We are living in a pivotal period for tools such as cloud computing. Although very few IT trends have a distinct date of origin, the “mid-2010s” will be an inflection point for computing; just as the late 1980s are considered the beginning shift from centralised to personal computers, and the late 1990s is classified as the “rise of the Internet.”

With that being said, I’d like to share my predictions for cloud computing, particularly among enterprise organisations, for 2014:

Hybrid Models Will Become Commonplace

Over the past few years, IT and Operations departments alike have debated whether to keep computing on-premises or shift to the cloud, and 2014 is where the debate will end. However, this won’t happen with a bang; it will be with a whimper. Very few organisations are willing and able to commit to an all-cloud model, especially at an enterprise level, and that will often end the debate.

According to a recent study from IDC, by 2020 approximately 80 percent of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will still have greater than 50 percent of their IT onsite. Reasons may vary between security concerns, costs, logistics, or even end-user adoption. However, this initially low adoption rate will lead to the discussion of a co-existence model.

IT is a large investment that many organisations have made, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to make such a startling transition. Of course, market conditions already demand that they put more into the cloud. End-users, customers, partners, and other groups will ultimately force businesses to adopt a hybrid model, with data existing where it is most accessible by those that need it.

Security Breaches Will Continue

It’s unpleasant to think about; but as cloud computing increases and data leaves organisational boundaries, more breaches will happen. Even more unpleasant is the fact that many of these breaches aren’t even intentional. Forrester Research found that nearly half of all data breaches in 2013 were accidental in nature.

In 2014, organisations will begin to think about how to contain and minimize data loss, and respond quicker. This also means that more IT roles will have a security component added to their job function. Support analysts, application administrators, infrastructure engineers, and many other roles will become front-line support to incidents rather than relying on a dedicated security or incident response team.

Collaboration Will Dominate

While it’s simple to make a statement about something already occurring, my prediction is more focused on internal collaboration. Many organisations have silos for their various departments, and these silos will be eliminated due to heightened security concerns. Internal pressures, as well as publicised events that have already taken place, will cause previously separate groups to work together; and increased collaboration via documents and data will be a result.

Mobile First

Recent reports indicate that a majority of emails are now initially accessed on a mobile device. This trend will carry over to other collaboration artifacts, such as documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. And with this shift to more content access on mobile platforms, organisations will be forced to be mindful of this when communicating, both internally and externally. New tools will be necessary for not only content creation and management, but also newfound content security needs.