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European Commission inches closer to standardising cloud SLA guidelines

Computer Weekly - The European Commission (EC) has received a cloud guidelines document – aimed at helping users save money and increase cloud trust – from service providers and industry bodies. The EC will now test the SLA guidelines with users, in particular SMEs before formalising it.

The guidelines, when fully implemented, will help cloud users ensure essential elements are included in plain language in contracts they make with cloud providers, the EC has said. The guidelines will explain, in simple terms, the availability and reliability of the cloud service, security levels, quality of support services from suppliers and data management in the cloud.

The document has been developed by a Cloud Select Industry Group (CSIG) which includes industry bodies such as Cloud security Alliance and ENISA, legal experts such as DLA Piper and cloud and IT service providers including Atos, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, SAP, IBM, Salesforce, Cisco, HP, Accenture, Intel and EMC among others (see full list of companies involved in developing the cloud SLA guidelines here).

According to the EC, the document from CSIG is the “first step towards standardised building blocks for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) terminology and metrics” for cloud use in the region.

Its own research showed that SLA standards are required by cloud users.

“The new guidelines will help generate trust in innovative computing solutions and help EU citizens save money. More trust means more revenue for companies in Europe's digital single market," said EC vice-president Viviane Reding.