Making Cloud SLAs readily usable in the EU private sector

SLA-Ready workshop in Madrid, Spain; Takeaways 2

Madrid, November 16th, 2016 – 80% of SMEs don’t use cloud services because they don’t sufficiently understand the service provision contracts that must be signed with their provider.

This was the main topic of the ‘SLA-Ready’ workshop organized by CONETIC and SLA-Ready project, with collaboration by Gedeth Network and the UFV-ADEN International Business School.

The majority of the 20 million European SMEs are small businesses that do not have enough time or resources to invest in new technologies or in building the technical and legal knowledge required for their adoption. In this context, the European standard for cloud computing Service Level Agreements (SLA) strives to address issues such as lack of relevant knowledge, use of complex terminology, the lack of standards for comparing offers, the use of English as principal language, or the lack of information between the rights and obligations of the users and the providers…that arise from current contracts.

“It’s about an initiative and effort by different entities to model and establish a basis for a standard of Service-Level Agreements for cloud services that permit businesses and users to make informed decisions regarding what they’re buying and the guarantees that go with it,” explains Gloria Diaz, manager of CONETIC.

Cloud is a facilitator for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, innovation… However, some of the usual barriers to the adoption of cloud services are the use of complex language, and the insecurity that this generates in the client.

“The objectives for the development of a standard contract model for the provision of cloud services have been to contribute to the standardization of the service level metrics, to generate transparency and trust among users, and to educate and inspire the adoption of cloud services,” notes Nick Ferguson of Trust-IT Services.

Just as Ruben Trapero of Darmstadt Technical University detailed, for the development of these contracts, it was necessary to analyze the needs of companies and industry, the current contracts from different cloud service providers, the regulations and recommendations of the standardization bodies, legal terminology, and recommendations from work groups, and even sociological aspects were evaluated to see how easy it was to understand the contract and the SLAs of cloud service providers.

In total, more than 30 technical and legal issues and considerations that must be clear at the time of signing a cloud service contract were taken into account : reliability, service level, performance, language, security, data management, data protection…

“Cloud helps us create a more digital and competitive economy, and for that reason it is critical that there exists a common language of understanding,” advised Janneke Breeuwsma, lawyer at Arthur’s Legal.

“In a European Digital Single Market, the development of standard contracts for the provision and contracting of cloud services won’t only help to improve the productivity of Spanish SMEs, but will also help them to start doing business abroad,” Juan Millan, partner of Gedeth Network, pointed out.

In spite of the complexity of the contracts, Spanish businesses are aware of the opportunities and benefits offered by the adoption of new technologies, and the flexibility and competitiveness involved in working with cloud environments.

In this sense, Jorge Perez, Digital Economy Director at, reemphasized the importance of the adoption of cloud technologies by Spanish SMEs not only as an objective of modernization but also as an innovation strategy:

“It is necessary that the digital transformation reach all productive sectors, not only to facilitate economic recovery and job creation, but also as a means  for interaction between enterprises, with citizens, with other organizations, and with the ecosystem, which is already digital.”

To help increase SME adoption, SLA-Ready offers free tools like the Common Reference Model offering a common understanding of SLAs and the SLA-AID tool helping SMEs make informed decisions about which service to use and what to expect.