How SLAs Miss the Mark: Exploring the Importance of GLAs

If you’re an IT professional working with vendors and partners, chances are you’ve encountered your fair share of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These contracts outline which routine services to expect from your vendors—and not much else. If you’re trying to optimize and evolve—something most IT teams strive to do—agreements with your IT vendors should go a step further and take a more forward-thinking approach. That’s why Hostway|HOSTING is the first managed cloud service provider to offer Guidance Level Agreements (GLAs), giving customers better opportunities to reduce risk, optimize IT spend, and improve business agility.

But what exactly is a GLA, and how does it differ from a standard SLA? In a recent interview with our technology team, Hostway|HOSTING Cloud Solutions Executive Mark Click broke down the details of GLAs, common feedback and questions, and real-world examples of customer success from the added support and insight a GLA brings.

What makes a GLA unique and special?

MC: SLAs typically focus on uptime of devices and other basic functions, but GLAs set desired business outcomes in four common areas of concern to customers:

  • Availability
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Cost

On a monthly and quarterly basis, customers receive actionable recommendations that deliver tangible improvements to their solutions and better ensure their success. As the only managed cloud services provider offering GLAs, Hostway|HOSTING customers gain both a technical and business advantage over their competitors.

Without GLAs, the customer’s already overworked IT department is left to find improvements in availability, performance, security, and cost, but these areas are typically prioritized to the lowest levels until an event, such as on outage, poor performance, security breach, or out of control costs, impacts the customer’s solution. Our GLA ensures our customers that they have a true IT partner that will help them be faster and more secure.

What are common reactions from customers learning about GLAs? What are their common questions?

MC: The first reaction we receive is usually one of surprise. I hear a lot of “WOWs!” As we work closely with customers to identify and implement more actionable recommendations, customers feel the value of the partnership and the expansion of their IT teams’ capabilities.

The first GLA review with a customer typically results in the following questions:

  • How is the data collected and analyzed? Through our Monitoring Insights and Cloud Operations we gather extensive amounts of data regarding the utilization, health and security of each device in a customer’s solution. From there, we programmatically analyze the data and review with a joint team of experts to distill data into actionable recommendations.
    The amount of data we show the customers is impressive and can be somewhat overwhelming. This often leads customers to say, “My team could never get through all that,” which presents Hostway|HOSTING the ability to support internal teams.
  • How do you know what the data is telling you/us? Over the past 20 years, we’ve developed an extensive knowledge base and set of best practices that allow us to quickly identify potential areas of concern and turn them into an actionable recommendations. Furthermore, our team is uniquely positioned to efficiently and effectively implement these recommendations for immediate impact to a customer’s solution.
  • Can you do this on systems outside of a Hostway|HOSTING facility? Yes! Our systems are built to be deployed in any location on any cloud, HDC, AWS, Azure, customer on-prem, or even another cloud provider. This means that we can provide actionable recommendations for systems that are not in our facilities but are critical to a customer’s overall success.

What is a real-world example of a GLA in action?

MC: A Dallas-based roofing distribution company, was being pushed to go faster with less staff and investment. By leveraging the Monitoring Insights platform and our team of experts, they gained visibility to their solution. The Hostway|HOSTING team identified potential capacity issues that could impact availability and performance. Additionally, this insight allowed us to map projects and future capacity needs so that we could accurately predict expansions of their solution. We were also able to identify underutilized devices and quickly right-size those systems, and reducing their monthly infrastructure fees.

Through GLA services, we continue to analyze security data that allows us to identify and remediate security challenges, from missing patches to misconfigured systems to potential holes in networking and applications. By routinely reviewing this data and providing actionable recommendations and remediation plans, SRS knows their solution is secure.

Unique, Industry-Leading Guidance for Your Business

Independently monitoring and improving availability, performance, security, and cost is possible, but IT teams are often unable to dedicate the time and resources to truly be this proactive. Finding the right support for your organization requires an in-depth understanding and strategic approach tailored for your business’ goals, solutions, and environments. By entering into a GLA, you can bring relief to internal IT departments and gain the insights necessary to achieve your company’s desired business outcomes.

Want to learn more about how a unique GLA would help improve and optimize your business? Hear more from Mark Click about Guidance Level Agreements in our on-demand webinar InnovationX2 – Doubling down to overcome cloud complexities, or contact us

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