〈   Contracts and audit
Contracts and SLAs

Chapter 1.3

What are the key components?

An effective SLA must include the following components in order to achieve an appropriate service level:

  • The type of service to be provided: The contract will specify the types of services as well as all the details of these services. In the case of IP network connectivity, the service types will describe the related functionalities, such as the use and maintenance of network equipment, and the connection bandwidth to be provided.
  • The desired performance level: This especially relates to the reliability and responsiveness of the service. Reliability is measured on the basis of maximum availability (ideally 24/7), as well as minimum disruption in a set time interval. Responsiveness translates into actions carried out as quickly as possible among customers.
  • The steps for reporting issues: This component lays down the contact persons and/or points as well as the specific procedures for reporting issues to them. The service provider’s response and processing time for the relevant issue will also be specified.
  • The response time and solutions to the investigated issues: Once the issue has been communicated to the service provider, the latter will launch an investigation to pinpoint it within a specific period, which is called the response time. The subsequent time interval is the issue resolution time frame, i.e. the period within which the issue will be resolved and fixed.
  • Process monitoring and service level reporting: The service provided involves monitoring based on performance levels. This process involves gathering different types of statistics and providing them to customers. The latter will know, once the contract is signed, the statistics they will have access to, how frequently these statistics will be gathered and dispatched, and the arrangements for viewing them.
  • Repercussions for the service provider not meeting its commitment: If the service provider is unable to meet the requirements specified in the SLA, consequences should be considered when the contract is signed. These consequences may include the customer’s right to terminate the contract or the ability to ask for a full or partial refund for losses incurred by the customer due to a service failure.
  • The terms of payment: The financial aspect of the service provision will be very detailed, so that the customer and the provider can precisely measure the service’s issues and the period of the commitment between the parties.

Among the main clauses of an SLA is one relating to data security; the service provider must be able to guarantee the security of the customer’s information, especially in terms of data recovery, backup copies, accessibility, and so on.

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