Service Level Agreements of Software as a Service (SaaS SLAs) are often overlooked. SLAs involve a contract on what users/customers can get from vendors. Usually, they tend to be written favoring the vendor. Hence, enterprises beginning their association with SaaS providers must make it a point to understand the agreement down to the finer details.
Key Factors to Consider in SaaS SLAs
As with any legally binding document, SLAs can confuse someone not familiar with it. However, that ensuring certain vital factors are covered can help immensely. Here are four such factors.
1. Ensuring Continuous Uptime
Continuous uptime is essential in all types of 'as a service' models, including SaaS. It can impact the delivery of the services to end-users. Enterprises should verify and re-verify whether the SaaS provider ensures there's no downtime, there is availability and durability specified.
Among these, availability means the uptime of the systems. Durability refers to long-term protection. For example, is your data intact and operational after any sort of downtime? What are the recovery mechanisms in place?
2. Ensuring Proper Support
In case of an issue in the SaaS, what is the promised response and escalation time? What are the immediate and long-term steps taken? SaaS SLAs should have all these steps mentioned. If there are problems that require quick solutions, what are the steps taken? How is the support like after business hours? All of these details have to be clearly defined in SaaS SLAs.
3. Examine the Contract Framework
Renewal, billing, cost adjustments - ensure that all these factors are mentioned and foolproof in the contract framework. Even if some of these are not under the direct purview of your IT departments, leaving any of these out can have serious repercussions later. Know what your bill consists of - check for any unnecessarily added services. For example, getting a bill for what was supposed to be a free trial, etc. In a subscription-based service such as SaaS, bills can vary from every month depending on usage. Having a monthly checklist to verify your payments and added benefits can help immensely.
Licensing consumption is another critical element. Enterprises must know about the licensed, open source, and complimentary services they use and keep track of measures to update them from time to time.
4. Scrutinize Metrics Periodically
Another critical factor is verifying the SaaS provider's metrics. This step will help assess essential things such as performance, and service request times, and outages. Metrics are generally provided for the vendor's benefit, but regular monitoring can give enterprises good consumer insights.
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