A large majority of organizations (93%) now use at least one cloud-based service, according to a global survey of 340 technology professionals by IT information portal Spiceworks.

The top three most-used cloud services are Web hosting (76%), email hosting (56%) and cloud storage/file-sharing (53%). While only 35% of the organizations are using online backup and recovery in the cloud, this type of cloud service is expected to see the most growth in the next 12 months, with nearly one quarter of the IT professionals considering it for use.

While an average of 20% of IT services are cloud-based today, this number is expected to increase to 34% in the next two to three years, the report says. Almost one third of survey respondents expect to see more than half of their organizations' IT services become cloud-based within the next two to three years.

Moving IT services into the cloud offers certain safeguards, the study says. About 70% of the organizations cited protection against local disasters and the lack of special hardware and software to maintain as the biggest benefits of cloud-based services. High availability (62%), scalability (54%), and ease of management (51%) were also among the top benefits mentioned.

Speed and latency issues are the biggest barriers to cloud adoption, along with bandwidth requirements, the lack of control over infrastructure, security risks and risk of service outage or degradation.

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