Outsourcing services to third parties for the sake of efficiency is the new trend. However, nothing is outsourced more than web hosting. The reason for this includes lack of space, less money, lack of technical experience needed for utilizing a company’s own servers, and requiring expert advice to achieve better results. Whatever the reason may be, signing the SLA or Service Level Agreement is necessary. This contract defines the responsibilities of the service provider towards the customers and is, essentially, there to benefit both the parties. In order to ensure that the SLA is managed properly, some things need to be kept in mind.

• Quantification of Everything – When an SLA for web hosting is being signed and managed, the most important thing to know is quantification of services. Make sure and check regularly for the services that are specified in your SLA and if the web host is honoring them. This means keeping tabs on storage space, checking response time for resolving technical problems and site speed. These should be stated in the SLA in measurable numbers. Whether you choose to have a paid or free SLA management system, ensure that this point is kept in mind.

• Regular Meetings with Service Provider – You should insist on regular meetings with the service provider to ensure that the SLA team is always up-to-date and on their toes regarding developments and changes, if any. Is the speed that is being paid for received? Is the response time for technical issues like DOS attacks and server speeds being met? The quicker these issues are cleared, the better it will be for both the parties. The provider will know if they are fulfilling their side of the deal. You and your company will be able to maintain the productivity levels. Even if you can’t meet with a service provider, it may be a good idea to use some type of interface that allows you to monitor an SLA in order to make sure that they are meeting the agreed upon terms. Dotcom Monitor’s SLA management tool provides a number of things that a person looking to monitor their SLA may be interested in having. In addition to them, Pingdom also has a number of good tools available for the same purpose.

• Penalties – The good SLAs that are drawn up with competence always have a section stating the fees and penalties that either party will have to pay in case duties are not fulfilled by them. There are some businesses and customers that simply refuse to pay for the services received if the servers were halted because of technical problems. Sometimes, SLAs mention a time frame in case an issue does not resolve. These things can only be clarified by giving the SLA a thorough read.

If the SLA is managed properly and the above points are kept in mind, the results would be efficient for both the parties.