What will be the big tech trends to consider in 2014? Certainly mobile, cloud, analytics, and connected devices will continue to rate high for many construction company’s IT plans. However, creating an overall cohesive technology strategy will be key for many enterprises—especially when it comes to the cloud.

Consider the role of the cloud and SaaS (software-as-a-service) in construction, which has changed in recent years, requiring many companies to determine how the cloud will impact business. This was the case for commercial construction company, Lincoln Builders,www.lincolnbuilders.com, Ruston, La., which recently decided to move its construction ERP (enterprise-resource planning) solution to the cloud.

The construction company needed a means to manage feature-rich applications, while removing some of the IT expenses associated with on-premise applications. As such it decided to transition its core financial, job cost, human resource, payroll and equipment, and accounting applications to the cloud. The result is improved business operations, increased process controls, and an overall reduction in the complexity of its IT infrastructure.

While the cloud does offer a way for many construction companies to offset IT expenses by having a third-party host the IT infrastructure, there are many other factors contractors need to consider when moving ERP systems to the cloud, such as security.

Gartner, www.gartner.com, Stamford, Conn., says overall adoption of SaaS applications and other cloud-based services encourages organizations to adopt cloud-based security controls. In particular, the organization says the cloud-based security services market was worth $2.1 billion in 2013, rising to $3.1 billion in 2015, and that growth in cloud-based security will remain strong, but revenue opportunities will vary.

The organization points specifically to encryption as a new area of growth, and predicts the top three most sought-after cloud services moving forward will be email security, Web security services, and identity and access management. However, in the year ahead, the highest growth is forecast to occur in cloud-based tokenization and encryption, security information and event management, vulnerability assessment, and Web application firewalls.

And so the question remains: How are you securing IT? Whether solutions are in the cloud or on-premise, creating a strategy surrounding security will be essential for business in the year ahead.