The first trend is shown by a new survey on data backup and growth that indicates that businesses are more willing to try cloud computing than they had been before for the important tasks of data backup and data storage. Previously, worries about the cost of storing data in the cloud and the lack of security kept many businesses from even considering the possibility of storing their data in the cloud. But now, cloud storage is ranked even closer to the traditional methods of servers and workstations backing up to hard drives directly attached and attached via a local network. All three methods now rank in the 30-50% usage range, though, admittedly, cloud storage has the lowest usage. A side-note in that survey is the revelation that most companies today are dissatisfied with their current data backup scheme.
Secondly, companies are reporting expectations of huge data growth over the next year or two. Many expect their data storage volume to double over the next year. Along with this growth in data volumes is a new concern for the need to backup that data. The percentage of companies who say they are doing nothing about data backup has shrunk from the 10-15% range several years ago to a new low of 1-2%.
Thirdly, the much-anticipated production release of Google Drive will be happening within the next few months. Google has already taken several baby steps in setting up data storage in the cloud with Google Docs for storing specific types of documents and with Picasa, an app for storing digital photographs. Google Drive will follow in the same vein as part of the Google Apps family. It is anticipated that Google Drive will offer customers 1 gig of free storage with additional increments available for a fee. Google has already released specific Application Programming Interfaces (APIS) to developers so that current software will be able to interact easily with Google's cloud storage.
The opportunity for web hosting providers now exists to capitalize on this acceptance of data storage in the cloud as a secure efficient business practice. Web hosting providers would be wise to compete with Google Drive in the area of cloud storage by adding additional services and paid support rather than competing on price and the amount of storage provided for free.
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