Enterprise technology needs have increased in complexity over the last year, in light of the fact that workplaces have become decentralized since the onset of the pandemic. According to IDC, cloud computing showed significant growth in 2021 and it will continue on a similar trajectory this year. Having the best cloud computing technology in place is a necessity for organizations aiming for increased scalability, business continuity and cost-efficiency.
The cloud space is changing and evolving all the time, which can make it difficult to keep up with the latest innovations and standards in the industry. In 2022, it seems likely that companies will shift focus towards building end-to-end solutions for clients who no longer want to manage their own cloud computing systems.
We’ve been tracking the most important trends set for cloud computing in 2022—let’s explore the 7 that are worth investing in this year.
1. Cloud Integrated SD-WAN
Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are becoming a popular solution to the increasing geographical spread of organizations. As employees continue to state their preference for a work-from-home or hybrid workflow, companies are asked to adopt a more dispersed model. Traditional WANs are often locally designed and run, which means that employees must be inside a particular physical space in order to work. SD-WAN eliminates the need for this proximity and solves a few other problems as well.
Because SD-WAN separates control and management processes from physical hardware, these processes are more easily configurable and can be altered by administrators from anywhere. Control panels designed to adjust control and management often make it easier to tweak settings, instead of having to go into the office and code hardware. SD-WAN solutions dovetail well with cloud technology, promising quicker storage and management of these settings. That’s why Windstream Enterprise offers a customizable SD-WAN solution to companies who are hoping to digitize processes that used to require specialized skill sets and lots of employee hours.
2. Edge Computing
Edge computing is rising in popularity in line with decentralization. This is a distributed computing paradigm that places data storage and computing closer to where the data is generated and consumed. It does not rely on a centralized cloud. The processing of data takes place on the ‘edge’ of the network, thereby improving response times and optimizing bandwidth.
IDC predicts that 40% of organizations will double their IT spending on edge locations and nearby co-location facilities in 2022. In all likelihood, cloud and edge computing will coexist to reap the benefits of both: the security of a centralized cloud (data in the same place is easier to protect) and the optimal efficiency delivered by decentralized edge computing.
3. Artificial Intelligence Engineering
Organizations need a strong artificial intelligence (AI) engineering strategy to prevent their AI projects from failing. Without this engineering, many organizations won’t be able to achieve full-scale production with their AI projects; instead, they’ll stay stuck with proofs of concept and prototypes. AI engineering is growing in popularity because it facilitates the execution, scalability, interpretability, and trustworthiness of AI models.
AI engineering also plays a critical role in the processes that keep data centers running. By using AI algorithms to manage and monitor power usage, cooling systems, and hardware networks in fragile and expensive environments, you will reduce the chances of malfunctioning. AI engineering will also optimize the running efficiency of data centers and minimize their impact on the environment.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an emerging framework that combines the capabilities of SD-WAN with cloud-native security components, including Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Secure Web Gateways (SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
The increase in remote work has been a key driver in the rise of SASE, as this service offers seamless security and extremely reliable connectivity across cloud and hybrid networks. Furthermore, Gartner reports that by 2025 at least 60% of enterprises will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption. To support this rapid adoption, Windstream Enterprise provides customers with a seamless offering that combines SD-WAN’s efficiencies with a more flexible, user-centric approach to securing remote workers and cloud applications.
5. Virtual Cloud Desktops
Most of us will be working on virtual cloud desktops, where the whole environment of our workstation is delivered as a managed cloud service to our desktop or laptop. Organizations can take advantage of by-the-hour subscriptions for the time employees spend working at their machines. This will eliminate the cost of hardware updates and the need to get rid of redundant technology.
This is also known as desktop-as-a-service, which separates the desktop environment and associated application software from the physical client device that is used to access it. This cloud service entails various benefits, such as increased efficiency by ensuring all employees are utilizing up-to-date, synchronized technology and improved security through the centralized management of all devices.
Cloud-based virtual desktops require heightened security measures, as they operate outside of centralized locations. Windstream Enterprise provides the highest level of security for these systems, ensuring that management can rest assured that their data is secure, even when the whole system operates over the cloud.
6. Cloud Voice & Unified Communications
Remote work isn’t going anywhere and employees are looking for as much flexibility as they can get. A recent report found that over one-fourth of professional positions, mostly in the United States, will be fully remote by the end of 2022, an 18% increase from the end of 2021.
Moreover, the unified communications and collaboration market size is expected to grow from $47.26 billion last year to $113.81 billion by 2028, which points proof to the fact that businesses will be investing more into these types of solutions that cater to a dispersed workforce.
To accommodate this new era of work, remote employees need robust audio conferencing, secure video conferencing and resilient connectivity to stay productive no matter what. Business depends on it, and customers expect it. Luckily, cloud voice systems have been developed to solve just this problem. Look for industry-leading unified communications and voice solutions that make it easy to connect, communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere, and to be agile and responsive to evolving customer and business needs.
7. Hybrid Cloud Solutions
One final trend in cloud computing we’re watching this year is the preference for hybrid or multi-cloud environments, where users can pick and choose the particular elements of a public or private cloud environment that suit their needs. Enterprises are finding that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud environments. After all, public and private cloud environments have different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to security, performance, flexibility and compliance.
The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report notes that 93% of companies have a multi-cloud model in place while 87% have a hybrid cloud approach. In 2020 and 2021, we have seen an increase in private cloud companies offering hybrid or multi-cloud integrations. For example, some of these providers now utilize the public cloud to provide content delivery while storing and processing customer data via private cloud solutions.