A good managed service agreement (MSA) for IT support will clearly and concisely detail the nature of the hardware, software, and services to be provided. It should also specify what is not covered. As with any business contract, the MSA a company has with its IT service provider can impact not only the future relationship but also, in some cases, the business’ bottom line.
Consequently, it’s crucial to check out the terms of an MSA before signing it to ensure that:
- The agreed-upon services are fully and accurately included in the MSA.
- The contract does not contain extra terms that you didn’t agree on.
- You are aware of the limits of the service and/or when additional fees may be charged.
To that end, here’s a look at the essential terms that should be included in MSAs and what you need to look for when you’re reviewing the details of those terms. Taking the time to review an MSA before signing can help you choose a reliable, experienced IT service provider. And that can be priceless when it comes to supporting your business in its day-to-day operations, as well as in times of an IT crisis.
MSA Term #1: Terms & Conditions
From identifying the start and end dates of the MSA to detailing pricing, the terms and conditions should be straightforward, and they shouldn’t have any surprises. Some of the key details to keep an eye out for when reviewing terms and conditions include:
- Payment terms and when any late fees may kick in
- Autorenewals for the contract
- After-hours service options and/or contact information
MSA Term #2: Services
This section should explicitly list the services that are and are not covered by the MSA, including both services available for an extra cost and services not provided at all. If any of the details of this section are ambiguous or unclear, it’s critical to clarify them upfront, so that:
- There’s no confusion later.
- You understand what infrastructure, policies, and/or additional support services you may need to put in play in order to achieve your objectives.
MSA Term #3: Hardware
If your business is purchasing or leasing hardware from a managed IT provider, the terms of that purchase or lease should be spelled out in the agreement. In addition to pricing, the hardware section of an MSA should also explain the terms and limits of any warranties and/or any autorenewals for leased hardware (hardware-as-a-service, HaaS).
MSA Term #4: Backups
How often and when will backups occur? Where is the backup information stored? And are the second-level backups? All of these questions should be answered in the MSA.
MSA Term #5: Agreement Termination
How and when can the agreement be terminated if either party needs to do so (for whatever reason)? Will you lose or own any of your backed-up data or other IT assets? How are any disputes handled—is arbitration or mediation required? Again, these details should be clearly delineated in the MSA, so that you know what you’re agreeing to before authorizing the contract.
Let’s Talk About IT Services & Solutions for Your Denver Business: Contact IT1 Services
Whether you’re looking for a new managed IT service provider or you’re outsourcing IT for the first time, IT1 Services can provide comprehensive IT services and turnkey solutions to your Denver business. As the go-to source for small businesses’ technology needs, IT1 Services creates and manages an array of technology and IT solutions to help Denver businesses achieve their goals and next-level success.
Call (303) 682-6964 or email us for 5-star IT consulting services and support in Denver.
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