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2014 - The year that we get more serious about data privacy

So, we’ve reached the end of another year in the cloud revolution: it’s time to re-examine the predictions I wrote about a year ago, as well as being time to come up with my 2014 top predictions.

Starting with my 2013 predictions - I believed we would see mobile and cloud start to merge, with apps and BYOD driving the convergence of these technologies. I think it’s fair to say this area has indeed expanded massively in 2013, with BOYD initiatives everywhere from schools, government departments – both local and central – as well as commercial organisations starting implementations.

I also discussed that there would be a more realistic view of the cost efficiencies that cloud is capable of delivering. This, I feel from my own experiences, has improved but is still maturing, especially the concept that a hybrid service delivers the most cost-efficient cloud environment for most organisations.

Along with these, I also predicted the heightened use of cloud-based disaster recovery offerings and that we would see the new cloud specific standards like ISO additions 27017, 18, 35 and 36 becoming available. Interest in the use of disaster recovery in the cloud has grown massively during 2013 and the new ISO standards have been ratified along with the Cloud Security Alliance becoming the industry’s body of choice for security best practice within cloud.

Finally, and probably my most insightful prediction, was that businesses and consumers of cloud services would start focusing on the emergence of providers not only servicing the needs of users within a particular jurisdiction but also to meet the increasing demands for ever tighter controls on data privacy. Over the last two years of writing for CloudPro one of my common themes has been data privacy and the way it was being abused, not least by the US government but with the revelations by Edward Snowden the level of interest in where your data resides, and who has access to it, has grown exponentially.

My most insightful prediction, was that businesses and consumers of cloud services would start focusing on the emergence of providers not only servicing the needs of users within a particular jurisdiction but also to meet the increasing demands for ever tighter controls on data privacy

In summary, I think 2013 became the year when cloud really did become accepted and moved into the mainstream and it will also go down as the year when data protection and privacy changed the direction of cloud. This is especially true for US based providers who will now have to tackle a much more informed and sceptical worldwide user base.

So what does 2014 have up its sleeves for us all?

BYOD will continue to grow rapidly, affected by mobile device diversity and, more importantly, by the management of what is an ever-changing landscape of technology. Both will become a key battle ground in the coming year.

Application development for use through the cloud will become a key focal point in 2014 and beyond, with the improvement in JavaScript performance beginning to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development and deployment environment.

Following on from the above, I believe that we will see the rise of container based development and services underpinned by Docker-like technologies. This area of Platform as a Service will be a major battle ground for the minds of software developers, but particularly cloud-based applications, next year.

Software Defined “Everything” i. software defined technologies of every flavour will continue to gain momentum pushing further into the physical world but with a focus on Software Defined Networking.

My final top prediction will be no surprise as it centres on data protection and the growth in the demand for jurisdictional based cloud services focused on data protection, data residency and privacy, especially services in what I’ve termed Data Safe Zones. These capabilities will become a more standard feature request throughout next year whether you’re using Software, Platform or Infrastructure as a Service.

In summarising 2014, I believe it will continue to build on the above with data residency and privacy being top of the list of compliance officers and executives. Europe I think will also push to become the gold standard holder for data protection laws and frameworks and I believe, as discussed above, the emergence of Data Safe Zones will be a key aspect for cloud in 2014.

By Julian Box, Posted 14th January 2014.