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What is a Financially-Backed Service Level Agreement?

What is a Financially-Backed Service Level Agreement

 

If you’re shopping for a new unified communications provider, you may have questions about service-level agreements, also known as SLAs. Considering the massive shift to cloud-based PBX accelerated by the pandemic, SLAs are a great way to protect your investment and ensure that vendors will honor their agreements. 

Truth be told, SLAs can seem intimidating and it might be overwhelming to grapple with the granular details. Not to worry –– here is some helpful guidance in understanding your SLA and what you to look for in the agreement. 

Breaking Down the Basics of the SLA 

In simple terms, a financially-backed service level agreement is a contract between you and your service provider. It guarantees that you are provided with the specific metrics of service specified in the agreement. If the service provider fails in their obligations as stated by the SLA, their customer is entitled to compensation.  
 
In a nutshell, you are promised what you paid for and if that isn’t delivered, you are compensated financially to make up for the gap in service.  

So, what does a cloud SLA cover?  Here are some things that are included: 

  • Dependability: You should expect your cloud solution to perform optimally and remain consistently available.  

  • High Level of Service: If something does go wrong, your vendor’s team should fix issues as quickly and helpfully as possible. 

  • What to Look for in UCaaS SLA: 

  • Privacy & Security: Your SLA will explain the privacy and security specifications that protect communication, customer data and sensitive company information from leaks or cyberattacks. 

  • Performance & Quality: Examine your SLA carefully to ensure you know what kind of performance you are promised, especially when it comes to video and voice call quality. 

  • MTBF: This metric, “Mean Time Between Failures,” calculates the average times between predicted failures that may occur. It does not account for scheduled maintenance or updates. 

  • MTTR: This is “Mean Time to Recovery.” If a system failure does occur, MTTR measures how much time is expected to get the platform back up and running again. 

  • Moves, Adds & Changes (MAC): MAC encompasses any necessary changes or new implementations your vendor carries out. This includes scheduled maintenance, system changes or updates that keep your UCaaS running optimally.  

  • Uptime: Network uptime is one of the most recognizable parts of a UCaaS or CCaaS SLA agreement, and you should pay careful attention to this metric. The more nines you see, the better. There are a few highly trusted cloud PBX providers that have 99.999% guaranteed uptimes.  

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Helpful Hints For Managing Your SLA 

As you start shopping around for UCaaS or CCaaS vendors, here are some additional points to keep in mind: 

  • The Burden of Proof is Often on You. The customer must proactively sound the alarm when the provider fails to meet the agreed-upon terms and obligations. If you are expect compensation after a metric is not met, your initiative is crucial. 

  • Preparation is Key. You should examine the contract and ensure that terms for normal expectations, unexpected interruptions and disaster recovery are specified in the agreement. Clarify that your vendor is prepared to address unforeseen issues as they arise. 

  • The Devil is in the Details. You need a legal representative to examine the fine print of your SLA. These contracts are complex and subtle language changes could have large impacts on your ability to enforce certain clauses. 

  • Clarity of Terms. You need clear service parameters with precise, measurable metrics so that you know exactly what to expect. This will come in handy if you encounter service interruptions since you can point to a specific metric that your provider failed to meet. 

  • Pay Attention to Serviceability. It’s easy to get swept up in SLA uptime and other reliability metrics. However, be sure to consider the terms of serviceability as well. For example, how quickly will your vendor respond and fix possible issues or outages? 

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Out Expert Advice 

At Converged Technology Professionals, our legal team reviews SLAs and other documents on your behalf to ensure you’re receiving the most favorable terms, protections and incentives.  As a genuine partner throughout the life of our relationship, we work alongside you to ensure all your goals are met and your best interests are protected. 

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