Firms are using cloud services to deliver one quarter of their business functions on average, according to a survey of CIOs and IT decision makers.

The most common use for cloud services among surveyed companies is e-commerce, used by 41 per cent, followed by email (39 per cent) and storage (30 per cent). The information was gathered in the Silver Lining Report by the cloud security firm SilverSky.

Out of those firms planning to adopt additional cloud services over the next 12 months, services related to storage and e-commerce were most popular, followed by middleware and infrastructure.

The most common reason for wanting to use cloud services was to save money, for 67 per cent of respondents, simplify operations, 66 per cent, and increase the reliability of business functions, 56 per cent.

However cost was also a barrier to adopting cloud services for 38 per cent of respondents, and one out of every two execs admit to being unsure whether shifting services to the cloud will cut costs, or add to them. Unexpected implementation costs are the most common challenge businesses face when shifting to cloud services, according to another recent survey.

The most important factors for CIOs when choosing a cloud services is the vendor being willing to commit to strict SLA guidelines (43 per cent), being able to migrate employees efficiently (41 per cent) and third parties being able to vouch for that provider’s security, (39 per cent).