Demystified: Security Service Level Agreements for your commercial premises

If you’re responsible for arranging security for commercial premises, you’ll know it can be complex. You can’t just buy a security system and ‘set and forget’.

Sure, it’s important to install the right security system upfront, but it’s equally important to manage that system ongoing. After all, you’re depending on the security to work when it needs to – in most cases that’s critical.

Like all critical equipment and IT solutions, there needs to be regular servicing, check ups, test runs and procedures. You wouldn’t drive your car without a warrant of fitness, or operate your computer without the latest antivirus update. Your building’s security system should be no different.

One way to ensure your building’s security is always operating effectively is to have a good service level agreement in place with your security company.

Today’s article outlines the basics of a good security service level agreement (SLA) and the benefits of having one.

Security SLA basics

Generally, security SLAs will include a description of the services to be provided and expected service levels, as well as any metrics the services are measured on, the duties and responsibilities of each party, and the remedies or penalties for breach.

In other words, they clearly set out the expectations and responsibilities of each party.

This may include:

  • Details of the exact services being delivered and the equipment used to do so
  • Frequency of service/maintenance visits
  • Service response times
  • Associated charges related to billable service/maintenance requests
  • Promptness of emergency notifications
  • Monitoring centre availability
  • Physical and virtual support features (e.g. phone, chat, site visit)
  • Hours of normal operation and associated fees for after hours or emergency service.

The SLA should also outline what requirements you, as a customer, must fulfil to guarantee that promised service levels can be met.

The benefits of a good SLA

With a good SLA in place, you can have confidence that your security is fully operational at all times – important for reporting to building owners and covering risks such as insurance and indemnity.

Regular servicing and reviews will ensure that:

Security levels are maintained

  • Everything is in good working order
  • Egresses are working as they should be
  • The latest firmware and updates are in place

The life of your equipment is prolonged

  • Maintenance schedules are adhered to
  • Equipment is kept clean

You meet your contractual obligations

  • Conditions of warranties are met
  • Duty of care and maintenance clauses of insurance policies are met

Appropriate procedures are in place

  • For example, when tenancies change.

Service Level Agreements are not one size fits all

Yes, there are common elements of all SLAs, but the type of building that you operate will dictate the structure of the agreement to a large extent. For example, whether you have multiple tenancies or just one key tenant, whether there is access for the general public or not, and so on. How the building is used will inform how the security is managed.

A good security company will spend time developing an SLA that will meet the needs of your specific business and building(s). But because it’s an ‘agreement’ it needs input from both parties to be effective.

At the heart of a good SLA is a good working relationship.

At Be Alarmed we have developed and are currently implementing some great SLAs with our clients. Interested to find out more? Give me (Gavin) a call on 027 578 1298.