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2020 Cloud Market Predictions: The Future Looks Bright

2020 Cloud Market Predictions: The Future Looks Bright

By Mark Kirstein, Vice President, Products at BitTitan

For many people, the New Year is a time for reflection on the year gone by and an opportunity for renewed commitment to progress and goals. The same is true for businesses. As we embark on a new year and a new decade, many businesses are trying to anticipate where the market is headed so they can make strategic plans that will result in success.

Many things could influence market conditions around the world this year, from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, to the U.S. – China trade war, to the U.S. presidential election. While the U.S. surplus in exported services is shrinking overall, this trend is not expected to have a negative impact on the cloud services sector. Read on for our top six predictions for the cloud market in 2020.

  1. SaaS growth will continue

Currently, the cloud is a $200 billion market, yet overall IT spending is in the trillions of dollars. This means that spending for on-premises (on-prem) software and services remains strong. Is this a bad sign for the cloud market? Absolutely not. We anticipate the global cloud services market for 2020 to continue to grow in excess of 20 percent. Many organizations are moving to the cloud in stages and there are several factors that will keep migration in forward motion. These include increased confidence in and reliance on cloud services, the phase-out of on-prem software like Microsoft Exchange 2010, and continued aging of hardware and infrastructure. While we expect most companies to make conservative spending decisions in 2020, decisions related to the cloud are fundamental to operations, particularly for global companies, and not as likely to be put on the back burner. We will see continued innovation of SaaS services and offerings, coupled with organizations migrating closer to an “all-in” adoption of the cloud. There is a lot of opportunity ahead for SaaS.

  1. Cloud-to-cloud migrations will continue to rise

While companies are continuing to migrate from on-prem to the cloud, we expect to see a continued uptick in cloud-to-cloud migrations as more companies devote attention to optimizing their cloud footprint. Currently, a majority of BitTitan’s business is cloud-to-cloud migrations. The historical concerns of cloud security, reliability, quality, and SaaS-feature parity have largely been addressed, but companies are continually searching for the provider that can deliver the most value for their IT dollars. Businesses want the ability to move their data while avoiding the perils of vendor lock-in. Furthermore, maintaining a multi-cloud environment allows companies to better manage business risks.

  1. The use of containers will increase

Containerization, which packages up software code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably and can be moved from one computing environment to another, has achieved mainstream adoption and will continue to be a strong market segment in 2020. Containers offer a great deal of flexibility and reduce the risks for companies moving to the cloud. They reduce infrastructure costs, accelerate and simplify the development process, result in higher quality and reliability, and reduce complexity for deployments. Containers also aid in cloud-to-cloud migrations. Businesses that use containers can easily run them on Google Cloud today and switch to other platforms like Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) tomorrow without complex reconfiguration and testing. This allows businesses the freedom to shop for the right cloud environment. This is one of the reasons the container market is growing at a rate of more than 40 percent, and we expect that growth will continue.

  1. Microsoft and Google will seize market share from AWS

Of the top three public cloud providers today, AWS was first to market and has enjoyed a considerable lead in market share. AWS has been particularly appealing for companies that want to provide “born in the cloud” services. But in 2020, we expect the two other top public cloud vendors – Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – to make significant inroads and take market share away from AWS. Part of this is simple math: With such a big slice of the market, it will be hard for AWS to maintain its rate of growth. And the competition is getting stiffer. Microsoft is doing a great job of appealing to enterprises who are grappling with legacy infrastructure. Google also is making significant investments in its cloud computing unit. Its technology is already very good and easy to use, which will make Google a force to be reckoned with. Another trend we are likely to see is that smaller public cloud vendors will drop out or choose to focus their business on the private cloud infrastructure market, where they are more likely to excel.

  1. The market will expand and consolidate

As the cloud market grows, the ecosystem will expand with the types of solutions and capabilities to manage and streamline, increasing the value of investments in the cloud. On average, companies using cloud technologies are using five different cloud platforms. We will continue to see new and improved offerings to help companies assess, monitor, and manage their cloud footprints to reduce costs and improve security. As new, compelling cloud solutions enter the market, we are likely to see more consolidation, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google continuing to acquire new solutions to enhance their own offerings.

