DLA Piper has played a key role in the launch of guidelines issued by the European Commission intended to help businesses save money and get the most out of cloud computing services. The guidelines are intended to ensure contracts between professional cloud users and cloud providers are written plainly, boosting confidence in the digital market.
The guidelines are widely recognised as the first step towards standardised building blocks for service-level agreements (SLAs) terminology and metrics. An SLA is a part of a service contract that defines the technical and legal aspects of the service offered.
The guidelines were developed as part of the European Commission’s European Cloud Strategy to increase trust in these services and were shaped by a Cloud Select Industry Group (C-SIG) that included lawyers Patrick van Eecke, Mark O’Conor and Antoon Dierick of DLA Piper. Other major cloud providers including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM were also part of the C-SIG.
It is hoped that this will inspire the standardisation of SLAs at an international level. Internet service providers commonly include SLAs in contracts with customers to define the levels of service being sold, and they form an important component of the contractual relationship between a customer and a cloud provider.
Given the global nature of the cloud, cloud contracts often span different jurisdictions, with varying applicable legal requirements, in particular with respect to the protection of personal data hosted in the cloud.