Points to Note in Your Cloud Storage Contract

Before you purchase a cloud storage service, you would probably evaluate the services offered by the provider; test the service by seeing how it actually works, so that you know what you can achieve from the service. The details of these functionalities should be a part of the contract. But, most cloud storage contracts have been found to consist of simply the name of the cloud service with absolutely no specification about the services it offers the user. This is totally inadequate. A contract will be considered as well-formed only if it contains a detailed description of the results you expect to achieve from using the cloud storage service.

If your cloud service contract only mentions that you are purchasing a particular cloud storage service, you will then have no option if your vendor alters that service, so that you no longer receive all the functionalities which you actually signed up for. And when you contact your vendor regarding the same, you will probably be answered that all you signed up for was that particular service and that can be anything the vendor says it is.

One most generally acclaimed benefit of cloud storage is that the services get updated automatically, making sure that you always get to use the latest version and the newest functionality offered by the provider. If you are running a business, then this automatic update feature would be of great help to your company, as your company’s IT staff will not have to constantly patch and update the software of your in-house systems because all of that will be performed for you by your cloud storage service provider. But, it is not good to simply assume that all of the updates made by your provider will be beneficial for your business operations.

Contract Clauses to Note

One standard clause that will be present in most cloud vendor contracts pertinent to updates is: “we may discontinue, change or deprecate any element of the service, or remove or change functionality or features of the service from time to time”. This statement could mean the functionality or feature you require the most or may even be the mere reason why you signed up for the cloud storage service in the first place. In order to make sure that you do not lose any functionality or feature that is crucial to your needs, make sure that the cloud contract contains statements or words that describe your right to renounce an update, or stating that the vendor should give you prior notice before discontinuing or altering any particular functionality or service. Also note that the notice period to be given gives you enough time to change your storage to a different service provider, if necessary. Absence of such clauses can even lead you to paying higher amounts for shifting to an alternative service as forced by the vendor.

In addition to this, there are other elements that people often overlook when it comes to negotiating a cloud storage service. These elements of functionality include the following:

Storage fees or limits:

Not all elements required for the effective usage of a cloud storage service will usually be covered in the base price of the service. For instance, certain vendors would place limitations on the amount of storage space you can use, thus charging you additional money for any extra space you use. In order to alleviate this risk, you should negotiate with the vendor beforehand to attain enough amount of storage space for the base price you are charged. However, if limitations still persist, you can negotiate what is known as set pricing for the additional space that you might need in future.

Application Programming Interfaces (API):

 

If you outsource some of your storage needs to a cloud storage provider and continue retaining some in-house, then you would probably take efforts to combine the in-house systems with the cloud for efficient and effortless access. In most cases, this would be performed by using APIs provided by the vendor. Therefore, you should also negotiate about containing clauses in the cloud contract about the provisioning of APIs. This can save you from lot of troubles.Data Encryption for Cloud

Requirements of technical access:

If you have already standardized upon a specific mobile device or web browser for your employees or partners to access the cloud storage services, then you should negotiate with the cloud provider to make sure that those access channels will keep working without any hindrance. Also, you should ask to be informed in advance about the changes to be made with the access channels, if any.

Technical support:

When it comes to most conventional software, we often take the level of technical support offered by the service provider for granted. Most cloud storage providers offer very little technical support to users. Therefore, if you think you will need more technical support, then you should make sure that the cloud contract contains answers for the following questions:

  • Will the vendor offer 24X7X365 technical support?
  • How many users you designate can access support?
  • Through which process does the vendor offers support? (Email, phone, chat, etc.)
  • What should you do and who should you contact in case of error notifications, correction processes, etc.?

If you make sure that the cloud contract you sign consists of clauses pertinent to all the above mentioned considerations and features, then you can be sure of enjoying the benefits offered by a reliable cloud storage provider.

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3 ZipCloud $4.95/month Anytime visit justcloud visit zipcloud
4 BackupGenie $4.49/month 30 Days visit justcloud visit backupgenie
5 LiveDrive $7.95/month 14 Days visit justcloud visit livedrive
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