If you thought cloud computing is all hype, you are wrong. Cloud computing is moving rapidly from hype to necessity. Survey results indicate that 2011 may well be the year in which small and medium enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of the cloud in a big way. Blogs, articles and forum discussions reveal that more and more SMEs are toying with the idea of harnessing the cloud for online backup and “software as service” (SaaS) solutions. The cited reasons are affordability and high availability. The concerns are security and delivery.
What will be the shape of things to come? What are the predictions?
Clearly, increasing use of cloud computing is set to transform the way IT is provisioned in organizations. While there are some unanswered questions about the cloud and manyonline backup service providers are only “trailing the cloud”, many service providers have matured their services in anticipation of an increasing adoption.
A quick look at the IT environment prevalent in SMEs is enlightening. IT administrators are intent on simplifying IT support and management and reducing costs of infrastructure. An IBM global study of 2,000+ midsize companies concluded that many SMEs will increase their information technology budgets in the next 12 to 18 months and many of them would be adopting cloud technologies for this purpose.
Online backup and cloud solution offerings are expected to provide them the right kind of mix. For a small absolutely affordable outlay, SMEs can get sophisticated services that are highly available, scalable, streamlined and well supported. Additionally, they get safeguards against disaster and disaster recovery plans that can help them hit the ground running with the shortest possible span of time if and when disaster strikes. So, it is not surprising to read many predictions that the cloud will be the way SMEs will go in 2011.
IT priorities are shifting from mere automation and networking to analytics, collaboration, mobility and customer relationship solutions. Sophisticated document management and content management systems are in demand and online backup services that have invested time and effort into creating the required technology are riding the wave to success.
User-friendly management consoles are offered to IT administrators that ease the task of user management and data management. Backup scheduling and backup monitoring is made easy with dedicated administrative panels and online web browser based applications that enable anywhere, anytime access to administrators and other users. User management panels are becoming more sophisticated, as IT Administrators understand the potentiality of the application and demand greater sophistication of deployment.
Storage of data in the cloud is impacting the type and quality of data and the type of demand that is being made on storage solutions. Data categorization, data de-duplication, data replication, data compression and data encryption are technologies that must come with the online backup solution.
High availability of data anytime, anywhere is considered essential for mobile computing and sales teams on the go. Data replication services and security protocols are under the scanner and small and medium businesses demand bank grade or military grade security systems for their data.
Debates on public and private cloud securities are raging across forums. Online backup services are being considered and adopted to advantage the business. While public clouds bring in economies of scale, private clouds offer greater security and privacy of data. A few hybrid cloud models are offered to those who want to store part of their data in secure stores and are willing to store less critical data in cheaper public cloud repositories. But, the emerging reality is that computing in the cloud is no longer dismissed as a whim of a few. It has become the demand of the many.