We are creating and consuming more data than ever before. It’s estimated that by 2025 the datasphere will grow to an incredible 163ZB, that’s over a trillion gigabytes! With such an enormous amount of data being created it needs to be stored somewhere for people to access. In recent years, cloud computing has become a popular data storage solution for both personal and business use.

There are several advantages to organisations moving towards either hybrid (a mix between cloud and owned servers) or fully cloud based data storage solutions. These include simplified IT infrastructure and management, remote access from effectively anywhere in the world with a stable internet connection and the cost efficiencies that cloud computing can bring.

Companies recognise the benefit of the cloud and investment is expected to soar over the next few years with the majority of SMEs and large organisations implementing some type of cloud computing strategy within their business. Unfold Labs, an innovative product and service company based in San Diego, predicts that ‘in 2018 at least half of IT spending will be cloud-based and that by 2020 roughly 60-70% of all software, services and technology will be cloud based.’

With cloud computing accelerating in popularity we thought we’d look at 4 predictions for 2018.

Everything as a Service

With the continued growth of cloud computing, it’s only natural that cloud-based services and solutions would see similar growth. Many of these services are already extremely popular and 2018 shows no signs of slowing down with software, platform and infrastructure as a service (SaaS, PaaS and Iaas) all predicted to account for a larger portion of IT expenditure.

These services generally rely on a monthly or annual tiered subscription system with the huge advantage for many businesses being the simplicity of implementation and high performance that cloud platforms offer. It’s likely that the future cloud service and solution landscape will be dominated by a handful of tech giants.

Behemoths, such as Amazon with its ever popular Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google’s services such as Google Apps and Google Compute Engine (GCE), will likely continue to gain market share. Wikibon predicts that AWS, alone, will reach £32b ($43b) in revenue by 2022!

Increased Storage

The good news for many businesses? Cloud-based storage is likely to increase and become cheaper. With the normalisation of cloud storage and as more companies move towards having some level of their infrastructure in the cloud, the total amount of data stored with service providers will increase. Cisco predicts that global storage capacity will increase from 600EB to 1.1ZB in 2018, that’s almost twice the available storage of 2017.

For small businesses this could mean that they are able to create bespoke storage solutions to benefit from the potential cost efficiencies of the cloud, while large organisations can store big data in the cloud to analyse and form insights that help improve business performance.

The Evolving Internet of Things (IoT)

The cloud is a fundamental part of the IoT’s infrastructure. It allows a range of connected devices to communicate with each other such as your mobile phone, TV or car. As we see further adoption of connected devices it’s only natural that cloud usage will continue to increase, however, these devices are not only becoming more connected but also more intelligent. The fusion of the IoT and artificial intelligence is allowing innovations and complex analysis and insights to be created evolving IoT into the internet of everything (IoE).

2018 will be the year that IoE allows technology to not only interact more intelligently with humans but for humans to interact in new and more complex ways with other humans. An example of this is the Google Pixel Buds that can recognise and translate languages in real-time using Google Translate. Though in its infancy, technology like this will become more common as the IoE evolves.

Security Will Still Be An Issue

As our data management infographic states, ‘46% of all businesses identified at least one cyberattack or breach in the last 12 months’ and this number is likely to increase in 2018. Unfortunately, with more devices becoming connected and hackers creating more sophisticated attacks, security will continue to be an issue for cloud-based services.

In 2018 it is anticipated that even more money will be invested to ensure that cloud services have robust protection against increasingly complex data breaches. It’s also likely that cyber security companies will come up with inventive ways to provide new cloud computing security options.

It looks like 2018 will be an eventful year for cloud computing. Share your thoughts on our predictions on our Twitter.