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Expert suggests the future of apps will be like Facebook

Facebook's social platform may have lessons for cloud software developers.

Having recently hit the 1 billion user milestone mark, Facebook was recently recognized for its impact on the general populous. That impact may also expand into cloud application development. In fact, there are plenty of valuable things that developers may learn from the social media giant.

TechTarget editorial director Scot Peterson explained that adopting software solutions based around social collaboration could yield significant results for business operations. And the cloud is well positioned to enable that kind of approach. Peterson painted a picture of an office in which projects also incorporate tracking tools so that workers can locate subject matter experts within an organization. In other words, geotagging for the office.

Peterson's vision goes beyond tracking project managers and experts. The social collaboration platform would better integrate project management so that teams can easily come together when their job functions intersect. With applications that utilize cloud storage, that idea is possible, but there are some challenges to overcome first.

"The benefits of moving to the cloud are now impossible to ignore," Peterson wrote. "Some experts argue that forces like Amazon.com will push all computing into the cloud. Others debate that notion rather strenuously. The reality of the situation is that both extremes are correct. However bright the vision, ubiquitous, socially enabled cloud applications are still far from reality."

Another challenge highlighted by Peterson is figuring out how to move a large volume of applications and other digital assets from on-premise systems to the cloud in a cost effective manner. This can be further complicated for companies that haven't fully decided whether they want to move all of their applications to the cloud or only some of them. Peterson also noted that companies can begin making the shift by adding cloud services to handle specific processes, which would require a less disruptive shift within an organization.

Although many organizations have been hesitant to adopt cloud solutions, especially for mission-critical data, some of the old barriers between businesses and the cloud have begun dissipating.

Traditional barriers coming down
The issue of cloud security often comes up when businesses start fleshing out implementation strategies. It's still important for cloud storage companies to answer the question of whether their service affords enough security to protect digital assets. However, that question is becoming less of a concern, as Channelnomics writer Chris Gonsalves recently noted. In fact, the cloud has become a security enabler for many organizations.

"Security concerns about the cloud are no longer the decisive criterion when considering the technology," Gonsalves wrote. "Where companies do see a need to better control their IT assets through a private or hybrid cloud initiative, enterprises are increasingly seeking the counsel of cloud service providers to fulfill their security requirements and agree on SLAs."

In addition, Gonsalves noted, companies are increasingly looking for value in areas outside the scope of security. Heike Auerbach of systems integration company T-Systems said businesses are starting to look for long-term partnerships with cloud service providers in order to assess cloud readiness. Such partnerships also enable businesses to form comprehensive plans for how to migrate legacy applications to the cloud and optimize services according to a company's specific needs.

As the trend toward building partnerships suggests, it is becoming increasingly difficult for any single business to optimize their software and hardware services. This gives an advantage to service providers that are able to provide guidance for their customers – not only guidance in regard to their services, but also how those solutions can be best optimized alongside the customer's existing technology.