What Personal Cloud Means for Consumers And Enterprises

Driven by IT consumerization and the ever growing number of personal end-points, the personal cloud is starting to make its presence known. Already users are demanding that their data, files, personalization settings, and even applications have the capability to travel with them. Columnist Bill Kleyman explores this emerging trend.

Data Center Knowledge

September 10, 2013

4 Min Read
cloud storage

The evolution of cloud computing may include a new concept, the personal cloud, which is correlated to a user, rather than an enterprise.

As the IT infrastructure continues to evolve, a new type of data delivery platform will begin to rise. Driven by IT consumerization and the ever growing number of personal end-points, the personal cloud will start to make its presence known.

Here is the reality, with so much emphasis on the end-user and services delivery – above very many other platforms - this is the year of the personal cloud. Not yet an established name, already users are demanding that their data, files, personalization settings, and even applications have the capability to travel with them.

Cloud, virtualization and consumer technology vendors are working hard to find a way to make hardware, operating systems and even location a non-issue. Already, we have technologies like Citrix's XenMobile, which aims to both lock down and empower the end-user. From the cloud’s perspective, we have large data centers and cloud providers like Amazon and Google which are quickly trying to become your “everything-as-a-service” host.

We already have a lot of cloud models out there. In reality, the future of the cloud will heavily rely on good connectivity methods, open APIs, stack-based platforms and the ability to deliver services quickly. Still, within the overall cloud definition, we will have smaller subsets which focus on specific delivery methodologies. In the world of cloud technologies aimed at the end-user, there really are two major levels:

Corporate Cloud

From a management perspective, organizations may one day suffer from cloud sprawl. We’ve seen it with servers, virtual machines, and now it’s happening with the cloud. Moving forward, single-pane of glass management solutions will allow organizations to unify their cloud platform and even enhance delivery. So, what does this mean for the organization?

  • Controlled data delivery to various end-points.

  • Granular device interrogation abilities.

  • Advanced data loss prevention (DLP) engines.

  • Visibility into how data is flowing into and out of the environment.

  • Complete information centralization with managed delivery options.

  • Mobile/Enterprise Device Management (MDM/EDM) capabilities.

We can’t stop IT consumerization. We also can’t stop the growing number of data points and information that is becoming available. Finally, organizations can no longer restrict users based on devices or where they are accessing their data from. The shift has changed to empowering the end-user through intelligent corporate cloud control methods. Unless the device is corporate owned – why take ownership of it? The corporate cloud delivers data, applications and services via a secure app or connection down to the end-user device. When the user is no longer with the company – only the data is de-provisioned. The device once again becomes just a user end-point .

Personal Cloud

From a consumer perspective, cloud computing is a powerhouse when it comes to delivering data. Many users don’t really understand just how complex and secure some cloud solutions can be. Moving forward, vendors will be developing cloud solutions which will “virtualize” the user and upload their personality into the cloud. It’ll be secure, completely private, and create an extremely smooth computing experience. By creating that user layer, vendors can manage how the end-points process information and where it’s being set. How does this benefit the typical user?

  • Enjoy the same experience regardless of hardware device or OS.

  • Deploy new devices in seconds by downloading all of your settings, files and personalization information.

  • Know that if a device is lost, remote wipe capabilities are available and that the data is safe.

  • Intelligent personal cloud security will scan the connection as well as the end-point, see if it’s secure and always deliver data over a secured connection.

There needs to be a shift in thinking as far as how the typical user interacts with his or her corporate data. Many organizations are much more flexible with an  employee's work schedule, which means that work and life are more interspersed. This also means that a user is going to be accessing information from personal devices to stay productive. Instead of restricting him or her to only a few approved devices – organizations can now control their data and interface with personal devices and the personal cloud.

There’s no doubt that these technologies will continue to grow. Even now, the average user may be utilizing 3-4 devices to access corporate data. This new type of cloud model can have benefits for organizations, users and cloud vendors. As more devices join the cloud, there will be requirements for more infrastructure, more management and of course – more security.

Corporations will strive to not only control their cloud presence, but also ensure that it’s retaining the maximum ROI. For the user, it comes down to ease-of-use and a positive computing experience. Personal cloud technologies can already be seen with corporate-controlled platforms like DataNow and Sharefile. Now, imagine these same platforms but, with more user settings, and greater delivery capabilities. This may be simple resource like email or more complex workloads like entire desktops. Regardless of the delivery method, one thing is certainly clear: there are more devices, more data, and a greater need to access everything from anywhere.

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