  1. 5G will usher in the next level of cloud adoption globally

Recently, Ericsson Mobility predicted that there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions by 2023 and they’ll account for almost 20 percent of the entire global mobile data traffic.[1] Besides the massive increase in speed provided by 5G technology, it also comes with a remarkable decrease in latency. While 3G networks had a latency of nearly 100 milliseconds, that of 4G is about 30 milliseconds, and the latency for 5G will be as low as 1 millisecond, which most people will perceive to be nearly instant. With this type of performance, we believe that cloud-based services will become more reliable and efficient. Not only that, but 5G may also accelerate cloud adoption in countries that are lacking wired infrastructure today.

Without a crystal ball, there is no way to know for sure what the market landscape will look like in the coming months. But by analyzing recent trends and considering their implications for the future, companies can take a forward-looking approach that will position them to stay ahead of the curve and be ready to seize opportunity as it arises. This year is looking bright for the cloud.

Bio

Mark Kirstein is the vice president of products at BitTitan, leading product development and product management teams for the company’s SaaS solutions. Prior to BitTitan, Mark served as the senior director of product management for the mobile enterprise software division of Motorola Solutions, continuing in that capacity following its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2014. Mark has over two decades of experience overseeing product strategy, development, and go-to-market initiatives.

When not on the road coaching his daughter’s softball team, Mark enjoys spending time outdoors and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University.

[1]How 5G will Accelerate Cloud Business Investment,” Compare the Cloud.net. Retrieved December 17, 2019.

Why Exchange 2010 Users Can’t Afford to Delay Their Software Upgrades – and How MSPs Can Help

By David Mills, Director of Product Management, BitTitan

It’s been a decade since the 2009 release of Exchange Server 2010, which means the lifecycle for this Microsoft product is soon coming to an end. Originally scheduled for January 14, 2020, Microsoft recently extended the end-of-support date to October 13, 2020. This may be welcomed news for businesses still relying on Exchange 2010, but it should also serve as a wake-up call: The time to upgrade is now.

In announcing the end-of-support deadline extension, Microsoft stated it was doing so “to give Exchange 2010 customers more time to complete their migrations.” These migrations require a considerable amount of time and planning to successfully deploy and complete – and keeping the project on schedule is a task within itself. Businesses should not delay their upgrades, as there are serious ramifications, and Microsoft will not extend the deadline again.

This is where it is critical for managed service providers and IT professionals to step in and advise their clients of the necessary upgrades they need to make. Doing so is win-win for IT pros and their clients, as it builds trust, ensures the health of a customer’s business remains strong and enables the continued business growth for all parties.

The Potential Risks

So, what are the risks businesses face if they don’t upgrade their software? There are quite a few. During a product’s lifecycle, Microsoft provides a substantial number of new features, bug fixes and security updates. Once the end-of-support deadline passes, Exchange 2010 users will not receive technical support from Microsoft for issues that may occur. They will not receive bug fixes for issues that arise that affect the usability of their server. They won’t receive security patches for vulnerabilities that are found. These businesses will face an increased risk of data breaches and malicious cyberattacks. In addition, depending on the compliance regulations of their industry, these businesses may become liable to legal issues for falling out of compliance.

It’s a harrowing outlook, but the good news is there are practical courses of action businesses can take to remedy their situation.

The Most Viable Solutions

Primarily, there are two options that are most ideal for organizations looking to upgrade. For those considering a full transition to cloud technologies, a fitting course of action may be an upgrade to Exchange Online/Office 365. Taking this approach is typically the most reliable and ensures that users will receive regular software updates from Microsoft. End users will have the latest feature enhancements provided in the cloud Office suite. From Microsoft’s perspective, this is likely the preferred route, though subscribers must be vigilant of price increases.

