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Negotiating Cloud Contracts - Looking at Clouds from Both Sides Now

Contract terms for cloud computing services are evolving, driven by users' attempts to negotiate providers' standard terms to make them more suitable for their requirements, as well as market developments, particularly among cloud integrators.

A paper by Kuan Hon, Prof Christopher Millard and Prof Ian Walden summarises our research into negotiated cloud contracts, where users have requested changes to providers’ standard terms, and the extent to which providers agreed those changes, based on sources including interviews with cloud computing providers, users and other market actors. The terms that generated most negotiation were provider liability, service level agreements, data protection and security, termination rights, unilateral amendments to service features, and intellectual property rights.

Changes to providers' standard terms are likely to filter down from large deals where users have negotiated amendments, and filter up from regulatory action affecting the consumer market. This paper suggests a multiplicity of approaches are emerging, rather than a de facto ‘cloud’ model, with market participants developing a range of cloud services with different contractual terms, priced at different levels, and embracing standards and certifications that aid legal certainty and compliance, particularly for SME users. 

It is available via SSRN: Negotiating Cloud Contracts - Looking at Clouds from Both Sides Now'.

This paper has also been published as  'Negotiating Cloud Contracts - Looking at Clouds from Both Sides Now'

in the Stanford Technology Law Review, 16 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 81 (2012). 

Further research on the area of Cloud Computing and contracts has also been done - See Cloud Computing vs Outsourcing - Key Differences, by W Kuan Hon and Christopher Millard - a longer version of this paper (whose shorter version was previously published in Computers and Law October / November 2012 Vol 23, Iss 4 at ), is now available on SSRN at

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