Sheldon Smith of XO Communications gives us six tips for a better business cloud network:
Make Room for Big Data
Joe McKendrick of Forbes thinks so, along with Tim Beyers of Motley Fool: “…big data is the new cloud computing.” Just as cloud services revolutionized the way users and IT professionals access and consume technology, big data is changing the way companies interact with employees, consumers and stakeholders — what’s more, real-time data analysis now forms the basis for many mission-critical decisions.
Your best bet to take advantage of big data in 2015? Make room. This means leveraging the cloud to store and process massive amounts of information, rather than locking it up in local servers. It also means budgeting for big data spend. All too often, data spending is lumped into “cloud” or general IT budgets, but that won’t be enough to take full advantage of this technology as the market gains ground. Overspending here isn’t necessary, but companies must come to grips with the fact that in the new year, both executive experience and unstructured data have key roles to play in delivering ROI.
XO Communications is the premier provider of cloud hosting and unified communications services to businesses and enterprises across the United States.
Keep Things Private
According to predictions from research firm IDC, 2015 will be a critical year for privacy, with 65 percent of companies selecting cloud providers based in part on their ability to comply with data privacy legislation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the rise of compliance and privacy legislation in the U.S. and European Union, but for businesses, this means that deliberate thought about the privacy of cloud networks is now required. In the new year it won’t be enough to assume that a cloud provider offers solid data security — proof positive will be required—especially since any information missteps come back to the owner, not the handler.
Be Prepared for a Shakeup
Cost-cutting typifies the current cloud market: AWS, Google and other big providers spar to see who can push prices the lowest and still make a profit. According to Business Spectator, however, the world’s major IaaS players will start to drop out of the race, causing price-cutting to stabilize in 2015. The takeaway to improve your cloud network? Make sure your data is portable and consider diversification: better to have data eggs in more than one cloud basket.
A New Decision-Making Process
With cloud computing now part of boardroom discussions rather than relegated to cramped IT offices, IT Business Edge sees 2015 as the foundation of formal decision-making frameworks for cloud investment. Instead of simply adopting “the cloud,” businesses must develop a standard-based process to evaluate multiple cloud vendors and choose one (or more) that best meet their needs. This C-suite discussion covers everything from security to performance and lock-in to availability. Best bet here? Make IT professionals an integral part of this process. While cloud investment is now a line-of-business decision, technology experts can help avoid obvious missteps.
As noted by a recent Sand Hill article, the cloud PBX market is heating up, giving companies an easier way to communicate, conference and collaborate. 2015, however, won’t be the year of PBX but rather Unified Communications (UC), which include video as well as voice calls along with text messaging and a host of other media types. Taking advantage of this shift in thinking, however, is best done in small stages instead of big leaps — in other words, invest in PBX now to help empower UC through the new year.
Don’t Let Just Anyone Listen In
The last tip for a better cloud in 2015? Pay attention to the Internet of Things (IoT), especially when it comes to security. According to Talkin’ Cloud, the number of IoT-connected devices could reach 4.9 billion in the new year, creating a powerful but potentially vulnerable network. As a result, 2015 is the year to seek out a cloud service provider that builds-in IoT-based protection—better too much too soon than too little, too late.