The fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey was released this week, and was the largest to date with more than 1,300 participants. The report, conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners and Gigaom Research, examined what drives and inhibits companies when it comes to cloud adoption.

One of the biggest reasons companies choose to implement a cloud platform is revenue generation. Forty-nine percent of companies reported using the cloud for this reason, as well as to benefit new product creation. Another 45 percent of respondents said their company runs entirely from the cloud, highlighting how integral the technology is to business.

“This wave of cloud computing that’s revenue and business driven is good news for long-suffering IT execs,” said David Card, vice president of of Gigaom Research. “If they can offload tedious but necessary cost center functions, and refocus resources on cloud-driven new business, they might be able to retake their seat at the C-table.”

Manage big data with the cloud
A startling statistic brought to light by the report was the fact that 90 percent of the the world’s data was created in just the last two years, and 80 percent of it is unstructured. Increasing amounts of data are created every day, and companies need to find a way to manage it all. Two-thirds of those surveyed said that their organization’s data will be stored in the cloud within the next two years as the need for greater consolidation becomes more urgent.

“If you get your head out of the sand and into the clouds, you’ll see the explosion of cloud-created data,” said Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. “It’s not just big data it’s exhaustive data, as everything from clickstreams to commerce and personal cloud lockers create exabytes of data. According to Cisco, personal, cloud-carried data alone is estimated to grow from 1.7 exabytes in 2012 to 20 exabytes by 2017.”

Utilizing cloud processing
As well as utilizing the cloud for storage, companies are also taking advantage of the ability to move processing off-site. The majority of businesses have transitioned IT processes to the cloud, and between 60 and 85 percent of organizations surveyed plan to move a significant amount within the next two years. Business applications being hosted in the cloud were also common, with up to 70 percent of companies transitioning significant processing to the cloud in the next two years.

When asked about their priorities for the coming year, CIOs most commonly responded that Software-as-a-Service was the most important. It’s not surprising, then, that SaaS adoption jumped from 11 percent in 2011 to 74 percent in 2014. Seeing the convenience and efficiency offered by SaaS, many more businesses have begun adopting Infrastructure-as-a-Service as well. Fifty-six percent of businesses reported using IaaS in an effort to benefit from elastic computing resources.

Privacy still a concern
While 35 percent of participants said they were driven to the cloud by the increased innovation and competitive advantages it offered, inhibitors to cloud adoption were also mentioned. The top three reasons companies were wary of the technology were concerns about security, privacy and compliance.

“The most successful companies are finding ways to reap the benefits of the cloud-agility, efficiency and cost savings-while integrating security and governance best practices to ensure they’re driving business growth without undue risk,” explained industry expert Rob Walters.

The reasons companies shied away from the cloud, while valid concerns, can all be put to rest by the adoption of a dedicated enterprise solution. Private cloud platforms have dramatically increased security by only managing the data of specific organization, which also eliminates concerns about privacy. Compliance guidelines are easily met with a private cloud because a company can easily make changes to storage capabilities and move necessary data.