For many years, cloud was touted as 'the next big thing' that would transform how businesses operate. In 2021, talk turned into action.
The pandemic forced every industry to embrace cloud. There was no other option – do or die. Every business accelerated its cloud journey to support new ways of working and build resilience for the future. They've made great progress, but the journey is far from over.
Cloud is not a one-and-done project. It's a continuous commitment – like learning a language. Someone moving to France wouldn't pick up a few French phrases and call it a day. They'd continue to refine their command of the language to really live it.
Mastering cloud is similar, and businesses need to shift focus from migration to modernization. With this in mind, I see four trends emerging in the year ahead:
- A new approach to security
- Getting smart about costs
- Seamless and serverless
- Seizing the edge opportunity
Let's dig in.
1. A new approach to security
Cloud technologies are evolving. Though cloud developers and engineers see exciting new toys to play with, IT and security professionals see more ways to self-destruct.
However, a "this is my fortress, and I will protect my fortress" mentality won't work in an increasingly complex cloud environment.
I recommend my customers to adopt Jericho forum-style security, in which the focus is on securing assets where they are rather than putting them behind a controlled boundary. To strike a balance around developers and control, I advise leaders to focus on the three Es:
- Educate developers on best practices – no one wants to create security issues
- Enable access to security training and development resources
- Enforce the rules – if something goes wrong, you must act fast
By taking this approach, security leaders can protect their resources while empowering developers to experiment and innovate.
2. Getting smart about costs
Though cloud can reduce data storage and computing costs, overspending is all too easy if usage isn't managed properly. In 2022, it's time to get proactive about controlling the cost of cloud.
Business leaders need cloud partners to make sure they're using the right tool for the right job. Cloud is like flying a plane – there are plenty of tools to choose from, but it's easy to crash if you don't know what you're doing.
This is where data, analytics, and AI come in. These technologies can help identify where, when, and how costs are occurring – and how they could be optimized. And it's not something to think about just at the implementation stage. These insights can help to continuously control and cut costs.
3. Seamless and serverless
Cloud providers are now offering serverless models as a solution to many cloud teething troubles like speed, cost control, and server management. So, what's the difference?
In a typical deployment, developers write a code, provision a physical server or virtual machine, then prep that environment – all before they can run the code. There are often problems with latency, and expenses add up because the code runs continuously.
But with a serverless approach, developers encapsulate all that code and, when triggered, cloud providers execute it automatically. Developers can deploy and scale services rapidly, without having to provision or manage more servers. Moreover, the pay-as-you-go model means businesses don't pay for more storage and computing power than needed.
Though the benefits are clear, serverless cloud computing also presents new challenges around security and proper usage. Those exploring serverless in 2022 should keep the three Es I discussed earlier in mind.
4. Seizing the edge opportunity
Cloud and edge computing are merging. As Gartner suggests, by 2024, most cloud service platforms will facilitate at least a few distributed cloud services that execute at the edge. We've already begun to see a lot of experimentation – for example, edge computing talking to public cloud or edge computing paired with a hybrid cloud.
Ultimately, the goal is to bring data storage, processing, and analytics closer to the end user for better privacy, security, speed, and efficiency. Leaders must embrace – not fear – this intersection, and I'm excited to see how this will develop as we enter a new year.
Prepping for change
It goes without saying that cloud supports better experiences for employees, customers, and partners. But to achieve this, businesses must build a cloud culture in which people embrace change and aren't afraid to experiment.
A cycle of continuous learning, feedback, and innovation – with the right controls in place – will be the key to mastering cloud solutions in 2022 and beyond.