However, not all businesses are ready to abandon on-premises systems just yet. For those that require on-prem hardware, upgrading to Exchange Server 2016 or 2019 may be the way to go. This option offers businesses more control over their email data, as well as a breadth of backup and recovery options for their workplace systems. It must be noted that when pursuing this option, businesses migrating from Exchange 2010 must conduct a “double-hop” migration when moving data to Exchange 2019, and first migrate to Exchange 2013 or 2016. This can seem like a tedious step to add to an already complex process. Employing a third-party migration tool – such as BitTitan’s MigrationWiz – can eliminate this step and afford the ability to migrate directly to Exchange 2019.

Taking a Broader Approach

There is another wrinkle as to why now is an important time to facilitate migrations for customers: Exchange 2010 isn’t the only product that Microsoft will no longer support in 2020. An end-of-life deadline is set for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Nine months later, Microsoft will discontinue support for both SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010 on October 13, 2020. That’s a considerable number of products reaching their lifecycle end in a short amount of time – and it creates an opportune timeframe for MSPs to potentially bundle migration projects for customers.

MSPs and IT pros can delve into larger workplace upgrades and digital enhancements for clients. They can potentially explore overseeing multiple upgrades for these products at once and ensure that a stable and secure workplace plan is established for the long term.

For IT pros and their clients, staying on top of the end-of-support date goes beyond simply upgrading software. By not making the necessary upgrades, the health and well-being of a customer’s business is at stake. Making sure clients are running software and relying on workplace systems that are appropriately upgraded, secure and compliant eliminates these threats and vulnerabilities. It ensures that business for both IT pros and their clients continues to successfully hum along.

Bio

David Mills is Director of Product Management at BitTitan, driving product strategy, defining product roadmaps and ensuring customer success. David is an experienced product management leader with more than two decades of industry experience. Prior to BitTitan, he worked as a principal consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a product manager at Microsoft and director of product management at Avanade. His areas of expertise include product planning, cloud infrastructure and applications, and marketing communication.

Overcome Teams Migration Challenges with Agility and the Right Tools

By David Mills, Director of Product Management, BitTitan

In the unified communications market, Microsoft Teams has proven to be a dominant player, with adoption rates surging. In July, Microsoft reported that Teams has reached 13 million daily active users to outpace rival platforms. By comparison, its primary competitor, Slack, recently reported 12 million daily active users.

Further fueling Teams’ success is the year-over-year increase of activity in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market. In a report on 2019 M&A trends from Deloitte, industry experts from corporate and private-equity organizations overwhelmingly predict a sustained increase in M&A deals over the next 12 months. Considering Microsoft’s strong market presence with Office 365 products and services – particularly among larger organizations – this M&A activity is likely to increase adoption of Teams when smaller companies migrate from other platforms. And this increased activity of merging and separating businesses is driving the need for Teams migration projects.

However, a multitude of hurdles exist, as vendors and businesses are searching for an ideal solution to handle Teams migrations. So, what specifically are the difficulties standing in the way?

Three Challenges

The first challenge facing MSPs and IT professionals is that Microsoft has yet to release full fidelity for its Teams migration API, so IT pros must rely on what’s available via Microsoft’s Graph API and SharePoint API. This is not ideal because these solutions need further refinement to enable seamless and efficient Teams migrations.

The second challenge surrounds the complexity of Teams, as the platform is comprised of many individual components, such as Teams, channels, conversations and user permissions. All these parts need to be migrated in the proper sequence, along with the underlying SharePoint site and folder structure.

Finally, when conducting a Teams migration in a merger scenario, it is not uncommon to encounter Teams or channels that have the same names or username conflicts. These issues can present migration problems that can lead to extended downtime for your users or customer. It is important that MSPs and IT professionals be aware of these challenges before beginning a Teams migration. A little planning will help avoid obstacles and ensure a successful migration.

Solutions on the Market

As MSPs and IT professionals search for the ideal Teams migration tool, there are a few important requirements to consider. First, look for a tool that has the scalability to move an abundance of files and handle large workloads. Given the complex nature of Teams, migration tools must also provide flexibility. Many companies are increasingly wanting to conduct partial migrations and restrict the movement of specific files during a migration, deviating from the normal “lift-and-shift” approach.

