Exploring the Future of Cloud Computing in 2020 and Beyond

Salman Saleem Salman Saleem  |  January 14, 2020

Cloud computing has become a fundamental requirement for most organizations.

With this in mind, cloud computing is massively on the rise in the current day and age. In fact, 81 percent of companies with 1,000 employees or more have a multi-platform strategy. The number is to rise to more than 90 percent by 2024. Between 2018 and 2021, worldwide spending on public cloud services is to grow to 73 percent, from $160B to $277B.

Cloud computing has been around for so many years, and this sudden growth might surprise a lot of the industry players.

Cloud computing became a phenomenon in the early 2000s. However, due to the lack of awareness about the potential of technology, many brands hesitated to adopt it for their products and processes. Bart McDonough, CEO of Agio, believes the recent rapid adoption of cloud is mainly due to the understanding of “ease of use and scalability” of the technology.

As organizations expand their understanding of the enormous benefits of cloud computing, they are now more willing to conduct workload tests on cloud and even migrate entire applications to the cloud.

Timeline of cloud computing growth 

Let's take a look at some major moments in cloud computing's recent history. 

January 1, 1999: Salesforce makes bold cloud computing move Salesforce.com came into the limelight by working on the concept of providing users with enterprise-level applications over the internet.
Jun 5, 2002: Amazon joins the cloud race On top of Salesforce’s success, Amazon Web Service (AWS) started offering computational and storage solutions to its users via the internet.
Aug 26, 2006: Birth of AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) Amazon took the competition to a whole next level by introducing Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). EC2 allowed developers and brands to rent a virtual cloud-based machine that they can use for application execution or data storage. This caught the attention of competitors who responded by launching their own cloud platform in hopes of capturing the market share.
Jun 5, 2007: Dropbox offers a file storage solution Dropbox introduced its file hosting service, and with that cloud storage became a commodity in 2007.
Oct 3, 2007: Saleforce.com brings Force.com to challenge the rivals Force allowed the organization to use the cloud for building, storing and running applications for their business operations.
Dec 6, 2008: Google heats up the competition Google entered the cloud industry by launching the Google App, which served as an entry point to cloud computing services. Thanks to Google’s broad user base and widespread usage, a huge number of brands adopted cloud computing as the standard technology for their operations.
Feb 2, 2010: Microsoft joins the fray Microsoft launched Azure as an integrated solution for streamlining web and mobile application development and easy integration within existing business processes.
Late 2011: IBM joins the contest IBM also joins the competition by introducing a suite of enterprise-class cloud computing technologies for building private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Since cloud computing simplifies the process of monitoring resource consumption, the brands were able to use it for development and services delivery with a much higher level of confidence. Gradually, real-time streaming services started processing data over the cloud. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Microsoft launched Power BI, a business analytics and intelligence tool with comprehensive interactive visualization.

What cloud computing looks like today

Tech giants are always eager to unleash breakthroughs to dominate the industry. In October 2019, Google announced a Quantum Breakthrough that could revolutionize cloud computing. Google claims to achieve results that well beyond the limitations of conventional technology.

A quantum machine has significant implications in areas like artificial intelligence. It actually makes today’s most powerful supercomputers look like toys. The Google device performs a mathematical calculation in fewer than three and a half minutes. In comparison, a modern supercomputer would require more than 10,000 years to complete the calculation. That’s not all.

Google launched Stadia, a cloud gaming service where users can stream and can play AAA games on the go. All processing is done on the cloud, and users can play the games without requiring specialized gaming hardware. This is a massive breakthrough for gamers who now do not have to invest in expensive hardware.

Let’s ask an expert

Kris is the CSO and Co-Founder of Egnyte. He is responsible for creating and implementing Egnyte's global information security and compliance management strategies, policies, and controls that protect all customers’ content and users.

He notes that the future of cloud computing is on its own very robust track that impacts everyone. The latest news about quantum computing indicates very early theoretical advances that will take many years before it is going to be available to the public. Eventually, the same advances in quantum computing may expand the scope of what is available via cloud computing in general.

The growth of cloud computing will only underscore the importance of getting people to focus on business value and customer acquisition first. The time and energy spent on foundational infrastructure requirements will be significantly offset by the core capabilities available immediately via cloud computing resources. As a result, key metrics like time to value will only become accelerated.

Major application scope of cloud computing

As cloud computing becomes mainstream, organizations are now moving toward adopting it into the in-house processes. As such, almost all industries are witnessing an increase in the use of cloud-based platforms and services.

Cloud computing in marketing platforms: HubSpot, Adobe Marketing Cloud

Traditionally, all the marketing data/metrics (including campaign stats, strategy plan, number of engagement, etc.) were collected and reported separately. A marketer had to sit down with an analyst to connect all the dots to come up with a detailed picture that could then be used for setting up a future course of action.

