Cloud Computing: Instructions for use
Sergio Calderara, Head of Contracts, Legal Department, Almaviva, Italy
Cloud computing seems to be on everybody’s mouth as the future trend in IT. Notwithstanding the fact that it has been around for some years, it continues to represent a ‘hot topic’ in IT law, and this is, beyond any doubt, due to the fact that even at an Institutional level (both in the US and within EU), there is an awareness that cloud computing could be a driver for digital development – especially at a small and medium sized businesses level –, representing also an opportunity for economic growth: remote access to computing power and data over the Internet can drive down costs through more efficient use of hardware and software. The main worry has to do with security (and the most immediate item on the agenda, when speaking of cloud computing, is certainly data protection and regulatory compliance with the various legislations potentially involved), but there are a number of other interesting issues on the table, such as the ones related to intellectual property rights and principles of contracts (e.g. liability of the service provider). So what does it take, in the end, to draft a contract for the provision of services ‘on the cloud’? Are there that many differences characterising cloud computing in respect of other outsourcing contacts? Are the main problems related to cross-jurisdictional provision of services or are there some issues arising from cloud computing even when the service provider and the customer are based within the same jurisdiction? These are some of the questions to which an answer will be sought in this paper, evidencing that one of the reasons why cloud computing represent such an interesting topic is that it seems to anticipate a number of legal issues that could become central in the future, in the undergoing trend of globalisation of services.
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