Service level agreements are paramount to the contract created between a vendor and their clients. An SLA represents the promise that the provider makes to offer the best possible service. However, simply having a service level agreement and being able to demonstrate its achievement are two very different matters.
Most service providers offer an SLA as part of their client contract. Some take the extra step to prove that they are, in fact, adhering to the metrics laid out in the document. Reporting the specifics of an SLA can be a bit difficult, but with network monitoring reports, vendors and customers can document performance and confirm that SLA promises are being kept.
What is included in an SLA?
Service level agreements are documents connected with Internet service providers, in which the provider lays out the particulars of the service that will be provided. Typical SLAs include metrics like:
- Percentage of uptime the client can expect
- Number of concurrent users that are supported
- Help desk response times for certain service issues
The SLA may also contain a notification schedule to alert customers to network changes, usage statistics, and definitive performance criteria that the service will meet.
The point of the SLA is not only to offer a set of expectations for the customer, but also to provide checkpoints against which the service can be measured or compared to that of other providers. "Promising world class support by way of SLA makes for a great business decision," notes Mohan Ramkumar, a contributor to HappyFox. "In reality, you'll have to continuously monitor and track a number of metrics to make sure the promises are kept."
ISPs and Customers: Reports for Documenting Performance
When it comes to judging the service and whether it is up to par with the specifics of the SLA, providers and customers need a way to demonstrate and document the network's performance. This is where network monitoring software equipped with reports and notifications become so valuable. With the proper network monitoring technology in place, users have the ability to take an in-depth look at their network and the services they are receiving.
With network monitoring capabilities, an organization can easily measure the performance they receive from their service provider and compare these statistics against the checkpoints included in the SLA.
"Life would be much easier if we could just trust our ISPs. No need to worry about measurements and monitoring," notes the team at TechSoup for Libraries, a division of TechSoup Global, a nonprofit that provides technology education around the world. "If you're a little less trusting, a network monitor can keep track of uptime and other metrics on your Internet connection, so you'll know when your ISP is failing to maintain its promised level of service."
Choosing a Network Monitoring Solution
The best network performance monitoring solutions on the market offer a range of report types to provide a comprehensive view of network performance. The client can create reports in table or graph views to show how network performance fluctuates over time. Overall, leveraging network monitoring reports is one of the best ways to ensure SLAs are achieved.