5 Questions To Ask Before Signing A Managed IT Services Agreement
A managed IT services firm provides third-party support for companies that don’t have the infrastructure to maintain a full IT staff in-house. With a managed services provider, you can access all the tools, services, solutions, and expertise of a dedicated IT department without having to hire, house, and maintain those employees on-site. Signing on with this type of service provider is a big move. Make sure you’re asking the right questions so you can find the perfect fit for your business. If you have any questions please give us a call at (312) 561-9703.
What Tools and Services Are Included in the Agreement?
Coding by Christopher Gower is licensed with Unsplash License
The service level agreement (SLA) should detail all of the services included in your IT services agreement. It’s important to review this document carefully and ask about anything that seems to be missing. Although you may have discussed a particular tool or option in your initial call with the service provider, this doesn’t guarantee that the provider included that particular offering in the initial service agreement. You don’t want to find out later that there’s an added charge for à la carte services that you thought were included in your plan.
You should also ask detailed questions about the terminology used within your SLA. The word “unlimited” is frequently used as a selling point for IT service providers, but it doesn’t always mean what you think. You may find that you only have access to unlimited phone calls for remote support while you’re limited in the number of on-site hours your IT services provider will spend with your company each month.
Carefully assess all the systems and programs that your employees use and make sure you understand which ones are included in your IT services agreement and which are excluded from your coverage. Many IT service providers will only work with certain brands, which could leave gaps in your support. Evaluate your SLA in great detail to gain the thorough understanding you need to choose the right provider for your growing company.
What Are Your Business Hours and Response Times?
Inquire about your support team’s business hours and response times. Some providers are only available to take your calls between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You may find yourself stranded without assistance on the weekend. It’s critical to find out just when your managed IT services are accessible and when you’ll need to either wait for the office to open or find another solution for your needs.
If the company advertises 24/7 support, find out whether this is included in your standard SLA. Some providers charge exorbitant fees for after-hours service, knowing that you’ll likely pay any price to get your business up and running again when you’re in a difficult situation. Planning ahead will ensure that you have the support you need when you need it.
When comparing providers that do offer 24/7 support, you can narrow down your options by asking about response times. Will you face an hours-long wait on the weekends? Do you have to wait days for assistance with a non-urgent ticket? Understanding these details will give you a better understanding of exactly what each provider offers. When reviewing a new IT company another great question is to ask if they have other technicians on staff to support your regular technician’s schedule when he is absent? By asking these questions we can understand how organized an IT company is as well as what to expect when technicians are busier than normal.
How Can You Grow With My Company?
Your managed IT service needs aren’t the same today as they’ll be a year, five years, or a decade from now. Don’t make the mistake of limiting your scalability. You need to make sure you’re planning for the long-term success of your business when you sign on with an IT provider. Outline your business goals with your prospective service provider and find out how the provider can assist you not only now but in the future as well.
Ideally, you’ll find a company that offers affordable upgrades that you can integrate seamlessly with your existing services and solutions. You want painless growth that allows you to continue using the same managed IT services provider for the long haul. A company that provides custom solutions can typically adjust its offerings as needed to support your business’s growth through various stages. Working with this type of provider is the best way to prepare your business for success.
Does the Agreement Include Remote Employees?
A growing number of employees are choosing to work from home. What was once a necessity in the COVID-19 pandemic has become a welcome convenience for many. While employees benefit from the enhanced work-life balance afforded by this setup, employers can enjoy lower costs associated with maintaining office space and equipment for these workers.
Although you may not have to provide a desk and chair for your remote employees, you do need to make sure that they have adequate IT solutions for their needs. If your remote employees are having trouble accessing cloud-based programs, will your managed IT services provider assist them? If coverage is limited to a single central office but you operate satellite locations and rely on remote support, you may need to find a different provider.
When reviewing remote teams it is helpful to ask if their help desk is U.S. based or overseas based. This may cause communication issues if some of their teams have overseas counterparts or if you are looking for a more hands on approach to IT. It might be best to have a U.S. based help desk that is within the same time zone as your company.
Asking the right questions here is critical to getting the support you really need for your growing company. Make sure everyone who you rely on can rely on your IT services provider in turn.
What Security Solutions Do You Offer?
Cybersecurity is a crucial consideration for today’s businesses, whether they’re primarily online or only use web-based solutions for a portion of their work. Inquire about the cybersecurity solutions available from your IT services provider, including data backup and recovery should your information get compromised. The best companies will readily help you identify risks and develop a protection plan that’ll help prevent security breaches.
When asking an IT provider about their advanced cybersecurity solutions do they offer this or insist on it? When reviewing security for your company you want to make sure your data and private customer information has an advanced cybersecurity solution.
Although the best plans focus on prevention rather than cleanup, you should also inquire about the process for recovering from a security breach. This type of disaster can happen to even well-prepared businesses. Ask your managed IT services provider what they’ll do if it happens to you.
Spot Migration offers a full suite of managed IT services, with customized plans tailored to suit each client. Contact us today to set up a consultation that’ll answer all of the above questions and more for your business.
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