The “cloud.” What was once a trendy, science fiction–sounding buzzword has become an inescapable part of our everyday personal and professional lives. Even though we understand what the cloud does, the way it works and how it is evolving is a far more complex subject. This list of cloud computing statistics will give you an idea of just how significant it really is.
- The “cloud” is a vital online technology that is used all over the world.
- Since the COVID-19 crisis, the cloud computing market has been on a rapid upward trajectory when it comes to cloud adoption, infrastructure, spending and development.
- We’ve put together a list of 26 of the most interesting, relevant and revealing cloud computing statistics that demonstrate how big the cloud is and how it’s predicted to evolve.
Of course, it is impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy how the future of cloud computing will look — COVID-19 showed us that everything can change — but certain patterns concerning cloud technologies and cloud infrastructure have emerged and they warrant analysis. Even if we disregard these, current cloud computing stats speak volumes about the state of cloud computing and where it’s headed.
The three major types of cloud computing are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). If you are interested in learning more about these terms, we invite you to read our cloud terminologies article, which explains how they function in greater detail.
It’s huge. In 2020, the global cloud computing market was valued at $371.4 billion, and it is estimated that by 2025 it will rise to a staggering $832.1 billion. 
With 94 percent  of all enterprises using cloud services in some form or another, it’s safe to say that cloud computing is here to stay and will only get even bigger in the future.
Simple Cloud Computing Facts You Need to Know
What we refer to as “the cloud” actually exists as a physical network of servers. These servers host data that you can access via an internet connection. That’s the basis of all cloud software, and one could argue that’s how the internet works as a whole. Since all you need is an internet connection, cloud computing is super convenient for both business and personal use.
Simply put, cloud computing is all about using the internet to connect to online services hosted on the cloud. These services include everything from simple cloud storage to cloud infrastructure platforms, like AWS. Plus, all of your favorite online streaming content is hosted on cloud servers, whether it’s a Netflix series, your Spotify playlist or a YouTube channel.
While cloud computing is an integral part of every modern organization (typically taking up a large portion of IT infrastructure spending), personal users also depend on cloud services. For example, if your default email client is Gmail, or if you’ve ever shared a file through Dropbox, you’re already using the cloud, even if you’re unaware of it.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud
There are three main types of cloud computing deployments: public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party service providers and are the most common. This includes cloud storage providers like Sync.com and pCloud, as well as large platforms like Microsoft Azure. The advantages of using a public cloud include lower costs, no need for maintenance, high reliability and almost unlimited scalability.28
Private clouds are used by just one organization. Consequently, the cloud infrastructure of a private cloud (the physical servers that host the private cloud) is maintained by that organization. These are often used by government agencies and large organizations. Their advantages are better control and privacy, as well as increased flexibility.28
Hybrid clouds combine the advantages of public and private clouds. With a hybrid cloud solution, you can, for example, only use public cloud resources when you really need them, saving you a lot of money in the meantime.
Top 26 Cloud Computing Statistics
Now, on to the reason you opened this article in the first place — those amazing cloud computing technology statistics themselves. We’ll be looking at 26 of the most interesting, relevant and game-changing stats all across the industry, from cloud adoption rates and security concerns, to enterprise infrastructure, cloud computing spending and much more.
General Cloud Statistics
1. How Much Data Is Stored on the Cloud?
By 2025, there will be over 100 zettabytes of data stored in the cloud.13 To put this in perspective, a zettabyte is a billion terabytes (or a trillion gigabytes).
In the same year, the total global data storage will exceed 200 zettabytes of data, meaning that around half of it will be stored in the cloud. By comparison, only 25 percent of all the computing data was stored this way in 2015.
2. Cloud Data Centers Dominate Workload Processing
Cloud data centers will process 94 percent of all workloads in 2021. That’s not all — SaaS processes will account for 75 percent of the total workload. This goes to show that non-cloud data centers are on their way out and will be superseded by cloud data centers in the near future.14
3. What Is the Largest Cloud Computing Company?
Based on market share, the largest cloud computing company in the world is Amazon Web Services. A subsidiary of Amazon, AWS currently holds 31 percent of the market, followed by Microsoft Azure at 20 percent and Google Cloud at seven percent. Founder Jeff Bezos attributes AWS’ enormous success to its seven-year head start before facing serious competition. This allowed AWS to evolve at a more leisurely pace and to develop more functionalities.
