Trends come and go quickly in the stock market, especially in the technology sector, where the hot money is always looking for the next big thing, but the buzzword for 2010 was most definitely the cloud. It was a year when Marc Benioff's salesforce.com continued to emerge as a leader in the cloud, and investors took notice as shares in the company's stock increased by more than 80%. Other companies such as VMware also made huge advances this year as the cloud business continued to grow. Even Microsoft gave cloud computing the old Mr. Softy try with its advertising campaign that would have you believe it was a cloud computing leader if you didn't know any better.
We also saw a bidding war between rivals Hewlett-Packard
These cloud names should continue to be successful, but the same impressive price gains seem unlikely in 2011. While the growth of cloud computing should continue into the new year, I believe investors should look beyond the obvious names for what other companies with strong execution will benefit.
With the recent WikiLeaks drama and the organization's supporter-based website attacks on Visa and MasterCard, I'm looking at ways that this virtual flow of information can better be protected. Add to that the increasing use of mobile smartphones and tablets with applications that deliver banking and other classified information, and more money will need to be spent to protect consumers and enterprises. Investors should focus their attention on some of the software security names in 2011.
Security in the cloud
Cloud computing security is still a small part of this $16.4 billion, but it is expected to grow substantially as more and more enterprises and government agencies begin to embrace it. Some of the largest technology companies have been early to adapt to the need for more cloud-based systems security. For example, the European Union recently announced that IBM
More interesting is the continuing shift of strategy for traditional desktop and download anti-virus companies. It wasn't long ago that technology analysts and industry experts were expecting the entire business to go away, but the fact is computer viruses are still increasing rapidly, and so is the amount of protection needed. Traditional anti-virus companies like McAfee and Symantec
Full service in the cloud
My favorite security name for 2011 flies even further below the radar than the companies I have discussed. Check Point Software Technologies
Checkpoint recently released an integrated virtual version of its Software Blade Architecture that has made the company a leader in protecting physical networks. In addition, the company has added mobile device protection for smartphones and tablets with its Blade technology. As Checkpoint's customers continue to be more involved in the cloud, the company's innovative and easily integrated software additions should only help grow the business.
Don't look for the cloud to disappear; instead, look for new trends to emerge from it. I believe security is just one way to play the new trends of 2011.
Fool contributor Andrew Bond doesn't own shares in the companies listed. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Alpha owns shares of Cisco Systems. Juniper Networks is a Motley Fool Big Short short-sale pick. Motley Fool Alpha has opened a short position on Juniper Networks. salesforce.com, VMware, and Check Point Software Technologies are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Intel and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel and a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @Bond0 or on his RSS feed. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.