How Cloud Storage Transformed Between 2019 and 2023: 9 Main Trends
The author of this article is EPAM Lead Software Testing Engineer Nidhi Sharma.
In this article
The pandemic, a traumatic and transformative time in our recent history, sent shockwaves into every corner of our lives. As with many challenges, however, there were some positive developments that flowed from it. We saw how deeply businesses and technology felt the effects of the pandemic, and in this article, I'll consider how it influenced our journey into the digital age, taking us into areas we hadn't explored much.
The pandemic led to a significant change in the way businesses function. This brought about new challenges for our tech infrastructure, especially the growing importance of cloud services.
The need for remote work became a new normal, and many businesses found themselves needing to adapt to it quickly. Back in 2019, a study by Accenture showed that nearly 90% of businesses had started using some kind of cloud technology. Most of these businesses had moved only a fraction, about 20–40%, of their operations to the cloud. With pandemic-inspired transition to the cloud happening quickly, it highlighted the way companies started using cloud storage to make the most of its benefits during these unique times.
How to define cloud storage
Cloud storage, often hailed as the digital marvel of our era, revolutionizes the way we manage and access our digital resources. In this article, I’ll focus on two distinct features of cloud storage.
- Data beyond boundaries. It's time to reduce dependency on local storage from physical devices like hard drives or on-site servers. Cloud storage unshackles data, freeing it from the confines of tangible hardware and making it less dependent on components with inherent limitations.
- The caretaker of the cloud. Today, data is mostly managed by specialized third-party service providers. These providers store and maintain client data on secure remote servers. Cloud storage offers a wide range of solutions, ensuring that data is readily available yet securely stored within the cloud infrastructure.
Key trends in cloud storage business in 2023
- Increased use of cloud storage by businesses
The pandemic fueled the adoption of cloud storage solutions in many ways. Remote work became a new normal across a variety of industries, and businesses across the globe rushed to migrate their data to the cloud. According to Canalys, in 2022, there was a remarkable surge in cloud infrastructure services investment, which grew 29% in comparison with 2021.
- Unprecedented shift in working model
Isn't it fascinating how quickly our work preferences can change? A PricewaterhouseCoopers report highlighted that in January 2021, only about 29% of employees were keen on the idea of working from home full-time. Fast-forward to August 2021, and that number had jumped to 41%. It seems that more of us are warming up to the comfort of our home offices. This clearly opens the door for cloud storage and other similar businesses. It also brings challenges for managers. Team cohesiveness, cross-functional relationships, work monitoring, communication, and motivation were identified as the top five challenges for managers working under a hybrid model, according to research involving an organizational case study of a hybrid work model.
- Security and compliance
Remote working has created opportunities, and also new threats. Considering various security mechanisms and techniques that have been developed and implemented in the post-COVID world, data management has become a significant challenge. The use of encryption techniques, access controls, and authentication protocols is crucial for data privacy and security in the cloud. That’s why security should be maintained with robust encryption algorithms and secure communication protocols for safe data transmission and storage.
- Scalability, flexibility, and heterogeneity
These days, there is a massive inflow of data from diverse and independent sources. This is coupled with the dynamic nature of data usage rates in practical applications. The tech domain, driven by the pandemic, heightened the demand for cloud storage, particularly for heterogeneous cloud solutions well-known for their scalability and flexibility. Businesses must fully harness the potential of cloud technologies, ensuring seamless data accessibility, robust security, and adaptability.
- Artificial Intelligence as a catalyst for cloud computing
Post-COVID, the surge in unprecedented demand and the emergence of Artificial Intelligence have coincided to revolutionize the cloud market. When AI is combined with cloud computing, it helps in driving businesses, offering analytical solutions, processing applications, data mining, cloud security and automation, and enhancing cost efficiency and strategic decision-making.
Global demand for cloud computing is growing due to emerging technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). The CAGR forecast projects that the AI-powered cloud market will grow by 16.40% between 2023 and 2028, a significant increase from earlier expectations.
There are three main benefits of using AI in cloud computing:
- Cost reduction: Numerous studies confirm that investment in AI benefits many businesses. In various sectors, businesses face substantial upfront expenses, such as maintaining on-site data centers. AI-driven cloud projects eliminate these costs. On-site data centers are challenging to manage and may pose security risks leading to data loss. AI cloud computing offers access to AI tools via monthly subscriptions, which combine AI and cloud computing functionalities without traditional data center costs.
- Efficient automation and enhanced productivity: AI can seamlessly perform complex data processing and deep analysis without any human participation. This can drastically reduce workload. Efficient automation can help eliminate repetitive and complex computation, saving both money and time.
- Big data management and analytics: AI-based cloud computing helps companies develop advanced solutions that respond to customer requests, while analyzing huge data flows that can otherwise hide valuable business insights.
- Cost optimization
In unstable pandemic and post-pandemic times, businesses were compelled to adopt a cost-reduction approach to mitigate market shocks. The cloud storage pay-as-you-go model aligns expenses with actual usage, making it an attractive choice for organizations seeking to prudently manage budgets.
- Response to the demand economy
The major challenge for cloud service providers was handling the unanticipated surge in demand for cloud storage. To respond to the surge, they expanded the capacity of their data centers, added innovative functionality, and refined their offerings to meet the new scenarios in the cloud business.
- Seamless collaboration
The evolution of modern work can be attributed to the seamless integration of cloud storage and remote collaboration technologies. During the pandemic, remote technologies like Zoom and Webex emerged as game-changers, enhancing digital meetings, file sharing, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration.
- The triad of cloud storage
Cloud storage is built on three key features: backups for data safety, accessibility for easy data retrieval, and security to protect against threats. These essentials make cloud storage vital in the digital world.
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the tech business landscape, shifting cloud storage to center stage. As businesses pivoted to remote operations, the benefits of cloud storage, such as data accessibility and robust security, became more obvious. The combination of cloud storage with AI technologies helps shape future business innovation and expansion. From my perspective, this shift is not just a temporary adaptation but a long-term strategy that will define the new norm of business operations.
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