Cloud computing has evolved over the years and has become the backbone of a new breed of startups. From email backup solution service Dropymyemail to cross-platform syncing and sharing service Kleii to mobile apps like Instagram. In an earlier study, cloud computing is predicted to generate US$1.1 trillion in annual business revenues and nearly 14 million jobs worldwide by 2015.

A comprehensive infographic on on cloud computing through the years indicated that ads for full-time IT jobs focused on cloud computing grew almost three and a half times between 2009 and 2010, showing the demand for cloud computing professionals. Key features that attracted companies to cloud computing back in 2008 were efficiency, reducing capital costs and easing staffing issues.

A survey done earlier this year by North Bridge Venture Partners on the future of cloud computing showed similar results. Scalability, business agility and cost still remains the key drivers for cloud computing.

The survey results also showed that Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is currently the primary, and expected to continue as the leading cloud investment for companies. However, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) are also expecting to see significant growth over the next five years.

Security remains the main inhibitor to the adoption of cloud computing by companies with 55 percent of the survey respondents identifying it as a concern. This is followed by regulatory compliance and vendor lock-in at 38 and 32 percent respectively.

What does this mean for investors and startups? Michael J. Skok, a partner at North Bridge, highlighted how cloud has helped five technology sectors over the past year. With media, social, mobile, e-commerce and big data solutions seeing a boost with cloud computing, what will be the next rising startup from Asia?

Looking at the security concerns, could an enterprise facing software like Clault be something that can give customers the peace of mind they need? Michael identified backup and archiving services as a potential home run, something that Dropmyemail’s founder John Fearon has identified too. Other predictions include collaboration service on the cloud, putting Japanese startup Nulab with their products Cacoo and Backlog on our cloud startup to watch for list.

In 2011, venture capital firms invested as much as US$6.9 billion in cloud startups. This investment alone is an increase of 68 percent from 2010. For startups looking to scale their products, the cloud provides a good opportunity not only from the product angle but also from cloud service companies that are looking to support customers that build on their platform.

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Image credits: Healthcare Global, ZDNet