Cloud usage varies around the world

Although the cloud is widely considered one of the most disruptive IT forces to hit the enterprise in several years, this doesn't necessarily mean that each and every organization has adopted the technology and is using it to their advantage. A survey by Business Software Alliance, for example, found that while 34 percent of computer users around the world know what the cloud is, only 24 percent of Europeans leverage the hosted services.

The study also revealed that many Europeans are unsure of what the cloud even is, as 65 percent of respondents said they have never heard the term "cloud computing" before or have only heard the name but nothing else associated with the solution. Another 18 percent said they only know a little about the cloud, while 17 percent were somewhat or very familiar with the technology.

"Unfortunately, most computer users in the EU have little understanding of cloud computing and have not yet moved to capitalize on the opportunities cloud computing offers," BSA president Robert Holleyman said, according to Euractiv.

The survey by BSA also found that the majority of Europeans use the cloud for personal activities, as 86 percent of respondents use the hosted services for private purposes, while only 29 percent use it for business operations. Similar statistics were found among global respondents, as 88 percent use the cloud for personal reasons compared to only 33 percent who use if for work-related tasks.

The study also found that the cloud applications used tend to vary throughout the world. BSA revealed that more than three-quarters of global respondents said they use the cloud for email, while 38 percent use it for online games. Only 29 percent said they have used cloud storage before.

A separate report by IDC revealed that cloud storage environments will continue to be a central part of IT spending, as investments are forecast to exceed $22 billion by 2015.

"Cloud computing is all about scale," Holleyman said, according to Euractiv. "To reap the full benefits, Europe needs a cohesive digital single market that is globally integrated to ensure that computer users in the [European Union] can choose freely among the best cloud services on offer, and that cloud providers can exploit growth opportunities in the world's fastest-growing emerging markets outside Europe."

As the cloud becomes more widely acknowledged, more decision-makers will likely leverage the tools, boosting enterprise adoption rates around the world.

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