Cloud services are very serious alternative to traditional models of access to IT, and their popularity among companies is growing rapidly. The advantages of such services may be to reduce overall costs, increase scalability, quick to provide solutions and simplifying management. On the other hand, to entrust the key components of technology to another company, then loosen control over them and create a risk that must be managed. The experience of outsourcing has led to a recognized approach to contracting to mitigate risks and maximize the benefits of using external services. However, the provision of services via multiple access cloud platform includes some of the nuances in the negotiation and conclusion of agreements. Therefore, CIOs should consider the following points.
1. Make sure that the terms of the agreement are under negotiation
Although the agreement in terms of the agreement during the negotiations may seem self-evident, many cloud providers do not usually allow you to make changes in its version of the agreement, arguing that the special conditions for various clients undermine model for community access and positioning service providers in the market. This does not mean that companies should not use the services on standard terms. But it is necessary to realize the risks involved.
With flexible terms of service you need to make sure that they are more beneficial than any standard agreement or such that you can only express my agreement by clicking the mouse. And also the fact that an agreement cannot be changed unilaterally. If these conditions are not met, your company must retain the right to terminate the agreement with a significant deterioration in its terms, without bearing any responsibility.
2. Make sure that the price structure does not preclude advantages of cloud solutions
Cloud services offer the possibility of rapid scaling-making, better asset utilization and overall cost savings. But the agreement may impose restrictions on these benefits. For example, providers of SaaS limit the number of available jobs, providers of IaaS – the minimum duration of use of infrastructure. You should ensure that the agreement do not restrict the company’s ability to control costs under proposed models of the clouds. Negotiations on the use of software needs to be carried out in accordance with established practice, and you assume discounts depending on the amount or term of the contract, the differentiation of licenses in accordance with user roles and limitation of price changes in the future.
3. Develop a service level agreement with the light of experience
Service level agreement (SLA), as is the case with any IT service should reflect the full range of services. For example, because the cloud provider will be responsible for Internet connectivity and infrastructure, availability of services should not be determined by monitoring the server in data center. The agreement may specify a particular user interface and query performance, timeliness of the major package of tasks and response time / removal in case of failure.
The goal is to develop a limited set of metrics, which ensures that customer satisfaction is in complete constitute and not a violation of SLA. For each metric should be removed with no clear exclusion criteria (eg, service interruptions caused by the need for urgent repairs, and the concept of “urgency” is not defined). Your company should pay attention not only to compensation for breach of SLA, but also a thorough analysis and eliminate its causes. Ultimately, your company must guard against downtime and have the right to break the agreement in the presence of chronic problems.
4. Consider the impact of collective platform for the company’s work
Your company must assess the impact of providing services through multiple access platform and proactively address potential problems in current operations. For example, the agreement with the provider should provide that your organization will receive a choice acceptable to its break in service for the technical work in advance and will be notified for all actions affecting the service.
Release Management procedures must comply with the company, which will be entitled to use the penultimate version of the software. It should be possible loss of functionality of the release (or a change of software packages as an optional feature) and to mitigate this by determining the minimum period of notice, the right to work indefinitely with the previous version and break the agreement without indemnity provider. Try to pre-assess the needs in the management of releases that may occur as a result of social integration, when agreeing prices for access to test environments. Otherwise, you risk on getting a big bill for reference.
5. Note the shift in the cloud computing and out of it
Deployment in the cloud and the expiration or termination of lease also requires careful attention. As for the transition to the cloud, then you must make sure that the actions of the provider are clearly defined, and agree SLA with installing and configuring applications, as well as the downloading of data. If you receive additional professional services to deploy, should ensure that by default, they were tied to key cloud services. When not to use the cloud provider should help in the organization of migration, including export data and schema in a consistent format. It should also consider the requirement to periodically archive data to mitigate the current or connected with the peculiarities of contract difficulties in the way of an orderly transfer. The best protection is a proven ability to easily switch to another provider at a different decision. CIOs should be aware that a lack of confidence in safe transition to another provider weakens the position of the company in negotiations and narrows the range of options available.
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