Before subscribing to an IT department, the SLA must be carefully evaluated and designed to achieve maximum service value from the perspective of end users and the business. Service providers should be mindful of the differences between in-house production and customer-oriented results, as they can help set service expectations. A service level agreement (SLA) defines the level of service a customer expects from a provider and defines the metrics against which that service is measured and the corrective actions or penalties if the agreed service levels are not met. Normally, there are SLAs between companies and external suppliers, but they can also be between two divisions within the same company. SAs are thought to originate from network service providers, but are now widespread in a number of areas related to information technology. Some examples of industries that create SLAs are IT service providers and management service providers, as well as cloud and Internet service providers. SLAs are a critical component of any outsourcing and technology provider contract. Beyond the list of expectations for the type and quality of service, an SLA can remedy non-compliance. The main point is to create a new layer on the network, cloud or SOA middleware, capable of creating a negotiation mechanism between service providers and consumers. For example, the EU-funded Framework 7 research project SLA@SOI, which investigates aspects of multi-tier, multi-vendor SLAs within service-oriented infrastructure and cloud computing, while another EU-funded project, VISION Cloud, has delivered results for content-oriented ASAs. It is not uncommon for an Internet backbone service provider (or network service provider) to explicitly display its own SLA on its website.    The United States The Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not expressly require companies to have SAs, but it does provide a framework for companies in Sections 251 and 252.
 For example, Section 252(c)(1) (“Obligation to Trade”) requires established local stock exchange operators (ILECs) to negotiate in good faith issues such as resale and access to rights of way. Metrics should reflect only factors under the appropriate control of the service provider. Measurements must also be easy to collect. In addition, both parties should refuse to choose excessive amounts of metrics or measurements that produce large amounts of data. However, the inclusion of too few metrics can also be problematic, as the absence of a metric could draw the view from it as if the treaty had been violated. . . .