A cloud-based marketing platform is an end-to-end digital marketing platform that integrates with marketing tools such as emails, analytics tools, and social management measurement tools. All integrated data helps marketers build and optimize marketing strategies. The cloud-based marketing solution also allows simplifies the execution and management of multi-channel campaigns (social media, mobile, email, and web).

The purpose of the marketing cloud platform is to help develop a great marketing strategy, improve customer engagement, and increase return on investment. 

Cloud computing in education: SlideRocket, Ratatype, Amazon Web Services

Gone are the days when the search for information required a library. These days, digitally-enabled classrooms to allow students to create and submit presentations online; attend classes remotely through web conferencing; and collaborate and participate in globally distributed projects.

Cloud computing in healthcare: ClearDATA, Dell’s Secure Healthcare Cloud, IBM Cloud

Hospital records before the era of cloud-based health management systems were notorious for their bulk. To figure out a course of treatment, hospital staff has to wade through a mountain of forms and files to discover patient history from paper files. Fast forward to today, all data is on secure cloud solutions. Information sharing and access among all relevant stakeholders (medical professionals and insurance) is a breeze.

Cloud-based solutions ensure excellent and timely treatment without unnecessary delays. Recently a remote surgery was performed from thousand of miles away. Such innovation could revolutionize the healthcare industry. 

RELATED: Read about other high technologies like artificial intelligence making noise in the world of healthcare. 

Related content: AI in Healthcare →

In the future

The future is bright for cloud computing. Analysts at IDC estimate that the field will evolve rapidly in the coming years, with almost 75% of data operations will be carried out outside the normal data center. Moreover, 40% of organizations will deploy cloud technology, with edge computing becoming an integral part of the technological setup. Also, a quarter of end-point devices will be ready to execute AI algorithms by the year 2022.

Cloud computing will change the way we work

Cloud computing facilitates businesses to focus on achieving their goals, with performance at the core, without any fuss. When a five-pronged cloud computing phenomenon that leverages flexibility, agility, security, mobility, and scalability combines with existing processes, the level of business’ performance rises to a new level. The idea is to help businesses get computational power they need, and how they want it to work for them, and move on.

Software development agencies

Software development agencies tend to follow the agile framework. With a launch-and-learn mindset working to their advantage, they work on continuous integration of processes and delivery, meanwhile, publishing many open-source software.

Online security firms

Online security firms are now using zero-trust enterprise security model from Google, instead of the traditional firewall standards. This practice has led them to let users work remotely from any location on Earth, with approved devices. With a managed hosting service working behind-the-scenes, users do not have to bother about the network level access to secure their devices. Therefore, the device’s security remains intact.

Data analytics firms

Data analytics firms now work on continuous data help businesses make informed decisions. The data is first fed into a machine learning system to get better results out of it. Today, every process has become ‘continuous’. This means we can’t label any process or product as ‘completely finished’.

Even the transition into this new digital world is a continuous journey. There are always updates and iterations being released by the organizations, thus testifying the process is in a continuous flow.

Similarly, the security is not a fixed process, but rather it a steady flow of events, an ongoing practice that demands continuous upgrades. Also, data analytics is not just faster, but iterative. That being said, cloud computing calls for not just working faster, but working in a more efficient way. This is why cloud computing unleashes a completely new set of possibilities to think about and work within the technological environment.

This fact brings us to the point that technological transition has created a strong social impact, both within the organizations and the people whom these businesses work with.

Document sharing is one of the best examples of how collaborative technology works. It favors the continuous process of writing, editing, commenting, and publishing a document. Similarly, developing videos with a click of a button has strengthened the value of communication, thereby speeding up the actions. 

TIP: Learn about cloud content collaboration software and how it is a must-have for any scaling business today.

See the Easiest-to-Use Cloud Content Collaboration Software →

Availability of rich data streams has transformed the way to design a prototype with an emphasis on personalization.

When it comes to product development lifecycles, cloud-connected objects are having a positive impact on the whole process, thereby forcing the organizations to make frequent updates to the software they offer to the users. New versions of highly effective subscription-based model is one such example. Last year, Tesla had to improve the brakes of the cars with an over-the-air download. This is an example how cloud-connected objects influenced an alteration in the hardware system of a car. Both these examples pinpoint the fact that today, customers have become more conscious about the products they buy.

This is why they want businesses to understand their wishes and pain points in advance and anticipate what they want next. This paradigm shift in the thinking of a common customer has raised the bar for competitors within the industry.

Businesses like logistics and supply chain have also embraced the technological shift. Such organizations are readily accepting streaming capabilities. Blockchains have triggered a revolution in real-time payments and virtual warehousing. Similarly, Uber-like delivery services have played their part in making the payment processes continuous. Shippabo is a company that optimizes route management and compliance to make operations fast, thanks to the cloud-based infrastructure.

