Cloud computing providers offer shared information technology services through the internet. Here are some tips to improve your contracts with these vendors.
- Step 1: Negotiate your agreement to include hefty legal consequences, like monetary damages, for vendors that fail to meet their service obligations. Have even more serious repercussions for security breaches, including being able to terminate your contract.
- Step 2: Have the contract specify you as the sole owner of your information, regardless of where it's stored, and spell out the format and amount of time the provider has to move the data if your contract ends. Then, sign on the dotted line, knowing you've improved your cloud computing contract.
- FACT: In 2009, the City of Los Angeles signed a contract with Google worth $7.25 million to provide city officials with cloud-computing services.
- TIP: You can also request the vendor have an annual third-party audit.
- Step 3: Put language in the contract authorizing audits of providers' electronic and physical security practices. Include provisions on how you'll accomplish these checks, either by touring the vendor's offices or interviewing employees.
- TIP: Ask providers for customer references you can use to measure performance history.
- Step 4: Afraid that storing data off-site might keep you from accessing the information when you need it? Add a provision to the contract specifying your provider replicate and update your data continuously at multiple, secure locations.
- Step 5: One of the most crucial steps to improve your cloud-computing contract is to ensure your information's security. Request real-time data streams from intrusion detection and prevention systems, and ask to be notified if a vendor's security is compromised. Even if the breach doesn't affect you directly, the news might influence what data you put in the cloud.
- Step 6: Specify the level of service you'll receive from vendors. Identify metrics like customer service response times, the transactions per second you'll be able to accomplish, and monthly download times to guarantee satisfaction.