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As cloud computing gains acceptance, companies are looking for ways to get more out of the technology. There are plenty of opportunities to expand the use of cloud because it continually evolves to take on new challenges.

As your business begins to formulate next year’s IT budget, plan for additional investments in cloud that will help you meet your goals and gain a competitive edge.

Here’s a quick look at some of the cloud trends that have developed in 2017:

1) Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) 

This year’s string of devastating hurricanes has made disaster recovery top of mind. Cloud-based disaster recovery presents a great option for companies that want a powerful and integrated disaster recovery plan. The cloud puts enterprise-level disaster recovery services within the reach Man Climbing Upward of even small and medium-sized businesses. 

DRaaS provides a secondary site for failover from the primary data center. The geographical diversity of cloud gives it an advantage over using a physical location for recovery. With some DRaaS offerings, continuous replication of data and applications makes recovery possible in minutes instead of hours. 

DRaaS is poised to become one of the more popular cloud services. WhaTech, a global information technology resource, predicted that the global DRaaS market will grow at a compound annual rate of 42.1% from 2017 to 2024. 

2) Using Cloud for IoT 

Adoption of the internet of things (IoT) has been increasing because it allows companies to monitor and maintain equipment and improve business processes using connected devices. To get the most value out of IoT, organizations must use the data gathered by sensors to anticipate problems and make better decisions.  

Now cloud platforms are being developed to provide secure and fast connections between IoT devices. The cloud can be used to gather, process, and analyze IoT data for valuable insights.  

The high-speed connectivity potential of cloud is crucial for IoT use cases, particularly in the health care industry. IoT devices are used to monitor vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Data needs to be accessible to a treatment team in real time so they can make diagnoses and react in an emergency. 

3) Cloud for Application Development 

To stay competitive and profitable, companies need to innovate by developing new applications. Companies are starting to recognize that the cloud provides an ideal environment for developing and testing applications. Temporary environments can be created in public cloud so DevOps can be conducted without disrupting production. Once testing has been completed, the environment can be dismantled simply by scaling back down. 

The cloud gives developers greater control over the process of provisioning infrastructure. Developers can speed applications to market without cutting corners because they don’t have to jump through hoops to get access to resources. The cloud can also be used to automate development processes so they are easily repeatable. 

4) The Growing Popularity of Hybrid Cloud 

The 2017 RightScale State of the Cloud Report found that 67% of companies are using hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is a popular cloud model because of its versatility.  

Organizations can take advantage of the added security and control of a private cloud environment while reserving the public cloud for client-facing services or data archiving. Hybrid cloud also creates a perfect environment for backup and recovery by supplying an off-site data center. 

What distinguishes hybrid cloud from multi-cloud is the orchestration between the public and private cloud environments. Both types of cloud can be managed from the same interface so data from the private cloud can be ported to the public cloud. This data can then be processed by big data analytics applications that are being run there. Cloud bursting allows workloads to move from the private to the public cloud during spikes. 

5) Cognitive Computing in the Cloud 

Cloud platforms are being developed that give companies more access to the power of cognitive analytics. Cognitive applications that enable natural language processing and machine learning are available on these cloud platforms. Both structured and unstructured data can be mined for complex insights. These applications can draw associations between themes and make their own hypotheses. 

In health care, cognitive computing is needed to analyze medical scans and doctor’s notes as well as to process massive amounts of data from a patient’s medical history. This information can then be interpreted using encyclopedic knowledge of medicine. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) enabled by cognitive computing helps health care providers, educators, and lawyers do their jobs better. Complex decisions can be made about how to personalize patient treatment and student instruction based on every available piece of information. The time-consuming process of eDiscovery can be streamlined so lawyers can build a case more quickly. 

Expanding the Definition of Cloud 

The cloud is no longer thought of as merely an alternative to on-site infrastructure. Instead, cloud has become a gateway to new frontiers for your business. As technology trends such as IoT and cognitive analytics gain interest, the cloud adapts to accommodate them and make them accessible to more companies. With the help of the cloud, your business may become a disruptor in your industry. 

As an experienced cloud provider, FirstLight can help your business explore and attain your cloud computing goals. We provide a solid foundation for cloud computing by offering a fast, secure, and reliable fiber optic network.

Get the scoop on the latest trends in cloud computing. Register for the 2017 Cloud Connect Summit and save the $150 registration fee by entering code TechTalk.