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What will define the cloud in 2024?

Image: Adobe Stock / Ar_TH

Neil Templeton, Senior Vice President at Console Connect, lays out his predictions for the key cloud computing trends set to influence 2024.

2023 witnessed a remarkable shift in the cloud computing sphere, with the adoption of AI technology at the forefront of this transformation. As companies strive to remain competitive, they have had to contend with a multitude of challenges, including economic uncertainties and the need to comply with an ever-changing regulatory framework surrounding security and privacy.  As a result, businesses are now more reliant on cloud computing to help them overcome these challenges.

To thrive in this changing landscape and to help capitalise on future opportunities, here are the major cloud computing trends for 2024 and beyond. 

1. Significant increase in cloud spending 

Based on current trends, it is highly likely that 2024 will witness a massive surge in the growth of cloud computing infrastructure. One of the factors driving this growth is the implementation of generative AI applications, such as Open AI’s Chat GPT and Google’s Bard. 

Consequently, we are going to see an equally large spending growth by organisations moving their mission-critical applications into the cloud so that most, if not all, of their operations will co-exist within a multi-cloud infrastructure. This migration will make companies more agile, innovative, and efficient. Nevertheless, transporting large volumes of data to and from cloud environments poses significant challenges surrounding data protection and security. This issue is heightened when utilising the public internet. Consequently, a boost in demand for private connectivity solutions is predicted. 

2. Streamlined network solutions 

As businesses increasingly adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, there is a growing need to connect different cloud environments seamlessly and efficiently. The integration process can be complex and expensive – further complicated by issues of data governance and security. 

For that reason, large companies will start to explore how they can simplify their network infrastructure to eliminate wasteful resources while maintaining high-speed performance and connectivity. To meet this demand, Software Defined Cloud Interconnection (SDCI) and Network as a Service (NaaS) have emerged as popular solutions. These services provide a secure and private network that can be monitored and maintained on behalf of a business – simplifying the process of managing multi-cloud services through a single management portal.  

3. Artificial Intelligence as a service model 

AI is a hot topic in the world of cloud computing right now and looking into 2024, it is likely that AI will mature to a point where it is no longer a concept, but a fully-fledged reality. 

Every organisation is now asking the same question, which is how they can embed these AI applications into their operations. However, because AI demands vast amounts of data and computing power, we are going to see a surge in AI as a Service (AIaaS) whereby businesses who don’t have the resources or technological expertise can access AI tools through a cloud provider. For AI to reach its maximum potential, fast speed, and high-quality networks are essential. Consequently, businesses may need to reconsider their current networks. 

4. Enhanced AI governance 

New and stricter regulations governing the use of AI are expected to come into effect worldwide in 2024. More countries are taking steps to secure their digital borders. One of the most significant regulations to adopt this year will be the EU’s AI Act. Specifically designed to address the risks of AI governance, the act outlines a series of requirements that intend to safeguard, “the health, safety, and fundamental rights of EU citizens and beyond,” and is expected to have a significant impact worldwide.

Keeping abreast of this evolving regulatory landscape is going to be challenging, to say the least, and the understanding of localisation of data within the boundaries of jurisdictions is becoming a top priority. As the amount of data continues to rapidly increase, and with data sources being spread out across multiple locations, companies must manage the movement of their data. Failure to keep their networks secure may result in vulnerabilities being exposed. 

5. Securing and safeguarding data privacy 

It is clear that in 2024, security will become a top priority for everyone. Data breaches have become a matter of when, not if. Cyberattacks will increase over the next few years, especially with hackers deploying AI-powered tactics to get to your data.

The protection of personal data will be another major concern, perhaps the major concern, and businesses will need to carefully assess the security and resilience of their network infrastructure. This will determine whether they should start the transition to a private network connection. To put it simply: if you are connecting over the public internet, you are at risk of being exposed. 

6. Pay-As-You-Go NaaSproviders  

It is not surprising that cloud costs will remain high in 2024 and beyond. This could pose a problem for businesses that extract large amounts of data from the cloud and end up with unexpectedly high bills. These costs – called egress charges – are how the major cloud providers make most of their money, and they can be massive.

At some point, however, these cloud providers will have to start listening to their customers’ concerns about these ‘hidden’ fees. It will be an interesting conversation. Meanwhile, as more businesses seek to save money, it makes sense to look at Direct Connection services and Pay-As-You-Go models offered by NaaS providers. With this service, you only pay for the network services you use. This means that you can adjust private connections to meet the needs of your different workloads. As a result, you can reduce capital expenditures and focus more time on your core business activities. 

7. Confronting the skills shortage dilemma 

While businesses will rush to implement AI technology across their network infrastructure in 2024, the journey toward an automated future may not be as straightforward as it appears. It requires a highly skilled workforce capable of managing and monitoring multiple data assets and extracting meaningful insights from them.

The current market is marked by an overwhelming demand for proficient data analysts and experts in AI model training. However, the number of individuals with these skills is dwindling, with the situation becoming increasingly severe. Key sectors, namely, finance, retail, healthcare and telecommunications, are grappling with a shortage of competent data scientists, data analysts and software developers to fully capitalise on the potential of AI. 

Given this skills gap, a growing number of organisations are pivoting towards managed services solutions. By outsourcing all aspects of their operations to a team of technical experts, businesses can alleviate concerns about security, connectivity and data privacy issues. Furthermore, such an approach eliminates the need for companies to undertake a significant overhaul of their existing infrastructure to improve their AI performance. Instead, they can take advantage of the plug-in-and-play functionality offered by managed services solutions – an increasingly attractive proposition in the current landscape. 

Neil Templeton
Neil Templeton
Senior Vice President at Console Connect

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