Reliable solutions for Teams migrations are becoming available on the market. Earlier this year, BitTitan added Teams migration capabilities to MigrationWiz, its 100-percent SaaS solution for mailbox, document and public-folder migrations. These capabilities enable MSPs and IT professionals to migrate Teams instances and their individual components, including Teams, channels, conversations and permissions. MSPs and IT pros can leverage MigrationWiz to conduct a pre-migration assessment to better gauge the timeline of a Teams migration, the number of required licenses and an overall estimate of the project scope and cost.

BitTitan continues to release Teams migration enhancements that allow MSPs and IT pros more flexibility when conducting Teams migrations. These updates offer MSPs and IT pros some compelling capabilities, including the ability to:

  • Rename Teams in bulk from the Source to the Destination to avoid file-name duplication and username conflict.
  • Exclude guest accounts from the overall assessment count.
  • Move conversation history to the Destination while maintaining similar formatting from the Source.
  • Support Teams instances of U.S. government tenants. This is a crucial sector of the market that requires careful and calculated action when conducting migrations to ensure compliance and security regulations are met.

The new Teams migration features are the result of soliciting partner feedback on how to best meet their needs, with more updates to come soon.

“BitTitan really stepped up for this project,” said Chuck McBride, founder of Forsyte IT Solutions. “We looked at several other solutions, but when we scoped the size of the project and workloads, BitTitan brought us the best option for everything we wanted to do.”

Adopting an Agile Approach to Teams

With the absence of a full-fidelity API from Microsoft, MSPs and IT professionals continue to refine the process for migrating Teams to deliver the most seamless migration possible. As updates and enhancements continue to roll out, MSPs and IT pros must adopt an agile approach to continually meet the evolving needs of users and customers, and ensure they’re leveraging the most current APIs for migrations.

By assessing the landscape up front, leveraging available tools and maintaining an agile approach, MSPs and IT pros will position themselves to successfully meet the growing demand around Teams migrations – and they’ll be well-positioned to address the challenges that arise.

Bio
David Mills is Director of Product Management at BitTitan, driving product strategy, defining product roadmaps and ensuring customer success. David is an experienced product management leader with more than two decades of industry experience. Prior to BitTitan, he worked as a principal consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a product manager at Microsoft and director of product management at Avanade. His areas of expertise include product planning, cloud infrastructure and applications, and marketing communication.

Seamless Tenant-to-Tenant Migrations Through Coexistence

By Kelsey Epps, Senior Technical Partner Strategist, BitTitan

There’s no question that businesses have adopted the cloud, big-time. In fact, Reuters reports that Microsoft has been shifting its reliance from the Windows operating system toward selling cloud-based services. Revenues have topped $1 trillion as the software giant predicts even more cloud growth.

Now that businesses have moved so many of their key workloads out of on-premises servers and shifted them into the cloud, the great wave of on-prem-to-cloud migrations is past its peak. With the cloud so well-entrenched, IT departments and service providers are being asked more and more to migrate workloads from one cloud instance to another. There are a variety of business reasons for making such a move, whether it’s employee preferences for a given software stack, realigning contracts, or utilizing APIs that are a better business fit.

It would seem that once a set of workloads is in the cloud, moving them to another cloud instance should be a straightforward process. However, ensuring business continuity through a cloud-to-cloud migration is every bit as tricky as an on-prem-to-cloud move.

In fact, now that workers are enjoying the work-from-anywhere access that the cloud provides, they may even be less tolerant or forgiving of any interruption in their user experience. When workers expect uninterrupted data access and seamless collaboration through the transition, the “Big Bang” approach of migrating everything in a single sequence, user-by-user or workload-by-workload until the job is done is rarely an option. Organizations are increasingly turning to a batched approach with their migrations, which targets specific groups or departments to migrate at the most opportune times.

