Cloud computing is a familiar phrase within the tech industry, but it’s become a bit of a blanket term because it involves so many different types of services, including Platform as a Service, Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service.

There are even different blends of cloud computing, such as private, public and hybrid.

An up and coming element within cloud computing is the industry cloud. It operates within a vertical space and focuses on specialized processes with tools, technologies and business services tailored to a specific industry such as healthcare, education or finance. The best part is that services are managed by experts who understand the specialized needs of a specific industry.

Tech Pro Research, TechRepublic’s sister site, surveyed about preferred vendors, budgets, decision-making priorities and what people loved – or hated – about industry cloud services.

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Once upon a time, industry cloud companies were considered too specialized to produce significant results, but that perspective is quickly changing. There are benefits to be had from using industry cloud service providers, as we discovered in our survey.

The survey revealed that 38% of companies are already using industry cloud services, and 19% plan to do so within the next 12 months. Another 23% of respondents said they are considering industry cloud services, but they haven’t set a timeline for adoption. This means that only 20% have completely ruled out industry cloud services.

We also found that size did not matter – small companies were as likely as large companies to be using industry cloud services. But mid-sized companies were slightly less likely to consider industry cloud. This maybe be due to the fact that both small and large companies are willing to take on risk or try out new things, while mid-sized companies can be more conservative about change.

But why are people choosing industry cloud services? The top three answers were security and data protection, operational cost, and speed and agility. Compliance was the least-chosen factor, although nearly one third of respondents still found it valuable.

We also asked about budget. For those with a dedicated cloud budget, 53% are spending up to $100,000 on an annual basis. The good news is that budgets are growing, with 43% of respondents reporting an increase in their industry cloud budget this year when compared to last year. Only 18% said their budgets were shrinking.

Obviously, the need for industry cloud services is growing, and momentum is building. Our survey also looked into favored vendors, how specific industries are using industry cloud, and some of the pros and cons of industry cloud.