13 critical questions about Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ask your cloud provider

19 May 2016 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

All cloud customers should ask their cloud providers critical questions about the SLAs which describe the performance standards they think they are signing up for.  However customers may want to reconsider which cloud provider they should use if the cloud provider doesn’t give good answers to these SLA questions offered by Jamie Tischart (Intel’s CTO to the Cloud/SaaS (Security as a Service)).

Here are the 13 questions in DarkReading’s article entitled “Cloud SLAs: What Everyone Should Know”:

  1. Do you publish SLAs, and how are these documents accessed?
  2. If you do not publish SLAs, do you publish service level objectives (SLOs)?
  3. How do your SLA targets differ from your competitors? You may be surprised that SLAs do no vary that much.
  4. Why were your SLA targets chosen? Targets are often defined competitively or based on the best or worst capability of the underlying products.
  5. How often have you violated your SLAs in the last three months, six months, 12 months?
  6. Do you publish your SLA results openly? How frequently?
  7. Which SLA metrics do you fail at most often, even if it has no impact on your customers?
  8. How often do you increase or decrease your SLA targets, and what has the trend been? Any reduction or removal of a target may mean scalability challenges.
  9. What SLA metrics have been removed in the last 12 months?
  10. How often do you test your own SLAs? You really want to hear that the metrics are continuously tested.
  11. How are SLA claims validated? How am I compensated for an SLA violation? Your provider should be doing the work here, not requiring you to prove a failure.
  12. Do I receive detailed incident response information? This is necessary to fully inform your organization or customers of the problem and the solution. Never waste a failure; make sure your provider is identifying the root cause and resolving it.
  13. Do you use any third parties to monitor your SLAs? This can provide additional validation of the seriousness of SLA measurement.

Customers better know what to expect from the SLAs because the performance of the SLAs can make or break a successful cloud system.

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