Launched in 2014, the UK Cloud Awards celebrate innovation, entrepreneurialism and technical excellence from the leading cloud suppliers, technologies and projects in the UK cloud sector. The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at OXO2 in London on 15th March 2017. The shortlist features a wide range of companies and products that are testament to a dynamic sector. Much like previous years, cloud technology continues to help organisations meet their business objectives, with a significant proportion of Cloud adopters managing to reduce their capital expenditure, improve the reliability of their IT platforms and reduce the risk of data loss. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, the number of companies using cloud services will continue to increase this year in line with previous years. So, what are the key trends/challenges facing the industry in 2017?
Communication of benefits
One of the key challenges still facing the industry is to establish what exactly the Cloud can offer end users as well as qualify and quantify the benefits. The classic argument whereby cloud services offer enormous potential for cost savings when compared to on-premise solutions remains valid but requires further clarification, particularly in cases where data security is a cause for concern.
Hyperconverged systems are increasing and consolidating their presence in the market. These systems consist of building blocks that are used to create a basic cloud infrastructure. For the most part, they represent standard platforms for supporting virtualisation. However, there is still a large gap between what they offer as standard and what organisations need from the cloud. This creates significant opportunities for development and, in particular, customization. Current systems provide the first 20% of the necessary integration, but users will still need to do the remaining 80% themselves.
IoT – Internet of Things
Many have heard about the Internet of Things but only a handful is really taking any advantage of it. The market for connected products is still at an early stage, but rapid growth is predicted as applications gain traction, particularly in the fields of automotive, healthcare, energy and mining. Technology research firm Gartner predicts that the number of connected devices in 2020 will be twice the number of mobile devices, at 25 billion connections.
Updating cloud apps
In order to take full advantage of the flexibility provided by the cloud, companies are advised to update their apps. Failure to do so may result in loss of efficiency as well as a poorer standard of service. And while some argue that this is a costly exercise, recent developments may put an end to that. This year will continue to see the acceleration of lift-and-shift migration tools that will speed up the rate of cloud migration, given their low cost for bulk app migrations.
Monitoring the cloud
Moving data to the cloud does not mean that organisations no longer need to take proper data security precautions. This means taking responsibility for asking the service provider to deliver the appropriate levels of information security and measuring and auditing the supplier to ensure that the relevant security is applied. This means that companies will become better at assessing potential cloud suppliers, seeking independent verification and looking more closely at their governance and data security policies.