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5 tips for making your cloud SLA air-tight

Brandon Butler | July 26, 2012
Customers can get burnt by their provider if they're not careful.

Beware of hidden costs

Behind agility, another top reasons many customers embrace cloud computing is because of potential cost savings, yet Overly says customers aren't paying close enough attention to all of the revenue streams vendors may try to sneak into an SLA. In one circumstance, Overly says he found an SLA with a dozen potential revenue streams for the vendor, but only a handful of them were listed in the "Fees" section of the SLA. "Really go through every last line in the contract looking for these things," he says.

For example, a vendor may stipulate that if there is a reported problem that is found to be the user's fault, then the customer can be billed for the time and material used to investigate the issue. "That can add up pretty quickly when there's no limiting factor," Overly says. In another situation, a vendor may provide conservative estimates on how much it will cost to transfer data into or out of the cloud, then when the service is performed it costs much more. Find out how the estimate was made and double check the math, Overly says.

The overall lesson, he says, is to take an all-encompassing approach to reviewing the details of the agreement and the impact it can have on the business. Get the appropriate people involved, from the security, IT and business divisions all the way to the legal team and technical implementers to review everything and look for red flags.


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