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From connectivity to cloud: The technology trends to watch

Technology never ceases to be innovative and is becoming increasingly more involved in our daily personal and professional lives. From connected objects to smart mobile devices, creative and highly useful apps to increasingly powerful cameras – innovation keeps coming and we are adjusting our behaviour both at work and at play as a result. Here are four incoming trends that will drive change in our lives:

Technology will become invisible and blend into our daily lives

Only a decade ago, the idea of always being connected – especially with access to significant and almost unlimited amounts of information – seemed impossible. Today is has become second nature, driven by mobile, social, WiFi, and the cloud.

Although consumers are familiar with technology, they don’t want to understand the ins and outs of how it works. Ease of use is the first priority. For technology to be widely adopted, it has to be dwarfed by the advantages it brings. This notion is also valid when it comes to data protection and cloud use. Consumers do not want to think about the dangers that stalk their data, or the processes that would help them stay away from risk, mobile device theft, pirating, accidental deletions, or even hardware failures. The potential problems are nevertheless numerous.

That is why IT professionals will be accelerating the adoption of cloud technology, thus hugely simplifying the use of data protection solutions. For example, on the purchase of a new device, or the changing of an operating system, machines will automatically offer a backup cloud facility for the data involved. In parallel, regular backup procedures will no longer be needed to be programmed and backup will automatically take place as a function of what’s needed.

Increasing amounts of data will drive automation

The amount of data that we produce is constantly increasing. Higher quality inbuilt cameras, accessories connected for use in the home, and wearable devices are all responsible for generating a large volume of data, and it’s only increasing. Furthermore, the adoption of 4G and greater mobile Internet output globally is pushing us to create more content since it is now possible to share it instantly. The ease of going online can also push consumers to look for cloud data protection solutions.

While users have more computers, devices, and IT gadgets, they want to retain the experience of simple solutions. That is why this accumulation of data can represent an opportunity for providers and IT managers. Information coming from various devices and applications make automated solutions easier. This is because automation allows the various solutions to communicate with each other. As an example, with a schedule and previously identified preferences, a smartphone can automatically order a taxi or an Uber prior to a meeting. Then if the system notes that the user will be delayed because of the amount of traffic, a message could automatically be sent to warn of the delay.

Personal and professional mobile devices will merge

Smartphones and tablets are gradually modifying our professional habits by allowing us to be more mobile and reactive. The increase in teleworking will only accentuate this phenomenon. This will result in a less clear delineation between professional and personal devices: a growing number of coworkers are using their personal mobile phones and laptops to manage files more easily. Data related to the company is thus being stored on personal terminals.

That represents a danger for companies as most employees will not take the time to protect this data, or will use insecure, unsanctioned applications. IT teams should therefore be in the process of monitoring files linked to professional activity and mobile workers, at any moment and independently of where the data is stored. With this monitoring process they could protect document access – and data storage, backup and modification – by ensuring that these are managed in line with the company’s security policy. The challenge for IT teams is to be able to offer this level of scrutiny and security while ensuring a simple and rapid user experience so as not to hinder productivity.

Cloud adoption will expand globally

Currently the adoption of cloud solutions remains uneven, mainly due to geographic and generational factors.

Geographically, countries such as the US, the UK, and Australia were forerunners in terms of the cloud revolution. Consumers in those countries are used to this technology, and have already taken the time to become acclimatised to it and overcome their fears. The adoption of cloud is therefore more advanced in these locations.

In most of Europe, however, the cloud concept is more recent and still a source of suspicion. Furthermore, culturally, European countries are noted for having a greater concern for the protection of privacy. So while the cloud system is recognised, it has yet to find its place in the European market.

This is shaping the global market and what is being offered, with some providers of different nationalities establishing data centres on several continents to allow clients to choose where their data is kept.

Age also plays a significant role. The younger generations have grown up with an awareness of the internet and the many innovations that have followed on from that. This means they are more likely to adopt new solutions than their older counterparts.

To allow the cloud principle gradually to gain greater recognition, all market participants should engage in the same discourse, with a view to prioritising security concerns, and the notion of the private nature of data. In fact, the need for data encryption should be emphasised over the next few months. Encrypted data is end-to-end protected, and no one has the encryption keys.

Moreover, the possibility of allowing each consumer to choose the data centre where their data will be held is a major trump card in the more cautious markets. Europeans could thus decide that their data remains on their continent, so as not to be subject to the legislation of other states. These two elements should considerably move the cloud market forward in the coming months, and generate greater acceptance.

Jeff Hart, Regional Sales Director UK and Ireland at Acronis