The cloud has changed the way businesses purchase software by enabling a subscription model, but it hasn't changed the demands associated with it. Particularly in light of growing interest in analytics initiatives, business applications need to be able to share data. According to Aaron Levie, co-founder of cloud storage company Box, this will present an opportunity for cloud solution providers and software developers.

Levie told TechCrunch's Leena Rao that Box plans to invest in the software market in 2013, but didn't provide specific details. Rao speculated that there will likely be strong interest in application marketplaces bundled alongside traditional cloud storage offerings. Targeting cloud buyer sectors in regulated industries and in government will also require more robust security features from cloud vendors. Some trepidation has emerged as a result of cloud proliferation, but organizations have shown increased confidence in recent years. This suggests that cloud vendors may benefit from following Levie's focus on cloud security, particularly as interest in the cloud grows at the federal level.

For example, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) recently authorized its first vendor. The initiative provided a risk management framework for government agencies to evaluate cloud providers. Once authorized, a cloud vendor's services can be utilized by multiple agencies. On December 31, Autonomic Resources became the first company approved via FedRAMP.

"Autonomic stands ready to assist U.S. Government agencies to meet both their security and budgetary objectives," said John Keese, founder and president at Autonomic. "The timeliness of our FedRAMP certification will assist federal and state government address serious needs to implement more cost effective, elastic compute platforms, and reduce their information technology spending."

Although the authorization showcases progress toward increased cloud adoption among government agencies, cloud providers will likely need to take proactive steps in improving the security of their offerings. As Keese noted, it was his company's "strict adherence to FedRAMP requirements" that allowed his company to work with the government.

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