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11 Cloud Computing Predictions For 2014
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The big trends of 2013 – cloud, BYOD, big data and social – will continue into 2014. The difference in 2014 is the fact that the cloud is quickly becoming the foundation beneath those other trends. Meanwhile, rapidly maturing cloud security is evolving into the enabler for widespread enterprise adoption of new cloud, mobile and social services.
2014 won’t be seen as a year when everything changes. Rather, it will be seen as the year that the “Consumerization of IT” becomes less consumer-focused and more enterprise-ready, with enterprises finding the tools they need in order to safely manage cloud services, mobile apps and social networks.
In 2014, enterprises will also increasingly turn to big data analytics in order to better understand emerging security risks, better support employees, and to engage more effectively with customers. 2014, in other words, will be a year of convergence, with cloud, social, mobile, security and big data all aligning to give those enterprises that embrace these trends a major competitive advantage.
1. Rush to adopt cloud services will drown out security fears
Cloud security risks will never be completely eliminated, obviously, but security won’t be a cloud adoption obstacle in 2014. Cloud Security is already on par, if not better than, traditional digital security, and 2014 will mark the cloud security tipping point.
The major tech giants (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.) have all made placed major bets on the cloud, and the rest of the economy, regardless of industry, will follow their lead. In fact, a recent study found that cloud adoption is already high in industries as varied as manufacturing, health care, media and financial services – and that’s just reported adoption. Shadow IT would push those numbers higher.
2. IT stops blocking cloud services over outdated risks
The big change in 2014 is how IT will cope with cloud risks. The status quo is based on outdated arguments and limited visibility. Today, IT generally blocks what it knows (Facebook, YouTube, ESPN.com). Many of these sites are blocked in order to prioritize productivity (and often to conserve bandwidth). And what IT does not know today generally gets through which is often risky.
This approach is pointless at best, since it’s so easy to find workarounds, and counterproductive at worst, since IT often blocks services that will boost productivity. According to our Q3 2013 Cloud Adoption & Risk Report, which compiled data from more than 3 million users across more than 100 companies in such various industries as financial services, healthcare, high technology, manufacturing and media, IT still blocks what it knows, not necessarily on what puts organizations at risk.
IT commonly blocks AWS (31%), KISSmetrics (27%) and ExactTarget (17%). IT also commonly blocks services like Dropbox, a known service, while leaving access to much riskier cloud apps and services, such as RapidGator or CloudApp, wide open.
In 2014, IT will get the visibility to feel comfortable loosening the reigns, helping employees evaluate services, rather than simply blocking them. Blocking risky apps and services will, finally, become the norm.
3. IT gains more organizational power due to the rise of cloud, mobile and social
Not that long ago, the IT world fretted about whether or not IT was becoming irrelevant in this service-driven world. Now, with cloud, mobile, social media and big data trends all converging, IT is in the position to claim a far more strategic role for itself than it has ever had before.
According to Computerworld, the hottest IT job right now is: IT business analyst. Not long ago, only the CIO worried about aligning technology with business goals. In 2014, it will be the entire IT department.
4. CIOs will transition from CI-No’s to tech enablers
As IT departments become more strategic, the CIO’s role will change drastically too. CIOs are tired of being “CI-No’s.” It’s not a fun job. Fortunately, they no longer have to be. As IT pros evolve into internal tech consultants who identify, evaluate, and oversee and not necessarily the ones who have to develop, deliver or operate these technologies, CIOs will be tasked with figuring out how new technologies deliver competitive advantages.
CIOs will look at cloud, mobile, social media, and whatever other new technology comes along to discern how these technologies will benefit the business, operationally and strategically. This means the background of CIOs will change as well. Organizations will value pure IT backgrounds less and less, instead prioritizing strategic experience.
5. CIOs who aren’t comfortable with cloud, mobile and social will be challenged
By the end of 2014, CIOs who cannot navigate their way through cloud, mobile, and social trends will be considered old school and strategically less relevant to the organization. CIOs who “just say no” and fail to adapt will face criticism from everyone from board members who can’t live without LinkedIn on their tablets to developers who demand access to services like AWS.
