Creating a comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a vital aspect of providing managed cloud-based services for customers. Every managed service provider (MSP) should acknowledge SLAs as a primary means of protecting both the provider and the customer, with a clear plan and warranty.
An SLA with any weak points will fail to establish rules about security implementations, data ownership, mobile options, and other aspects of managed services. Like with nearly any contract, an SLA containing a mistake could result in legal disputes as well as a short-lived relationship with a customer that ends on bad terms. Forgetting important parts of SLAs can make customers feel deceived and lawsuits might arise.
Avoiding these particular SLA mistakes will help prevent issues between MSPs and their customers.
Focusing Only on the MSP Side of the Agreement
MSPs will want to avoid only focusing on their own service requirements, as this leaves out client expectations. Both sides need to work cooperatively in order to ensure smooth service and that includes a mutual understanding of how customers will go about dealing with any issues they experience. How will customers resolve any system failures or complaints? When will customers be able to audit data management services? A thorough SLA will clearly answer such questions.
Missing Discontinuation Plans
It’s important to have an SLA that details all of the aspects of a customer-MSP relationship, but it’s also necessary for it to include information about discontinuing services. MSPs can run into legal troubles if SLAs don’t include clear instructions about how to discontinue service.
Writing Unclear SLAs
While a majority of MSPs claim to have a 99.95% availability, it takes specific conditions to guarantee that availability. Leaving information such as all relevant terms and conditions out of an SLA could lead to customers being unhappy when they don’t get exactly what they want. They might feel cheated if they believed they were guaranteed something, even if that belief was due to a miscommunication.
One example would be if a power outage occurred. Depending on how long this outage lasted, it could get a company into trouble if it isn’t covered in a detailed SLA. However, if it is a possible event described in the SLA, the customer can discover that they weren’t deceived in any way.
Forgetting to Update the SLA
As certain restrictions and conditions change along with the landscape of managed services, it’s important to update SLAs with any new information that comes to light. MSPs should always make sure that SLAs stay up to date with current company policies and service requirements. Industry standards and regulations are aspects to consider when reassessing SLAs. Additionally, if changes are made to a particular client’s employed services, the SLA should be modified according to these alterations.
There are many ways an SLA might fail to meet the requirements of both the managed service provider and its customers, but by properly scrutinizing every aspect, a fruitful relationship can continue. Having routinely thorough SLAs will help secure an MSP’s relationship and reputation with not only current clients, but many others to come.