Microsoft Azure®: Getting to the Legal Terms for Azure Cloud and Marketplace—Cloud Computing and Cloud Marketplace Toolkit Project

IMPORTANT NOTE: This toolkit component uses the Microsoft Azure® site as an example. It aims neither to promote nor to criticize Microsoft or any of its products. To avoid vendor bias, the Cloud & Enterprise Technology Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) refers in related work product to services and legal terms offered by other cloud service providers.
The Subcommittee intends for this toolkit component to assist lawyers navigating the first key step of contract analysis for cloud services: finding the applicable legal terms for review and discussion with client representatives. A basic understanding of the format and approach to contracting with cloud service providers can be a useful foundation for that exercise.
Lawyers should anticipate finding layers of terms covering various products and services, not all of which will be relevant to discrete client projects. Lawyers should also anticipate interacting with a multidisciplinary project team including business, technical, security, and procurement representatives. Ongoing communication with the project team will aid considerably the ultimate goal of pinpointing and analyzing the relevant terms efficiently and effectively.
Introduction: Landscape and Structure
This guide starts with basics by design. It may be of limited use to lawyers who regularly work on transactions with cloud service providers and have devised their own navigation techniques and shortcuts. Also, any illustration based on an actual website is likely to be dated in at least some of its details in relatively short order. Nevertheless, this example should assist with the first step in analyzing legal rights and obligations for cloud environments: finding the applicable terms.
The task of identifying the applicable terms on cloud provider sites is not as straightforward as the traditional legal practice of receiving a template from the sales team labeled Agreement at the top with blanks for the contracting parties to sign at the end. Even if the sales team provides a template, it is likely to be only the hub portion of an agreement that reaches out to various terms and product descriptions published on the cloud

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