesforce’s outage which lost four hours of customer data, to the partnership between VMware and Amazon Web Services. As we enter a new year, the cloud industry will continue to introduce developments that make a splash in the IT world, changing the way companies do business and handle their data. I’ve compiled a list of nine technology predictions for the cloud industry and how each will impact businesses and the delivery of service.

1. The number of data breaches in the enterprise will continue to eclipse the number of data breaches in the cloud

Security for sensitive data has been, and will continue to be, a hot button issue. While the initial move to the cloud made some uneasy for security reasons, this is no longer the case. Enterprises are realizing the cloud is more secure than what they can do themselves. If you don’t believe me, count how many security breaches occurred in cloud environments in this listing, then compare them with the rest of the group. On top of this, customers now demand continuous service, which means that if you’re not providing this constant availability, you’ll be struggling to keep up in 2017.

2. Faced with a hardware refresh, more companies will turn to the cloud than new hardware

There’s a lot of churn in the hardware space because of virtualization. Companies are growing tired of having to refresh their IT systems with new hardware every five years. People want to be more mobile, and the cloud is a way to get there. Plus, rapid technology innovation has driven increased competition (think about the rise in artificial intelligence, for example). For these reasons, more and more businesses are opting for a model that allows them to harness immediate time-to-value and consistently have the latest technology. With the cloud, now even the smallest companies can compete on the technology front.

3. Availability and resiliency will emerge more specifically in compliance regulations and legislation

To keep up with the demands of the modern world and increasing threats of intrusions, more compliance regulations and legislation will include IT resiliency as a standard requirement. There are a lot of contributing factors to this: an increased pressure for convenience, the possibility of getting fined or fired for a breach, personal risk mitigation, etc. This means that if you don’t have an IT disaster recovery (DR) plan in place already, you’ll be forced to implement one – and provide proof of it – in 2017. Changes for some industries have happened already. For example, HIPAA regulations now require healthcare providers to perform a business impact analysis (BIA).

4. Cloud vendors with incomplete solutions will continue to form surprising alliances

Companies that lack solutions in the cloud industry will be left behind in the crowded landscape of competition. Therefore, we’ll continue to see the formation of surprising alliances to mitigate weaknesses. Would you have ever pictured cats and dogs living together? Get ready. An example of this consolidation is the VMware and AWS partnership to diminish gaps in their public and private cloud offerings.

5. New software (SaaS) will emerge to help people manage cloud-based resiliency

There’s a growing science around resiliency, not just because of technology improvements, but because there’s an inherent link to the efficiency of people and process. Data protection is now a table stakes investment. People are increasingly wanting to perform tasks and receive service through software, with the streamlined convenience of enterprise platforms, such as Salesforce and ServiceNow. Contrast this with the time-consuming inconvenience of having to perform DR tasks manually, and you’ll find that it’s no surprise this efficiency-focused approach to the DR process has become popular.

6. Cloud adoption will become normal in even the most pragmatic industries, such as legal and healthcare

While apprehensive at first about their sensitive data being in a cloud environment, the most pragmatic industries are now getting on the cloud bandwagon. Why? Partly because the accessibility of cloud has created an expectation for continuous service, a focus that has driven intense competition for client retention. The other reason is that these industries are beginning to see the immense value in leveraging cloud for their business objectives. The legal industry, for example, is beginning to embrace cloud-based document management, using machine learning to set policies of data analysis – not just in finding information for court cases, but avoiding portions of data for plausible deniability.

7. Owning a datacenter will no longer be fashionable for most CIOs

Gone are the days of managing your own datacenter. More than ever, CIOs will spurn the complications of in-house datacenters and provision their hosting and recovery environments with trusted third-party vendors. This will offload “keeping the lights on” activities and enable IT teams to focus on giving back more meaningful value to their business.

8. Machine learning will begin to enable the prediction of application downtime and duration

The Internet of Things and Big Data have driven huge developments for higher living standards, and machine learning has emerged as part of this goal. In 2017, we’ll see an increased use of business intelligence to make predictions. A good example of this approach will be machine learning to predict recoverability, which will continue to grow more granular as users will set policies and make decisions for wider business initiatives based upon this real-time information. Basically, you shouldn’t be using a cloud that doesn’t use machine learning at this point.

9. Security incidents are increasingly considered disasters, leading to CISO ownership of BC/DR

Progressively, cybersecurity events are starting to occur in DR environments, since production environments receive the most attention and intruders have begun to view copies of critical data as low-hanging fruit. Security professionals have strengths in incident response and management, which means companies will look to the CISO for DR planning as the reputation fallout becomes a larger concern for brands.



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