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Matte Scheinker (Global) - Cloudy with a Chance of Collaboration

Over the past few years, consumers have enthusiastically embraced cloud technology, from music, movie and photo streaming to online file storage and sharing. On the other hand, businesses have so far been reticent to adopt cloud-based applications.
However, over the next year, resistance to the cloud will be fatally weakened by increasing bottom-up demand for services that will allow employees to use familiar file-sharing and syncing tools for more effective real-time collaboration with co-workers, as well as clients, partners, vendors and agencies that exist outside the company firewall. As the traditional 9-5, desk-based workday becomes as obsolete as the fax machine, companies will need to enable employees to work from any location across multiple devices, from desktop and laptop to tablet and mobile phone.

The trend for Fortune 500 companies abandoning legacy infrastructure in favor of cloud solutions will grow exponentially in 2013, making it the year of the consumerization of IT. Of course, the age of online collaboration isn't without risk. Technology research company Gartner predicts that increased use of mobile collaboration apps will result in 40% of enterprise contact information leaking into Facebook by 2017. They also predict that malware will compromise bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices and firms will therefore block or restrict BYOD access for those not compliant with internal policies.

The lesson to be learned from these dire predictions is simple: enterprise adoption of consumer-facing products and practices is inevitable, so IT leaders must embrace it and ensure they are prepared to face the challenges. Companies will have to develop internal policies for employee collaboration and partner with providers that can provide the most secure and reliable cloud services to meet their needs. Solid guidelines and employee education on BYOD best practices are also crucial.

The up-side of all this is that simple, easy-to-use solutions for collaboration, sharing and mobile access will enable employees to work more effectively, more creatively and more often using familiar tools and services. Though 2013 will be the year of the cloud, the outlook for enterprise is increasingly bright.


By Matte Scheinker, Chief Product Officer, YouSendIt

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