My friend and compadre at GigaOM, Barb Darrow, did a great job of defining both the benefits and the downfalls of cloud storage. For example, Dropbox now claims 100 million users, “double the year-ago figure and that it is storing one billion (with a “b”) new files every 24 hours. Forbes estimates annual revenue to be in the $500 million range.” As Barb points out, these numbers are “self reported,” thus you can take them with the same grain of salt as when somebody reports their age or weight.
Cloud storage services similar to Dropbox will only grow in size over the next several years, for both private and enterprise use. While security will continue to be a concern, as will performance, Dropbox, SugerSync, iCloud, Google Drive, and Box will all likely find success. We own more than 2 million computers and devices, and we just plain need this type of service.
A few things need to occur, however:
First, security needs to be more systemic within these services. To date, they are still pretty vulnerable and will be a nice target for hackers.
Second, Enterprise IT needs to begin to understand and trust these services when they deserve their trust. Right now they are pushing back, and pushing back hard. Many cloud storage services are outlawed within the Global 2000 and the government, with internal IT citing security concerns.
Third, let’s come up with a standard to address interoperability issues. There should be a way for these systems to work with each other.