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The Cloud in 2015: 4 things you need to prepare for

Even with ‘The Internet of Things’ slated to be the buzzword of 2015, cloud computing will continue to remain firmly in the minds of IT departments. Therefore, I thought I'd share my four big cloud trends to expect this year.

1. Cloud Computing Will Become More Mainstream

As cloud becomes more mainstream, the question among progressive IT shops when rolling out new applications will shift from “why cloud?” to “why not cloud?” This is bolstered by the increasing prevalence of public-private compute infrastructures that allow simple placement of workloads where they make the most business sense.

In a recent survey of IT professionals, conducted by NaviSite, 89 per cent of respondents said that deploying some form of private cloud or hybrid infrastructure is a priority within the next 12 months. Although the public cloud also continues to grow at a ferocious rate (with 38 per cent of respondents listing such a deployment as a priority within the next 12 months) hybrid infrastructures are becoming more popular. Hybrid infrastructures allow organisations to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of the public cloud, whilst keeping workloads and data that are either too sensitive, or still not suited to virtualised platforms, to remain on-site.

2. Disaster Recovery Plans Will Undergo an Overhaul

As global pandemics and extreme weather conditions gain more attention, businesses will recognise that their 10 year old disaster recovery plans are no longer enough. Enabled by the cloud, disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) solutions will enable organisations to replicate virtual machines between both their provider’s infrastructure-as-a-service environments and their own dedicated on-premise or virtual IT environments.

By enabling IT infrastructures to be replicated and run from geographically separated regions, organisations will be able to implement DR solutions that not only secure their IT infrastructure against system failures and outages, but also against natural, physical threats. Through replication, these DRaaS advancements will also address businesses’ need to move data securely from one geographic location to another without altering the original environment.

Additionally, many current DR strategies only account for their server infrastructure, but not their desktops. If a disaster does occur – whether from technical issues or a hurricane – the impact on end users and the business can be devastating. This is why many organisations will be looking to implement cloud-hosted virtual desktops to provide a cost-effective desktop disaster recovery solution.


3. VDI and DaaS Will Enable Mobility

The same events that can disrupt a data centre can also keep employees away from their corporate desktops. DR plans are expanded to include virtual desktop infrastructure solutions for providing employee access from wherever they are through cloud-based desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) models. Rather than simply sending everyone home with a corporate laptop, the new strategy will be to allow employees to use their own home PCs (or tablets) through home broadband or public internet connections to increase the resiliency of IT systems and reduce the requirements on the corporate IT department.

Supporting the BYOD trend, DaaS enables seamless access to corporate information from any device, anytime, from anywhere. With it, organisations will retain control over end-point devices, ensuring that all sensitive data is served and managed centrally from a data centre, eliminating the risks of corporate data loss or leak often associated with BYOD.

This added flexibility will not only enable long-term employee mobility, but will also simplify and allow for precise access control for businesses that will be using contractual, short-term and freelance workers in 2015.

4. Security and Compliance Will Be Outsourced

The security “breach of the week” trend continues with major retailers being compromised on a regular basis, and all IT shops will be pressured to look over every inch of their environment with a fine-toothed comb for vulnerabilities. The on-going concern for security and compliance in the cloud is echoed by 59 per cent of respondents in NaviSite’s survey stating that security is a main concern.

Security concerns and the crushing weight of compliance will force many organisations to simply outsource the parts of their business that deals with confidential information to specialist providers. By partnering with the right providers, organisations will have custom solutions tailored to meet their unique security and industry compliance. Such solutions will not only secure corporate data, but also help enterprises eliminate unexpected burdens and expenses, and free up IT staff and resources.

By Chris Patterson, senior director of product management @NaviSite