Gov’ts improve legal, regulatory environment for cloud computing

National governments continue to make significant strides in improving the legal and regulatory environment for cloud computing around the globe, but important exceptions exist in several countries that threaten to impede economic growth in those markets, a new study released by the BSA|The Software Alliance reveals.

The 2016 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard ranks the cloud computing readiness of 24 countries that account for 80 percent of the world’s IT markets. Each country is graded on its strengths and weaknesses in seven key policy areas.

This year’s results reveal that almost all countries have made healthy improvements in their policy environments since the release of BSA’s previous Scorecard in 2013. But the stratification between high-, middle- and lower-achieving country groups has widened, with the middle-ranking countries stagnating even as the high achievers continue to refine their policy environments.

“The Scorecard shows that countries are eager to welcome cloud computing and its myriad economic benefits, and many of them are creating a favorable regulatory and legal environment,” President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance Victoria Espinel said. “Unfortunately, the Scorecard also shows some countries are heading down a path of treating cloud computing as the next frontier of protectionism. The report is a wakeup call for all governments to work together to ensure the benefits of the cloud around the globe.”

Notably, three of the countries that have trailed in the rankings — Thailand, Brazil, and Vietnam — continue to make significant and consistent gains and are closing their gap with mid-tier countries. 

Negative trends, however, emerged as well. For example, few countries are promoting policies of free trade or harmonization of cloud computing policies. Russia and China, in particular, have imposed new policies that will hinder cloud computing by limiting the ability of cloud computing service providers to adequately move data across borders.

The study also found that in the world’s largest ICT markets, despite their cloud-readiness, there remains a strong need for the alignment of legal and regulatory environments that will allow for cloud computing’s global potential and provide a model toward which other countries can strive.