IT departments raise concerns over poor cloud contracts

Organisations are beginning to raise concerns over supplier lock-in and compensation for missing service level commitments.

While data security in the cloud remains a top concern for IT departments, organisations are beginning to raise concerns over supplier lock-in and compensation for missing service-level commitments.

In a survey for the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) by Vanson Bourne, 26% of senior IT and business decision makers said contract lock-ins were their biggest concern.

The research, conducted in Q3 2013, polled 250 senior IT and business decision-makers to gain insight into attitudes, experiences and trends across the UK end user community.

It also found that 24% said they were concerned about the viability of the supplier, while 20% said they were concerned that contractual liability for services if SLAs would be met.

Commenting on the findings, Richard Pharro, CEO of APM Group, the Cloud Industry Forum's (CIF) independent certification partner said: "That just one in five of respondents cite concern over contractual liability for cloud services is a concern in itself. 

"In the wake of recent service provider closures, such as that of Nirvanix, 2e2 and Doyenz, which were unexpected and left users and their data vulnerable, we would have expected this figure to be a good deal higher. As these cases attest, by failing to pay proper attention to cloud contracts, businesses may be putting themselves, and their data, at risk."

Last year, a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) highlighted poor practices in the cloud industry. It found evidence of suppliers avoiding liability for failures and service-level agreements that did not match the needs of the business. QMUL also found that some suppliers were changing service features without notice.

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