This approach offers many benefits, but also its own challenges, because when a batched approach is taken, end users will exist on both the Source and Destination. This is where tenant-to-tenant coexistence comes into play to help facilitate the move.

Tenant-to-tenant migrations defined

A tenant-to-tenant (T2T) migration is a form of cloud-to-cloud migration where the Source and Destination applications are the same; the move is from one instance of the applications to another instance of the same applications. In the case of Office 365, the scope of applications and supporting data typically includes mailboxes, personal archives or personal storage tables (PST files), OneDrive or SharePoint files, and of course, the data files associated with the various Office 365 applications.

Migrating a business (or a subset of one) is a challenge because of the heavy reliance on email communications and calendars. Users have no way of knowing who among their coworkers have migrated to the Destination and who have yet to do so.

What is the impact of this? Emails bounce back to the sender or pile up in a mailbox that’s no longer accessible. Meeting invites are missed, or users are erroneously double-booked because the free/busy information associated with their calendars is no longer available to all users, as some are still working from the Source and others from the Destination. These obstacles work against the primary goal that the IT team brings to any migration: to make the whole process seamless and essentially invisible to the users.

Continuous collaboration through coexistence

Coexistence is a migration technique that gets around the synchronization problems and keeps users happily working and collaborating with each other even though they’re being migrated at different times. When a migration is the result of a merger, acquisition or divestiture, an entire organization, department or division is moving from SourceCompany.com to DestinationCompany.com. It’s the ideal scenario for taking advantage of coexistence. All one has to do is follow these easy steps:

  • First, enable organizational sharing of the Office 365 tenants. For all users to be migrated, create mail-enabled contacts on the Destination that resolve to each individual’s mailbox on the Source.
  • As you migrate each user, remove the mail-enabled contact from the Destination. Create an Office 365-licensed user account to establish the new mailbox, with a forward that points back to the Source mailbox. This allows the user to keep working in the Source mailbox. Migrate the mailbox items from the Source to the Destination.
  • Finally, after you migrate each user, remove the forward on the Destination mailbox. On the Source, you can remove the mailbox and replace it with a mail-enabled contact that points to the Destination mailbox. Or, keep the mailbox in place and forward to the new Destination.

Plan ahead for swift execution

Coexistence is an effective technique, especially if you combine it with selective migration of older files or emails that are less likely to be needed and move them either before or after the active migration. This enables you to make the whole process quick and seamless. Put coexistence in your toolkit and use it the next time you’re faced with a tenant-to-tenant migration between domains. Of course, careful preplanning is the key — as it is with any migration.

Bio
Kelsey Epps is a senior technical partner strategist with
BitTitan. A 20-year IT industry veteran, Kelsey works with MSPs and IT specialists on the technical preplanning aspects of the most complex migrations projects.

Security Measures to Consider When Migrating to the Cloud

By Brian Wilson, Director of Information Technology, BitTitan

As more enterprises begin migrating to the cloud, the question of cybersecurity is increasingly urgent. While cloud migration offers many benefits, it’s key to understand your company’s overall goals. Security and data protection can be maintained and even enhanced by a move to the cloud, but the appropriate processes and procedures must be understood and implemented for safeguards to be effective.

Set Appropriate Goals

Problems arise if you fail to understand or adequately set your company’s cloud-migration goals. The cloud is a big amorphous term. Companies can get stuck when they find themselves in a “boiling the ocean” scenario. Migration projects must be broken down into deliverable actions with a realistic timeline.

It’s sometimes easy to assume the cloud is the panacea, especially with the cloud’s cost-cutting benefits. Cost is certainly a motivating factor, but the cloud is not a cost-cutting solution for every situation in every business. For example, an inappropriately-sized cloud environment that’s larger than a company requires will escalate costs.

It’s crucial to understand what an organization will gain in terms of flexibility, security and compliance. Most operating systems will work in the cloud, offering flexibility on the software and workloads they deploy. In addition, many cloud companies make significant investments in security, which are much bigger than what an individual company’s IT department could make.

