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What To Look For In The Cloud In 2014

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There's no denying the cloud communications and computing are a necessity in a world with an increasingly remote workforce. As businesses look forward to 2014, some trends are expected to come to the forefront. 

Cloud computing and communications has come a long way in the last several years. While it was first met with skepticism, today businesses roundly have adopted the burgeoning tech trend and the criticism against it has faded away. But it is still very much an evolving practice, and as the calendar flips from 2013 to 2014, it would be wise to take a look at where the trend will take the business world, whether in the form of cloud VoIP or business phone systems. 

The Rise of IT

In years past, IT played a significant role in a very particular industry, but experts expect that will change considerably in the coming years. In fact, according to CIO.com, it has already started to happen. This has manifested itself in a number of different ways, but one shining example is the rise of smartphone apps that allow users to measure their blood pressure from the comfort of their own home. From there, it sends the results directly to doctors and enters them in patients' medical records. This unique use of cloud communications has become increasingly prevalent among many different industries and will certainly become even more pronounced in the coming months. 

Privacy Comes To The Forefront

One of the biggest issues many critics took with the cloud was that it was hard to ensure that it was secure. This became a particularly hot button issue in light of many high profile cybersecurity attacks over the last year. The call for better security has certainly not gone unnoticed, and there have been several pushes to increase security, many of which will be implemented this year, CIO.com notes. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this private cloud push pays off, but chances are businesses will get the answer in 2014.

Cloud Becomes The Norm

Whether it is communication or data hosting, making use of the cloud will become the go-to option for enterprises in 2014, some experts believe. According to Forbes, this could be due to a large number of factors, but analysts believe it has already largely come to fruition. In fact, a recent study launched by Cisco found that the majority of traffic from data centers will be cloud borne by the end of the year. 

Targeted SaaS

As software providers recognize the many benefits of providing SaaS, they will begin to develop products designed specifically for certain industries, according to PC World. 

"There will be more stratification of SaaS apps as vendors build or buy with the aim of appealing to particular types of end-user firms," China Martens, an independent business applications analyst, told the news source. "In particular, vendors will either continue to build on early industry versions of their apps and/or launch SaaS apps specifically tailored to particular verticals, e.g., healthcare, manufacturing, retail."

Greater Centralization

As cloud security garners more attention, there will be a much larger emphasis on consolidating efforts and providing a centralized place for all security initiatives and updates. Specifically, analysts at Forrester.com anticipate that enterprises will turn to cloud security vendors because they can provide a greater peace of mind than the enterprises themselves can have on their own.

BYOD Continues To Garner Attention

A more mobile workforce certainly provides its fair share of benefits - for both businesses and their employees. But while there are advantages, there are undoubtedly risks as well, especially in the security realm. Corporations are expected to adopt BYOD policies this year, but according to Entrepreneur.com, they are also going to need to pay close attention to the security of their employees mobile devices. In fact, research has found that Android apps are responsible for nearly 80 percent of smartphone malware. 

"Most personal devices have a range of user-installed apps. How am I supposed to know if any of them are malicious and can hurt my network? Then there's the whole storage issue," industry insider Rizwan Hussain told the website. "Where exactly is our company's data being stored when some-one uses their own device, and what about the security risks if someone loses their phone or it's stolen?"