understanding managed it service level agreements

Understanding Managed IT Service Level Agreements

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Managed IT Service Level Agreements, or SLAs, are important agreements that spell out the terms, expectations, and duties between a managed IT provider and its clients. In IT management, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are the basis for a successful relationship.

    They ensure that everyone is honest and accountable and that high-quality services are delivered. This post will discuss the most important parts of managed IT service level agreements and what they mean.

    What Is A Service Level Agreement (Sla)?

    An SLA spells out the services and helps a business pay a managed IT firm to provide them. The documents should discuss services, goals, duties, guarantees, and warranties. 

    Key to the SLA are the key performance indicators (KPIs) the IT company legally must meet. The KPIs are a big part of having a solid connection with your IT company, and they can also help you if there's a problem. SLAs are contracts with legal force.

    The contract should also say what will happen if the seller fails to meet the KPI goals or if you don't get a certain service you promised to pay for. So, the SLA is an important part of your IT requirements for a third-party service. 

    An SLA's main purpose is to keep your business from losing money. It also makes certain that both parties know what is expected of them. It may also say when a company can enforce the SLA if the IT support service you're working with can't meet the KPIs they've promised. 

    For instance, if a managed IT provider fails to fulfil any KPIs, it can use the agreed-upon service credits or go to court to enforce the conflict settlement clause. 

    understanding managed it service level agreements 1

    What Are the SLA Components?

    SLAs are often changed to fit the specifics of your business, its needs, and the way the MSP works with your company. But here are some general things you are entitled to see in the Service Level Agreement you make with your MSP: 

    Statement of Objectives

    A service level agreement must consistently begin with describing the service provider's goals and the person using the service. It should be clear what type of service the user needs to reach its goals. The goal for the provider should be to provide high-quality service that doesn't stop and meets customer needs. 


    There should be a clear list of what each party is responsible for, such as ongoing help, maintenance, and fixing problems. This will clarify what each side can expect from the other and what problems must be fixed. 

    In an ideal world, there should be a set of rules for your MSP about: 

    • Response Time: When you submit an emergency, how long will it take your managed service supplier to reply at the very least? 
    • Emergencies: What does an emergency mean?
    • Reporting Method: How would you report a serious situation? Which details do you have to give? Will this change depending on the day or week?  
    • Responsibility: What IT parts of your business should your MSP handle and monitor?

    List of Services

    As the name indicates, this part has information about each service that will be provided. For operations to go smoothly, the user might also need services like advising, reporting, support, etc., in addition to the initial list of services. So, to make a clear SLA, you must also include these other services. 

    Reporting Responsibilities

    The SLA should clarify who is responsible for reporting and how to evaluate the service. Ensure you understand when to tell the provider about problems, how bad each is, and how to get this data to the provider. 

    Performance Standards

    Performance standards tell the client what kind of quality services they can expect. It has a set of standards to measure the success or quality of the service. The real level of service provided is compared to these benchmarks to ensure that the performance requirements have been met. 

    Response Time 

    Setting an acceptable time frame for service reaction is key to the SLA. This means deciding how swiftly a provider must react to a complaint, how long it should take to answer outside of work hours versus during work hours, and how many workers will be sent to each event. 

    Terms & Conditions

    You need to state a few conditions for good service level management. For example, the end-user should be able to determine when and how often the services are provided. It should also include the minimum and highest amount of time a service provider has to answer a request or solve a problem. 

    Service Management

    The last part of a service level agreement concerns handling the service. This part talks about both the existence of service and requests for service. A short SLA will tell you if phone support is available, how long it takes to respond to service requests, and your remote help choices.

    SLA Violations

    What happens if the service company doesn't do what it said it would do? This part tells the service user what to do if something like this happens. For example, if the service provider doesn't meet standards, the person who uses the service might be able to get discounts, benefits, free services, etc. Remember that service violations can hurt the bond between two people if they happen often. 

    The Importance of Service Level Agreements in Business Operations

    Critical tools for managing customer expectations and outlining service obligations are Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These contracts provide a benchmark for evaluation by providing detailed descriptions of the measures used to evaluate service quality. Service level agreements (SLAs) are advantageous for both the service provider and the client since they specify the expected levels of performance and the consequences for falling short.

    Service level agreements (SLAs) typically accompany a more comprehensive MSA. The SLA hone in on the specifics of the services offered and the measurements used to evaluate performance, while the MSA establishes the ground rules for interactions between the client and supplier. Collectively, these forms form the backbone of the agreements between service providers and their customers.