Moreover, in 2014 CMOs will continue to infringe on areas of responsibility that used to belong solely to the CIO. Those CIOs who continue to block strategic services like ExactTarget and Marketo will place their organizations at a competitive disadvantage, and once the rest of the C-suite wakes up to that fact, it will be the CMO, not the CIO, driving the future of tech within those slow-to-adapt organizations.
6. Unencrypted data will disappear
Ask any digital security professional for tips on how to better secure anything from the cloud to mobile end points to social media, and every single one will mention encryption at some point. In 2014, data will be encrypted everywhere – in motion, at rest, on corporate-owned smartphones, on employee-owned mobile device, etc.
As more applications and services reside in the cloud, the focus on how best to encrypt data will shift away from endpoints to clouds and networks. The weak link in data encryption is the endpoint, but in 2014 that weak link will start to be eliminated, with important data never stored on end devices.
In 2014, enterprises will also demand encryption services that encrypt data no matter where it resides. Soon, there will be no such thing as unencrypted data.
7. VPNs will begin to disappear
Mobile devices access more enterprise services each and every day, and the way most enterprises protect data as it travels from applications to mobile devices is through a VPN. However, even simple to use VPN clients still have their issues, such as misconfigurations and connectivity troubles.
As everything from tire pressure gauges to soil sensors to fitness monitors connects to the Internet, new ways to encrypt wireless data traffic will emerge. The agent-based approach will start to be phased out in 2014.
8. Cloud adoption and will force the enterprise to regain control of encryption keys
As unencrypted data disappears, so too will encryption keys that the enterprise does not own or control. New key escrow mechanisms will emerge allowing cloud service providers to have access to the customer data in the clear, but only for controlled, narrow windows of time. There will also be massive interest in encryption algorithms that allow enterprise ownership of encryption keys and that do not break cloud service provider functionality.
9. Data security re-emerges, this time to stay
Even as encryption becomes standard, it won’t be enough. Encrypting data is indeed a best practice, but it’s one tool in the tool chest. Just because your data is encrypted doesn’t mean you know where it’s been, where it’s going, or whether or not it was accessed inappropriately. As a result, data access analytics and Data Leak Prevention (DLP) tools will start to become as common in the next few years as firewalls were in the past.
Data tracking tools will grow more powerful over time, meaning that even if you store data in a third-party cloud that you have no visibility into now, you’ll need to start gaining visibility in 2014.
10. A virtual security perimeter begins to take shape
Traditional perimeter security is on life support. Traditional Firewalls, IPSes and VPNs do a poor job of protecting against emerging cloud, mobile and social threats. However, there is now a virtual cloud edge developing, one consisting of strong authentication, identity management, data tracking, encryption, policy control and more. This virtual cloud edge will enable organizations to securely stitch together their various clouds (private, public, hybrid), while even protecting traditional behind-the-firewall applications.
In 2014, the virtual security edge will begin to take shape in response to BYOD and cloud risks, but its benefits will be much further reaching.
11. The SMACS famous five (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Security) will be the rage in 2014
Cloud is the main driver of social and mobile today. Cloud-delivered analytics will become more widely used. In 2014 cloud and analytics will see form another alliance, namely, “Analytics for the Cloud.” This will help the industry gain better, more actionable insights into cloud usage and behavior. The analogous alignment between cloud and Security will emerge: cloud-delivered security will become more widely used and will be joined by security tools purpose-built for the cloud.
Meanwhile, those organizations still prohibiting services like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare will be at a major disadvantage in 2014, since their ability to gain insights from big data analytics will be seriously hindered.
Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Security Services company, enables companies to embrace Cloud Security Services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, healthcare, high technology, media, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference 2013 Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit us at http://skyhighnetworks.com/ or follow us on Twitter@skyhighnetworks.
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