Service Level Agreement : Are You Covered?


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Trepidation concerning the transfer of crucial data and applications to a cloud-based virtual desktop and server hosting solution is understandable. But it’s not the technology that one should worry about – it’s the provider. Even the most adept and reliable hosting services providers are painfully aware of the immense responsibility they’ve taken on in order to satisfy their client’s needs. However, not all cloud service providers are equal. What’s the best way to check? Take a look at their Service Level Agreement (SLA) and make sure it answers these questions.

How am I protected against cloud service provider failure?

Make sure your SLA clearly identifies you as the owner of your data. The data host should claim no rights or ownership to data stored on any of their cloud servers. As a client, you should have exclusive access to copy or remove data from their virtual servers down to any local platform at will.

Where is my data?

A reliable hosting services business will answer this question with no ifs, ands or buts. You should have access to a wealth of knowledge about their data centers, including physical locations and both physical and virtual security measures. Moreover, does your cloud service provider operate our of top-tier data center facilities across the country that enables them to instantly replicate virtual servers, client data or virtual desktops?

What about support?

Any SLA from a reliable hosting services outfit should act as a partner with your business by including comprehensive support details. You should know what to expect, e.g., who to call, what the estimated response time is and what is included in your support.

Picking a service provider can be a daunting task. What differentiates worthwhile hosting solutions, cloud service providers, Internet service providers and managed services agreements from worthless ones can, thankfully, be detected early on. Confidentiality clauses, responsibility for data backup, response times, guarantees and the coveted penalty clauses are crucial to know. To find a reliable hosting services provider, make sure you read the fine print and ask the above questions so you are confident in your decision. And if their Service Level Agreement doesn’t spell out the details of your data’s liability, security and who has access to it, then unfortunately, your agreement is just in a state of disagreement.