Key cloud computing trends to keep an eye out for in 2022
Cloud has evolved and continues to evolve with a velocity that is too tough to keep up with. That said, here are the six key cloud computing trends that you ought to keep an eye out for in 2022.
- Enterprises embrace multi-cloud environments
- Public cloud adoption continues to accelerate
- Cloud security awareness continues to grow
- Pandemic-induced cloud adoption has reset IT practices
- Latencies would become a thing of the past
- Serverless computing rises in prominence
1. Enterprises embrace multi-cloud environments
A multi-cloud cloud environment is one where two or more cloud environments – public, private or hybrid clouds – are used to suit organizational objectives.
- Public cloud – owned and managed by third-party vendors. Customers can use their infrastructure on a pay-as-you-use model
- Private cloud – Cloud environments that are built, owned, and managed by the customer according to their business needs
- Hybrid cloud – A cloud environment made up of both public and private cloud or on-premise environments. Applications and storage would be made on specific cloud environments to leverage their inherent benefits.
Multi-cloud environments are opted by organizations when they want to leverage the specific benefits of each cloud environment while retaining the ownership and maintenance of the cloud environment centrally.
In addition to using public, private, or hybrid environments, multi-cloud environments could also include the use of various flavors of cloud like SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, etc. For example, an organization could use SaaS applications for its operation while using IaaS to manage its IT infrastructure. Evidently, such a combination of various cloud environments allows enterprises to assemble the best of cloud capabilities to achieve their organizational objectives.
According to Markets and Markets, the multi-cloud environment is estimated to mature into a $4.5 Billion market by 2022, with a 31% CAGR from 2017.
Why is multi-cloud gaining popularity in 2022?
There are three tangible benefits that are motivating enterprises to utilize multi-cloud environments – operational flexibility, heightened security, and the ability to deliver better customer experiences. Of course, there are several other benefits as well, but these three take the pole positions.
Organizations have started to realize that using separate cloud environments for specific purposes, like storage and application access, could help them use the cloud in the best manner possible. Also, it gives tremendous operational flexibility as it gives workload mobility between clouds.
Further, in terms of security, multi-clouds ensure that security measures can be heightened or implemented to adhere to region-specific statutory compliances. A robust risk management system that is tailor-made to the cloud environment can also be implemented to avert any possible security threats in the near future.
Last, but not least, enterprises can connect their cloud applications and optimize their workflow processes which will help deliver better customer experiences. All these benefits are encouraging enterprises to switch to cloud environments with a sense of urgency.
According to Flexera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report, 92 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy; 80 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy.
2. Public cloud adoption continues to accelerate
A public cloud is a cloud offering where the IT infrastructure is owned and managed by a third-party vendor. Users can use the resources and pay for it based on usage. Public cloud environments are shared with multiple organizations but ensure that no organizational data is accessible to other organizations in the same public cloud. It is a cost-effective way to store data and applications.
Public cloud gives businesses the much-needed agility and speed-to-market that on-premise services lack. It does not require any physical infrastructure, to begin with, and hence enables businesses to quickly become cloud-first organizations.
According to SWZD, 53% of IT buyers believe that the cost of using the public cloud is cheaper than self-hosting. Public cloud offers features that are quintessential to running a business remotely. It is no surprise that public cloud adoption rose to record levels in 2020 when the pandemic made remote work a mandate. Even in 2022, with a significant population of the workforce working remotely, public adoption has sustained its growth.
Public cloud also delivers several benefits like:
- Lower maintenance costs
- On-demand scalability
- No software or hardware investment
- High-end data security, etc.
A significant public cloud benefit that is driving adoption is unlimited scalability. Public cloud service providers enable businesses to scale their operations instantly without any restrictions. Unrestrained scalability is a great advantage to have when online transactions continue to increase at a rapid pace and with uncertainty. All this without the pressure of regular maintenance or incurring extra costs for procuring IT infrastructure or resources.
Studies suggest that public cloud adoption will continue to accelerate in 2022 and beyond. This is partly because cloud providers have data centers with advanced security systems that ensure maximum data security. Enterprises cannot deploy on their own due to limited budget and resource availability. Also, start-ups that do not have the deep pockets to invest in private clouds rely on public clouds to build their businesses.
