NEC has called on Web-based cloud service providers to be more transparent about their data storage and processing, and guarantee to customers – both consumer and corporate – that their services meet compliance rules.

"Data rules should be the same for everyone," said Manuel Gallo, senior manager of business development for EMEA, at NEC's cloud competence centre. "What is unfair is [that] people like Google and Amazon can host their data in countries where it is cheaper but don't have the same regulations."

The European Union's controversial Data Protection Directive seeks to address these concerns, among others. However, it has been criticised by some, including the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which warned in January that the processes that companies will be required to undertake to demonstrate the data they collect and process abides by the law will be too burdensome.

It is also worth noting that in November 2012, Google announced it was ramping up European data centre support. At the time it said the move would improve performance for customers in Europe, but what it should also mean is businesses can store and process data in a way that avoids breaching regulations.

Speaking to Total Telecom on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress this week, Gallo said the current price disparity between what he referred to as "carrier cloud" and "disruptive cloud" services is putting private data at risk.

"If the gap between secure and less secure cloud services was smaller, then everyone would pay for the secure one," he suggested.

If the gap in price does narrow, telcos would be at an advantage.

"Disruptive cloud players have some great ideas and some great business models, and they should be very successful," said Gallo.

However, "carriers are the only ones who can truly offer end-to-end data security and compliance backed up by guaranteed SLAs," he said.

For its part, he said NEC has agreements with its customers to ensure the data it stores and processes in the cloud is done in a way that complies with regulations in force in the country the customer is located in.