If you’re looking to delegate your IT to a managed services provider or MSP, you'll typically need to sign a managed services agreement to outline the services the company you’ve chosen will provide and to set mutual expectations. For most businesses outsourcing with an MSP for the first time, there can be questions about what’s normally included in one of these agreements and what the components of the agreement mean.
Here are five things your managed services agreement should cover:
What’s covered? Which users, devices, hardware, software and infrastructure are covered in the managed services agreement? Are there any devices in your office that will not be covered, such as printers or telephones? These should be clearly spelled out in the agreement.
Who’s responsible? Roles and responsibilities should be clearly spelled out in the managed services agreement, detailing the MSP’s role, as well as any responsibilities you will retain in house.
Environment and expectations – Before entering into a managed services agreement with a new client, most MSP’s investigate your current environment carefully to ensure they fully understand your needs as well as the environment they’ll be working in. These findings will detail in the agreement what’s currently in place and what needs to be put into place before the MSP begins work. This may include a requirement that systems be upgraded before onboarding you as a new client. This responsibility may lie with you, or the MSP can do it for an additional fee before beginning the service package you’ve selected.
Documentation of services – most reputable MSPs operate through a “service level agreement” or SLA that defines what outcomes you as a user can expect. The SLA defines what specific services the managed services company will provide and be responsible to deliver every month, as well as outcomes such as guaranteed “up-time.”
Additional services – The managed services agreement includes a monthly package of services that will be provided on a recurring basis, but sometimes clients need additional services, such as system repairs and upgrades, that are outside the terms of the agreement. The managed services agreement should detail what the rate for these services will be.
A managed services agreement exists for the protection of both parties. It protects the managed services provider and allows them to profitably offer the services clients need; it also protects the clients against misunderstandings and poor service. When hiring an MSP, it pays to carefully read and understand the managed services agreement you sign with your provider. When in doubt, review the agreement with your provider and a reputable attorney.
If you have questions about MSP services or managed services agreements, Tolar Systems can help. Contact us today for a complete explanation about what our managed service agreement includes.