Will European Union SLA Standards Go Global?

A set of SLA standards guidelines for cloud providers released by the European Union last month could make their way to the United States and around the world, according to lawyers from Barton.

Although it’s a European Union change, the service level agreement (SLA) standardization issued last month by the European Commission’s Cloud Select Industry Group – Subgroup on Service Level Agreement (C-SIG-SLA … ’cause that’s a catchy name) could become a global standard. Even if it doesn’t, Americancloud providers (among others) will very soon feel its effects, according to an article written by Kenneth N. Rashbaum Esq. and Jason M. Tenenbaum of Barton LLP.

The two lawyers indicated in their article that with the Edward Snowden disclosures of last year, there has been an increasing focus around the world on government and technology company transparency. Those pushing ahead the quickest are in Europe, as the Union has been amongst the strongest advocates for change. And the new SLA standardization for cloud services providers it released on June 6 are its first big step in creating that transparency.

Rashbaum and Tenenbaum noted that the EU asked several cloud companies, includingAmazon Web Services (AMZN), Adobe (ADBE), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), IBM(IBM) and Oracle (ORCL), to standardize “the language of cloud computing contracts to make them more consistent and easier to understand.” A good move by the EU, and one that could create plenty of positive change in the cloud world.

What they come up is C-SIG-SLA, a set of guidelines that “can assist organizations through the development of standards and guidelines for cloud SLAs and other governing documents.”

As a European standard, though, this initially will affect only cloud providers doing business in the European Union, but it seems likely that the cloud providers that had a hand in scribing the standardization guidelines also will take an interest in rolling those guidelines out in every region in which they operate.

Although Rashbaum and Tenenbaum noted the exact effect this will have on American companies is so far unknown, they speculated it may become an international standard in time—particularly because the European Union is taking the guidelines to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

“As such, the guidelines, in whole or in part, may ultimately become international standards and will find their way into SLAs for engagements with hosting providers and their customers within U.S.,” they wrote. “This is only logical in that many U.S. cloud engagements in this age of globalization comprise data from beyond the United States.”