Guest Column | October 19, 2012

2013 Cloud Computing Outlook

By Shahin Pirooz, CTO and CSO, CenterBeam

CenterBeam forecasts 5 enterprise tech trends:  burgeoning BYOD, VPN extinction, Apps-as-a-Service, big data big headache, and BI & analytics “make it work”.

  1. BYOD remains the biggest issue: The proliferation of employee-owned devices (BYOD) – specifically iPads and other tablet computers – in the enterprise, the challenges that IT departments face trying to identify and manage such a wide variety of endpoints, and the desire for employees to work from anywhere at any time has been the catalyst for the rampant demand on IT services and support within the enterprise.  As we move into 2013, we will continue to see BYOD as a hot topic (see recent LinkedIn poll).
    Smartphones are expected to outpace PC sales by 4:1 and tablet sales will match PC sales by 2016. This exacerbates the problem because employees are no longer accessing the network from a lone desktop computer.  IT managers are struggling to keep track of what type of and how many devices are using their network. CenterBeam estimates that mid-sized enterprises often underestimate how many mobile devices are accessing their networks by at least 50 percent.  While this is not a new problem, it is one that will become more challenging as we make the transition from PC to table/thin device. 
  2. VPNs will become obsolete.  Greater use of cloud solutions is giving more employees the opportunity to access corporate resources remotely through their iPhones, iPads, and Android-based smartphones and tablets.  With mobility driving worker productivity, enterprises are looking at even more cloud services to support new and innovative use cases, which then spur even greater use of mobile technology. And that snowball will keep gaining steam until client-based VPNs become completely obsolete.
  3. Applications-as-a-Service will replace your blue Start button: As enterprises move more functionality to the cloud, we’ll see a huge shift to cloud-based applications. Managing desktops has always been a drain on IT support.  Moving applications to the cloud makes sense not only from a resource standpoint, but also from a cost and accessibility standpoint as more employees use personal mobile devices for work. 
  4. Big data is a big headache:  The trend to come is BigData.  As more mobility takes over IT, there will need to be data that can be exposed to the mobile devices.  This means a more concerted shift from physical documents to electronic ones.  As we become a more electronic world, we have real challenges we need to deal with in terms of storage of all that new (or old converted) electronic content. The problem is that our data archival models of the past do not work for unstructured data (documents) because they were designed for structured (database) data.  So, we have to figure out how to store the mass of unstructured (scanned) documents and more importantly how to index and retrieve them.
  5. Business Intelligence and Analytics are Key:  Once we get a handle on the BigData problem and have figured out how and where to store and how to retrieve the unstructured data, we will need Business Intelligence and Analytics that can work against these new storage and retrieval paradigms. This is where Splunk ( and others like them can shine.