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Considering a Cloud Service? Read This Before Signing on the Dotted Line

Look for a contract that addresses service availability, SLAs, and security

If your company is like the majority of small businesses, you probably plan to invest some of your IT budget in cloud computing, if you haven’t already. According to an August report from Techaisle, small and medium-sized businesses will spend $11 billion on cloud computing services worldwide in 2011. There are many advantages to be realized when you move business applications to the cloud, but it’s still an investment that requires careful consideration and thorough research. Before you sign a contract, make sure it clearly states what you can expect from the cloud service and the provider.

Cloud contracts can be, well, cloudy. According to a Yankee Group report, ”…cloud contracts are rife with disclaimers, misleading uptime guarantees, and questionable privacy policies…” The Yankee Group recommended that companies look closely at the claims made in cloud service contracts. The most important of these contractual promises is the availability of the service, the provider’s service level agreements (SLAs), and the security of your data.

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