Read the quote below and let the information sink in for a second.  The numbers are a bit staggering and difficult to wrap your mind around, but nonetheless eye opening.

By 2018, it is reckoned that a whopping 3.6 billion people will be using cloud storage, having uploaded more than a trillion items including emails, photos and documents etc. That amounts to an Exabyte’s worth of data, which is an impossibly big number and looks something like 1,073,741,824GB. In fact it is so big, it is basically what astronomers use to count stars with.

From Sebastian Bos at Business2Business

Wow. That is the first thing I thought when I read that. Doing some quick research, it’s predicted that by the time 2018 rolls around there will be somewhere around 7.5 billion people on Earth.  So if it’s assumed that 3.6 billion will be using some form of cloud storage…that’s almost half of the world!  We all know forecasts can be wrong (I’m looking at you local TV weather person), but let’s just assume these numbers hold true for sake of this discussion.  What will be the aspects of cloud storage to keep an eye on in the future?


Of course is the going to stay a hot topic for everyone with files in the cloud.  Hacks are happening everywhere, from big business to celebrity phones.  Files and information stored in the cloud will always face a security threat on some level.  What will be the next evolution of security that will ensure that files online stay private?

Access / Reliability

If that many people are accessing cloud storage on a regular basis, the overall demand may create a few access and/or reliability issues.  And if files are increasingly migrating off local machines and into the cloud, reliability will be huge. Cloud storage providers will definitely need to scale infrastructure, but are there other ways to ensure that everyone has reliable access?

Tools / Interface

I believe the tools and methods used to interact with cloud data  will see a huge evolution. Integrations will happen in so many different places in our everyday lives that interfaces and authentication will be transparent (in some ways). The future tools that send and receive files to cloud storage will be all around us without us being fully aware (internet of things should be a good indication of this).  How will people interface with their online files in the future? Telepathic file transfer!?

Niche Markets

One last thing to keep an eye on is how the cloud storage market will continue to segment into even more niche areas.  With a growing customer base (in the billions), it might be assumed the online file storage market will adapt and open new opportunities for businesses to grow into. Right now there are a few different kinds of cloud storage that come to mind (private, public, hybrid), but I believe this will explode into many fragmented areas.  Where do you see opportunity for this growing market?

What else?

Truthfully, this topic and these statistics interest me because SmartFile will be right in the middle of this emerging market, hopefully leading the way in business file storage.  I know I did not address many future aspects that will be important (you probably thought of 5 while you were reading), so I’m interested to hear your take on the prediction of 3.6 billion users and how you think cloud storage will evolve over that time.  Leave your comments below and let’s start the discussion!

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About Kevin O'Keefe

I am the Creative Director at SmartFile. My job is to manage marketing on the internet for all things SmartFile. I maintain the design and development of SmartFile's website along with other social profiles. I love design and analytics, deadly combination but enjoyable nonetheless.

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