Microsoft is hoping for government help in encouraging greater enterprise use of cloud computing.
Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, said in a blog post that the use of the cloud is growing, as is awareness about the cost savings, increased agility and speed of deployment that the technology offers.
Cloud computing is also creating jobs, and could open up 1.5 million new employment opportunities over the next five years if used widely across Europe, he added.
However, there are challenges preventing the technology from reaching its full potential, according to Microsoft.
Smith called on governments to work with vendors to address the problem, in particular the need to boost confidence in security and data protection.
"Cloud users need confidence that, as their data moves from the desktop to the cloud, it will stay private and secure. Aligned with this is the need for greater transparency in the collection and use of data," said Smith.
"The most important first step the industry can take is to listen and engage. By this I mean we collectively need to do a better job of understanding users' concerns, and provide innovative solutions that protect data. We also need to adopt and adhere to appropriate common codes of conduct."
Smith claimed that Microsoft is already doing its part and had engaged with its enterprise users on the cloud. These discussions have proved that people want greater transparency, choice and control over how their personal data is collected and used.
Governments must ensure that any regulatory frameworks placed around the cloud should be well suited to its use, and include well defined guidelines for vendors on their data protection responsibilities.
This balance between innovation and data protection is key, according to Microsoft, and Smith said that governments should take three principal steps.
Firstly governments should develop balanced and predictable rules that oversee cloud vendors, and secondly laws should be results-oriented so that they do not prevent companies innovating.
Lastly, Microsoft said that it should be easier to move data across borders while still ensuring that it is legally protected.
"Ultimately, this is going to require governments and industry to work together, just as they did in fostering past eras of IT-driven growth," Smith said.
"We continue to encourage governments to revisit regulatory frameworks as needed, provide greater certainty within their borders, and work together through government-to-government collaboration towards a global framework for cloud computing."
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