Take a Holistic View

Fundamentally, the overall migration process remains the same, whether you’re moving from on-premises-to-cloud or cloud-to-cloud. Though in an on-prem environment, most companies are working with known systems and tool sets for security, network monitoring or mobile device management. Those existing tools might not translate to the cloud, even if fundamentally, your processes haven’t changed. It’s important to plan for having the right set of security processes and tools during a migration that presents a hybrid infrastructure, either temporarily during the migration, or as part of the ongoing architecture.

Given this, it’s vital to take a holistic view and evaluate the total environment so you can plan how to manage, monitor and secure operations within the cloud. Also, it’s important to understand that migration often brings new security responsibilities to managed service providers (MSPs) and their clients. These might include new application scanning tools, intrusion detection systems with event logging, internal firewalls for individual applications and database or data-at-rest encryption.

Though the underlying platform is the cloud provider’s provenance, it’s up to enterprises to decide how the platform will be used, what data will reside there, who will have access to it and how it will be protected. By thinking holistically about these things, you’ll be more successful in achieving the appropriate level of cybersecurity protection.

Stay Vigilant

The quest to guard against cyberthreats is never-ending. The cloud and all things associated with it are always evolving, and it’s a constant battle to stay one step ahead of the bad actors.

Therefore, companies must understand their risk profile and the level of protection they need. For example, businesses that handle personal data such as names, phone numbers, social security or credit card numbers, or medical info will likely have higher risk profiles than those who do not.

Sensitive data must be safeguarded, while appropriate employee education and procedures must be in place. The key to understanding your risk profile is to identify possible threats, and with that in mind, consider where you might be most vulnerable — both internally and externally. Use that information to drive conversations about the level of risk tolerance that is acceptable for your organization. In turn, this will define the level of investment required to minimize or mitigate any existing gaps in your risk profile.

Remember: regardless of whether data lives on-prem or in the cloud, the number-one security threat is still human error when it comes to data breaches caused by phishing attempts or ransomware. Companies should educate employees on appropriate procedures, while also leveraging their provider’s security tips and offerings. This often involves communicating risks, making security a responsibility for all staff and providing people with routine training.

Not All Data is Equal

Finally, companies should understand how to differentiate and classify sensitive and non-sensitive data. Companies can come to rely on their MSP’s abilities to automate data storage and security.

For larger corporations that may be running an Azure environment, for example, there’s greater willingness to rely on their MSPs to automate various provisioning activities. If an organization wants more control in those areas, they must be aware of their responsibility to turn those features off.

Additionally, regarding governance, companies get far greater leverage through automation methods that can facilitate application deployment, perform routine maintenance tasks to provide a level of uniformity that follows best practices and simplify compliance accreditation.

As a company considers a cloud migration, the simple edict is to understand from where you’re starting and where you ultimately hope to land — all before beginning a migration project. A clear vision of what your company wants to accomplish will ultimately determine your success. It’s a new environment that requires support from everyone involved.

Bio

Brian Wilson is the Director of Information Technology at BitTitan, where he specializes in the areas of IT strategy, roadmaps, enterprise systems and cloud/SaaS technologies. Prior to joining BitTitan, Brian worked as an executive with San Jose-based IT services company Quantum and in various IT consultant roles with Cascade Technology Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Application Group. Brian has over 25 years of experience as a senior IT executive, with an industry background that spans high technology, consulting, commercial real estate and manufacturing.

Five Emerging Trends for MSPs and IT Pros in 2019

By Mark Kirstein, Vice President of Products, BitTitan

The new year brings a wave of eagerness and ambition for innovators across industries. For IT professionals and managed service providers (MSPs), this often means setting new business goals. For instance, in 2019 MSPs or IT firms may be considering new service offerings, building a new core competency, or simply growing revenue and improving profitability.

Regardless of the goal, as part of this process, it is often helpful to think about trends surrounding the adoption of technology solutions. At BitTitan, we’ve been thinking about this and want to share our thoughts on what to expect in the coming year:

1. Cloud solution adoption makes its way through the early majority

If a company is only using on-premise technology versus cloud-based solutions, they’re likely falling behind the times.

