Almost all (94 percent) organisations in EMEA use at least one cloud service today and 32 percent expect more than half of their IT services to be cloud-based in two or three years.

A new report from IT professional network Spiceworks, entitled Diving into Cloud Services, reported results from a survey of 175 IT professionals from EMEA plus 168 respondents from North America.

Web hosting was discovered as the most commonly used cloud service, with 76 percent of respondents using it. Email hosting followed at 57 percent, and cloud storage and file sharing at 48 percent. Use of cloud storage and file sharing is 10 percent lower in EMEA than in North America. Usage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is 11 percent higher in EMEA than in North American, standing at 25 percent.

Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of IT pros in EMEA said the lack of special hardware and software to maintain is the biggest benefit of moving IT services to the cloud, while 57 percent said bandwidth is the biggest barrier to adoption. 

EMEA-based organisations face bigger barriers when it comes to the location of where data is stored. Forty percent of IT pros in Europe said they must store data in a specific country in the EU.

When evaluating cloud-based services, 63 percent of IT pros in EMEA stated that cost is the most important factor to consider, followed by reliability (61 percent) and data security controls (47 percent).  When EMEA IT pros were asked to state which cloud storage and file sharing providers their employees are using without IT approval, 72 percent said Dropbox, 60 percent said Google Drive and 47 percent said OneDrive.

With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect, only 11 percent of IT pros in Europe have begun investing to meet the new data privacy requirements. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed in Europe have not given the pending regulation any thought and 32 percent are unsure as to how it will impact their business.

“Although cloud adoption is clearly on the rise, the results show IT professionals continue to face several challenges, which vary greatly based on where they're located,” said John Webb, director of EMEA marketing at Spiceworks. “IT professionals in Europe have to be more cautious of where their data is located and more aware of new regulations taking shape in order to avoid financial penalties or reputational damage.”