In the last year, we’ve seen a huge expansion in take-up of cloud computing services, but what will happen in 2014? Here, we round up some of the predictions from tech pundits on the year head for cloud computing.

1. Data volumes force cloud adoption

The amount of data we generate and have to store is growing rapidly. That’s one of the reasons that Verizon believes that the answer to data storage needs is in the cloud.

In fact, an article on ZDNet quotes the provider as saying the cloud is “the only location” where this data can be stored.

2. The Cloud Will Replace PC Hardware & Software

Infoworld‘s Eric Knorr says that virtualization is the only way to achieve to make computing infrastructure behave as a unified whole and that means leveraging the way public cloud providers control software.

Meanwhile, PCs won’t have have software either, if SmartDeploy’s Aaron Suzuki is to be believed. He says “We think it is fair to say that SaaS will eventually be the only way software is sold.” And that means more call than ever for cloud computing infrastructure and services.

3. Businesses Will Get Serious About The Cloud

For many, 2014 will be the year that the cloud becomes a bigger business tool. GCN’s Rutrell Yasin says that adopting the cloud will no longer be optional. Riverbed Technology’s Rob Whiteley goes further, expecting companies to experiment more with putting their storage in the cloud to save time and money.

Businessman standing looking at detailed business flowchart in cloudy storm setting

Dell’s Pravin Ganore puts a number on this, predicting that 30% of companies will move some of their business applications to the cloud and there will be greater partnerships between the enterprise and cloud storage providers. Meanwhile, data centers will continue to consolidate, says GCN.

4. The Cloud Will Be More Important Than Devices

As more data moves to the cloud, managing access to the cloud and its data will be crucial for businesses, says Gartner.

It says the personal cloud will become the primary hub for users accessing services, reducing the importance of individual devices.

5. Cloud Backup Will Come Into Its Own

Several people agree that in 2014 cloud backup will become more important. Forrester had predicted that this would happen in 2013 but it has been slow.

Just 21% of companies are using their own cloud based disaster recovery solutions and 23% are using an SaaS backup and disaster recovery option. ComTechies sees this rising in 2014, especially with the availability of pay-as-you-go cloud disaster recovery solutions.

6. Hackers Will Target Cloud Backups

As data storage moves to the cloud, so will cyber security threats, agree a number of writers. SecureBuzz says that there will be an attack on cloud backups, so it’s up to enterprises to educate themselves about different providers’ security measures. CBR Online agrees that the shift to the cloud makes this a more tempting and potentially lucrative target for hackers.

So here’s a prediction of our own: the ability of cloud storage vendors to reassure enterprises about the robustness of their security and encryption will determine the winners and losers as the cloud goes more mainstream.

7. The Cloud & Mobile Will Be Indistinguishable

Mobility and flexibility are already more prominent features of cloud computing as 2013 comes to an end, says ChannelProSMB.

That’s perhaps why Comtechies predicts that the cloud and mobility will be the same thing in 2014 with the rise of the SaaS mobile client. It’s already happening, as our article on Android backup applications showed.

8. Social Media Will Drive Cloud Adoption

GMOCloud believes that with more social networks and niche networks around, the only way to handle the data is in the cloud.

So any increase in social networking adoption must bring a corresponding rise in cloud storage for all the data.

9. Cloud Storage Will Get More Intelligent

Cloud hosting company Giacom suggests that users will want their cloud storage to be more intelligent, with multiple ways to access what’s stored.

This will be a more personal and responsive cloud – maybe like the Google Now of cloud storage?

Conclusion

Before the year is out, there will no doubt be more predictions about cloud storage in 2014.

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One thing’s for sure: all these predictions reveal that the cloud isn’t going anywhere and will be more important to business and personal users in the coming year.

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