Cloud computing has been marketed as having multiple benefits. However, organizations remain hesitant to adopt it. For cloud computing providers, it is important to understand how to influence organizations’ adoption decision. However, extant literature has focused on cloud computing’s architecture, potential applications, and costs and benefits without understanding how organizations’ perceptions are formed. Building on the institutional perspective and real options theory, this study examines how institutional influences may affect organizations’ perceptions about the technological characteristics of cloud computing and recognition of real options. A preliminary survey of 101 IT professionals indicates that institutional influences significantly affect perceptions related to the accessibility, scalability, cost effectiveness, and lack of security of cloud computing. Perceptions about these technological characteristics influence the recognition of growth, abandonment, and deferral options in the adoption of cloud computing and subsequently the intention to adopt the technology. Implications and potential contributions for research and practice are discussed.