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We’re already well into the New Year, and as is customary each January, it’s a good time to look at what we can expect to happen in the year ahead.

Making forecasts for industries as fast-moving as the data storage industry isn’t easy, but we’ve looked into our crystal ball and put together a few predictions to help you make sense of things.

1. Businesses will become more savvy about data protection

Although data protection has become an increasingly common and important concept in the business world in recent years, many businesses are still complacent about the security of their data, believing they do not need to back it up as the probability of suffering negative consequences is slim.

However, the news of huge data leaks in 2017, coupled with their customers’ increasing concern about data privacy, means that businesses of all sizes will have to take data protection more seriously this year to avoid losing customers who cannot be assured that their data is safe.

2. GDPR concerns will mean UK businesses turn back to UK storage providers

The much-discussed General Data Protection Regulation, which  has been called “the most sweeping change to data protection in the past 20 years,” will be coming into force in May. This means many businesses will be panicking about ensuring they are GDPR-compliant by the fast-approaching deadline.

As we explored previously, while the impact GDPR will have on businesses is still unclear – hence the widespread panic about its introduction – industry experts believe the best option for UK businesses is to store their data with a UK-based cloud backup provider, as providers in other European countries may follow different, non-GDPR-compliant data privacy regulations.

GDPR will cause headaches for businesses in 2018

3. Data will be headline news

A combination of the previous two points means that data will be a more important news story than ever in 2018. Consumers’ data privacy continues to grow into a huge current news story, and massive cases of data leaks of sensitive consumer information will only fuel the fire. In addition, the potential for companies to be wrong-footed by GDPR is also likely to create headlines. There will be more media attention on the data industry than ever before.

4. Encryption will become more popular

One of the best ways sensitive data can be protected is through using end-to-end encryption. Safe Data Storage are among those to already provide this feature, and according to Interop’s recent  2018 State of Infrastructure study into business’ data practices, 39% of respondents said they would be investing in encryption this year, making it the study’s most invested-in area of data security.

5. Cloud storage becomes the norm

The amount of data stored in the cloud, and the amount of businesses using cloud storage, has steadily increased over the last decade or so and looks set to rise sharply in 2018 as businesses realise it is the safest place to store important data.

While tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft provide their own cloud storage, many businesses will look to cloud backup services that offer data recovery options longer than the 30-day period often operated by the aforementioned.