IT professionals are not generally renowned for their recklessness, yet according to research conducted by trade association, ISACA, one in five of cloud users thinks that the risks of cloud computing outweigh the benefits.

And, as further confirmation of the growing importance of cloud services, 33 percent of IT managers surveyed are already using cloud - a total that rises to 40 percent among UK organisations.

However, the research, which covered more than 1500 organisations across more than 50 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa, also found that just over 18 per cent of users were looking to use cloud for future projects - although a further 18 percent had not formalised any plans - leaving 63 per cent of companies with no plans to adopt cloud computing.

Furthermore, just 9.4 per cent of respondents currently plan to use cloud services in critical applications, even though nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of organisations claimed they were willing to take IT-related business risks , with a 12.1 per cent willing to take large risks to maximise business return. Top of IT managers' concerns was the need to protect confidential data, with 58 per cent of organisations naming this as top priority.

While the onset of cloud computing presents a substantial change to the way organisations do business. ISACA said that it was important that the technological benefits were balanced against the possible risks.

Paul Williams, ISACA strategy chair said, "Every day we take calculated risks. Organisations need an integrated risk management approach to identify, assess and prioritise risks, so that they only take appropriate gambles with acceptable consequences or level of reward. Enterprises must never crash and burn because the risk was ignored or misjudged."