CIF Gets Behind SLALOM

The SLALOM initiative has now delivered its first draft of legal terms for Cloud computing contracts following an extensive public consultation earlier this year, which sought the views of both end users and Cloud providers on their priorities when contracting cloud services.

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has welcomed this drive for further Cloud contract standardisation, and has called on stakeholders within the industry to actively engage with SLALOM on its proposed terms.

The SLALOM initiative was launched in January 2015 with the mission to unify the terms and conditions of Cloud computing contracts and service level agreements (SLAs). The latest deliverable discusses common areas of debate (including IPR, termination, and data migration at the end of a contract) and sets these within a contractual structure that should provide a suitable model for contracting Cloud services.

The next stage of the SLALOM project is Consensus Phase, which runs from 1st October to 31st Jan 2016. During this time the initiative will be inviting feedback on the draft terms from all stakeholders in a wide-ranging public consultation designed to build consensus on the terms, which need to be covered, and taking into account the different perspectives involved. SLALOM’s approach has been to set out from both the provider and adopter perspective for each clause, with a suggested SLALOM form of wording.

Alex Hilton, CIF’s CEO, stated: “We have repeatedly said that uncertainty around legal issues in Cloud computing forms a barrier to adoption through perceived risk and a lack of trust. This is a barrier that has been highlighted time and again in the research we have conducted amongst the end user community. Customers must ask those awkward questions about the rights and obligations of each party and what happens when one of the parties fails to fulfil their contract, and even which jurisdiction would cover which issues of the contract.

“To date, the relative immaturity of the market has resulted in contracts being used which are not particularly well-suited to the services being provided. End users often overlook unfair terms as they are not afforded the opportunity to negotiate and they fail to assess risk properly when adopting low cost Cloud services. I’d hope that by developing a standardised approach to contracts, we can address these issues, but it’s important that it remains workable for both CSPs and end users – which is why it is critical that the full range stakeholders in the Cloud industry engage with SLALOM on the next stage of this project,” he continued.

Team members from SLALOM will be presenting at a number of industry events, including ICT Lisbon 2015, a policy conference presenting the new European Commission’s policies and initiatives on Research & Innovation in ICT (Horizon 2020 Programme); Eurocloud Forum in Barcelona, and Cloud Expo Europe in Frankfurt. Feedback is welcome from Cloud service users, Cloud service providers and institutions representing all sides of the debate.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine