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How to avoid legal hassles when switching cloud vendors

Negotiate initial cloud computing contracts to address data ownership and pricing, or you risk delaying the migration when you want to change providers

Barry Porozni recently discovered a critical omission in a company contract with a software-as-a-service vendor: There was no clause to cover key aspects of data migration when the deal ended.

That omission caused headaches as Porozni, CIO at US-based The Reinvestment Fund, sought to move a cloud-based document-management and workflow system back on-site. Porozni says his company had to negotiate a price for a copy of its own data plus tools needed for the migration.

"You think a lot about the beginning. People do a good job with that," he says. "But you need to think about the end, too: data ownership, migration, what happens if I want to switch."

Porozni is moving customer data and imaged documents from vendor Savana. He says Savana has been good to work with and they're parting on friendly terms. But his IT group has developed a similar application in Microsoft Sharepoint, which he expects will save him money.

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