1. Improve Security in the Cloud
From Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader to Apple’s integrated cloud allowing extensive Mac device communication, even the most casual user is aware of the power of the cloud. Small and medium sized businesses are slowly adopting cloud hosting in even the most staid markets. Major enterprise cloud solutions have been in development for years and are being deployed at a high rate.
But the security aspects of the cloud are still being worked on.
Many suggest that hackers are focused on big potential breaches in cloud security. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for hosting companies offering cloud products to anticipate weaknesses in cloud security and address those aggressively.
Customers are also becoming savvier with respect to potential security issues connected with the cloud. As a result, hosting companies are developing stronger communications around this issue in the form of copy, collateral, and training for their sales teams. The need to fight malware and abuse is a major theme affecting all kinds of hosting companies, not just the cloud hosts. Continuing investments and upgrades in this area remains a major theme for hosting companies.
2. Increased Differentiation Among Cloud Providers
The last few years have seen hosts focused in on providing infrastructure needed to support cloud hosting* and rolling out basic services.
In the coming year, prices are likely to increase as providers layer differentiation and additional services on top of existing hosting plans. An important trend is the degree to which individual providers are able to do so in an automated way that minimizes the need for human intervention. The more automated this process is, the higher margins will be on individual accounts. As a consumer, it’s helpful to understand how efficient your potential host’s processes are in this respect – it will save you tremendous amounts of aggravation when an issue does occur.
In addition, cloud providers seeking differentiation will need to find other avenues for communicating their advantages to customers. Quality customer service is important, but it’s not enough. Instead, cloud hosting providers need to find real points of differentiation and market those effectively. 2012 so far has proved a big year for marketing spending in the hosting industry, and this is likely to continue as hosting companies work to educate the public. Differentiation is especially key as cloud hosting companies compete against Amazon, which has to a certain degree commoditized cloud services.
3. Increased Reseller Activity And Partnerships
As more big players like Amazon and others move in to the hosting field, it’s growing increasingly important for smaller players to have strong partnerships. Affiliate and reseller relationships are becoming a mainstay of how these businesses profit, as a number of small to medium sized hosting companies become bundlers for the specific services packages needed by small business users and online companies.
Competitive pricing, niche specific approaches, and stellar service will all play a key role in how this growing class of middlemen continues to evolve. Some speculate about whether hosting companies will actually phase out their own infrastructure altogether in favor of acting as straight resellers with lower infrastructure costs and therefore higher margins for Amazon and other larger players.