If Managed Services is the appropriate fit for your company, you'll need to sign a contract with your selected provider at some point. This contract should explain the services that should be expected and create expectations between you and your Managed Services Provider. Let's take a look at some essential elements of your Managed Services contract to be sure you know what you're paying for.
What Services Does Your Managed Service Provider Provide?
Your Managed Services contract should spell out exactly which services your Managed Services Provider is accountable for and which services they are not. What services aren't covered by your MSP's service rage? Is it possible to pay for extra services that weren't included in your original plan?
You'll want to double-check that your MSP still covers you as your company grows. As your company expands or shrinks, you'll want to know how easy it will be to add and delete users. Is there a price for each user's onboarding and offboarding?
Your company should be able to grow, evolve, and innovate without being bound by the terms of your Managed Services Agreement.
Starting Environment: How does your IT environment look, and what do you need to do to get your MSP up and running?
The required state of your IT environment at the start of your contract term should be explicitly stated in your contract.
Onboarding is a term that refers to the process of bringing
Onboarding is handled differently by different Managed Services Providers, and you should be aware of what to expect.
Your provider may charge an onboarding fee in addition to the monthly recurring fee in your agreement. Any updates would not be covered by this. Instead, it covers the time it takes your MSP to set up the systems they'll use to monitor your environment, as well as the time it takes the engineers to get to know the environment they'll be supporting soon.
Some companies will cover onboarding with your first month's subscription rather than requiring a separate fee. This means that your MSP will utilize the first month of the contract to onboard customers who aren't ready to support yet.
Read your contract carefully to understand how the onboarding process will work so you don't get confused about additional fees or when your contract's services will begin.
Upgrades to the system
Will your MSP support you if you have old systems or take responsibility for the ones you don't upgrade?
Before the terms of your contract begin, some providers will ask that all systems be updated. Others will expressly indicate that "End of Support" systems are not covered, even if you opt to maintain them. Another option for providers is to charge extra for time and materials work on these systems, but keep in mind that your MSP is unlikely to accept obligation for them.
"End of Support" denotes that the technology's manufacturer, such as Microsoft or Cisco, no longer provides support for it. This means that these companies will not provide continuous security patches, replacements for flaws, or assistance. Another thing to check in your contract is whether your MSP will continue to support an item if it reaches "End of Support" before your contract expires.
When will your Managed Services Provider be available to assist you?
When difficulties happen, you'll want to know when your Managed Services Provider is accessible to assist you and how long you should anticipate to wait. Is your supplier, for example, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or do they have limited helpdesk hours?
You should also have a timeline in mind for your provider's reaction and resolution. After submitting a ticket, you should expect to hear from your MSP within a reasonable amount of time. The resolution time is the amount of time you may expect to wait for your problems to be resolved. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) aid in the establishment of these expectations between you and your supplier, so that both parties are aware of what to expect in the event of a problem.
Systems: What systems does your MSP use to support your IT environment?
First and foremost, you must comprehend where various degrees of technology and IT concerns rank on your MSP's priority scale. You don't want to be stuck thinking that some aspects of your IT infrastructure are a big priority when they're actually lower on your provider's priority list.
The escalation mechanism is another important aspect of your Managed Services Agreement. How does your MSP handle problems that need to be escalated to engineers with more experience? How about reporting issues to vendors? There should be a procedure in place for elevating concerns to the person best suited to quickly resolve your IT issues.