Cloud computing’s rapid gain in popularity has created certain challenges for the community of users that are considering adopting cloud technology, and also for the companies that are developing and delivering cloud services technology. From the user’s perspective, perhaps the greatest challenge is negotiating service level agreements that fairly represent both parties, have measurable performance criteria, are understandable, and that contain recourse if and when service delivery or other (i.e. security breach) issues arise.
From the standpoint of the cloud service provider, their concerns include the legal challenges of protecting and distributing data - sometimes across international boundaries, developing their applications and services within a set of guidelines that are also understood by sub-contractors and other delivery partners, and providing service delivery that remains within confines of the legal infrastructure of the lands in which they operate or deliver services.
In the United States, the organization leading the discussion around defining and addressing the above challenges is the Cloud Standards Customer CouncilTM or CSCCTM ; The CSCCTM website is www.cloud-council.org . In the European Union, the organization leading these discussions is The SLALOM Project. SLALOM stands for service level agreement and open model; The SLALOM Project website is www.slalom-project.eu .
The SLALOM Project is being undertaken by consultants from global service provider Atos, the legal specialist Bird and Bird, researchers from the National Technical University of Athens and University of Pireaeus, and the Cloud Industry Forum, an industry body that champions transparency and trust of online services. The SLALOM Project is co-funded by the European Commission through the H2020 Program under a grant. H2020, or Horizon 2020 as it’s known formally, is an EU Research and Innovation program with nearly €80 billion of funding.
The Cloud Standards Customer CouncilTM is managed by the Object Management Group® (OMG®), an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium. From their website, the charter of the CSCCTM is to:
- “Deliver customer-focused content in the form of best practices, patterns, case studies, use cases, and standards roadmaps
- Influence the standards development process for new cloud standards
- Facilitate the exchange of real-world stories, practices, lessons and insights”
The SLALOM Project website states their goals are to “…pursue consensus to assure that the terms are fair, legally tight, balanced and sufficiently broad” and also “to seek consensus and create a practical reference for doing business in the cloud for all stakeholders.”
Both The SLALOM Project and CSCCTM have published a plethora of material available for download that can help both cloud providers and cloud adopters with:
- Developing definitions related to cloud services
- Developing service level agreements (SLAs) for the delivery and use of cloud technology
- Understanding the legal ramifications of delivering and utilizing cloud services
Topics include guidance, technical and legal specifications, architecture descriptions, SLA definition, and more. If you have interest in participating with either CSCCTM or The SLALOM Project, both offer membership applications for users/adopters of cloud technology, and also for cloud service delivery providers.
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