What ITdonut says about SLA
What does an SLA cover?
Typically, a service level agreement covers three areas:
- Uptime. This applies to important equipment, software or services that your business needs. Typically, uptime guarantees apply to servers, cloud services (like email or web hosting) or other parts of your IT system that are vital to your business.For example, your Managed services provider might guarantee 99.9% uptime for your cloud backup system.
- Response times. These measure how long it takes your Managed services provider to respond when you raise a request for support. Usually, support requests have to be raised in a specific way (often through an online system), so make sure you have a good IT support process in place.For example, your Managed services provider might promise to respond to critical problems within 15 minutes.
- Resolution times. These measure how long it takes your IT support company to actually fix a problem. Because many things can cause system faults, resolution times may only apply to the most important software, services or equipment, or only to certain types of faults.For instance, your Managed services provider might promise to resolve critical problems within one hour.
What to look for in your SLA
- Does the SLA cover resolution time, or only response time? Of the two measurements, resolution time is more important. However some suppliers will only guarantee their initial response time, as this is easier to meet.
- What kind of issues are excluded? Sometimes it may be impossible to fix a problem within an hour or two. Your Managed services provider may have to order a part or visit your office. It’s common for an SLA to exclude circumstances like these.
- Is compensation capped? Most service level agreements cap account credits at a certain level. Make sure you’re happy with this. If not, consider negotiating a clause to say you can end the contract if the supplier hits the cap.
- How are things measured? For instance, be clear about what constitutes ‘resolution’ and from when the time is measured. Many SLAs only apply during the normal working day. You may have to pay more for 24/7 cover.
- What are your obligations? You’ll need to keep up your side of the bargain for the SLA to apply. Be clear on what you can and can’t do. For instance, you may not be permitted to install unapproved software on company computers.
SLA ensures that not only technology based values, instead, business values getting delivered to you.