Report finds dodgy policies in cloud contracts

A recent report from Yankee Group indicates that many cloud computing contracts contain dubious compliance claims and misleading uptime guarantees.

The Daily Cloud

Cloud contracts coming up short
According to a Yankee Group report entitled "Cloud 99.99: The Small Print Exposed," today's cloud contracts are rife with disclaimers, misleading uptime guarantees, and questionable privacy policies and compliance claims. Boy! Tell it like it is, Yankee!

The report examines terms of service (TOS), service-level agreements (SLAs) and privacy policies for 46 Software, Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (SaaS/IaaS/PaaS) offerings from 41 vendors, including industry heavyweights like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Rackspace.

Overall, the results aren't pretty, the Yankee report says. Of the 46 services studied, none offers a cash payout as standard compensation for breaking contractual promises. Typically, customers must make do with service credits or contract termination.

"Cloud service providers better clean up their act fast because major investment decisions hang in the balance," said Camille Mendler, VP and senior research fellow at Yankee Group and author of the report.

The report, which also offers key risk mitigation tactics, urges enterprises to watch for:

  • Slippery SLAs: Whatever the number of 9s offered, "uptime" definitions vary, and service demarcation points for uptime are rarely end-to-end. Vendors also tend to play fast and loose with scheduled maintenance windows.
  • Cagey compliance: SAS 70 certification is not a blanket guarantee of safety or survivability. Enterprises should also seek ISO 27000 credentials, and check vendor adequacy against international data protection regulations.
  • Self-serving metrics: Beware vendors acting as both judge and jury in determining service performance. The use of third-party performance monitoring tools must become table stakes for credibility.

Nasuni cloud storage is open for business
Cloud storage startup Nasuni is commercially live. A buzzword fiesta for cloud computing, it's a virtualization-driven hybrid cloud model that stretches into public services to grab storage when you run out of local space. A virtual machine runs on your server and replicates itself to Amazon or Rackspace (user account needed) for either extended storage, off-site disaster recovery or replication and nifty snapshotting features that make your boneheaded mistakes that much easier to put right. It's point-and-click easy, but can it rise above the hordes of online storage companies springing up like daisies?

Dig deeper on Negotiating service-level agreements and billing with cloud providers

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