The advent of cloud computing brought with itself a transformative change of the tech landscape. Organizations of all shapes and sizes could utilize this technology to augment their strengths and increase their reach overnight. With the proliferation of this technology, providers are cropping up left, right and center, willing to provide a host of solutions that would benefit and complement your company’s strongest suites. In such a scenario, how do you get yourself a service that is tailored to your specific needs?
This is exactly where Service-level agreement (SLA) comes into the picture. SLAs empower you to have an agreement with your service provider that covers different aspects of the service. Here are some of the SLA terms that you should be paying special attention to when your SLA is being drafted.
Any good SLA should have service details defined with utmost care. This entails that the definition has an outline of the service along with the limitations, quotations, and the internal processes that are crucial for the maintenance of the service. In addition to that the agreement should also document how the data will be captured and how often it will be reviewed.
Data security is a leading concern amongst businesses, especially when migrating to the cloud. Your industry might be subject to compliance regulations like HIPAA or PCI-DSS. And, if that’s the case then you will have to ensure that your cloud provider understands and is in compliance with these frameworks. It should be your top priority to enquire that the SLA being drafted clearly states the security measures being implemented to protect your data. Remember, security breaches can be costly and can lead to a loss of reputation for your organization along with heavy penalties.
Understand Your Obligations
There is only so much your vendor can do when to comes to ensuring a successful business transaction. Your participation will be essential to the success of this relationship. It would be unreasonable to expect your vendor to deal with problems that they are not aware of. That’s why it is an absolute must that the agreement should cover a comprehensive overview of your responsibilities. These can include payment cycle, contact support, and employees who will be tasked with managing your account.
Support Response Times
Extended periods of downtime are expensive and can cost your business more than money. This makes ‘support response times’ one of the more important commitments.
Any SLA agreement should state a maximum response time from the moment a support ticket is opened along with a maximum resolution time. Though keep in mind that the maximum resolution time can be dictated by the nature of the issue being faced. SLAs generally should provide a breakdown of the resolution that will be implemented. Response time is decided on the severity of the problem being faced. For instance, a company-wide downtime will always dictate a swifter response than an issue on a single console.
Also, any cloud-based service you decide to go with should have an SLA clause that states a minimum service uptime. This is typically measured in nines.
Repercussions for Breaking Terms
In addition to establishing metrics related to Support Response Times, the SLA should also include provisions for addressing downtime and should clearly document how the service provider will compensate the customers in the event of a breach of contract. The SLA also needs to have a section that covers exclusions in detail. This explains the situations in which the SLA’s guarantees and penalties don’t apply. It can include events like natural disasters or terrorist acts. The section is sometimes known as ‘Force Majeure clause’. It generally means that a party is allowed to suspend or terminate its obligations under certain circumstances beyond their control.
Ending an Agreement
It is not uncommon to come across IT services providers that offer a subscription-based service. And, if that is the case then you need to be certain about two key questions. The first being, knowing how frequently the SLA terms will be revised and how much of an intimation you will have when that happens. The second being, it should set forth the terms and procedures if you wish to discontinue your current vendor.
These are some of the critical factors that can be further broken down to include more points like performance metrics where you can demand certain performance benchmarks to which your service provider’s performance can be periodically compared to. It is natural to look at any service provider with a long-term plan in mind, yet it is quite crucial that you enter any contract being aware of the contractual obligations expected of both the parties.
The SLA terms are in place to ensure that there are no misunderstandings down the road and it enables your business to get services tailored to its specific needs.
If you are on the lookout for a cloud consulting company that would deliver utmost value to your business, then BlazeClan can help you in this journey. Having expertise in the field, we provide a thorough analysis of the currently implemented processes and stages in your current IT structure. With its 230+ AWS accreditations and 100+ AWS certifications, BlazeClan is a proven and trusted cloud consulting company.
Contact us today and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help in leveraging the benefits of digital transformation to your business.