You’ve spent weeks interviewing a bunch of different managed IT providers. You’ve finally found a company you think you can trust. Now it’s time to sign on the dotted line and commit yourself to a monthly or annual agreement.
Just hold on a second though.
Your work isn’t over just yet. There are a couple of things you need to look out for before signing a managed service agreement.
What isn’t included in the agreement?
Your managed IT agreement should cover almost anything that can happen IT-wise with your business. If you’ve chosen your provider wisely, they should be committed to keeping your IT infrastructure running smoothly and fixing any emergencies that may crop up.
Not every company provides the same level of coverage, however. That’s why you need to be upfront with your provider and ask implicitly what your managed service agreement doesn’t cover.
Who’s checking your systems?
Typically, a managed IT company will promise you 24-hour, seven-days-a-week monitoring of your IT infrastructure. They probably won’t tell you exactly who it is that will be monitoring your business. Will it, in fact, be the company themselves or will they outsource it to a third-party provider?
If the monitoring of your systems is outsourced, think twice before signing. Outsourced monitoring is typically of lower quality and slow to react. Time is everything when it comes to getting your systems back up online.
Is consulting included in the price?
It should be a given that technical IT work like maintenance repairs, upgrades, backups and software installations are included in your managed IT contract. But that’s not everything you should be receiving.
A good managed IT agreement will also include ongoing consulting to make sure that your current and future needs are being met. Make sure you are clear on what level of consulting you will receive, how often this will happen and how much you are paying for it.
How can you get out of the contract?
Hopefully, you’ll be incredibly satisfied with your IT provider. But you can never be too careful. That’s why it pays to understand the cancellation terms of your agreement before signing it.
You’ll want to know how you can terminate your contract early, what the process is for doing so and what costs will be incurred as a result. If you’ve done your homework, this shouldn’t be needed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can you upgrade or add on to your agreement at a later date?
Hopefully, your business will grow considerably over the years that you are with your IT provider. IT needs change as businesses grow, however, which is why it’s important your IT agreement is able to grow with you.
As such, you’ll want to understand whether your IT agreement allows you to expand your service. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to know why and how you can do it otherwise. You’ll also want to make sure that your IT provider can handle your future needs, too.