4. The Largest Data Center in the World
The appropriately named Citadel is the largest data center ever constructed, and is located in Tahoe Reno, Nevada. Its largest currently built facility covers 1.3 million square feet, while the full campus will house eight separate data center structures and will stretch over 7.2 million square feet of server space upon completion.25
5. What Are the Most Used Cloud Storage Services?
With an overwhelming 94.44 percent, Google Drive is by far the most used cloud storage service in the world. In next place is Dropbox, the best cloud storage for collaboration, with a still impressive 66.2 percent, followed by OneDrive (39.35 percent) and iCloud (38.89 percent). MEGA (5.09 percent), Box (4.17 percent) and pCloud (1.39 percent), which have all made our list of best cloud storage services, are also widely used.21
The Most Used Cloud Storage Services
6. How Many Users Do the Largest Cloud Storage Services Have?
Given the previous statistic, it comes as no surprise that Google Drive surpassed a billion users in 201822, while the Google Workspace cloud productivity platform as a whole reached 2 billion users in 202023. The second most popular cloud storage service — Dropbox — has a huge following as well, with over 700 million reported users, according to its financial statements.24
Cloud Computing Market Statistics
7. What Is the Cloud Computing Market Worth?
In 2020, the total worth of the market was $371.4 billion. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5 percent, it’s projected that the market will amount to $832.1 billion by 2025.2
8. Amazon Web Services Dominates the Cloud Computing Market
Amazon Web Services (AWS for short) is one of the best cloud IaaS services and by far the most popular and widely used cloud service in the world with 31 percent of the total market share.1
9. Salesforce Is the Largest SaaS Company in the US
One of the best CRMs, Salesforce has a market capitalization of more than $200 billion.18 However, the company that arguably profited the most in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is the video conferencing service Zoom. Its market value is estimated at more than $90 billion19, a massive increase over its 2019 valuation of approximately $20 billion.
10. North America Has the Largest Cloud Computing Market Share
Looking at the global cloud market by region, North America is leading the race, with 61 percent of the market total in 2020. That’s three times the size of the second largest market, Western Europe, which has 21 percent of the market total. Africa is the smallest market region.5
Global Cloud Market by Region
11. China’s Cloud Services Market Is Booming
The biggest market in the Asia-Pacific region, China’s total cloud infrastructure spending was $11.5 billion in 2019, and it grew to $19 billion in 2020 — a 66 percent increase.9
12. The Video Streaming Market Continues to Grow
As we said, all of your favorite online videos are hosted on the cloud. As of 2021, the very lucrative video streaming market is worth a combined $59.14 billion. This takes into account video streaming behemoth Netflix, established services like HBO and relative newcomers such as Disney+. With an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent, this market is predicted to grow to $223.98 billion in revenue by 2028.15
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to stream all the TV shows and movies you like. To get access to all of your favorite shows, you will need to use a VPN. However, not just any VPN will suffice — check out our best VPN for Netflix and how to watch Disney+ outside the U.S. articles to find out which VPNs will do the trick (we also have a VPN statistics article).
13. A Bright Future for the Cloud Gaming Market
Cloud gaming works similarly to streaming services; rather than installing a video game on your computer, you can stream it to your display instead. In 2020, the global cloud gaming market was worth $470 million. With a predicted CAGR of 48.2 percent, it is expected that it will reach $7.24 billion in revenue by 2027.20
How Companies Are Using the Cloud
14. Remote Work Is on the Rise
The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected many aspects of our lives, and work was no exception. Faced with lockdowns, social distancing and similar measures, a large portion of the workforce needed to move online. Approximately 34 percent of workers say that they prefer to work in the cloud and will look for a new job if they are required to return to the office.6
Employee Work Preferences: Remove vs In Office
15. Public Cloud Services Spending Is Projected to Grow in the Future
In 2020, the combined end-user spending on cloud services totaled $270 billion. In 2021, this is expected to increase by 23.1 percent to a staggering $332.3 billion. By 2022, projections indicate that this figure will rise to $397.5 billion.3
16. Half of Organizations Store Their Confidential Data on Cloud Technologies
Organizations seem to place a high degree of trust in cloud computing on the whole, with 48 percent of businesses choosing to store their classified and most important data on the cloud; this includes both encrypted and “regular” data.10
Much of this data is stored on cloud file storage solutions, so to help you out with picking the safest ones, we’ve compiled a list of cloud storage services with the best security and privacy.
17. Most Organizations Have a Multi-Cloud Strategy in Place
A multi-cloud strategy revolves around utilizing multiple cloud service providers such as Google Cloud or AWS. This way, if one of the services is unavailable for whatever reason, the organization can switch to a working backup for disaster recovery. Because of this, 92 percent of organizations already have a multi-cloud strategy.4
18. Cloud Spending Is a Major Concern for Companies
Enterprises face many challenges, but three of the most prevalent issues include security (83 percent), managing cloud computing spending (82 percent) and governance (79 percent). Business owners lament the fact that around 30 percent of their cloud budget goes to waste. However, cloud computing makes data governance much easier, with tools such as the excellent EFSS, Egnyte.12
19. Cloud Cost Optimization Is a Priority
This is the fifth year in a row that cloud cost optimization is a top priority, with 61 percent of organizations planning to optimize their cloud costs in 2021. In fact, 76 percent measure their cloud progress according to cost efficiency and the savings they made thanks to cloud initiatives.4
20. Migrating to the Cloud Is a Top Cloud Initiative
According to European organizations, migrating more workloads to the cloud is the most important cloud initiative (70 percent). This is followed by optimizing current cloud use to cut down on costs (59 percent) and advancing a cloud-first strategy (50 percent).4
If you are looking to make your cloud migration process a lot easier and even automate it to a great extent, we invite you to check out our list of the best cloud-to-cloud management services.
