White paper: cloud computing in 2013 - what legal commitments can you expect from your provider?

18 Feb 2013

A recent VMWare and Forrester Research annual survey published in November 20121 indicated that cloud computing adoption had increased for Australian business to about 58 per cent, up from 42 percent the previous year. A further 20% of businesses planned to implement cloud solutions within the next 18 months. Cloud adoption was seen as a strategic move with competitive advantage being cited as a major factor by a majority of organisations. In addition to cost savings being a driver for adoption, users are increasingly adopting cloud technologies for the flexibility offered by being able to scale up and down without committing permanently to the underlying infrastructure and applications.

While adoption of cloud increases, concerns around privacy, security and availability remain significant for Australian businesses.

The purpose of this paper is to consider the extent to which there has been an associated maturation in the terms of provision of cloud services, to take account of these continued concerns.

This has been done by reviewing a number of the terms and conditions for cloud providers. A primary focus has been privacy and security together with various other commercial issues which can have a significant practical impact on a business' adoption of a cloud solution. In conducting our survey the authors have also reviewed the similar White Paper co-authored by Mark Vincent in 2011, Cloud Computing Contracts White Paper, A Survey of Terms and Conditions and comment on developments or lack thereof since that time.

The cloud contracts comprise some 53 individual contracts and documents from 19 providers. The contracts relate to paid business grade services available in Australia.

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