The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has claimed the growth of the worldwide cloud computing market could be hampered without a unified approach to data protection.
The anti-piracy body warned that country-by-country differences in the laws governing data privacy, cybercrime and intellectual property could curtail cloud growth.
Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of the BSA, said: "In a global economy, you should be able to get the technology you need for personal or business use from servers located anywhere in the world.
"That requires laws and regulations that let data flow easily across borders. [But] right now, too many countries have too many rules standing in the way of the kind of trade in digital services we really need."
Holleyman's words follow the publication of a recent BSA study, which ranks 24 countries across the globe according to the rigorousness of their data protection laws and regulations.
The UK was ranked seventh, behind Japan, Australia, Germany, the US, France and Italy. All seven countries were commended on their "solid legal and regulatory bases".
The UK, in particular, was widely praised for its comprehensive set of data protection laws.
"However, [UK] businesses are required to register their data sets with the regulator, which seems to be an unnecessary burden on the business and may act as a barrier to some cloud services," said the BSA in a statement.
Overall, the BSA said the results suggest a "sharp divide" between the cloud readiness of the "advanced economies" and the developing world.
Thomas Boué, director of government affairs for EMEA at the BSA, said: "The UK has made great progress in developing a solid policy environment to promote the full potential of cloud computing.
"However, a healthy national market for cloud computing does not necessarily translate into a market that is attuned to the laws of other countries, [and] we must do more to ensure the development of a healthy global cloud computing system."
Meanwhile, in a separate piece of research, Clearwater Corporate Finance (CCF) has claimed that cloud business stocks are outperforming the rest of the technology market.
The index pits the financial performance and value of companies offering cloud-based products against more general technology vendors.
CCF predicted that Cloudaq will continue to outperform NASDAQ and Techmark over the course of the next three years.
Dan Bowtell, a director at Clearwater, explained: "Cloud technologies continue to pervade all aspects of the industry, so it is essential that we keep up to speed with its relative performance.
"With an increase in M&A activity expected in this part of the sector, we need to help clients not only capitalise on the right technologies but also get the timing right, whether they are buying or selling cloud businesses."
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