What's in an SLA?
There are many different pieces of information that can be in an SLA and they can be as simple or complex as you see fit. But here are some of the sections found in many SLAs:
Service: The "S" in SLA. Exactly what type of service are you delivering? Server space? Website hosting? Cloud computing cycles? Connectivity?
Problem Reporting: What does the customer do if there is a problem? Do they send an email? Fax? Carrier pigeon? Whatever the method, make sure you are specific.
Support Hours: What are the normal support hours for your business? What about outside hours? Will there be any additional charges incurred if calls are made outside of normal support hours?
Customer Responsibilities: What sort of burden is on the customer? Do you need them to keep their systems up to date to prevent malware? Or will you be doing this as another part of your service? What type of content can they download/host on their websites?
Confidential Information/Data Protection: How long will records be kept? What happens to them when they are no longer needed? How will you protect your customer's personal and financial data?
These are just starting points. Every SLA is different and what might be important in some SLAs will be unnecessary in others.
Although there's nothing wrong with writing up your own SLA or using one of the templates below, it's always a good idea to have a SLA that you plan to use for your business checked over by a lawyer/solicitor. They'll help you uncover any loopholes and clean up any ambiguous language that may come back to haunt you in the future.
Here's just a short list of more information about SLAs and some templates to help get you started:
- Creating a SLA
- SLA Template (Techrepublic)
- Generic SLA Template (and we do mean generic)
- Microsoft SLA Templates and other documents
Also check out our article on setting expectations for response times with your customers.
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