Some experts have dubbed 2011 the year of the cloud, as the emerging enterprise technology has gained scores of supporters recently because of its ability to promote a flexible IT infrastructure at a relatively affordable price. Still, according to some experts, the continued growth of the cloud market and use of hosted services remains dependent on the technology's ability to protect business information.
"A major concern today about cloud services is the security of the data hosted on someone else's data center in some part of the world, all the more when they are using the public cloud model," Trend Micro's India country manager Amit Nath recently told reporters, according to the Times of India.
And he's certainly not alone in making this assertion. Potential adopters and industry experts continue to voice concern over cloud security and cite it as the top concern for migrating to a hosted environment. Canadian news provider IT Business highlighted the comments made by several consultants that pointed to ongoing data security worries.
But it's not as if the cloud is at a dead end. Through innovation and best practices, the technology has proven itself capable of securing information while making it both more accessible and easier to use for collaboration.
Getting past the data protection concerns could simply be a matter of companies' putting their anxieties in the rearview mirror and taking the cloud plunge, according to Nath.
"We think more companies will move to the cloud once they are satisfied that their data is safe on the cloud," he said, according to the Times of India.
Next year could serve as a make-or-break year for the cloud's security credentials. While adoption rates certainly spiked in 2011, according to a recent Forrester Research report, 2012 could be the time when the technology's maturation really takes off.
In a recent company blog post, Forrester's James Staten said that 2012 could serve as the cloud's "awkward teenage years."
"While many of us would prefer our kids go from the cute pre-teen period straight to adulthood, we don’t become who we are without surviving the teenage years," he wrote, while adding that the same can be said of cloud computing. But the technology will be all the better for it thanks to the maturation.
Staten also outlined what IT managers and companies should expect to get out of the cloud in 2012.
For one, he said that organizations will be looking for IT professionals with cloud computing skills. This shows they are not only serious about deploying hosted services and applications, but also doing so in a way that will prove effective and ensure that enterprise data is protected.
Another key area will be the emergence of cloud best practices that will come out of so-called "cloud battles," as Staten referred to them. He said that, as more companies and developers push the envelop of the cloud, the most effective practices and methods for leveraging the technology will begin to emerge. That will benefit the late-comers as they'll have examples off of which to work.
Furthermore, there have been signs that cloud security concerns may not be as steadfast as previously thought. For example, the market for public cloud computing services – thought by many to be the most insecure of the technology's models – is expected to continue growth during the next several years.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the public cloud will account for $5.8 billion in revenue in 2015 thanks to 39 percent compounded annual growth beginning next year.
Cloud Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro