Cloud IT Services Agreement

Cloud Services are here and here to stay, however handing over the control of your data/network can be a huge leap of faith for even the most committed technology believers. If you want some reassurance that your cloud service provider will deliverĀ its services, the service level agreement is your protection umbrella. An agreement should sets out what you can expect from the provider and the type of compensation you will receive if those expectations are not met. Every cloud service providers have different level of “expectations” hence your Service Level Agreement usually known simply as SLA must be in writing.

Here are a few points that your agreement must cover:

1. Privacy: It is important consideration as every business have suty of care to its clients that their data are secure. It is good to clarify, who owns your data, where is it stored geographically. Does your provider release/share data to a third party ?

2. Security: Any servers, whereever they are are not immune to power surges, theft, natural disasters or online threats. So it is important to establish what security measures are in place at the hosting centre. This should include security software, enterprise-grade data storage infrastructure, back up and secondary disaster recovery sites.

3. Uptime: This refers to the amount of time that the service will be functioning without failure. A common use to determine uptime is the rule of nines. If the uptime rate is 99.99999 (five ‘9’s after decimal point), then the system can have outages lasting up to 5 minutes every 12 months, for example. It is also important to establish if there is compensation you will receive if this rate is not met.

4. Maintenance and Back-ups: Regular maintenance and backups are important to all servers, on-site or off-site (cloud), to ensure smooth running of your software and hardware. The agreement should cover in details how often your data will be backed up and how. Establish whether maintenance will interfere with the running of your business.

5. Human Intervention: As much as we would like to be able to have full confidence in technology, even the best systems have problems that can only be resolved through human intervention. If such problem occurs, you need to know whether there is real person available to assist over the phone or in person.

Just with everything, it is always good to always have contingency plan for your business if your cloud services are not available.


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