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Cloud computing: Customisation is the name of the game

With Gartner predicting that half of all enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by 2017, its obvious that cloud technology is permeating all levels of organisations. What this also means is that nothing is black and white with cloud computing. Enterprises are deploying different forms of cloud solutions in ways that best support their business needs and organisational infrastructure.

There is no silver bullet that will give companies the best possible outcomes with cloud computing – each organisation needs to determine what data and departments will best benefit from cloud solutions, and positively impact the bottom line. The trend I see growing the fastest in the cloud computing space is that of customisation, as enterprises build out cloud infrastructures and solutions that work best for them.

One of the main reasons for customisation is the varying security regulations that face companies operating in numerous international markets. Companies in EMEA are especially concerned about oversights from the US markets, and thus are putting more content in private cloud solutions, where they can customise the security and access settings to each region or country's regulations.

For heavily regulated industries, such as government or financial services, its especially important that solutions be customisable to adhere to national and industry compliance specifications, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Safe-Harbor Frameworks or Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

The private cloud also enables enterprises to maintain total control over their data, rather than power and potential access rights to a third-party vendor. With the ever-growing concerns around the impact of cyber-hacking, companies are loath to put sensitive business material in the hands of an outside party. The ability to vary the levels of data security, by placing non-sensitive data in public clouds, while keeping intellectual property or personally identifiable information on-premise in a private cloud, enable enterprises to create customised, hybrid clouds that best fit their data security requirements.

The third area where extensive customisation is taking place in cloud computing is in the mobile realm. As more employees utilise mobile devices for their day-to-day work activities, it's critical that they can access the data they need without introducing security risks into the network. Cloud computing made this kind of mobile workflow possible, and now enterprises are picking and choosing the types of mobile productivity apps their workers need, and integrating them into their other cloud infrastructure.

Many major cloud companies like Google and Microsoft are bolting on new features and free storage to their platforms, in an attempt to keep customers within their silo, instead of offering the ability to customise their infrastructure with numerous vendors.

Moving forward, I see this trend of customised cloud computing continuing to grow, and vendors that don't offer customised options to their clients will start to see declining revenues.

Paul Steiner is the managing director of Accellion EMEA