What was your first introduction to cloud technologies? When did you first become aware of the ability to store and conjure data seemingly out of thin air with only an Internet connection? Apple’s 2011 commercial on cloud computing was the first large-scale teaser that introduced cloud services to the mass market.

In less than 90 seconds, this commercial outlined the possibilities of what the cloud could become in the hands of a designer, engineer, architect, a parent, an artist, and a student. The tagline for the campaign was simple: “So you always have the things you want, exactly where you want them.”

This one-liner has become a mantra of the business world today. The need to access files and data from anywhere at any time has resonated throughout every level of an organization – from entry-level employees to the C-suite.

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Today, cloud technologies have fallen out of the dream world and into a harsh reality. The chances of your business being able to compete in today’s rapid-paced markets is slim-to-none if you aren’t on the cutting-edge of the cloud. Welcome to the modern age of business, ladies and gentleman – where everything’s mobile and the locations don’t matter.

Cloud Computing Challenges and Pitfalls

With a starting implementation price that was laughable when compared to a data center project, the cloud introduced a new level of tangible value that revved-up the CFO just as much as the CIO. As a result, companies began shifting to the cloud at a rapid pace. However, like with any evolving technology, strategy is key.

In many cases, companies bought the egg before seeing what it would hatch into. Now, cloud strategy needs to be on every IT leader’s mind as they plan a future with a technology that is just beginning to evolve – especially since half of all services are projected to be operated in the cloud by 2016.

The following are the top cloud challenges that businesses of all sizes are facing now:

Heterogeneous cloud environments – Oil and water don’t mix. The same can be said for some Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If you are working with more than one cloud provider, then you are managing one or more too many. Simplification is key.

Governance and security – It has become a challenge to move data between multiple cloud environments while still maintaining the security, integrity, and performance of that data.

Data management and control – Again, simplification is key. Managing data across disparate and siloed IT environments is not fun nor easy for any IT team.

The Future Impact of Cloud

Here are some predictions for the cloud in the coming years so that you can start planning ahead:

  1. 1/3rd of all data will be deployed to either public or hybrid clouds within the next 18 months.
  2. Goldman Sachs predicts that the cloud will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% until 2018.
  3. $78.43 billion dollars in SaaS revenue are projected to be generated in 2015.
  4. More than 60% of enterprises will host half of their infrastructures on cloud technologies.

Building a Better Cloud: What Your Team Needs

What do you need to build a better cloud? The answer is simple: strategy. The cloud is a new animal, and to learn how to tame this beast, you need an experienced trainer to show you how. And once you’ve harnessed the true power of the cloud, the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few things to look forward to:

  • More scalable bandwidth
  • Affordable disaster recovery
  • Improved business collaboration
  • Centralized document control
  • Reduced IT management and operational costs
  • Mobile and remote work capabilities

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