Service Level Agreement
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A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a provider and the end user that states the level of service that the customer should expect from that service provider. That said, they also serve a company’s internal operations as well. They’re frequently used when a company is signing up new customers for a service.
For example in the event that the service-level agreement is between the marketing and sales departments, the SLA will detail the company’s sales and marketing goals, such as the number of leads it intends to generate monthly and the action that the sales department will take to support the marketing department’s efforts.
Why service-level agreements are important?
- Protects both parties:The SLA sets standards for the service, ensuring both the service provider and end user are on the same page with expectations. By creating clear, measurable guidelines, the end user knows exactly what to expect and what the responsibilities are for everyone involved.
- User rights and responsibilities: Service Legal Agreements also define the rights and responsibilities of the user, such as acceptable use policies and data privacy.
- Provides recourse for unmet expectations:The SLA provides specific consequences for what will happen if a service provider fails to meet its obligations to the end user. Without the SLA, it’s unclear what will happen if one or both parties fail to meet expectations. With a service-level agreement in place, there is transparency about what the targets are for each of the service levels and what will happen if they’re unmet.
- Establishing expectations: Service Legal Agreements help to establish clear expectations between the service provider and users, which can help to improve the user experience and prevent misunderstandings.
- Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations: Service Legal Agreements ensure that the service provider complies with relevant laws and regulations, such as data protection laws, intellectual property laws, and consumer protection laws.
- Gives peace of mind:The SLA gives the end user peace of mind knowing they can hold their service provider accountable for the service they committed to at the time of the agreement.
Several types of service legal agreements that are commonly used in different contexts.
- Terms of Service (ToS): This is a standard agreement used by online service providers, such as social media platforms, online marketplaces, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. It outlines the rules and limitations of the service being provided, as well as user responsibilities and data privacy policies.
- End User License Agreement (EULA): This agreement is used by software companies to license their software to users. It outlines the terms and conditions of the license, such as how the software can be used, limitations on copying or distributing the software, and warranties and disclaimers.
- Service Level Agreement (SLA): This agreement is used in the context of business-to-business (B2B) services, such as cloud computing or web hosting. It outlines the level of service that the provider will deliver, including uptime guarantees, response times, and support availability.
- Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): This agreement is used when sharing confidential information with another party, such as a business partner or contractor. It outlines the terms and conditions of the confidentiality agreement, including what information is considered confidential, how it can be used, and how it will be protected.
These are just a few examples of the types of service legal agreements that are commonly used in different contexts. The specific types of agreements used will depend on the nature of the service being provided and the legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which the service is offered.
What is included in a service legal agreement?
Every vendor will include different details, but here are the most important and common components to include in an SLA:
- Overview of the agreement. The SLA should start by describing the basics of the agreement, including the names of the parties involved, when the agreement begins, and a general introduction of the services provided.
- The description of vendor services should list specific deliverables, when they will be completed, and any other capabilities the client has access to during the lifetime of their agreement.
- The customer will define their goals and how they are measured. These KPIs help the vendor understand how the client defines success. Suppliers can also provide their metrics for success as a benchmark to attract customers.
- Points of contact.The SLA should provide a list of contacts that details who is in charge of which aspects of service and how to contact them. This avoids miscommunication and ensures questions are directed to the person who can answer them.
- Exclusions. Describing what is not included in the service agreement removes doubt about what lies outside the scope of an SLA.
- Cancellation conditions.Outline terms for how either party can end the service agreement. Whether termination is due to changing circumstances, the agreement’s end date has been reached, or other reasons, both sides need to know what the conditions and consequences are for ending the contract.
Choosing metrics for a service-level agreement
It can be challenging to choose metrics that are fair for all parties involved. However, it’s best to choose performance metrics that:
Are within the control of the service provider.
Can be collected easily and accurately.
Can be collected automatically, if possible.
It’s also important to specify a reasonable baseline for the metrics, or a number that the company commits to hitting at the very least. This baseline can be shifted as more data is collected, and the service provider better understands what’s possible for the client.
How can we play role in the creation and implementation of Service Legal Agreements ?
- Drafting and reviewing agreements: We can help to draft or review Service Legal Agreements to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations and adequately protect the interests of the service provider and users.
- Identifying legal risks: We can identify potential legal risks associated with the service being provided and advise on how to mitigate those risks through the terms of the agreement.
- Negotiating terms: We can negotiate the terms of Service Legal Agreements with other parties to ensure that the agreement adequately protects the interests of the service provider.
- Ensuring compliance: We can help to ensure that the service provider complies with the terms of the agreement and applicable laws and regulations.
- Resolving disputes: Legal experts can assist in resolving disputes between the service provider and users, either through informal negotiations or through formal legal proceedings.
We can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process of creating and implementing Service Legal Agreements to ensure that they adequately protect the interests of all parties involved and comply with applicable laws and regulations.