    Situations Necessitating SLA Revisions

    As a business evolves, so too should its SLA. Below are some scenarios that call for a revisiting and possible modification of an existing SLA:

    1. Transformation of Work Environment: New personnel hires or the introduction of new technologies may significantly change a company's operating landscape. In such instances, the SLA should be updated to reflect these alterations.
    2. Addition or Deletion of Services: When a company either expands its offerings or discontinues certain services, its SLA requires a review to ensure it remains an accurate reflection of the current service portfolio.
    3. Scheduled Updates: To prevent obsolescence, SLAs should undergo routine checks every 18 to 24 months. This ensures that they are up-to-date and free from incorrect or outdated stipulations.
    4. Technological Innovations: If emerging technologies empower a company to upgrade its communication methods or enhance customer service, such advancements should be incorporated into a revised SLA.

    SLAs are pivotal to business operations and customer relations. They should not be viewed as static documents but rather as dynamic contracts that evolve in response to changes in the business environment or the advent of new technologies. Regular revisions ensure their relevance and applicability, safeguarding both the service provider and the customer.

    What Are The Different Types Of Service Level Agreements?

    By knowing the different kinds of SLAs, you can improve how you offer services. 

    Customer Service Level Agreement

    A written contract between a business and its customers is called a customer service level agreement. An external service deal is another name for it. For instance, a SaaS company like Netflix can make an SLA for all its users, even if they live in different parts of the world. The SLA can include service standards, dealing with problems that can't be fixed, cost information, cancellation terms, etc. 

    Internal Service Level Agreement

    An organisation and an internal user, like another organisation, department, or site, sign an Internal Service-Level Agreement.

    Even though an organisation may maintain its SLA accessible to all its consumers, it could make a different SLA for other clients, like the sales and marketing departments. With an SLA, the head of a company's marketing team may collaborate with the head of its sales team to improve marketing leads and get better results.

    Multilevel Service Level Agreement 

    Usually, more than one party is involved in a multilevel service-level agreement. This kind of SLA breaks the deal into different levels tailored to different end users' needs. This is a great choice for businesses with different customer levels who pay for various service plans. For example, you can create multiple service-level contracts for users with Free, Basic, or Elite plans. 

    understanding managed it service level agreements 2

    How To Check Sla Levels

    A service-level agreement can only be enforced if the provider's service levels are checked. If the SLA isn't met, the customer may be able to ask for the pay agreed upon in the agreement between the parties.

    Most service providers have an online portal to view their service level data. This lets customers check to see if the right amount of service is being kept. If they find that it is not, the website lets clients check to see if they qualify for compensation.

    Most of the time, specialised third-party companies run these systems and processes. If this is the scenario, then the third party must be part of the SLA talks. This will clarify to them what service levels they should be tracking and how to monitor them.

    Some tools automatically record and show service-level performance statistics.


    Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for managed IT are important contracts that spell out the terms, expectations, and responsibilities of both the managed IT service and the client. They are important for keeping a relationship going well and making sure that good services are given.

    SLAs are legally binding contracts that spell out the key performance indicators (KPIs) that an IT business must meet. They also explain what will happen if the seller doesn't meet the KPI goals or provide the services that were promised.

    SLA parts include a Statement of Objectives, Obligations, List of Services, Reporting Responsibilities, Performance Standards, Response Time, Terms and Conditions, Service Management, and SLA Violations. The SLA should be clear about the service provider's goals, the kinds of services that are needed, who is responsible for reports, performance standards, response time, terms and conditions, service management, and SLA violations.

    The Statement of Objectives, Obligations, List of Services, Reporting Responsibilities, Performance Standards, Response Time, Terms and Conditions, Service Management, and SLA Violations are all important parts of a SLA. These parts help make sure that both sides are honest and take responsibility, and that good services are provided. If the service provider doesn't meet the KPIs they promised, the company or a court can uphold the SLA.

    Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are very important business tools for managing customer expectations and laying out service responsibilities. They set a standard for review by explaining the criteria used to judge the quality of a service and spelling out the expected levels of performance and what will happen if they aren't met. SLAs usually come with a Management Service Agreement (MSA), which is a more detailed contract that sets ground rules for how the client and provider will work together.

    SLAs should be changed as a business changes, such as when the work environment changes, services are added or taken away, updates are planned, or new technology is introduced. Customer Service Level Agreements, Internal Service Level Agreements, and Multilevel Service Level Agreements are all different kinds of SLAs.

    Customers can check SLA levels by looking at service level data through online portals, or they can talk to specialised third-party companies about SLA to find out what service levels they should be tracking and how to watch them. Some tools automatically keep track of and show data about service-level performance. Regular updates make sure that they are still relevant and useful, which protects both the service company and the customer.

