08/25/2015 Leave a comment
In the world of purchasing a service, things aren’t always as clear as buying a product. Orange or purple, 32Gig or 64Gig is easy. There’s a certain guarantee that the product you’re receiving will live up to those attributes. In the realm of business services, it isn’t so black and white. With so many service providers and products to choose from in the bandwidth marketplace it’s often hard to understand if you’re getting an enforceable service level agreement (SLA) or a service based on “Best Effort.” An enforceable SLA has specific metrics that need to be met by the service provider, and if they are not met, the customer receives a credit. A “Best Effort” service has no predefined metrics to meet and is usually provisioned on an over-subscribed network. Obviously, that’s a big difference! To even further complicate matters, there are providers out there offering upstream speeds at one level and download speeds at another level. These types of guarantees are typical for a residential service, but should be cautiously avoided by business customers.
Now, let’s get back to basics. What exactly is a “Service Level Agreement”? According to the tele-management forum an SLA is defined as:
“Service Level Agreement (SLA) that defines the availability, reliability and performance quality of delivered telecommunication services and networks to ensure the right information gets to the right person in the right location at the right time, safely and securely. The rapid evolution of the telecommunications market is leading to the introduction of new services and new networking technologies in ever-shorter time scales. SLAs are tools that help support and encourage customers to use these new technologies and services as they provide a commitment from SPs (Service Providers) for specified performance levels [TM Forum 2008].”