Just a decade ago, no one could have imagined the specifications of the consoles and mobile devices that we use today. Similarly, the application of cloud in the form of the popular marketing cloud platforms, healthcare-based cloud platforms, and the emerging cloud-based educational applications are poised to change the way we work (and play) in the coming years.

With this rapid growth, all major processing and computational capabilities will soon move on to the cloud and the end-users will be able to leverage this power anywhere through an on-demand consumption model.

The best part? Users no longer have to invest in equipment because the cloud would take over the current endpoint hardware processing requirements. For brands, this opens up a whole new avenue of building computational and processing infrastructure that users could access through simple UI. The main challenge in this scenario is to ensure the sustained and consistent delivery of these services to a globally distributed user base and continue to provide value through new features and services.

As many futurists envision, cloud computing will give rise to a whole new breed of API and microservices that would become the main service/product delivery channel for the brands. This would simplify the process of development for the end users because now they can ship releases faster without getting bogged down into code writing issues.

Cloud computing trends on the rise

Let’s dive into some cloud computing trends making waves in 2020.

Quantum computing

Quantum computing will transform the business world like never before. Companies like Google are leveraging the principles of quantum physics to make breakthroughs by developing next-generation products for the end users. The supercomputers are the best example of how quantum computing can work wonders if put into proper use. Corporations like IBM, Microsoft, Google, AWS are making efforts to gain competitive advantage over their competitors by adapting to the new quantum technology.

Quantum computers use the principles of quantum physics to perform complex algorithm calculations and process massive datasets in quick time. These powerful computers can be used to encrypt electronic communication and help in augmenting cybersecurity.

Financial institutions can use quantum computing to their advantage by making the transaction process faster. Consequently, this practice will save more time, making the process efficient. In quantum computing, data is stored in qubits, making the process much quicker, as qubits is a simpler form of data. Using quantum computing will also reduce any additional costs required to incur new resources to handle already optimized operations.

Automation

Automation helps business organizations improve their productivity without spending too much time and effort. The automation tools available to us have proved to be very important when it comes to addressing errors in business processes, meanwhile streamlining them to generate fruitful results.

For instance, developers can make changes to their websites hosted on the cloud before going live. If anything goes wrong, they can restore an older version of the website without affecting the sales process or user experience. As soon as the website goes live, it starts getting traffic. Opting for cloud means there will be more data consumption involved. Managing applications and routine tasks can become tedious. Developers can use automation to get rid of the manual process they have to use to carry out daily operations.

Security and cloud compliance

Many organizations take security for granted. They simply misunderstand the concept of cloud-based security. The high-ups in the organizations think that the cloud service provider must also be responsible to provide cloud security. That’s where the misunderstanding lies. The fact remains that the security compliance is a shared responsibility of all the stakeholders involved overseeing the security operations of the organization, by proper resource usage.

It is important to note that for a SaaS company the cloud service provider offers an extra layer of security along with the already built in features that come with the service package. In case of shared hosting, the user(s) must implement security measures and compliance to enhance the application of existing services and policies.

Internet of Things (IoT)

We live in the world of Internet of Things (IoT). With every device connected to the internet businesses now encourage use of IoT in almost every aspect of organizational operations. The IoT devices can leverage cloud computing as it offers, high speed, performance, flexibility, and ample storage space to keep the data safe, find resources, and share information among different users within the same space.

There is another phenomenon – the Internet of Everything (IoE) – an offshoot of IoT that helps us interact with each other via connected devices to a particular network. This concept is continuously evolving and it is about time when everything we use will be interconnected to an already populated network of devices.

Serverless paradigm

The serverless paradigm is the next revolution in waiting, according to the CTO of Amazon. The concept of serverless paradigm relates to the fact that it facilitates cloud to execute a code snippet without any hassles for the developers.

Using this approach developers can divide software into chunks of code to upload on cloud to address customers’ desires, thereby delivering valuable experience. This practice ensures faster release cycle for software. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already started using the serverless paradigm to its advantage.

Conclusion

As cloud computing continues to make inroads in enterprise worlds, all stakeholders are looking forward to the evolution of the model. As things stand today, almost every significant innovation such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, robotics, and IoT rely on cloud computing technology.

It’s not just computational power, networking speed, or storage capacity that makes cloud computing great. Those are just operational metrics that better technology would eventually change and replace over time. The real value of technology is what it does, not what it’s made of.  

While you're pondering the future of cloud computing and its benefits, find the best cloud file storage software on the marketplace to use today! 

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Author

Salman Saleem

Salman is a software engineering graduate and digital marketer by profession. He works as a Digital Marketer Strategist at Cloudways. He loves to create value for the startup community and help entrepreneurs reach their goals. He is a big fan of cricket and plays AAA games in his free time.

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