SLA is the abbreviation for a service level agreement.
Is a SLA a Software Licence
No. A service level agreement (SLA) sets out the SaaS services being provided in addition to the right to use the SaaS software.
What is a SLA
A SLA forms part of a SaaS agreement. The SLA can be contained in a separate schedule to the SaaS agreement, or included in the main terms and conditions of the SaaS agreement. SLAs set out:
- Details about the availability of the software and services;
- Technical details about hosting; and
- Details about support and maintenance services for the software.
How much Detail
It is advisable for a SaaS supplier to provide some degree of detail in the SLA to avoid spending unnecessary time negotiating the addition of further details requested by SaaS customers.
The degree of detail included in the SLA will depend upon:
- How much a SaaS customer pays for the SaaS software and services;
- Whether the SaaS software is business critical i.e. online banking;
- What is standard in that particular business sector.
Terms to Include
SLAs should generally contain the following provisions, where appropriate:
- Guaranteed availability of the services and software;
- Timing of and prior notice of maintenance;
- Description of the security provisions at the hosting centre and the technical infrastructure;
- Problem response and resolution times;
- Customer support description and support hours;
- Provision of service availability reports;
- Backup of customer data;
- Security and disaster recovery provisions;
- Right to terminate for breaches of the SLA.
- Service credits for breaches of the SLA;
Advantages of having a SLA
If SaaS suppliers do not have their own SLA, customers will often try to impose their own SLA on the supplier which does not “fit” the SaaS services being provided. This can lead to protracted negotiations about the content of the SLA.
Due to the unique nature of SaaS and in particular the use of SLAs you should seek specialist legal advice on the content of a SLA whether you are a SaaS supplier or a SaaS customer to ensure that your rights are adequately protected.
Irene Bodle is an IT lawyer specialising in SaaS, with over 15 years experience dealing with SaaS, cloud computing matters and IT law issues. If you require assistance with any SaaS agreements, cloud computing matters or any other IT legal issues please contact me at:
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