Updated August 30, 2022:

A security service level agreement is a contract between a security provider and its customer. The agreement helps a service provider set service expectations provided to customers, including the scope, nature, and quality of the service.

SLAs for Security Companies

Private security companies are nothing without their customers. Whether you're trying to expand your business or establish it, meeting customer expectations is crucial. When providing private security to any customer, you're essentially entering into a contract with them. As such, it's critical to ensure you're meeting and exceeding expectations.

The service level agreement (SLA) is the most effective way to ensure you conduct business in a way that satisfies the customer. For private security companies, the SLA helps provide better service and measure how successful those services are compared to other security companies.

With an SLA, your business and its service level performance are measured against key performance indicators, such as:

  • Quantity
  • Cost
  • Responsiveness

The SLA also sets the standard for the minimum level of service your clients can expect.

Although SLAs are more commonly used in IT companies, they benefit a variety of industries, including the food, health care, and security sectors. In most cases, private security companies use SLAs in various forms for a variety of industries for which they provide services, including airlines.

For instance, certain airports contract security with private security firms. Each firm may have a different role in airport security, such as passenger screening or baggage security. These roles and responsibilities are outlined in their SLAs.

Whether your company provides guard patrol or security devices, it's important to implement a strong SLA when conducting business.

Things to Consider When Establishing an SLA

Setting up an SLA requires a certain amount of flexibility. You must respond to changes as they crop up in your business while maintaining the best business practices. An SLA can help centralize your business processes to maximize efficiency and prevent mishaps.

Other things to consider when creating an SLA include:

  • Considering your industry's standards and comparing the level of security services you offer with those standards
  • Discussing client expectations
  • Considering the security team's capacity to deliver services
  • Considering Cybersecurity and Data Privacy risks.
  • Making the document official with a legal team
  • Establishing an escalation procedure
  • Measuring, analyzing, and refining the SLA as needed

SLA Management

Service level agreements are nothing new in the business world. They're often used in circumstances where a client contracts with a supplier for services or goods. Your company, however, must specify which services you're offering, when they'll be delivered, and at what level the customer can expect those services. Unless you and the customer adhere to the SLA, you run the risk of breaching the contract, which can result in service cancellations, rebates, and reduced payments.

Many companies include requirements that allow them to scan service provider networks for any signs of vulnerability. Scanning networks also allow you to check for quality control and change management expectations when needed. Allowing for this type of SLA provision makes sense on occasion and is something the customer may demand.

In some cases, however, your customer may be one of your company's own internal departments or business units. You can still utilize an SLA in the same manner with internal parties.

Applying a Security Service Level Agreement

In practical terms, you must set expectations in the SLA from the onset. Establish what is expected from both the service provider and the customer. You will also need to assign responsibilities and resources on your end, keeping in mind that your customer also has its own responsibilities to uphold.

At some point, you will want to measure the success of your SLA. The agreement itself provides a benchmark for measuring performance. Any failures in meeting expectations should result in disciplinary action against those responsible. By contrast, you should also provide performance bonuses or other perks to team members who exceed in their assigned tasks.

Finally, spend some time on budgeting. SLA failure isn't always avoidable, but it's the lack of resources and budgeting that can result in security mishaps and poor performance. You may want to include a section on your ROI for security investments, although adding this metric isn't required.

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