There’s no denying that the cloud has had a profound and measurable impact on many modern IT businesses and service providers, but sometimes it is difficult to get a 10,000 foot view of the industry as a whole to determine just how much the cloud has affected our economy. Luckily, Soliant Consulting recently published the results of a study that reveals some telling information about the biggest names in cloud computing and how businesses and consumers are utilizing the cloud in more ways than ever before.

Here are some of the most interesting facts and figures from the study:

  • In 2015, about 63 percent of businesses utilized a private cloud service, with 88 percent using public cloud services, according to the study. Similarly, 82 percent of businesses us a hybrid cloud setup to run their operations.
  • Cloud usage is expected to become even more widespread in 2016, with Soliant estimating that 36 percent of all data will be stored in the cloud by the end of next year.
  • The federal government reported saving about $5.5 billion dollars per year by switching to cloud-based services. Savings were also prevalent for private companies, with 64 percent reporting reduced waste and energy consumption due to their cloud usage, according to the study. Improved security, service availability, data efficiency and lower operating costs also factored into private businesses’ reasons for increased cloud usage.

Soliant said the use of cloud services not only saved companies money, it also generated an estimated $15.5 billion in spending from small businesses alone in 2015. Service apps were the most lucrative cloud service in 2015, bringing in more than $64 billion this year, according to the study. By 2020, the cloud industry is expected to be valued at $270 billion.

Similar to other studies, Amazon is still the reigning champion of cloud service providers, with the company currently controlling 30 percent of the cloud computing market share. Meanwhile, Salesforce is the biggest name in enterprise CRM providers with more than 18 percent market share.

Despite the increase in cloud usage in many areas of both the business world and beyond, consumers still struggle (understandably) to define the cloud or even realize they are using it. Soliant said even though about 95 percent of American consumers use cloud computing in some fashion, only 29 percent are actually aware of such usage. When asked to define cloud computing, 14 percent of those surveyed admitted to pretending to understand cloud computing during a job interview, with 17 percent lying about the cloud during a first date.

How has the cloud impacted your business? Sound off in the comments below or message Michael Cusanelli on Twitter @mcusanelliSB.