    Content Summary

    • Managed IT Service Level Agreements (SLAs) serve as the foundation for successful relationships between IT providers and clients.
    • SLAs define the terms, expectations, and responsibilities of both parties involved.
    • The documents typically outline services, goals, duties, guarantees, and warranties.
    • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are legally binding elements within the SLA.
    • Failure to meet KPIs could result in legal actions or the invocation of service credits.
    • SLAs safeguard businesses from financial loss due to service deficiencies.
    • The SLA serves as a legally enforceable contract between the IT provider and the client.
    • It's crucial for the SLA to adapt as a business grows or changes.
    • Service Level Agreements should clearly state the objectives of both the provider and the client.
    • The agreement should delineate what each party is responsible for, including maintenance and troubleshooting.
    • An effective SLA spells out the expected response times in the case of emergencies.
    • The SLA should include a list of all services that will be provided.
    • Reporting responsibilities should be clearly defined within the SLA.
    • Performance standards set in the SLA serve as benchmarks for service quality.
    • Setting an acceptable time frame for service response is crucial within an SLA.
    • Terms and conditions in an SLA should detail the frequency and duration of services.
    • Service management aspects should be an integral part of the SLA.
    • Consequences of SLA violations often include discounts, benefits, or free services for the client.
    • Regularly revising SLAs is essential for keeping them relevant and up-to-date.
    • SLAs can incorporate emerging technologies that improve communication or customer service.
    • There are different types of SLAs tailored to various needs, such as Customer SLAs, Internal SLAs, and Multilevel SLAs.
    • A Customer SLA is an agreement between a business and its external customers.
    • An Internal SLA is used within an organisation to facilitate inter-departmental collaborations.
    • Multilevel SLAs are designed for businesses with varying service plans for different customer levels.
    • Regular monitoring is essential to ensure that SLAs are being upheld.
    • Many IT providers offer online portals for clients to view real-time service level data.
    • Customers may be eligible for compensation if the agreed-upon SLAs are not met.
    • Specialised third-party companies often run SLA monitoring systems.
    • These third-party entities must be included in SLA negotiations to clarify monitoring expectations.
    • Automated tools are increasingly being used to record and display service-level performance statistics.
    • An SLA can protect a company against unforeseen contingencies and operational disruptions.
    • The agreement often outlines the methods for reporting urgent situations or emergencies.
    • A well-defined SLA can serve as a comparative measure against other vendors.
    • It's essential for SLAs to be revisited and potentially revised every 18 to 24 months.
    • If a managed IT provider fails to meet KPIs, they may resort to agreed-upon service credits or legal action.
    • The SLA should provide a list of additional services like advising, reporting, and support.
    • Performance standards should be measurable to determine if services are meeting expectations.
    • The terms and conditions may also set a minimum and maximum time frame for service response.
    • SLAs often include conditions that allow for service reviews and performance audits.
    • A comprehensive SLA addresses both the duration and quality of service.
    • Service violations can significantly damage the relationship between the service provider and the client.
    • Clients should have a clear understanding of their reporting responsibilities, especially in case of SLA violations.
    • The SLA often includes a conflict resolution clause to resolve any disputes.
    • Adaptability is key, and the SLA should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the business environment.
    • The document might include provisions for remote support and other assistance options.
    • SLAs frequently stipulate how many personnel will be allocated for each service task.
    • End-users should be able to decide the frequency and timing of the services provided.
    • Both providers and clients should agree on what constitutes an emergency in the context of the SLA.
    • SLAs should be transparent, leaving no room for ambiguity or misunderstandings.
    • Effective SLAs are pivotal in enhancing the accountability and reliability of managed IT services.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The services should be described in detail in the SLA. Each service should be described, meaning there should be a description of the service, where it will be given, to whom it will be given, and when it will be needed.


    A master service agreement defines how a seller and a customer should work together. It discusses service, quality, price, and how long it will take. A service level agreement (SLA) tells a service provider what they must do regarding quality, time, and cost.


    SLAs tell the customer what to expect from the service provider regarding speed and quality. SLAs may list some metrics: availability and the amount of time the system is up. How long are services up and running and available to customers?


    SLAs clarify what services will be provided, such as performance goals, quality standards, and reaction times. This ensures that both the customer and the business are on the same page regarding service levels.


    SLAs are a basic deal between your IT team and your customers that help build trust. They track what customers want and let your team know which problems are yours to solve. With SLAs in place, both parties know what to expect from the service.

    Scroll to Top