The Cost of Commitment: Common Managed Contract Length and Terms
Are you thinking of hiring a managed service provider to optimize your business operations? If so, you’re ahead of the game. By now, you probably know that that the facts are in—working with a managed service provider (MSP) can save your company valuable time and energy, increase efficiency, and cut costs. But what sort commitment is required, and what are common managed services contract length and terms?
Partnership, not part-time
The numbers make it clear that utilizing an MSP, especially for managed IT services, is good business, but what are the underlying reasons? First and foremost, hiring an MSP prevents errors, disasters, and inefficiency. Imagine if your home was broken into regularly. Every time it happens you call the police, they investigate, and they may or may not solve the problem after a slow review process. This is what it’s usually like for companies that have internal IT departments. They come to the rescue only after the fact to try to solve the problem and update the system. Hiring an IT MSP is like equipping your home with a cutting-edge security system complete with private security guards and a 20ft fence. They’re on the job 24/7 to make sure your systems are updated, streamlined, and impenetrable.
For this reason, MSPs need (and want) to have an intricate knowledge of your company. This is highly beneficial for your business, but it won’t deliver as much value in the short-term. Although services that MSPs provide can often be selected on a month-by-month basis, contract lengths typically last 1-3 years. Remember, hiring an MSP should not be seen as a short-term solution but as the beginning of a lasting partnership.
What to expect from your contract terms with an MSP
There are a few things you’ll need to understand before signing a managed services contract. First of all, if you’re signing with a managed IT service provider, they are going to need access to all of your data. It may seem scary, but remember, the success of their business is entirely reliant on the safety of your data. Any irresponsibility on their part would essentially sign their company’s death warrant, so MSPs take your security extremely seriously.
But not to worry, MSPs are data security experts, while many businesses are not. Studies show that only about 70% of companies fully understand the implementation and maintenance of the latest security measures. Does yours?
Once you accept that your MSP will need access to your sensitive information in order to protect it and increase your efficiency, half the battle is won. Here’s what else you can expect to cover in the contract terms.
- Services- A clear definition of the services that will and will not be provided by the MSP.
- Responsibilities- A statement of the responsibilities of both parties.
- Guarantees- A description of guaranteed support covered by the agreed-upon flat rate.
- Priorities- A declaration of the prioritization process.
- Availability- A determination of what services are available within operational hours/flat rate and rates for services that fall outside of those hours/flat rate.
- Serviceability- An identification of the hardware, services, users, and vendors that are covered by service agreements.
- Performance- An agreement of metrics used to measure the performance of the MSP.
- Operation- A determination of operational standards for the MSP.
- Response- An agreement of required response times by the MSP.
- Resolution- An agreement of the time required by the MSP to resolve a problem.
Make sure that any contract you sign includes all of these terms. Signing a contract with an MSP is about protecting your business just as much as it is about confirming agreed-upon services.
If you’re concerned about the terms of your managed IT services contract, you need look no further than the portfolios of your local MSPs. Contacting current and past clients can tell you everything you need to know about a MSPs quality of service.
Scale is a managed IT service provider in Little Rock, Arkansas with over 98% customer satisfaction. Contact us today for customized IT solutions, honest terms, and cutting-edge IT management technology to propel your business into the future.