While prenuptial agreements have become increasingly common with marriages, we guess you have never expected it to be used in an IT-related context.
The thing is, you may want to consider thinking about cloud computing as somewhat akin to a marriage. Why? Because it involves a long-lasting relationship with a service provider. And as with every relationship, you would need to think about how to go about it should that relationship go sour.
Like any marriage, a failed relationship with a cloud computing service provider can be very messy. And a cloud computing prenup is the only way that you can safely get out of the relationship without getting cleaned out.
What do you need to include in a cloud computing prenup?
1. Be clear as to how data will be handled after the termination of any service contract.
Before you sign any agreement with your cloud service provider, it must be clear who gets ownership of your data. HINT: It should all belong to you! Furthermore, you would need to outline just how your data is going to be handed back to you and what they would use for data transfer.
To be clear, you should also indicate a specific time frame for the transfer and what actions you could take should they fail to transfer your data back to you.
2. What happens if there is a failure?
You need to plan for failure, both on your part and on the provider’s part. For example, if your provider reneges on the SLA or Service Level Agreement, you need to be sure how you are going to be compensated for it. Do you get a refund, or do you get just a discount on your bills?
Also, your prenup should be very clear on how issues are to be resolved.
3. What are the exit agreements?
If the issue or failure is very difficult to resolve or just plain impossible to settle, you might want to talk about how you can get out of the contract gracefully.
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For example, if your provider is not living up to your expectations as far as how it delivers its promised services, you might want to call it quits. You need to make sure that terminating the contract would not be too expensive for you.
4. Anything that is not covered in the Service Level Agreement.
Once you have read the SLA, take time to figure out what things are not mentioned in it. Then put everything that is lacking in the SLA (that is related to the termination of contracts and any agreement) in your prenup.
No, it does not mean the cloud service providers are bad
Do not think for a moment that cloud services are something that you should avoid. It is not. But with a well-written and well-planned prenup, you would be able to save yourself the aggravation, time and money if, and only if, a business relationship with a cloud service provider goes bad. Having everything in black and white will help guide both parties as to what they should do and what they should do next.
Photo courtesy of Dell’s Official Flickr Page.