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How businesses are finding the silver lining in personal cloud apps

Over the past few years it's become obvious that employees will use the cloud services that come naturally to them, whether or not they are 'enterprise sanctioned.' So how we can finally accept their use in enterprise in a way that actually makes workers more productive?

2014 has been widely deemed 'the year of the data breach,' with many high profile incidents raising much-needed awareness for organisations around the need to understand where their data is stored and who does what with it. But alongside this, enterprises had a steep learning curve to deal with, as they had to get to grips with integrating so many employees' devices into their IT systems, and with them a bigger number of personal cloud-based apps and storage platforms than ever. It's fair to say that the CIO has now had to accept that, like personal and preferred devices, the personal cloud has well and truly arrived.

Chris Halbard, EVP and international president at cloud solution firm Synchronoss expects adoption of these consumer tools to increase significantly in 2015, driven by increased smartphone ownership and faster mobile network speeds.

'Another key driver will be consolidation,' he says. 'As previously pure-play mobile operators evolve into full converged service providers, the premium content they offer will in turn accelerate cloud adoption among end-users. Therefore expect bundled services from operators that include more allocated personal storage per user. Operators will also invest in new and innovative features and products that complement their storage offerings, such as music sharing and streaming services to mobile.'

The rise in popularity means that the cloud has become a key target for cyber criminals as hackers play the numbers game, with weaknesses being found and exploited on a regular basis. Enterprises have had to invest in important security measures such as single sign-on, for use across multiple devices and Oses, but even with these in tow, it's only a matter of time before a large-scale hack takes place.

'In the same way they have targeted ISPs to reap havoc on internet users, a major cloud provider is likely to be breached in 2015, directly influencing hundreds of thousands of individuals in one go,' warns George Anderson, director of security firm Webroot. 'Think the Apple iCloud hack, but on a larger scale.'