Anyone who’s been paying attention to technology news knows this has been a big year for cloud computing, which remains one of the IT “megatrends,” along with mobility, social media and big data. Here are some of the cloud-related news highlights from the past year:

In a survey by Evans Data Corp. released in January, developers reported that the use of cloud platforms reduces overall development time by nearly 15 percent on average, representing time savings approaching one entire day in a typical five-day work week. The Evans study showed that improvements in development speed and efficiency appear to be among the key drivers motivating developers to embrace cloud platforms as their development environment of choice.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Top Threats Working Group in February released “The Notorious Nine: Cloud Computing Top Threats in 2013.” The report aimed at providing organizations with an up-to-date, expert-informed understanding of cloud security threats so that they can make educated risk-management decisions regarding cloud adoption strategies.

An April study by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by CA Technologies found that business models and services such as cloud computing and big data analytics are not possible without a strategic “service assurance” portfolio underpinned by infrastructure management. According to the report, innovative business models and technology use cases such as cloud-based services, collaboration tools and big data analytics characterize an “industrialized IT movement,” and have in common the need for robust monitoring to give them the visibility needed to work.

Worldwide spending on public IT cloud services were predicted to reach $47.4 billion in 2013 and to be more than $107 billion in 2017, according to a forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) released in September. Over the 2013–2017 period, public IT cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent, five times that of the IT industry as a whole, according to the report, “Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services, 2013-2017 Forecast.”

One of the long-time concerns companies have had about the cloud is the security risk of putting data into a shared environment managed by a service provider. So it’s interesting that one of the growing segments of the market is cloud-based security services. A research report from Gartner Inc. in November revealed that the cloud-based security services market will be worth $2.1 billion in 2013, rising to $3.1 billion in 2015. The firm says growth in cloud-based security will remain strong.

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