How to Assess Cloud Service Contracts? A Checklist for Trustworthy Records in the Cloud

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How effective are cloud service providers’ terms and agreements at addressing the needs of records managers and archivists? Research undertaken by InterPARES Trust reveals that the ability to preserve the integrity and authenticity of the data and records throughout their life-cycle is not always clearly demonstrated in the contract terms, especially with regard to retention and disposition, ownership, location, preservation, and restitution of the data at the end of the service. This paper discusses the methodological approach taken by the authors to analyze the effectiveness of cloud service contracts from legal, archival and information management perspectives. The research is based on qualitative content analysis of selected boilerplate contracts in order to identify gaps or weaknesses regarding the concerns of records managers and archivists. It takes into account recordkeeping standards, principles, and opinions, as well as legal issues such as data protection, freedom of information, national security legislation, and data ownership. This interdisciplinary research has led to the elaboration of a Checklist for Cloud Service Contracts, presented in the paper. The primary goal of such a checklist is to help records managers and archivists gain an understanding of boilerplate cloud contracts in order to verify if potential cloud contracts meet their concerns. Additionally, the Checklist may assist legal and IT departments as well as cloud service providers to understand and recognize the needs of the records management and recordkeeping community and to adequately address these needs during contract negotiations.

This content has been updated on November J 2017 at 8 h 53 min.