The widespread migration of enterprise IT services to the cloud has picked up pace in the UK, with a new study suggesting that 63% of firms are planning to outsource their entire tech infrastructures to third party data centres in the future.

The report, published by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), revealed that it typically takes 19 months for full cloud adoption to occur, with the shift away from on-premises hosting leading to changes elsewhere in the IT sector.

At the moment, an estimated 78% of businesses across Britain are already harnessing some form of cloud-based service or solution. And, by 2018, this penetration rate is scheduled to increase to 85%.

Furthermore, it seems that among the businesses which have already embraced the cloud in one way or another, there is a much greater likelihood of total migration being considered a sensible strategy for the long term.

Two hundred and fifty decision makers were questioned in the report. And while there is evidence that cloud dominance of enterprise IT is on the horizon, there are still many companies that are reticent about the idea of relinquishing control over hardware and software.

While over three quarters of the companies that have migrated some services to the cloud are using at least two off-site solutions, only a little over a tenth of this group have increased their adoption to include more than five platforms of this kind.

The study looked into the types of cloud services which are most regularly chosen by British businesses as they dip their toes in this marketplace, with 57% benefitting from cloud-based web hosting and a similar proportion relying on the cloud to manage enterprise email systems.

53% said that they had migrated to a cloud-powered e-commerce platform to manage online transactions from customers and clients, while 52% said that they made use of the cloud to allow employees to collaborate with one another, according to Computer Weekly.

As with previous reports of this kind, respondents were asked to give the key reasons behind their decision to adopt cloud services. And the biggest motivating factor is flexibility, with 77% citing it as an important asset of the cloud ecosystem.

76% pointed to scalability as being a good reason to choose the cloud, while 74% said that the round the clock availability of cloud services made adoption easier to justify.

Over a third said that the enhancements to business continuity which were possible as a result of cloud migration had helped to convince them that this type of IT should be more widely embraced. Respondents also mentioned things like the facilitation of innovation and the augmentation of customer service capabilities as being relevant to this debate.

Report spokesperson, Alex Hilton, said that the cloud was having a transformative impact on the way British businesses operate, with many organisations choosing to take a cloud-first approach to IT procurement as a result of the existing benefits they have received.

In particular, it is the on-demand nature of the cloud which many see as valuable, according to Hilton, who said that this gives businesses the ability to be more nimble and respond to shifts in the market with greater speed than in the past.

In turn, this enhances the competitiveness of entire organisations and lets them overcome many of the obstacles which would have existed in a time when online on-site IT was available.

Just 76% of the businesses covered by the study now run servers or data centres on-site, a fall from the 85% that did so when this study was last conducted in 2014. Hilton believes that this is because businesses that encounter the need to refresh their hardware are now taking this as an opportunity to migrate to the cloud, rather than get tied into another generation of in-house IT management.