3. Cloud security awareness continues to grow
Across the globe, businesses are rushing to move their operations to the cloud to reap the several benefits we have discussed above. However, most of the organizations are making the move without having the organizational readiness for cloud migration.
What makes the move riskier is that a vast amount of data that can be classified as “sensitive” is stored on the public cloud. Most often, employees are also not trained in cybersecurity measures or do not practice them diligently.
Employees also tend to use unapproved cloud applications into which “sensitive” organizational data is fed. These cloud applications may not be as secure as the existing on-premise systems that are being used. As a result, the number of data loss instances in the public cloud has increased significantly.
At least 50% of organizations surveyed by the Enterprise Strategy Group know their organization has lost cloud-resident data across SaaS, IaaS/PaaS, and their combinations. Reasons including policy violations, access controls/credential malpractices, and risks associated with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) have contributed to increase in cloud data security risks.
Source: Trends in cloud data security by Enterprise Strategy Group
However, cloud security awareness is on the rise and businesses are earmarking substantial sums of money to raise their defences. Studies by The Enterprise Strategy Group have found that 83% of organizations expect to increase spending on data security technology over the next 12 months, and four out of ten expect this increase to be substantial (Source).
We are also witnessing a shift in organizational structures where cloud and on-premise data that was largely handled by different teams are now being unified to be handled by a single org as a unified function. The result will be streamlined cloud data security practices, improved data resilience, enhanced regulatory compliance, and better operational efficiencies in terms of cloud data security.
At least 61% of organizations are planning to merge cloud security functions in the near future. The amount of data that is housed on the cloud, the increase in the number of cloud applications used internally, the need for regulatory compliance, are all factors that call for a unified cloud security function.
4. Pandemic-induced cloud adoption has reset IT practices
Since March 2020, businesses have become resilient and have adapted to remote work, thanks to cloud applications. The pandemic-induced cloud adoption has reset a lot of IT practices that were not considered the norm in the pre-pandemic era.
To begin with, digital channels of communication have become the lifeline of businesses. According to McKinsey COVID-19 US Digital Sentiment Survey, April 2020, at least 75% of respondents in a McKinsey survey using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to “normal” (Source).
Businesses have also realized that remote working employees are more productive and complete tasks faster than before. There is a certain amount of agility involved in remote work and virtual conferences that make remote work successful.
Industries which were labelled as laggards in cloud adoption have also risen to the ranks of leaders with the pandemic. This is especially true in the case of healthcare. Healthcare systems extensively use cloud applications for collecting patient data, storing them, labeling, and also accessing continued service. This has upgraded healthcare facilities enabling healthcare practitioners to deliver service with improved accuracy and quality.
5. Latencies would become a thing of the past
A decade ago, domestic internet connections were snail-slow and took forever to load a medic-heavy page. Latency used to be a huge dampener even for basic internet connections. Cloud applications have become extremely popular thanks to the manifold increase in internet speeds and reduction in latencies.
Cloud service providers are constantly testing new modes of connectivity for data centers that will reduce latency. The underwater server tubes that Microsoft launched in 2014 as part of Project Natick is an example of this. Google, on its part, is also rolling out several updates to Google Cloud products to iron out any form of latency that has remained.
6. Serverless computing rises in prominence
Serverless computing makes cloud computing accessible and usable by laymen. It enables developers to create business logic and deliver it to end-users without letting them get bogged down by the technicalities of server hosting and maintenance.
Serverless computing can be defined as “a platform that hides server usage from developers and runs code on-demand automatically scaled and billed only for the time the code is running”.
As the name suggests, in serverless computing, there is no need to start and stop a server from delivering cloud applications. This saves a lot of time and effort for developers as they can swiftly build applications, wrap them in interactive UIs and deliver it to end-users as utilities. In fact, most mobile applications that allow parallel use in mobile and web platforms are products of serverless computing, WhatsApp Web being the perfect example.
During the last 2 years, serverless computing has been surging in popularity. It delivers several benefits, including:
- No need for server management or maintenance
- Developers are charged for cloud space they use
- Unlimited scalability on demand
- Deployments and releases are swift
- Code can run faster on end-user machines due to reduced latencies
Cloud adoption is not a singular event. It is a continuously evolving process. Every year, businesses need to reconsider their cloud-friendliness and their adaptability for upcoming changes in the cloud space. The six trends discussed above show how the cloud is getting ready for a massive transformation in the way IT owners and end-users work.