In the 12 months ending 30 June 2014, 19 per cent of Australian businesses reported using paid cloud computing services.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics' Business Use of Information Technology, 2013-14 statistics release revealed software was the top category of cloud service employed by businesses.
Some 87 per cent of cloud-using businesses reported using software-as-a-service, followed by 57 per cent that used cloud-based storage.
By size, businesses employing 200 more staff were the most likely to be using cloud, followed by businesses with 20-199 staff and five to 19 staff. Those with four or fewer were least likely to be using cloud.
By industry, IT and telecommunications were perhaps unsurprisingly the most likely to be paying for cloud services (53 per cent). Cloud was least popular with agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses, only 9 per cent of which used some kind of non-free cloud service.
Simplicity of deployment and increased productivity were the benefits most commonly cited for using cloud (cited by 47 per cent and 46 per cent of businesses). Cutting IT costs and the flexibility of scaling services up and down came in at number three and four overall — through among businesses with 200 employees or more, they were the first and second most commonly cited benefits.
A survey released earlier this year by Telsyte claimed that infrastructure-as-a-service was being used by over half of Australian organisations with 20 or more employees.
The analyst firm is predicting that that Australian enterprise spending on cloud will hit $775 million by 2019, up from $366 million in 2015.
In January Gartner released a forecast predicting that the public cloud services market in Australia will hit $4.15 billion this year.