Cloud storage has undergone several changes and adaptations throughout its short history, particularly with regards to pricing, scale and accessibility. Today, there are cloud storage options to meet the needs of most users, from individual consumers to the most security conscious enterprises. I predict that cloud storage is going to go through two major changes in the next 12 to 18 months that will impact the cloud storage industry, cloud vendors and cloud software customers.
The public vs private debate has been raging for so long now, and a viable solution has presented itself in hybrid. Up until recently, private cloud has been considered expensive and reserved for large corporate organisations, whereas public was considered accessible by individuals and smaller organisations but ran the risk of being insecure.
A recent analysis conducted by the tech team at HighQ showed that (based on current usage and growth rates), running a private cloud infrastructure would be cheaper than the public cloud within 18 months. But even so, hybrid offers the best of both, enabling organisations to expand their private cloud infrastructure to leverage services outside the data centre. Hybrid has been around for a few years already, but hasn’t yet made it into the mainstream.
Hybrid provides the flexibility that organisations need today, combined with the security that they demand. The availability of hybrid will lead to an explosion in the number of organisations moving to the cloud as it becomes more accessible and more trusted by even the most conservative of organisations.
From the perspective of a cloud software provider, I have seen a big shift in attitude regarding data sovereignty. The jurisdiction in which data is stored is now a key factor in deciding which cloud provider to select, particularly for highly regulated industries such as financial, legal and government.
Most cloud software providers have limited options with regards to data centre locations and, unsurprisingly, most of these tend to be in the US. In light of the Patriot Act, the Snowden revelations, and PRISM, this is becoming a big issue for international organisations (those based outside of the US). The problem is further complicated by Microsoft’s recent subpoena, where a federal judge ordered the company to provide client information to the US government even though the data was hosted in Ireland.
The point was, Microsoft itself is a US company, which means it, and any data it hosts anywhere in the world, falls under US jurisdiction. For this reason I think we will see a huge explosion of investment in non-US cloud software companies and an increase in the volume of data hosted outside of the US.
What will this mean?
I expect that these two changes will have a major impact for enterprise cloud users, as they will allow for greater flexibility in their storage options and provides greater level of reassurance in cloud storage as a secure, private, and reliable service.
As hybrid storage options and data sovereignty become standard expectations for customers, cloud software providers must meet demands or they will lose out in the market. Those vendors with the ability to meet demands early will benefit from having options available to existing and new clients as soon as they need. For others, they will quickly need to catch up.
Ajay Patel is the co-founder and CEO of HighQ. He oversees HighQ’s global operations, business development and product strategy. HighQ was founded in 2001. Since then, it has worked hard to build an exceptional reputation for delivering leading-edge software to some of the world’s largest law firms, investment banks and corporations.