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Negotiating A Contract As An Education Tech Provider

Being a solutions or service provider to a school can mean headaches throughout the negotiation process. Two ed tech experts weigh in on how to get through it.

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With legislation regarding security and privacy pending at the federal and state levels, the education technology space can be extremely confusing and frustrating for solutions and service providers. When at the negotiation table with an educational institution, there are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind.

’Simply, make sure that you can answer for every service that you’re asked of the question ’How do you make money?’ ’ recommended Pip Learning Technologies’ co-founder and Chief Privacy Officer Rob Curtin.

’That’s a simple question, ’How do you make money?’ And it’s a very telling answer,’ Curtin said. Service providers need to be transparent about whether data collection plays into profit margins, and to what extent. A company that sells data may be unattractive to primary schools for obvious reasons.

Cengage Technology and Privacy Counsel Elaine Call said a lot of frustration comes from contract terms and conditions that are outdated or irrelevant.

’A lot of times in security checklists I see physical ’segregation of data’ [as a condition]. A lot of vendors now operate in the cloud and don’t have physical warehouses,’ Call said.

However, Call said, it’s important to be extremely thorough in contract negotiation. The worst signal is anyone too eager to just ’sign off’ on a privacy agreement.

’We, as a service provider, also use service providers, and that’s what really gets me worried -- when I see no pushback, no questions, no anything,’ Call said.

Call said such negotiations take time and resources, but it’s well worth avoiding potential issues on the back end of a completed contract.

PUBLISHED JUNE 12, 2015

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