Confusion over the definition of 'Cloud' has rendered the word meaningless.

That's according to Acronis chief executive, Serguei Beloussov, who believes vendors will move away from using the term in a bid to better define their specific services and products.

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Beloussov said 'Cloud' had been used as a blanket term to describe various activities within IT-as-a-Service, virtualisation, mobile access -- ultimately rendering the word meaningless.

"Confronting this blurred image and confusion about the cloud, we'll see vendors move away from focusing on the word 'Cloud' only and begin to define their individual tools and services with more specific terms," he said.

It is one of several trends Beloussov sees in the year ahead.

In the next few years, he predicts a fundamental change in the role of the IT person.

"New technologies will empower end users to self-manage their IT needs in easier ways than ever before removing the need for a specialised IT crutch to facilitate and allowing companies to allocate scarce funds for other priorities," he said.

"Soon, IT people will essentially become specialised technology service buyers, evaluating what exactly a company needs, and how and where they should get it.

After a year of high-profile security breaches, Beloussov believes Cloud storage regulations will become more stringent and customers will be more careful about where they choose to store their data.

"As storage becomes more of a commodity, local providers will be able to use these new requirements to differentiate their offerings, using proximity and more personal relationships to appeal particularly to the SMB market," he said.

"More Cloud Service Providers will focus on offering "Backup-as-a-Service".

With an expanded portfolio of offerings, these regional focused service providers will be able to compete against global service providers like Amazon."

There will also be scepticism in the market following the Nirvanix shutdown, according to Beloussov.

"Startups who offer competitive pricing, but little reliable history of service, will struggle to compete as professional customers search for a provider they know will be a reliable option today, and will stay there for the next years," he said.