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SLA (Service Level Agreement): Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is an SLA (Service Level Agreement) ?

An SLA or Service Level Agreement is a contract (or part of a contract) between a service provider and a client that specifies the level of service expected during the term of the agreement. The SLA provides specific, measurable aspects related to service offerings such as quality, availability, responsibilities and timelines, among other things.

An SLA is legally binding and its terms are enforceable in court, provided the agreement complies with the laws of contracts in the jurisdiction where it is established.

SLA's typically work in conjunction with other contractual documents that may outline broader terms of the agreement. All of these documents together make up the full contractual relationship between the parties.

SLA's will also typically include protocols for monitoring and reporting service performance as well as penalties (or remedies) for breaches of the SLA


  • Here are some of the industries where SLA's are prevalent
    Use Case Examples of what SLA's cover
    Software Subscriptions (SaaS) Service uptime, performance, data security
    Professional Services Deliverables, milestones and timelines
    Healthcare Services Guaranteed response times, data protection standards and healthcare metrics like appointment availability and treatment outcomes

Related terms