Cloud Computing: Legal Issues to Watch Out For
Cloud Computing success is often tied strongly to the fine print of the contract with your cloud computing vendor. Forbes recently published a list of issues that you’ll want to understand before signing off on a cloud computing contract. Some of the points discussed in the article include:Service Levels. It’s important to make sure that the service levels that the vendor is committing to match up with the requirements for you and your users intend to use the application. Clearly applications which are considered mission critical to your organization will require much more stringent constraints around permissible downtime and required performance and response time. Make sure your Service Level Agreement (SLA) addresses availability, planned outages, critical and noncritical outages, service credits and termination in a way that is consistent with how you plan to use the application.Remedy for Violations. What is your remedy should the vendor not live up to his part of the agreement? Is the cloud vendor required to notify you in known cases of downtime or sluggish performance?Representations and Warranties and Indemnities. A representation is a fact about the present or past and a warranty is a promise about the future. There is typically a representation that the cloud software will perform certain functions and within certain specifications. Warranties and Indemnities provide the protection and ensurance that the cloud vendor has the rights to be able to be providing the service.Confidentiality. The cloud vendor needs to agree and uphold the privacy and confidentiality of the data that you will entrust them with. The agreement should detail the security measures that the vendor will employ to ensure that your data will not be compromised.Backups and Recoveries. Are they done, how frequently, and what are their cost?Upgrades. How often do upgrades occur and how much notice will you receive prior to the change?Migration. How easy is it to get data back from the cloud vendor should you want to migrate your data somewhere else later?