The cloud has allowed for widespread change in the business world as hardware management shifts from being the responsibility of internal teams to third-party providers. That has had a profound effect on the way users access important data and applications, but it has also had a lasting impact on the way employees do their work. This is underscored by the bring-your-own-device trend, in which users bring personal hardware into the professional world.

Cloud storage may also facilitate the rise of bring-your-own-application, according to a recent survey from LogMeIn. Seventy percent of respondents from small and midsized businesses said they endorse employee-introduced applications, ZDNet columnist Heather Clancy reported. The trend may have already taken flight in the SMB base, as analysts found that 40 percent of collaboration and productivity tools came from employee suggestions.

As with most business technology trends, a couple pain points have emerged in light of BYOA. Clancy noted that synchronization and security were top concerns among those surveyed. However, SMBs still showed a significant amount of trust in their workers to use cloud storage services responsibility, with approximately 26 percent of those polled saying they rely on the honor system with regard to usage. As the trend continues and more sensitive data enters the cloud, however, it is likely that expectations regarding interoperability and security will increase.

Businesses looking for cloud partners
Perhaps due to increasing expectations and complexity, many companies have started to enlist the aid of third-party services to help them navigate the cloud. According to CIO columnist John Moore, cloud service brokerages can play several different roles. One of which is integration, in which the service provider brings together cloud platforms and in-house systems. Michael Cohn, senior vice president of marketing at Cloud Sherpas, explained these services allow companies with limited cloud expertise to better optimize their deployments.

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