THE BLOG
12/30/2015 01:41 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2016

My Top Five Predictions for the Cloud in 2016

As the new year approaches, I predict that 2016 is going to be an incredible year for the cloud. Cloud communications solutions will offer more efficiency, flexibility, and data than ever before. Alongside that growth, cloud security solutions will become increasingly important. Also, collaborations tolls will become an increasingly integrated part of how we do business. Here is my detailed list of predictions for growth and change in the technology landscape in 2016:

1. Cloud vendors will become the go-to communications solutions providers.
Fortune 500 companies will start truly migrating away from on-premise solutions and toward cloud vendors for all things communications. Just as corporate America increasingly embraced cloud CRM, cloud PBX and cloud contact centers will move upstream in the coming year. Moving communications solutions to the cloud is more economical for companies, saving time, space, and human resources. This move also offers companies more opportunities for new, additional, and flexible communications solutions that can improve the way they do business, such as apps and collaboration tools.

2. Cloud applications will untether corporate workers from their desktop phones.
Along with the move toward cloud vendors for communications, corporations will enhance their traditional phone systems with cloud applications that run equally as well on mobile phones as they do on desktops, enabling users to have untethered and rich experiences regardless of their location or device. Such cloud business apps will become more widely available and more highly functional, allowing more users to do more work from their smart devices.

3. Analytics drawn from cloud app data will become part of everyday business.
Cloud apps produce lots of data. Integrating big data analytics into cloud solutions for companies will become commonplace. Unlike past outsourcing of big data analytics, these analytics will become more easily accessible and an essential part of every business's cloud solutions. This will empower a lot of just-in-time, actionable business insights.

4. Cloud security solutions will become paramount.
While some argue that the cloud always has been more secure than enterprise data centers, as more and more business is conducted in the cloud, it will be critical for cloud security solutions to improve and to gain significant ground. Especially with more IoT devices coming online this year, there are more points of exposure. In fact, Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, the IoT will include 26 billion units, and I don't know that the tech industry has caught up with how to protect myriad IoT devices and their data in variable environments. The cloud security arena truly must boom in 2016.

5. Collaboration tools will become as essential as the cloud for business communications.
Alongside further migration toward cloud communications solutions, collaboration tools will become more essential to business communications as users seek to streamline work and to improve their efficiency. E-mail will be reserved for formal purposes, while team projects and person-to-person conversations will be managed through collaboration tools like Glip.

When you look ahead to 2016, what are your predictions for growth and change in technology?

Read more from Kira Makagon on her blog, on the RingCentral blog, and on LinkedIn.