– By Marius Mihalec, CEO & Founder of Pulseway. Pulseway won “Best in Mobile” Solution at the 2020-21 Cloud Awards. The 2021-22 Cloud Awards is now accepting early entries.
“Cloud Computing” is no longer a niche IT industry term. Even tech novices know that the cloud is where they can store stuff when their smartphones get full.
Cloud computing has come a long way since its introduction in the early 2000s. Market research firm IDC has estimated that nearly half of all IT spending in 2020 was cloud-based. This signals that there has already been a massive shift towards the use of cloud computing in applications, data storage and more. One of the major trends fueling this change is mobile. The combination of cloud and mobile has already been delivering next-generation solutions for businesses all over the world.
How is this going to shape the future trends and demands in the tech industry? How will this continued shift towards a mobile society impact cloud computing adoption? The short answer to this question is that cloud computing is definitely here to stay, while cloud adoption through mobile devices specifically, is going to be a significant feature.
Trends Fueling Cloud Transition
The year 2020 was a defining year for the cloud industry. Although the entire world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working became the new normal, it signaled the need for businesses to embrace digital transformation. Companies that already had a cloud-based infrastructure had a much smoother transition to remote working than the ones that did not.
Even before the onset of the pandemic, most companies knew the importance of the cloud in facilitating the digital shift. However, there were fears over things such as security and data sovereignty that led to some organizations, particularly in Europe, having policies that specifically forbade their staff from utilizing cloud technologies.
When lockdowns and remote working started appearing in 2020, it became clear to even the cloud-deniers that those using cloud-based solutions were faring better than those sticking to on-prem solutions. As a result, many, often misguided prejudices against the cloud were quickly ditched and those companies started pivoting to the cloud. This move in the past 12 months or so has significantly accelerated what was an existing trend of moving to the cloud and it shows no sign of slowing down. It is neatly illustrated by the 25% increase in commercial revenues in Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 product in 2020.
Despite the pandemic driving cloud adoption in the past year, several other factors have also contributed to the rise of cloud computing:
- Automation: There is a need for greater automation in businesses of all sizes. Businesses require the efficiency gains offered by automation to compete effectively in the market. By embracing the cloud, businesses can streamline their operations and automate redundant tasks that take the focus away from critical projects.
- Security: Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses all over the world. Despite a few existing challenges, the cloud is expected to be far safer than traditional, on-prem data centers. Gartner estimates about 60% fewer security incidents in the cloud compared to traditional data centers in 2020. Moreover, cloud adoption boosts the reliability of information and high-level protection of confidential data.
- Rise of Cloud Managed Services: According to Markets and Markets, the cloud managed services market stood at $62.4 billion in 2020, and it is expected to touch $116.2 billion in 2025. With cloud-managed services, organizations can save a fortune in infrastructure costs while ensuring high productivity and outputs.
- Remote working: Even before the pandemic, remote work was gaining prominence among organizations for the convenience it offers to employees. With the pandemic accelerating remote working across the globe, companies required a fast and flexible way to share resources with their employees and integrate data. Cloud computing enabled this transition by allowing people to work from anywhere using any device closest to them.
Mobile Devices and Cloud Computing
Until a decade ago, mobile phones were nothing more than just phones you can carry around. Fast forward to today, smartphones are ubiquitous, and they are more powerful than desktop computers built a few years ago. This massive transition to mobile devices, combined with cloud computing, has made it possible for users to access their data from anywhere, anytime.
In this scenario, let’s take a look at the major developments in cloud computing that facilitate this drive towards mobile.
- Cloud services offered by mobility players: All renowned technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., offer private storage as well as their own variants of cloud-based applications. This allows people to access their resources from anywhere using just their smartphones. As a result, this enables greater productivity and effective collaboration between team members.
- Continuous innovation in security: The line between personal and professional devices is getting blurred day by day. Enforcing strict guidelines on personal devices and proper usage of passwords is a tough task by itself. This job just got worse as we adjust to the new normal with remote working environments. As a result, continuous innovation in cybersecurity is required to meet the additional challenges of the modern workforce.
- Agile IT management: If you wish to make the most of your transition to the cloud, you need to make sure that your team is agile. This does not mean just transitioning to agile product models. You also need to incorporate agility in your IT infrastructure and security teams. This requires you to reinvent yourself from being reactive to proactive in managing the needs of clients. This is possible only if IT administrators had mobile access to core functionalities and interfaces.
