More often than not, dissatisfaction with your Cloud vendor will set in when you do not get the level of service you expect. Before you point fingers and firmly lay the blame at the door of your service vendor, think back to the day you signed the agreement. Did you make the effort to really read and understand the large and small print in the document? Did you make assumptions that were not discussed threadbare with the vendor?

Here are a few tips to help you approach your service level agreement (SLA) scientifically:

Negotiate your Cloud backup service SLA by taking a top-down approach. For instance, recovery is the purpose of your backup. Everything you backup must be recoverable. So, recovery is a critical component. What are the recovery options being made available to you by the Cloud vendor? Can you specify recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) and expect the vendor to be able to meet them? What about disaster recovery (DR)? What are your options? Does the vendor promise a five-nine or a four nine disaster recovery? Does that suit your purpose? How does the vendor ensure that the promise of disaster recovery and high availability is met? Does the high availability systems being put in place by the vendor, compromise your data security in any way?

Reading and understanding the SLA is non-negotiable. Remember, the SLA is a legally binding document and each party is bound by law to sign the document with complete understanding of the clauses and their implications. Claiming oversight or ignorance is unacceptable in the court of law.

A detailed reading of the SLA will pave the way for understanding the cloud vendor’s offer. Understanding the clauses in the SLA will help you establish the right level of expectations. There may be compromises that will have to be negotiated with your stakeholders if your service vendor is unable to match their expectations one-on-one. There may be legal issues that will have to be examined with your legal cell and discussed with the vendor’s legal advisors before a satisfactory agreement is drawn up. If the SLA offered by the vendor is generic and cannot be customized to suit the needs of individual customers, each clause and the implications of the clause will have to be discussed, examined and evaluated in the context of your own business, in detail, before the SLA is accepted or rejected.

This above exercise will ensure that your expectations are absolutely grounded and have a legal basis.