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Information technology (IT) industry analysts have identified the following principal rights of cloud service customers "that will help providers and consumers establish and maintain successful business relationships:"

The right to retain ownership and control of your own data

Service consumers should retain ownership of, and the rights to use, their own data.

The right to service level agreements that address liabilities, remediation and business outcomes

All computing services – including cloud services – suffer slowdowns and failures. You should choose a provider who commits to recovery times, specifies the form(s) of remediation they offer, and spells out the procedures they will follow in order to resolve problems.

The right to notification and choice about changes that may affect your business processes

Every service provider will need to take down its systems, interrupt its services or make other changes in order to increase capacity and ensure quality of service in the long term. Protecting your business processes entails providing advance notice of major upgrades or system changes, and granting you some control over when they occur.

The right to be informed of the technical limitations or requirements of the service 'up front'

Service providers should fully explain their own systems, technical requirements and limitations so that your commitment to their cloud service does not expose you to the risk of being unable to adjust to major changes.

This picture illustrates the concept of feedback from the service provider using blue-and-white arrows flying across clouds

The right to be informed of the legal requirements of jurisdictions in which the provider operates

If a cloud provider stores/transports your data in/through another country, they must advise you about the effect of local laws and regulations your business becomes subject to. You should also make this known to your customers, as some may object to their data being held outside Australia.

The right to know what security processes the provider follows

You must be informed of the processes your provider uses to deal with security breaches. Their procedures must be sufficiently detailed for you to be confident of their effectiveness.

The right to have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly

Access to a fair and transparent complaint process is an essential consumer protection. If you are unable to resolve a dispute with your cloud service provider in a timely and satisfactory manner, you can lodge a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

The TIO is a free, independent service which helps consumers (including small businesses) resolve complaints about online services.

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) covers all Australian businesses, including cloud service providers. Under the ACL, the products and services you buy should work as expected, match any description provided and include all of the features you were promised. If this is not the case, you have the right to redress (such as a refund or replacement).

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