What are the obligations of Cloud providers?

When the same type of Cloud service is offered by several providers, what are the options that make a difference between them? Is it a question of what each Cloud provider provides, or simply a question of price?

Using a Cloud service allows you to benefit from an outsourced IT or infrastructure service. Each provider, however, offers different services and guarantees under different contractual conditions.

For companies, the most common form of outsourcing is that of client/server services. This means that apart from the actual devices themselves (computers, tablets and smartphones), all that constitutes the data of a business is processed outside of the company premises.

By “outsourcing” we refer to the data that is routed through an ADSL/SDSL or fibre optic network provided by a chosen telecom operator. With a public Cloud this network is linked to the internet, and with a private Cloud is not. Commounication with the servers is facilitated by two main types of infrastructure: SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms or platforms that serve as support services such as virtual servers. On some platforms like Windows Azure, you can benefit from using virtual machine software, install the operating system and all the software you want, and take advantage of a “super-computer” tailored to this specific use.

If it’s not written, it’s not official

What are the obligations of Cloud providers? Whichever the provider, with Clouds, the service is delegated 100%. The provider is totally responsible for all operations and is obliged by way of an SLA (Service Level Agreement) to provide quality and availability. However, anything not written in the contract is not officially provided. Even if, in practice, more services are provided, they can easily be stopped without repercussions.

Everything in the SLA must meet your requirements. Some things to consider are the frequency of performing backups and the possibility of recovering lost data, storage space and timings, and the clauses regarding terminating or continuing the contract. If it is lacking in anything at all, you should ask your head of IT or an external IT consultant to modify the services offered in the contract to fulfil your needs, whether Cloud-related or not.

In conclusion, the obligations of Cloud providers depend on the individual and, of course, your contract and your budget. The subject of security, however, is another subject that must be considered on a global level, but we will talk about that at another time.

Sam Wiltshire :

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