How to Create a Service Level Agreement: The Basics

A service level agreement (SLA) specifies how much uptime your company’s vendors must provide during the term of your contract. An SLA also documents how and when each vendor will be liable for any outages if they fail to meet those uptime standards. With an SLA, you can quantify and manage your vendors’ uptime on a monthly basis, identify any trends or issues that may lead to future outages, and ensure the vendor is held accountable for lapses in service that are not within their control. Without an SLA, it’s much harder to monitor your vendors and ensure they’re meeting your expectations. But with so many different types of SLAs out there, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you. This guide covers everything you need to know about creating an SLA, including why you need one, what goes into one and where to find examples of one.

Why You Need a Service Level Agreement

SLAs exist to manage the expectations of both parties in a vendor relationship when certain time frames or uptime levels are critical. Common examples are cloud providers, managed networks, outsourced IT services, and telecom providers. SLAs are critical to managing expectations, and they ensure the vendor is held accountable for any shortcomings. Put simply, an SLA is a written contract that details the level of service a vendor must provide and the terms under which any outages or other problems will be addressed. For example, an SLA can provide assurance to your vendor that you will reimburse them if they experience downtime due to external factors outside of their control. Without an SLA, it’s much more difficult to hold vendors accountable when things go wrong.

How to Create an SLA

To create an SLA, you will need to know the following: – What services are being offered and by whom: The vendor will need to provide a detailed service-level description, including which services are being provided, their level of importance, and the expected uptime for each service. You will also need to know which services you are responsible for and their uptime expectations. – What services are being offered and by whom: The customer will need to provide an SLA description, detailing which services are being provided, their level of importance, and the expected upt-ime for each service. – What the penalties are: The vendor will need to detail the penalties for failing to meet the agreed-upon SLA. These penalties should be in line with the level of importance of the services specified in the SLA. – What the terms are: You will need to detail the terms for resolving any issues between the customer and vendor related to the SLA. This includes who will be responsible for investigating and resolving the issue, and what happens if the issue cannot be resolved.

What Goes Into an SLA?

An SLA is a legal document that details the agreed-upon levels of service between the vendor and customer. The customer and vendor will each need to detail the following (in writing): – A description of the services being offered: Each party must clearly identify the services being offered and the expected uptime of each service. – The level of importance of each service: Both parties must also clearly identify the level of importance of each service being offered. If a service is critical, it’s especially important to be met. – The expected uptime of each service: Finally, both parties must clearly identify the expected uptime of each service being offered. This includes not only the uptime of each service, but also the amount of downtime that is acceptable.

Examples of SLAs

These are a few examples of what an SLA might look like for different types of vendors. – Cloud service SLAs: A cloud-based service provider might have an SLA that states they must keep a certain percentage of their infrastructure online at all times. – Managed network SLAs: A network vendor that offers managed services might have an SLA that states the uptime percentage of their core routing services, DNS services, etc. – OSP SLAs: An SLA for an outsourced call center might include a set amount of time it takes to answer calls and resolve issues. – Telecom SLAs: A telecom provider might have an SLA that specifies the uptime of their internet services, data services and other important metrics.

Conclusion

For most businesses, a service level agreement is a must. In fact, it’s often hard to get a vendor to sign a contract without an SLA in place. An SLA is a legal document that details the level of service a vendor must provide and the terms under which any issues will be addressed. An SLA is critical to managing expectations and holding vendors accountable for any shortcomings. It’s especially important for managed services, outsourced vendors, and critical internal services. In short, you must have an SLA in place with any vendor that is vital to your business.

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