The purpose of a contract for cloud services is to increase communication, transparency, and accountability. It's important to have a good understanding of terms between contracting parties; if a dispute arises it can be of great comfort to be able to refer to a written agreement
Your cloud service provider should have their contract terms and conditions available on their website, and make them as easy as possible for you to understand. Standard contracts must not include any 'unfair terms', e.g. your provider cannot –
- Suspend your service because of their mistake.
- Charge you for anything which is their mistake.
- Renew or extend your contract, unless you agree.
- Change your contract, unless you agree.
- Break the Australian Consumer Law.
Anyone who buys a service from a cloud provider must either accept a standard Service Level Agreement (SLA) from the provider or negotiate their own. You should not commit your valuable data or systems to a cloud service provider without first negotiating an SLA that includes appropriate penalties for failure to deliver promised service levels.
As a matter of best practice, cloud services provided to Australian consumers should be subject to Australian laws including laws relating to data protection, consumer protection, contracts and law enforcement.
If this is not the case, your service provider must disclose the national jurisdiction that applies to processing and data storage services. If a jurisdiction outside Australia applies, the service provider should provide a summary of any relevant differences between Australian law and the applicable jurisdiction(s).
When a provider proposes to change the applicable jurisdiction, you should be informed prior to the change and provided with an option to cease the service at no cost.