As the world has transformed over the last 18 months, the cloud has become a critical part of business operations for countless companies across the globe. With remote work continuing to be a fixture of our new normal, our relationship with the cloud will only strengthen in the coming year. Below are my predictions for the cloud industry trends we can expect in the new year.
Hybrid-work environments will rise
The ongoing pandemic has left many wondering what the future of work will look like moving forward. As health risks persist, companies will likely encourage their employees to continue working from home, coming into the office only part-time or when necessary.
Many remote workers can remain productive and engaged from home, especially with the power of cloud-based tools at their fingertips. However, some sectors or specific work areas require in-person operations. Given this, hybrid models will remain and become further ingrained in workplace norms so that team members can stay healthy, safe, and distanced.
In-person events will make a serious comeback
The evolving pandemic continues to shift the landscape of in-person gatherings. Yet, networking events and conferences are poised for a strong return. Whether this trend fully manifests in 2022 remains to be seen. There is an appetite for social interaction. When coupled with teleconferencing fatigue, it will gradually drive the return of in-person events into realization.
Conference organizers will start small with limited attendees and slowly work toward reaching a full-capacity audience. They will rely on COVID-19 vaccines or testing requirements to mitigate the spread of the virus.
We are already beginning to see live conferences return in Florida and Las Vegas. There are also growing audiences at sporting events like cricket and soccer matches worldwide. As these events gradually return, organizers will leverage cloud-based applications to supplement and enable virtual engagement.
Larger cloud vendors will expand app offerings
Cloud adoption surged in 2021, and this growth will continue. Gartner projects end-user spending on public cloud services will reach $396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7% to $482 billion in 2022. As we evolve more onto the cloud, the idea of a single vendor that provides multiple applications is gaining steam.
Cloud providers are adding new tools and capabilities to their suite of offerings. It makes them a one-stop-shop for companies looking to select a single vendor to fulfil their needs. Large corporations tend to use a single vendor to keep their resources streamlined. For instance, users turning to Microsoft for mail and collaboration services are more inclined to use their Dynamics CRM.
The pathway is emerging for some of tech’s most prominent players to offer multiple capabilities under their umbrella. They may look to build out their tech stacks or acquire single-app vendors to bolster their offerings.
The approach to data security will evolve
As cloud adoption continues to rise, data security approaches will shift. Previously, relying on on-premises software allowed a high control over data management. Cloud environments require different policies and procedures for ensuring data security. Global companies looking to manage cloud data must consider data sovereignty, around which a multitude of rules and regulations exists.
IT teams must also address a host of questions to ensure these rules can be met. Is a single cloud tenant sufficient for maintaining data protection, or are multiple tenants needed? Will a regional cloud ecosystem be reliable for your company’s needs?
The increased focus on data protection and compliance will result in new regional cloud ecosystems and data services. Enterprises should ensure their IT teams know the data sovereignty laws that apply to your organization. Staying informed will help ensure your business remains compliant and your data remains secure.
Governments will invest more in the cloud
As widespread cloud reliance grows, government organizations will look to invest more in cloud technologies and services. Government agencies have been slow adopters of the cloud due to the sensitive nature of managing public data and the heightened restrictions around maintaining data security. However, public cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft already provide government organizations with exclusive cloud environments. For instance, during the pandemic, Microsoft provided free use of Teams to all staff of the National Health Service in the U.K.
Given the strong capability with which public cloud providers have built cloud environments for private companies, they will look to expand their cloud offerings to government agencies. Government-oriented clouds built and managed by providers like Amazon and Microsoft will become more common. Governments are significant users of data and computing. It’s only a matter of time before they fully leverage the cloud to unlock its benefits.
Considering the significant changes of the past 18 months, it is difficult to say with certainty what the next year will bring. However, cloud-based tools and resources will play a prominent role in how we operate. The cloud was essential in enabling remote workforces and digital interaction throughout the pandemic. Our relationship with the cloud will only deepen in the coming year as our new normal continues to take shape, and we evolve with it.
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