More and more companies around the world are recognising the multiple benefits of cloud computing, and thus putting effort into making it an integral part of their business strategy.

Different businesses adopt the technology at different rates, however, so how are today's organisations progressing in terms of turning to the cloud? 

The recent 'Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream: 2014' study, conducted by research company 451 Research, sought to answer this question. According to the analysis, almost half (45 per cent) of businesses that have invested in cloud solutions have moved past the 'pilot' phase of deployment, and are using it effectively in their day-to-day operations.

Just under a third (32 per cent) of respondents – comprised from IT decision makers from across the world – reported that they have implemented a formal cloud computing plan as part of their overarching business and IT strategy.

On-premises solutions have been in particularly high demand, the study found. The findings indicate that on-premises private cloud adoption made up more than a quarter (26 per cent) of companies' on-premises infrastructure spending last year.

Michelle Bailey, senior vice-president of digital infrastructure and data strategy, said there was one aspect of cloud computing that remains a high priority for adopters.

"While cloud environments are significantly changing the way businesses operate today, one thing that hasn't changed is the importance of security," she explained.

"As a result, security has emerged as the primary, and potentially most lucrative, cloud opportunity for hosters."

However, with cloud software providers continuously making efforts to boost the security of their products, the adoption of such solutions is only set to increase further.

One of the greatest benefits of cloud software is its versatility, as it can be used for an incredibly wide range of business applications. Strategic planning is one example – software such as StrategyBlocks makes the most of the cloud environment to enhance your organisation's collaboration when planning and executing its strategy.