What are your legal rights as a cloud consumer? Well, here are a few tips on your rights and responsibilities.

The cloud is a data storage repository. The consumer’s data is stored on third party servers at the option of the consumer. However, the consumer retains the right to own, control and use the data that is stored in the remote server deployed, maintained and managed by the cloud service provider.  It follows that the data should be secured against any unauthorized access by the cloud vendor or any third parties to the transaction, unless explicitly permitted by the consumer. The agreement between the consumer and the cloud service provider must include a clause to the effect that the data continues to be the property of the consumer and the vendor claims no right of ownership, access or use of such data.

The consumer has a right to expect and receive the levels of service set forth and agreed to in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) entered into at the time of subscribing to the cloud service. The cloud service provider must commit to recovery times, specify forms of remediation and define procedures that will be followed at all times. The agreements must describe levels of service in terms that are understandable to the consumer. The levels specified must be generic enough to be relevant to the business for which the service is provided.

The consumer has the right to be informed about any changes that may be made to the delivery of services especially if the changes have an impact on the consumer’s business processes.

The service consumer has the right to be informed about technical limitations of the service and any requirements that may be a pre condition to deployment of the service.

It is incumbent on the service provider to inform the consumer about any legal requirements or details of legal jurisdictions within which the service provider may be operating. This is because it may be very easy for consumers to overlook legal issues that may arise during the operation of the service. The consumer may unknowingly become party to legal issues that arise within the jurisdiction of the service provider.

Finally, the consumer has the right to be informed about any security procedures that are being followed by the service provider and to be satisfied about the levels of security that are being put in place. Good communication systems set up by the service provider will keep the consumer informed about these arrangements at all times.