Gaidar Magdanurov, VP and General Manager, Consumer and Online Business at Acronis looks at the essential movements in this year’s cloud services market.

For many people, success in the years to come will be defined by their ability to deliver digitally enhanced products and services. Cloud has become synonymous with availability and convenience of computing solutions at a manageable cost, and the next 12 months will bring more opportunities and challenges as more consumers and businesses continue to adopt cloud-based services. The following trends will emerge to challenge cloud providers:

More applications will move to the cloud

Driven by the strong adoption of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs office tools, more applications will move to the cloud. Business users and consumers continue to embrace browser-based apps. With graphic editors, accounting, word-processing, CRMs, and many other business apps already in the cloud, next year we’ll see even more applications follow suit. Customers will look for new browser-based apps as an alternative for applications that require installation for convenience, and software vendors will have to move more services to the cloud.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Data integrity can be easily compromised without the knowledge of the data owner.” hashtags=”Cloud, data”]

Small businesses will drive cloud adoption

Cloud-based services make a wide range of business tools widely available to all customers, irrespective of their budget or profile. It’s easier and more cost efficient to host business applications with a cloud service provider than pay licensing costs and maintain IT infrastructure in-house. Consequently, small businesses will lead the way in terms of adoption.

Data storage needs will increase

With applications moving to the cloud, there will be an increased need for convenient and secure data storage. Cloud-based apps need data that’s also stored in the cloud. Users will look for solutions to manage their data distributed among different cloud services. There will also be a need for new ways to access, aggregate and search data stored in different locations.

Demand for data verification and encryption will grow

As data becomes more distributed, there will be a growing demand for services to verify data authenticity. Unprotected data stored in public cloud accounts will be subject to increased cyber-attacks. Data integrity can be easily compromised without the knowledge of the data owner. This will drive adoption of verification and encryption services. A good candidate to maintain public registry may be blockchain. Besides storing information, validation and integrity will gradually become part of cloud data storage services.

Legal documents and contracts will migrate to the cloud

Electronic documents and signatures will become even more prominent. This will be an additional driver for solutions confirming the authenticity of information. We may see the growth of blockchain-based public registries for digital signatures, slowly replacing proprietary services that are prone to hacking attacks due to the single source of authority.

Single cloud solutions will take off

With multiple subscriptions for various cloud services and applications within the household, users will be looking to simplify ownership and management of those services. Service providers offering multiple services packaged as one solution and brokers simplifying ownership of multiple subscriptions will receive even more attention.

The need for data protection will increase

While trying to simplify subscription management, users of the mix of multiple local and cloud applications will be more willing to create multiple hybrid-cloud data repositories to avoid relying on only one provider for data storage. This will increase the need for data protection software to take care of automated data backups and simplify data management.

Growing dependence and increased consumption of cloud-based services will keep providing exciting opportunities for cloud service providers, and both business and consumer customers. However, the transition to cloud may be difficult for users, as they will need to adopt subscription-based and consumption-based models for the applications and services they used to ‘own’, and service providers will need to provide a seamless transition for their users on the way to the cloud.

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