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How do I write an effective DaaS SLA?

Consider what you and your chosen DaaS provider need when you're negotiating an SLA. You'll ensure uptime for users' desktops and keep the vendor accountable.

Drawing up an effective SLA is often more about corporate politics and negotiation skills than it is about tec...

hnology.

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment from an IT department or vendor to provide a certain standard of reliability for key systems. In the case of desktop as a service (DaaS), an SLA usually includes information about how a provider will handle downtime and what compensation customers will receive in the event of an outage.

When you're writing an SLA with a new vendor, consider what each of the parties involved wants. For instance, upper management probably wants an SLA that guarantees full functionality 100% of the time. Vendors might prefer an SLA that gives them as much time as they need to fix problems with no consequences. Of course, neither of these terms is reasonable.

The key to developing an effective SLA for DaaS is to consider the level of reliability you can realistically expect from your DaaS provider and the skill level of IT employees. For example, if a major problem such as an outage occurs, will your IT department be able to quickly troubleshoot the problem? Or will they need to call the vendor's technical support line and spend three hours on hold before they can begin troubleshooting?

A blanket SLA that guarantees a certain level of reliability at all times has become the norm, but it is important to carve out exceptions in the contract you make with your DaaS provider. This is especially true if there are penalties attached for not meeting the SLA. If your provider suffers an outage and users cannot access their desktops, then they can't get any work done until the service is back up and running. Make sure to include in your SLA terms about how quickly your provider must return desktops to working order, and how you will be compensated for the time that desktops were unavailable.

Next Steps

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This was last published in October 2014

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