What is Service Level Assurance (SLA) and Why is it Important?

When it comes to providing managed services as part of a business, it is important to understand and enforce the concept of service assurance (SA).

Service assurance is a set of procedures or policies intended to optimise performance and provide management guidance in communications networks, media services, and end-user applications – to ensure that they meet predefined Service-Level Agreements (SLA). Service assurance is typically enforced by using one or more network monitoring tools to constantly perform checks and tests against network services and applications, such as:

  • Fault and event management
  • Performance management
  • Probe monitoring
  • Quality of service (QoS) management
  • Network and service testing
  • Network traffic management
  • Customer experience management
  • Service level agreement (SLA) monitoring
  • Trouble ticket management

Meanwhile, service-level agreements are established between a Service Provider and a subscriber. Some examples of SLAs are:

  • Latency or Network Delay – This refers to the time that it takes for one bit of data to travel across the network from point A to point B. Generally, latency is based on the distance of the link or connection in place (e.g. urban, regional, national or international/intercontinental).
  • Packet Loss – The percentage of packets that have been received malformed or not received at all at its destination.
  • Jitter – This is the variation in the delay of received packets.
  • Throughput – The amount of data successfully transferred between a source and its destination host. This is based on the service and bandwidth purchased.

Why Service Assurance Is Important

The concept of service assurance itself revolves around the idea that when customers are satisfied, it leads to the profitability of the organisation in the long run. As such, service assurance involves components such as quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC) and service level management (SLM). These systems enable your organisation to obtain real-time analytics capabilities, which helps in making informed decisions based on network usage, traffic, capacity, and performance by location, as well as identify potential service impacts or capacity issues before they hit the market and improve overall customer experience.

Being able to detect the correlation between internal network faults and customers who are affected also helps in identifying “high-priority” clients and customers who need assistance. Often, it is difficult to link customer complaints with the underlying network faults. But with service assurance tools and commercial SLA laws, prioritisation and tracking of faults can be done, which ultimately provides your organisation with a competitive edge.

In summary, service assurance for network services is essential as a network monitoring tool. By defining and enforcing network services’ service-level agreements, a network operations team would be able to verify that if the network’s users and subscribers are having good end-user experiences.

If you have yet to implement network service assurance, it is not too late for your business. Get in touch with EKTECH today to start!