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The Hidden Cost of SLA in Security

What is an SLA?

Service Level Agreements, also known as SLAs, are standard in the I.T. sector. It uses Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to define service expectations and set up penalties and reparations should those expectations not be met. It is a crucial component of any technology vendor agreement. However, it is not a common practice in the physical security industry.


SLA vs. T&M Model

Nowadays, it is a common practice to see physical security systems such as access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection systems, and License Plate Recognition Systems (LPRS), among others, under the I.T. umbrella, yet not covered by an SLA. Most of the time, we see these systems under the Time and Material (T&M) model, in which the client calls after they realize they have a problem and have agreed to pay for repairs. At first glance, the T&M model is less expensive than the SLA model. So, let's go a little bit into the differences between these two models and their hidden costs.


Questions to help understand the total service value:

• What are the risks of having a malfunctioning security system?

• What are the risks of a broken system?

• What are the risks of an out-of-date system?

• When was the last time you updated your camera firmware?

• How much would a cyber-attack cost your organization?

• Are your VMS and access control software up to date?

• What is the cost of your software update packet (SUPs)?

• When was the last time you inspected your security system?

Comparing SLA Investment to T&M Expenses

Here is a hypothetical case to compare the investment in an SLA versus the expense of a T&M model. The example project in this article is a small city with video surveillance and access control systems in a mature market. The project includes a fully integrated enterprise-class video management and access control system, 150 cameras, a storage solution, and 140 access control doors.

Time & Expense 2

In our hypothetical case, a project like this, based on the industry-standard, will have the following associated costs:

• Sixty client-generated calls.

• One-hundred-three self-generated calls. These are calls where the system owner is unaware of a problem until it is too late. For example, an owner being unaware of a camera failure until they need the video evidence.

• Enterprise security systems usually have an Annual Software Support Plan (SUPs) another hidden cost that system-owners usually overlook.

• Best industry standards require at least one annual


Analysis of the T&M results

• Client Service Requested: $42,900.00

• Self-Generate Services: $73,600.00

• System Inspections Cost: $15,200.00

• Software Support Plan Cost: $17,300.00

• Total T&M Expenses: $149,000.00


SecurePlan™ Service Level Agreement

In this hypothetical project, the annual SecurePlan™ SLA investment is $103,800.00 with no hidden costs or fees. 


What's included in a SLA:

• Technician travel and time included

• Dedicated SecurePlan™ inventory

• Annual software support plan included

• Help monitor your security system

• Proactive issue detection and mitigation

• Client Support Center (CSC) remote support

• Maximized uptime

• No surprise expenses


SLA Savings

SecurePlan™ SLA vs T&M

• Total T&M Expenses: $149,000.00

• SecurePlan™ Investment: $103,800.00

• SecurePlan™ Savings: $45,200.00

Our hypothetical case shows a 30% savings when you choose SecurePlan™ as your service level agreement.

In conclusion, there is no hidden cost in a good service level agreement as SecurePlan™.