European Organizations’ Top Cloud Initiatives:
70% Migrating more workloads to the cloud
59% Optimizing cloud use to cut costs
50% Advancing a cloud-first strategy
21. Cloud Infrastructure Spending Continues to Rise
In the first quarter of 2021, cloud services infrastructure spending increased to $41.8 billion on a global level. Compared to the same period in 2020, this was a 35 percent year-on-year growth and a five percent quarter-on-quarter rise. To break this down in financial terms, around $11 billion more was spent than in Q1 2020 and almost $2 billion more than in Q4 2020.16
22. Spending on AI Increases in the Coming Years
In 2021, $58.3 billion will be spent on AI, and this will increase to $309.6 billion by 2026. Machine learning forms the basis of many cloud technologies today, and a lot of organizations and systems use it to automate various processes. This is just one type of artificial intelligence, and it is no wonder that companies are looking into ways to invest in and expand this field.17
Cloud Security Statistics
23. Enterprises Name Cloud Security as Their Biggest Concern
Unsurprisingly, 75 percent of enterprises point to cloud security issues as a top concern.8 Of those, 33 percent of respondents are extremely concerned, 42 percent are very concerned, while only 25 percent in total were unconcerned to moderately concerned.
24. What Are the Main Cloud Security Concerns?
According to cybersecurity experts, the most pressing cloud security challenges are misconfiguration of the cloud infrastructure (68 percent); unauthorized access (58 percent); insecure API (52 percent); accounts, services or traffic hijacking (50 percent) and external data sharing (43 percent).8
If you are interested in finding out more about cloud security, we have an excellent article detailing cloud security measures for cloud storage services.
The Most Pressing Cloud Security Concerns
According to Cybersecurity Experts
25. Intrinsically Secure Clouds Are a Priority for Businesses
Given that cloud security is so highly sought after, it’s no wonder that companies are looking for cloud services that are secure right out of the box. In fact, just over half of businesses (52 percent) prefer cloud solutions that have their own native security tools.8
26. Human Error Accounts for the Majority of Cloud Data Breaches
When we think of cyberattacks, we often picture hackers exploiting built-in cloud IT infrastructure weaknesses. However, the truth is far less dramatic than this and mostly comes down to mistakes made by employees. In 88 percent of cases, human error is to blame for cloud breaches, not cloud providers. With 34 percent, men are twice as likely to fall for phishing scams compared to women (17 percent).11
The bottom line: while cloud security is paramount for any organization regardless of size, proper employee training and strict security guidelines are just as important.
Recent Trends in Cloud Computing
These 26 cloud computing statistics are great indicators where the cloud service market is headed. Due to recent events, cloud adoption rates and IT spending are on the rise and are likely to remain that way in the foreseeable future. Consequently, several noteworthy cloud computing trends have emerged, so let us take a look at their impact and development.
Rise of the Cloud Storage Market
In 2017, the global cloud storage market was worth around $30 billion and it steadily rose to more than $61 billion in 2020. It is projected that this market will grow to more than $76 billion in 2021. With a CAGR of 26.2 percent for the 2021 to 2028 period, it will balloon to more than $390 billion by 2028. While this unprecedented growth can, in large part, be attributed to the pandemic, this industry was on a healthy upward trajectory long before 2020.26
Global Cloud Storage Market in Billions USD, 2017-2028
The driving factors behind this increase can be attributed to a greater generation of large data sets, which in turn necessitates more file storage. Therefore, storage services with unlimited cloud storage are a perfect solution for this problem.
Advent of the Remote Desktop Software Market
We’ve already mentioned that remote work rose to great prominence during 2020 and it seems like it is here to stay. With tools such as Slack (and its many alternatives), working from the comfort of your home is easier than ever before. Naturally, remote desktop software followed suit.
In 2019, the remote desktop software market was worth $1.53 billion and it is estimated that it will reach $4.69 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 15.1 percent. This type of software includes remote desktop tools such as TeamViewer and Chrome Remote Desktop, which allow you to connect to a remote computer and work on it via a remote internet connection.27
Final Thoughts: Cloud Computing Statistics
We hope that you have found these cloud computing stats and trends both interesting and fun. The cloud’s importance cannot be overstated, and cloud technologies of all types and models will only become bigger and more essential in the years to come.
How many cloud services and apps do you use? What is your opinion on cloud computing? Do you believe rapid cloud adoption and cloud infrastructure expansion are a good thing, or do you foresee issues with the market of cloud computing in the near future? Tell us what you think in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.
- Robert Half
- Cybersecurity Ventures
- Fortune Business Insights
- Fortune Business Insights
- Microsoft Azure