Building the Digital Single Market 

The most enthusiastic adopters of cloud computing should be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the life blood of the European economy. But Lack of knowledge about cloud services is the main reason why more SMEs are not using the cloud as much as expected.

SLA-Ready is a new 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.

“From an SME perspective, easily understandable cloud service levels agreements, and a clear service offer with complete transparency is really important in our-day-to-day work. It’s also a key enabler to staying competitive in today’s digital marketplace. Being part of a team focused on making cloud SLAs usable by the European private sector means we can now start giving other SMEs a clearer path to the cloud”, says Silvana Muscella, from Trust-IT Services Ltd the coordinating partner of the project.

“SLA-Ready is driving a common understanding of service level agreements with greater standardisation and transparency so firms can make an informed decision on what services to use, what to expect and what to trust”, says Arthur van der Wees from Arthur’s Legal.

Adoption stoppers include complex and misleading language, and typically “take-it-or-leave” contracts. SMEs also find it particularly hard to understand the terminology of service level agreements (SLAs), which often shift significant risks on to the customer. Put simply, “if a user cannot understand what the Cloud offers, it is hard to meaningfully utilise the benefits of the cloud. With SLAs offering this crucial user-Cloud interface, SLA-READY plays a very timely and critical usability role via its advocacy of reference SLA's and best practice repositories”, explains Professor Neeraj Suri from TU Darmstadt.

SLA-Ready is ultimately about building confidence and trust in the European cloud market as the very foundation of business. “Customers see the use of standardised Cloud SLAs as a critical step towards better understanding the level of security and data protection offered by the cloud service provider (CSP), and for monitoring the CSP’s performance and security levels”, explains Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director EMEA at the Cloud Security Alliance.

“Cloud computing should be the one answer to the rising complexity of software systems and therefore bring simplicity and transparency in all possible and innovative ways, especially in a data protection driven era”, underlines Guillaume Jahan, General Counsel at Numergy. “This is why Numergy believes feedback from its value chain of partners and customers is key to provide the right answers for a smooth and effective cloud adoption including security levels that only cloud can offer to SMEs in a cost effective way” adds Thierry Floriani, Chief Security Officer at Numergy.

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