Cloud Market Maturity–Where Are We and What Does It Mean to Cloud Users

I will be presenting a webinar tomorrow titled “Cloud Market Maturity–Where Are We and What Does It Mean to Cloud Users” with ISACA. The webinar will provide insight into the maturity of cloud computing and offers details on the adoption of cloud services among all level of professionals, including the C-suite.

The Maturity of a product or a service offering changes over time, advancing from infancy through levels of maturity before reaching eventual decline. In terms of cloud maturity, I would say we are in early stages of “skeptical adoption and education.” Among B2B space and B2C space, we are in a stage of “ignorant euphoria.” The reason I use these two buckets is because both waves of cloud adoption fuel each other and both are, in a sense, interdependent. B2C has been leading cloud adoption, but those consumers have blissfully ignored and—in many cases—not cared seriously about the governance, privacy and security concerns in a trade-off for convenience.

We all love using our “I-devices and A-devices.” More needs to be done to educate even B2C cloud users. B2B adoption has been more cautious—as it should be. The maturity curve is in its infancy, but the unmistaken trend is to increase usage. Look at any major analytics firm’s numbers for cloud usage and it shows explosive growth in the next decade. This trend will be here to stay and will be validated despite the concerns of security and privacy, as these will be worked out and global standards will be established in a structured fashion in coming years. Both ISACA and the Cloud Security Alliance are doing an exemplary job in this regard, and the Cloud Market Maturity Study is a great example.

The greatest change regarding cloud usage that we’ll see in the near future is disruption and democratization of data. As cloud computing, in spite of all its challenges, permeates the B2B world, we will see a tremendous amount of disruptive innovation where old models of business are no longer applicable and new ways of thinking about processes will be forced upon the leaders at public/private enterprises. This disruptive innovation is a good thing—we have all benefited tremendously from iPhone, iPad and other tablet and smart phone hardware fueled by cloud software (on the back end) in the B2C space. With the ongoing evolution of the new generational shift in the workforce, the B2C innovations disrupting our consumption of technology will force B2B cloud adoption and process changes. This is not an “if” but a “when” scenario. In terms of data, we see that it will tremendously democratize technology and its usage. The Big Data wave is fueled by cloud on its back end. There are very real usages of Big Data driven by cloud: Who will click the most on your link for sales and marketing? What will we see in the next decade in cloud technology as businesses and consumers drive new data-driven transparency and democratization of processes in public and private spheres in health care and even corporate governance?

I recently attended a cloud event hosted by a major vendor, and they claimed to have more than 80,000 global registered users. They billed it as the largest global tech event. By that example alone, I would say cloud adoption is here to stay and increase manifold. Cloud is a new way of consuming technology fueled not just by financial efficiencies but also by new realities of the world. It’s almost like global trade—countries in supply chains becoming so intertwined with one another that some major hiccup in one part of the world can now affect everyone else in real time. That’s perhaps a bad thing, but can you imagine, for example, the United States not doing business with other countries in coming years in spite of all financial and regulatory challenges? If anything, we are more interdependent than ever.

Cloud technology adoption and evolution fuels this transformation of our societies and our global trade, and the response is for the technology to evolve with this trend. I foresee cloud adoption increasing, but the rate will be variable based on the types of enterprises and industries. In the end, it’s kind of like online banking—many folks might still prefer meeting their regular clerk at their local bank, but a large majority of people in many countries are comfortable with financial transactions on the web, through some data pipe that they don’t see or hear or feel or audit. It will take less than a decade for this transformation with the cloud, I predict. This certainly poses challenges to us in the security, risk and governance professions, but that should be an impetus for more innovative thinking to provide solutions to our businesses, rather than to simply ignore the trend and not evolve pragmatically with it. Make no mistake, challenges are huge. How do we control data flow in a completely transparent manner? Who owns data? How do we audit this at every level in its lifecycle?

Our work is cut out for us…all aboard and all hands on deck!

ISACA members receive CPE for attending this free event. To learn more or to register, go here: http://ht.ly/ejkS9

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