A few months ago I talked about the Metaverse and specifically the cyber-security risks that might emerge from it. That (not) surprisingly turned out to be quite popular with a lot of people and I thought it might be a good idea to follow up on that piece and look at how the Metaverse and Cloud Computing are going to work together.
A quick recap on what the Metaverse is
The Metaverse can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.
While the concept existed before; the Metaverse was catapulted into a household world once Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans to change Facebook into a “Meta” company and it suddenly became the next big thing. However this is not just empty hype; anyone thinking the Metaverse is just the latest buzzword that will fade away only needs to check out the amount of money that countries like the UAE and UK are investing in the MetaVerse over the next few years. The Metaverse is going to define the future of the Internet in the coming years. and a nearly $800 billion market expected to be generated
If you have played World of Warcraft or Second Life then you know what this means. Simply put the Metaverse is going to be Internet on steroids where you can experience things in a connected digital world in 3D. People will engage with each other using digital “avatars” of themselves.
Metaverse and Cloud Computing
Now that we know what the MetaVerse is .. let us talk about the technology that will drive it which is Cloud Computing. The Metaverse is going to be a HUGE catalyst for Cloud Computing and let me give my reasons why :
🚀 The power and storage required to host a Metaverse will be beyond the reach of most companies to accomplish on-prem. The only feasible option will be to move to the cloud ( similar to why cloud is adopted for other workloads ). The awesome power and reliability of the cloud is going to make it the ideal Eco-system for hosting the MetaVerse.
🚀 Additionally, the elasticity and pay-as-you-go model will be especially attractive to companies who want to create their own Metaverses and don’t want to invest in expensive hardware for prototyping different types of virtual worlds.
🚀 Graphic intensive worlds will require the distributed architecture of the cloud in order to remove latency for a global user base . Anyone who has engaged in network gaming knows how jarring bandwidth delays or disruptions can be when you are interacting with a virtual world.
How should Cloud professionals prepare for the Metaverse
As Cloud professionals ( security or otherwise ) there are several steps you can take to make sure you are ready for this coming revolution:
🔍 Firstly, know what the MetaVerse is and what it is not. It is quite amazing that people still struggle to articulate the MetaVerse and think it is just Virtual Reality on a larger scale. Find out the implications, how business models are expected to change and the technologies that will enable the MetaVerse such as BlockChain and Virtual Reality.
🔍 Understand the potential privacy and cyber-security risks that will arise. The MetaVerse is going to introduce a whole new Pandora’s box of cyber-security risks as businesses rush to adopt it. Spoofing of digital avatars and security of VR headsets is not something that cyber-security professionals think about .. but might need to get up-to speed on in the coming years.
I discuss about these in detail below
🔍 Start working on the use cases now. Understand what are the most common use cases that Metaverse might bring to the table for your companies. Most companies might not jump onto the bandwagon of buying MetaVerse real estate initially but the potential for remote meetings and increase collaboration will be a huge attraction. Are you ready for for Board level meetings to be conducted in a MetaVerse and documents shared and recorded on the public cloud ? or have you thought about how personal data might get created or stored in the MetaVerse ?
🔍 Do not fall for the hype. As the Metaverse starts to become a reality; you will see a lot of commercial offering suddenly popping up which will promise to fast-track MetaVerse adoption or secure the Metaverse for you. Understand how the underlying technologies work and skill up your workforce before you invest in any costly third party solution to do the work for you.
🔍 Prepare for Metaverse-as-a-Service: Metaverse-as-a-service will starting popping up as a fully hosted option for companies who want to adopt this technology with the least amount of effort. Following the same principles of Software-as-a-Service, cloud professionals will need to update their due diligence processes and understand the implications before rushing to adopt such an option.
🔍 Understand the role of Machine Learning and AI: AI will be as critical to the success of the MetaVerse as Cloud Computing. There will be gargantuan amounts of data being generated in the MetaVerse and technologies like image recognition and natural language processing will be essential to providing users a seamless experience. AI brings its own unique set of governance and security risks and now is the best time to start understanding them if you have not started already ( shameless plug in for my book and course on this topic if you are interested 😃 )
It is way too early to say how big of an impact the MetaVerse will have on Cloud Computing but that is a “HOW BIG” not a “IF” question. The MetaVerse is going to depend on the Cloud to deliver its promise of a seamless digital world and cloud professionals need to get ready for the next big revolution coming their way.
Let me know in the comments if you feel there are other MetaVerse implications for the cloud which I missed !