Understand service and liability of the cloud provider

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Before signing up to work with a cloud service provider, you need to fully understand the levels of service that they will provide and also what the limit of liability of the cloud provider will be. Service level agreements, or SLAs, are used to legally state the services and responsibilities of each party. An SLA will specify what happens in examples such as if there are unforeseen problems or a disaster which causes the service to become unavailable. You need to thoroughly review the agreement and challenge areas that you disagree with. Remember that SLAs are designed to protect the cloud provider and not the customer.

Do not automatically agree to the standard terms and SLAs of a cloud provider. The SLA should be a two-way agreement, so attempt to tailor the SLA to suit your organizational needs or threaten to move to another cloud provider. Where a preferred cloud service provider won't change the SLA, consider obtaining insurance to fill any shortfall. When reviewing agreements, you need to consider questions such as, how does the cloud provider determine if service levels are being met? Who is responsible for the measurement of these levels? Is it through internal or third-party monitoring? Are there any exceptions to the SLA? Such as, if you are promised 95% uptime, but you're in in-house maintenance and outage occurs, what happens if the SLAs are not being met? Do you need to claim compensation, or is this credited automatically? Often, a cloud service provider will include indemnities in the SLAs.

The provider will seek to limit their liability for events that can include failing to look after your data properly. You need to know the maximum compensation payable. You need to ensure that the cloud provider will protect your data and offer compensation in case of events such as, intellectual property infringement, violation of laws, gross negligence, misconduct, theft, and fraud, to name a few. When reviewing the SLA, look for loopholes where the provider negates or completely absolves themselves of any liability.

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Gain a new or enhanced understanding of cloud principles, service offerings, delivery mechanisms, and security requirements. This course focuses on the objectives for the first two domains of the Microsoft Cloud Fundamentals exam (98-369: Understand the Cloud and Enable Microsoft Cloud Services). IT professionals and those interested in pursuing certification can use this course as an exam preparation resource.

Topics include:

  • Cloud principles and security mechanisms

  • Cloud security requirements and policies

  • Cloud updates and availability

  • Types of cloud services

  • Signing up for cloud services

  • Configuring cloud services

  • Configuring Microsoft Intune

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