What is in your cloud service-level agreement? Are you sure that you know all of the details? Often times there will be loopholes and vague language in agreements reflecting the youth of the industry. So what questions should you ask when reviewing a cloud contract to make sure that you don’t fall into any of these loopholes?
What is the penalty for dropping below the SLA?
If you end up with downtime that exceeds the limits set by your service level agreement, what sort of compensation can you expect? Amazon pays for downtime through repayment credit for time lost but, if you’re operating an ecommerce store that goes down for five hours during the holidays, lost revenue could be worth quite a bit more than the downtime. It’s doubtful that you’ll find anyone who will compensaate you for lost revenue but you might be able to find better compensation than a simple replacement credit swap.
How secure is the cloud provider?
Obviously security is paramount in the cloud and they’ll have a lot to say about security in their contracts but be sure to dive into how they provide their security. Are they encrypting data in motion? Data at rest? Are they HIPAA or PCI compliant? Make sure that they meet your needs before signing on the line.
What are you actually paying for?
When you move your data into the cloud, the natural expectation is that you’re only paying for what you use, right? Well maybe not. Plenty of cloud providers charge you for the level of use stated in the contract, regardless of your use. Make sure that you know what you’re paying for.
How difficult is it to get your data out of the cloud?
What happens if you decide to revert back from the cloud to an on-site data center, a colocation facility or another cloud provider? Remember that just because it’s easy to move your data into the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be as easy to pull your data out of the cloud. If you decide that you need to leave the cloud provider that you’re with make sure you know how difficult, and costly, it will be to move your data from their servers.
What kind of performance guarantees are they offering?
A lot of cloud contracts avoid guaranteeing response times, benchmarks or metrics in their performance and often times use artful language to avoid doing so.
What other questions do you typically ask when evaluating your cloud contracts?