Making Cloud SLAs readily usable in the EU private sector

PR: How transparent and trustworthy is your SLA? – SLA-Ready is here to help

If cloud computing can be bought and sold in a confident and trustworthy manner, cloud contracts which include reliable, repeatable and measurable metrics are vital. The standardisation and transparency of SLAs is paramount to provide customers with enough information about what services to use, what to expect from them and what to trust. There is little doubt that cloud service providers will only benefit from responding to the major concerns of existing and prospective cloud service customers.
In an emerging and fast moving market companies are often rushing to be the first to launch new innovative cloud-based services and products on the market without fully considering details around contracts and SLAs. But what about those many companies that are holding back from the cloud? They say the desired transparency is just not there, and from a customer’s perspective, nor is the trust, which means they have to make a leap of faith. 
To change the current state of play, the SLA-Ready project, funded under the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, has published its first iteration of a Common Reference Model which provides a common understanding of SLAs for Cloud services. The reference model comprehensively addresses the cloud service life cycle, EC Cloud SLA Standardisation Guidelines and the SLOs set therein making it an essential reference for cloud service providers. 
Based on a comprehensive and neutral state-of-the-art analysis covering technical, legal, economic and sociological aspects, it integrates common vocabularies, best practices, recommendations and standards that can be used to define SLAs for different use cases and applicable certifications. Importantly, the reference model also addresses SLO-metrics/measurements including data classification, data life-cycle, data management, data portability, (personal) data protection and intervenability.
The Reference Model also looks at current practices in the cloud industry, analysing use cases based on different levels of knowledge (novice, basic knowledge, experienced user) and different stages of the cloud service management life cycle: procurement of IaaS by a Fintech firm, operational phases by small IT teams in local government, an SME using Saas, and an SME migrating from one SaaS cloud service provider to another.
Help us validate the Common Reference Model and assess your own SLA 
Assess the relative importance of each Common Reference Model element and evaluate the extent to which you are meeting customer needs by completing our CSP Survey. Results will help the SLA-Ready team to produce an SLA Readiness Index that customers can use to compare different practices – that’s a great showcase for CSPs that prioritise transparency and standardisation.
What’s an SLA-Readiness Index?
Based on survey results a quantifiable SLA-Readiness Index will be launched in Q4 2016. The index will allow providers to carry out a self-assessment of their SLA. CSPs will be given the option of publishing results in a publicly available repository of SLA-Ready SLAs published both through SLA-Ready and the CSA STAR Registry. This will be made accessible to customers as a service by which they can easily compare results between CSPs. 
By providing an opportunity for providers to share results, customers will be able to easily compare results and SLAs. The ultimate goal is to encourage greater transparency and lower barriers to adoption especially for SMEs, who have much to gain from the cloud but who lack the information required about which services to use and trust, which comes from greater transparency, standardisation, certification, auditing and monitoring. Greater confidence in the market means companies can grow their business with new cloud-enabled products and services. 
The ultimate goal of the Reference Model is to encourage greater transparency and lower barriers to adoption especially for SMEs, who have much to gain from the cloud but who lack the information required about which services to use and trust. 
Are you a Cloud Service Provider?
Complete our survey for Cloud Service Providers
Download the SLA-Ready Common Reference Model
About SLA-Ready
SLA-Ready is a European initiative that aims to change this through a service-driven approach specifically designed for SMEs. The SLA-Ready service approach will support SMEs with practical guides, and a social marketplace, which encourages them to carefully plan their journey and make it strategic through an informed, stepping-stone approach, so the cloud and applications grow with their business.
SLA Ready has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme - DG CONNECT Software 
Find out more: | Follow us @SLAReady