What are Service Level Agreements or SLAs? An SLA is an agreement between a client organization and a Managed Services Provider or MSP. At its most fundamental level, the contract spells out both the client services required and the MSP’s expected level of performance. A great MSP helps you define your service expectations.
After the client company defines its needs and required service expectations, the MSP will start drafting the SLA. The service expectations are the foundation of the SLA. Next, you’ll define the components of your SLA. Finally, let’s breakdown what’s inside a good SLA. Knowing what’s inside the agreement provides you with the confidence of receiving the level of service your business requires.Agreement & Service DescriptionThe service level agreement is where the client organization and MSP document all of the agreed-upon terms and conditions.
Further, both the client organization and MSP develop a list of all acronyms relevant to the specific client situation. Additionally, the SLA precisely defines what’s included in the services the client is purchasing from the MSP.
The services provided to the client are clearly spelled out with quantitative metrics for performance. Subsequently, the agreement makes the responsibilities of both the MSP and the client clear.
Availability & Responsiveness
Outages or service-affecting incidents are defined along with what the reporting and response process is if an outage occurs. For Network monitoring services, it is common to use percentage goals such as 99.99% network uptime for a year. Additionally, Service Level Agreements may also take scheduled maintenance and other known factors into consideration. Finally, your MSP will have a monitoring system in place to measure uptime and other metrics included in your SLA.
Responsiveness measures both how fast the MSP responds to the initial call/chat/email/ticket and performs the services required to close the incident. To receive timely service, the customer will also have their responsibilities detailed for how to report issues, etc. in the agreement.
Procedures for Reporting Problems
Make sure that the following items are spelled out in detail.
Who does the client company contact?
How does the client initiate contact?
What are the escalation procedures? You and your MSP will agree on how more complex incidents escalate to more senior technical staff. Further, the SLA will detail different types of problem severity and the response times for each type of incident.