What To Expect from a Managed IT Services Contract
Entering into any business relationship, not just one with a managed IT services provider, is generally not recommended without a contract. A contract helps both parties understand what to expect from each other, and what is expected of them.
But when you are entering a business relationship with a managed IT services provider, you might be wondering what to expect from the contract. In particular, you might want to know what elements are typically included and if there are any red flags you should look for.
What is covered in a managed IT services contract?
As any contract between two business partners should be, your contract should be written in a secure digital format that cannot be altered after both parties sign it.
Typically, a managed IT service contract provides detailed information on the level of service provided, what equipment is covered and to what level, the minimum response time, and what liability protections are in place. It should also cover any applicable fees and offer a payment schedule.
If you have equipment and systems already in place before the service provider is brought on, there should be a clause in the contract about who is responsible for what when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. The contract should also cover details such as what technical support will be provided, what hours of coverage will be provided, and what sort of escalation procedures will be in place.
In short, the contract should be thorough and cover everything you can think of plus maybe a few things you didn’t think of. When you look over a contract offered to you by a managed IT services provider you should feel confident that they are professionals who know what they are doing and will take care of your IT needs when you need them to.
Potential red flags in a managed IT services contract
A few other things that are important to note are whether or not the managed IT services provider will ever subcontract if the need arises and whether there are charges for extra services. While these are not red flags in and of themselves, they should be examined carefully to make sure they are not.
Is the managed IT services provider hiring a subcontractor regularly because they are not staffed with a proper team of experts? If the answer to this is yes, you might want to go with another operator, as that is one of the biggest benefits of working with an outside company.
Additionally, any extra charges could be completely reasonable, such as a service that would be included with a higher monthly subscription that you only need occasionally, so it makes more sense to pay the extra fees out-of-pocket. But a second benefit of working with a managed IT services provider is the predictability of the budget, so excessive extra charges could be a sign that the monthly subscription is not inclusive enough.