MSPs: Don’t Make These SLA MistakesMSPs: Don’t Make These SLA Mistakes
For managed service providers providing cloud-based file sharing, offering a clear blueprint and warranty for your services is a must. Creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the only way to protect yourself and your customers and make sure the relationship is successful. But you must avoid making the following mistakes.
January 9, 2015
By Michael Brown 1
For managed service providers providing cloud-based file sharing, providing a clear blueprint and warranty for your services is a must. Creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the only way to protect yourself and your customers and make sure the relationship is successful.
For the cloud, an SLA should outline the specific parameters a minimum requirements for the service, as well as how you and your client will handle any problems that arise. This is your opportunity to clearly outline data ownership, security standards, availability and other specific parts of your service.
Failure to include an SLA or making a mistake when drafting one can result in some serious consequences for your business, both legally and with your customer relationships. Not clearly outlining how you will deliver service and how you and your client will resolve failures can leave your customer feeling misled and unhappy when something goes wrong. At the worst, problems or omissions in your SLA could leave your company vulnerable to lawsuits.
To make sure your business works smoothly with your customers and protects itself, avoid making these SLA mistakes:
Mistake #1: Focusing only on what is required of you, not what is required of your clients.
While the SLA should be a blueprint for how you will deliver your service, it should also clearly outline how your clients should handle complaints, failures or other issues. This will eliminate any confusion if they are trying to resolve issues but aren’t sure of the proper way to do so.
You should also include what opportunities they will have to audit your data management or any incident responses. Make it clear the protocol for these audits so they understand.
Mistake #2: Have a specific and clear SLA agreement.
Most cloud service providers claim an availability of 99.95%. Usually, that number depends on certain conditions or restrictions. To make sure you don’t violate your agreement, clearly outline any conditions that affect your SLA.
In April 2011, Amazon experienced a four-day outage. This would have breached their SLA if they hadn’t specifically outlined conditions. Their EC2 SLA “guarantees 99.95% availability of the service within a Region over a trailing 365 period.”
Mistake #3: Not including an agreement for discontinuing service.
While the SLA should set groundwork for the MSPs relationship with their client, you should also include plans for the discontinuation of that relationship. While this is usually a last resort for companies, it can be an expensive and difficult process. If you don’t clearly outline how you or your client can undo contracts it could end you up in lengthy and costly lawsuits.
Mistake #4: Not reassessing your SLA regularly.
Once you have a thought out, well-crafted SLA you may want to hold on to it for a while. But as changes happen, you should be constantly reassessing your SLA to make sure it still fits your service and still meets every requirement. Changes to your services, regulatory requirements or industry standards may all affect what you need to include in your SLA.
Also, any time you change the level or scope of services you offer to a specific client, your SLA should be reassessed and changed to reflect these new service requirements.
While there are many ways an MSP can make mistakes with their SLA, a thorough one if a huge benefit for your business. What SLA mistakes have you made in the past? Let us know in the comments!
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