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The Best Practices for 3 Types of SLA's

A service level agreement, or SLA, is a critical component of any contract with a technology vendor. In short, it defines the level of service you expect from the vendor, with metrics that help you measure their service. It also includes remedies or penalties if the vendor fails to meet the service level you've agreed upon.

With a cloud SLA, neither you nor the vendor can plead ignorance of the metrics, responsibilities and expectations of your agreement. It acts as a form of security that ensures both sides understand the requirements. Beyond a knowledge of service level agreements, a grasp on best practices is also important.

SLA's have distinct differences, so you can't approach all SLA's the same way. Neglecting to acknowledge the unique characteristics of each SLA can lead to a variety of issues. They may share similarities, and certain rules are applicable in a general sense, but it's better to view and treat each type of SLA as separate.

With that in mind, here are the best practices for the three most common types of SLA's.

1. A Customer-Based SLA

A customer-based SLA is a single contract that comprises all services a client may need. It's a type of agreement for individual customers and is less complex than a multi-level SLA. Regardless, you should examine a customer-based SLA with the same degree of scrutiny you would give any other contract.

As for what you'll find, a customer-based SLA contains details on the type and quality of service you've decided on. For example, a customer-based SLA for a telecommunication service would probably include voice calls, messaging and internet, all in one place. It may sound simple, but you should still read the SLA carefully.

To start, make sure that all the standard elements of an SLA are present. It should cover availability, performance, security and privacy, as well as the location, portability and accessibility of the data. You should cross-reference the key components of a conventional SLA against those you find in your own SLA.

2. A Service-Based SLA

A service-based SLA consists of one identical type of service for all of its customers. This category of SLA is comparatively straightforward when you consider the other types of SLA you can select. It's convenient for vendors because the standard of service is unchanging, and it's valid for all end-users that sign the contract.

Of course, this particular aspect of a service-based SLA isn't entirely positive. You aren't going to enjoy the same level of flexibility you'd receive with a multi-level SLA, for example, which is unappealing for some. Others may see it as a perfect match for their plans, saving them a small amount of time and effort.

A best practice for service-based SLAs is to adhere to the basic protocol that you would with any SLA. Read through the SLA and double-check that everything you're expecting to receive is there in writing. It's important to remember that a service-based SLA consists of one type of service and may not provide what you need.

3. A Multi-Part SLA

A multi-part SLA is the most involved type of service level agreement. You customize the contract according to what you need from the service provider, adding or subtracting components until you're satisfied with the final product. As for variations on the SLA, you can choose from different levels depending on your needs.

Corporate-level SLAs include a comprehensive discussion, touching on relevant aspects of the agreement as you review any important considerations. This SLA applies to all customers in the end-user organization, where a customer-level SLA discusses all issues that have to do with a specific group of customers. Finally, a multi-part SLA includes all aspects associated with a particular service with regard to a specific customer group.

Whichever level you pursue, you should enlist the help of technical staff to walk through outage situations, comparing them to the situations in the SLA. Drawing on all of your available resources will keep you away from potential pitfalls. It may also prove beneficial to study the subject further on your own time.

Evaluate Your Options

A cloud SLA can seem complicated at first. With the long list of details you need to account for, it's common to feel somewhat confused about the coverage and deliberations. That said, it's critical to understand your service level agreement and the best practices for navigating it.

As you move forward, evaluate your options and do plenty of research so you can feel confident that you're making an informed decision.

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About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits ProductivityBytes.com. Follow her on Twitter @productibytes to read all of her latest posts! 
Published Friday, June 28, 2019 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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