Impact of 5G on Cloud Computing
The ubiquity of smartphones is one of the major trends that facilitated the need for cloud infrastructure. The combination of mobile and cloud has revolutionized how users access information. Smartphones can run multiple cloud-based applications and allow users to retrieve their data from anywhere. However, smartphones do not have the processing power or the vast storage facility offered by the cloud. By combining the speed and flexibility of smartphones with the power of cloud infrastructure, users can take advantage of all the benefits offered by the cloud.
The existing 3G and 4G in addition to Wi-Fi networks provide better connectivity for cloud computing on mobile devices. However, the upcoming 5G is expected to take cloud computing to the next level. For starters, the 5G networks are touted to be about 100 times faster than the current 4G networks. There are several applications where 4G networks fall short in terms of providing connectivity and speed. 5G is expected to be the gamechanger in these applications.
When cloud users are no longer tied to their desks, they can work more efficiently and boost their productivity. Besides, most mobile apps we use every day are cloud dependent. Considering the low latency capabilities of 5G networks, these apps will perform at a much smoother rate and ensure seamless data transfer. Cloud apps that have already been functioning at reduced potential due to 4G connectivity issues can now function to their fullest potential. Future innovations on these apps will be based on 5G connectivity, and this could unlock so many features we are lacking today.
The next big wave of network technology transformation is upon us right now. The era of network virtualization has now paved the way for network cloudification, and this is all set to accelerate alongside the launch of 5G. Major computing giants like IBM are already investing in network cloudification as it allows networks to be more flexible, scalable and agile.
Just a few years ago, networks used to be extremely hardware-centric with a range of devices such as modems, routers, switches, servers, gateways, adapters, storage devices and more. In a world where we are witnessing a heavy influx of data due to emerging technologies like edge computing, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, IoT, etc., these traditional networks are no longer sufficient. Network virtualization has made it possible to replace the hardware with software and ensure high-level computing.
Network cloudification is the next logical step in this process. Here cloud technologies are extended to networks as the need for enterprise bandwidth and operational demands of enterprises have increased significantly over the years. The power of 5G is expected to take this to the next level as networks are now moving away from hardware-based architecture and embracing the software-defined architecture.
Benefits of Cloud Computing Through Mobile
Smartphones are not as powerful as cloud infrastructure. However, they provide a platform for users to access the cloud from anywhere they want. Once the network restrictions and connectivity challenges are overcome with 5G, cloud access through mobile will grow at a much faster pace than it does right now.
With this transition comes an array of advantages to everyone ranging from individual users to industrial organizations. Some of the key benefits are listed as follows:
- Flexibility: The data stored on the cloud can be retrieved from anywhere in the world using any device as long as it is connected to the Internet. The information you need is just a click away and not restricted to any location or device. Moreover, it is possible to build or revise cloud applications from anywhere. They can also be delivered to multiple devices at the same time.
- Multiple Platform Support: There is no restriction on the platform with cloud computing. Your applications and data can be accessed from any device running any type of operating system.
- Shared resources: Smartphone devices have certain restrictions in terms of their storage space for their data and applications. When mobile applications are run on the cloud, it is possible to overcome the limitations of the device. If any processes are data-intensive, you can shift them to the cloud and run them smoothly.
- Data integration: When you access the cloud through mobile devices, data from multiple sources can be integrated smoothly and stored for further processing. With this seamless integration, users can make data-driven decisions from anywhere.
- Cost efficiency: One of the major benefits of cloud computing is the efficiency it delivers in the long run. It does not require heavy investment in infrastructure or hardware devices. Also, on the cloud platform, you pay only for what you use.
- Data back-up: Backing up your data regularly is critical if you wish to ensure business continuity after an unavoidable data loss incident. When you manage your cloud applications through your smartphone, you can monitor and manage your backup process from anywhere. This mitigates the possibility of a data loss incident.
- Easy scalability: Traditional ways of data storage and computing require infrastructure modifications if you wish to accommodate your growth. With the cloud, you can just pay for additional space and start scaling immediately without any delay.
Considering the factors driving us towards cloud computing through mobile, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is the thing of the future. As of 2020, the mobile cloud market has a registered value of $30.71 billion. This is expected to touch $118.70 billion by the year 2026 with a CAGR of 25.28%.
Businesses now look for solutions that do not affect the performance of their customers based on their locations. Moreover, companies with a high percentage of remote workers expect to provide their staff with the same level of ease they would have at the office in order to ensure their productivity is not affected. With this shift in future work requirements, cloud vendors are now expected to facilitate this change without affecting enterprise performance.
The much-anticipated rollout of 5G will play a critical role in accelerating cloud adoption at all levels. Businesses that are currently going through a digital transformation will witness a massive shift in their operational efficiencies as they adopt the combined power of mobile and cloud.