Consider, as just one example, email hosted in the cloud. According to a recent survey from Gartner, just shy of 25 percent of public companies have made the jump to cloud email services, with adoption rates among SMBs even higher. In the coming year, we expect to see many more SMBs and enterprises alike moving to cloud-based email – the end of the early adopters and the beginning of the early majority.

Given this, MSPs and IT firms may want to do an audit of technology solutions and workstreams under their management to evaluate whether on-premise solutions would be more cost-effective if they were transitioned to the cloud.

2. Fueling the fire of cloud adoption

Remember that the enthusiasm for cloud-based solutions is being fueled by a number of factors, not just email. Consider that:

  • Many businesses have already successfully migrated email and/or other work in the cloud, boosting the confidence for those who were once wary of cloud solutions.
  • Cloud providers like Microsoft are increasing license costs and shortening support cycles of on-premise solutions, pushing businesses toward cloud alternatives. As a result, maintaining this legacy infrastructure is becoming more costly for IT.
  • Security concerns previously prevented people from moving to the cloud, but these concerns are being addressed. Cloud solutions can provide a higher level of security and are better maintained by cloud providers like Microsoft or Google through regular updates and patches to address new cyber threats. The same cannot be said for on-prem systems.

3. Customers are becoming more savvy about the cloud

While the last decade has primarily focused on why and how organizations should move to the cloud, in the next decade we’ll see more managers focused on optimizing their cloud services. Tech professionals will be sophisticated when selecting cloud providers and adopting new services.

For instance, they may take a multi-cloud approach for more flexibility and room for negotiation, helping to stave off vendor lock-in while allowing businesses to host workloads with the cloud provider that makes the most sense for specific business objectives.

As a result, managing IT environments will become more complex. Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies dominate, but department-level technology decisions are influencing an influx of SaaS solutions. These solutions can be challenging for IT teams who manage governance and ensure broader business integration. As this trend continues in 2019, MSPs will seek additional software management solutions to ease the transition and troubleshooting.

4. The market for specialists heats up

Companies will move away from generalists to tackle their cloud needs, and MSPs might consider specializing in one particular area to distinguish themselves from competitors. A wealth of user technology is available — such as container services to move applications, serverless computing, blockchain applications and automation to manage IT environments — and more specialists are necessary to effectively manage the tech field’s growing landscape.

Also, look for MSPs to further establish vertical specialties in industries such as health care or education, where speaking the end user’s language and understanding their specific ecosystem’s needs, challenges, and technical solutions gives MSPs a leg up.

5. Governance further commands attention

Another primary focus for IT in 2019 will be improved security and governance practices. For those coming from on-prem infrastructure with well-established processes, cloud governance looks far different. IT and MSPs have an opportunity to review and update these processes to ensure they’re appropriate for cloud-based systems. In addition to dictating where data is stored and for how long, governance plans also should address the availability, usability, and integrity of data.

Also, IT managers must ensure migration plans – whether to the cloud or between clouds – have security as a core tenant of its execution. Cyberthreats are only becoming more sophisticated, and any organization, regardless of size or industry, is vulnerable. Educate users about cyberthreats, and keep systems and applications up-to-date, while exploring other options to ensure all bases are covered.

Despite new challenges in 2019, the outlook for IT professionals and the service provider landscape remains strong. Technology leaders continuing to look ahead and purposefully approach the cloud will help their organizations execute on their visions in the coming year and beyond.

Bio

Mark Kirstein is the Vice President, Products at BitTitan, leading product development and product management teams for the company’s SaaS solutions. Prior to BitTitan, Mark served as the Senior Director of Product Management for the Mobile Enterprise Software division of Motorola Solutions, continuing in that capacity following its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2014. Mark has over two decades of experience overseeing product strategy, development, and go-to-market initiatives.

When not on the road coaching his daughter’s softball team, Mark enjoys spending time outdoors and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University.