ID: 210



Robert McLelland holds a Bachelor of Science in History Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. He is a recipient of the 2013 ARMA International Educational Foundation Scholarship and his current research is on contract terms between cloud service providers and their clients. He recently presented his research at the Association of Canadian Archivists in Victoria, British Columbia.


Agreements between Cloud Service Providers and their Clients: A Review of Contract Terms

Brief summary:

This paper explores the terms currently available in contracts between cloud service providers and their clients. It creates a framework of key term categories that should exist in contracts to fulfill the records needs of organizations. It then compares contracts from companies to determine how well these contracts meet the record keeping needs.


The purpose of this paper is to explore the terms currently available from cloud service provider contracts. The paper begins by outlining the types of cloud services that are offered and the types of implementation that are commonly available for these cloud types. It then moves into a discussion of the framework that was used to analyze the contracts. This framework consists of four groups of “Term Categories,” which would be necessary elements of a contract in order to fulfill the recordkeeping needs of an organization.

Utilizing this framework, the paper then analyzes the contracts of ten cloud service providers from North America and Europe. It assesses each contract to determine the degree to which each necessary category is addressed within the contracts and discusses each of the terms that are relevant to the identified categories.  The paper finds that contracts primarily protect the interests of the service providers and largely fall short of providing assurances for the recordkeeping needs of the clients of these service providersThe lack of adherence to recordkeeping needs in provider-client agreements has implications for the long-term preservation of born-digital records.

Scientific contribution:

At present, little has been published on the nature of contracts that are readily being agreed upon by the clients of service providersThis paper accumulates standards and professional concerns on recordkeeping in relation to cloud storage and uses this accumulation to make inferences on what contracts should containUsing the resulting framework, it assess a group of currently available contracts from commonly used companies in multiple jurisdictionsThe scientific contribution of this is twofold: first, the framework it describes can be used to assess additional contracts or contracts that have been modified, second, it increases the data that is presently available about agreements between cloud service providers and their clients.


Cloud, contracts, born-digital