Are These 10 “Must-Haves” Covered in Your Managed Service Agreement?
There’s no end to the variations that can be made to Managed Service Agreements. Depending on the size of your business, the field of work in which you operate, and what your managed IT services company of choice specializes in, your agreement could be almost entirely unique from any other.
No matter how you go about developing it, the important part is that you have the following “non-negotiables” included. These are the services and standards that apply to any size of business in any industry. If your managed service agreement doesn’t include them, you’re doing something wrong.
10 “Must-Haves” That Should Be Included In Your Managed Service Agreement
1: Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance Of IT Systems
Managed IT services should remotely monitor your network and computer systems to ensure they are running at peak performance. This will mitigate any risks and block them before they cause a breach or downtime.
Most issues can be addressed remotely by managed IT services. When they can’t, they simply send a tech to your site who is designated to serve your business, and who knows your business needs.
With today’s sophisticated hacking threats, you face more risks than ever. The right managed IT services company will conduct a vulnerability assessment to determine your level of risk, if gaps exist in your IT security profile, provide up-to-date solutions, and train your employees to recognize phishing email attempts that contain malware and computer viruses.
3: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
Unless you can quickly recover your data after a power outage or other disaster, your business will face backlogs and missed deadlines. To recover your data today means backing it up to a secure, offsite location in the cloud.
The right managed IT services company will provide this service so you can retrieve your data from any location where you have an internet connection. Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan can be customized and will ensure integrated security policies and procedures in your corporate culture. This can include training sessions to ensure your employees are comfortable with procedures and that they are communicated to all key personnel.
4: Cloud Computing
Today’s businesses can benefit from properly hosted cloud solutions that provide scalable access to applications and computing resources. Software as a Service (such as Microsoft Office 365) relies on cloud computing to deliver applications to multiple users in any location where they have an internet connection. This is more cost-effective and accessible than using desktop applications. It also provides scalability as you purchase a license on a per-user basis.
You can add “seats” as your business grows or reduce them if you must scale back in slow times. Plus, it provides the ability for your authorized employees to collaborate on projects whether they’re onsite or offsite.
5: Mobile Device Management
When employees use their own computing devices at work, they must be used in a secure fashion. And the same goes when they work on their mobile devices offsite. Mobile Device Management (MDM) from the right managed IT services company will ensure your workforce uses their devices in a secure and controlled manner.
It’s simple to remotely locate, wipe or lock a stolen device, wipe only your business data from a personal device, and perform enforced encryption policies and dynamic security features that keep your information safe. This also prevents your workers from leaving your employment with proprietary or other confidential data.
6: Remote Support
Often workstation issues can get solved remotely, eliminating the expense of a technician doing an on-site visit and assessment. This is a fast, easy way to resolve common computing issues so your employees can get back to work.
7: Business Intelligence
With the right information, each choice you make can have attainable and expected positive results for your business; without that information, you may as well be gambling with the future of your company.
Business intelligence is the collection and analysis of data collected such as department productivity, overall growth, sales trends, and customer behavior. Applications of this data can range from something as simple as Spreadsheets for the organization, and storage of data to Online Analytical Processing or Reporting and Querying software. Each has a specific use and offers various benefits to your small business.
Reporting and querying software extracts, sorts, summarizes, and presents selected data. This data could range from sale reports of specific items to a measurement of the efficiency of marketing plans.
8: Data Backup
When reviewing managed IT services agreements, always ask how your data is backed up and stored. You may have an on-premises physical backup, but many providers back up data both on-premises and in the cloud. These are areas that will be important if your system is affected by a data breach or physical disaster like a fire in your office.
If the provider backs up your data to the cloud, you’ll want to know:
- How secure the cloud backup solution is.
- If their backup is hosted on a public or private cloud server.
- If they use a public cloud, will they consider using a private cloud for your backups?
- If your data isn’t backed up in the Cloud, where will the backups be stored?
9: Modern Phone Systems
Traditional phone systems are a thing of the past. Landlines are expensive, rigid, and inconvenient, which is why many businesses opt to modernize their services by merging them into a unified system. Modern communications solutions use cloud technology to make calls instead of a traditional phone line, granting you greater connectivity, more features, and reduced costs.
This service covers the merging of data, voice, and video on the same IP Network. Along with that comes a managed contact center. The center will combine two sections into one. On one side there are the traditional call center features. On the opposite side, is the intelligent IP call routing, integrating email, phone, web, IM, and fax.
10: Networks & Infrastructure
It doesn’t matter how new and expensive your desktop computers are if they’re not connected to anything. Especially given the prevalence of cloud computing in today’s business world. Whereas at one point, locally-stored data on desktop computers that weren’t connected to a network were “good enough”, these days it’s more likely than not that you’re storing data in the cloud. That means a functional network is a must.
Networks and Infrastructure management includes IP Virtual Private Networks widely used for secure, high performance, cost-effective networking. When handled it eliminates the cost of maintaining a data center via a Service Level Agreement (SLA), as Wide Area Network (WAN) and Local Area Network (LAN) services do.
Are You Asking The Right Questions?
Finding the right IT company for you is all about doing your homework. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve asked the right questions:
- How often is maintenance performed?
- What is the expected level of performance?
- What type of damage gets and doesn’t get covered?
- Who performs the maintenance, and how do they do it?
- Who is responsible if the equipment gets damaged during maintenance?
- If you are assigned a dedicated technician, how can you stay in touch with them?
Make sure you’re getting what you need – each and every item on this list is important to consider. Don’t settle for any less.
Radius Executive IT Solutions can deliver what you need from your IT. Our team will make sure that your technology works properly, without you having to do anything about it. Problems are prevented, daily management is outsourced, and you enjoy the benefits offered by well-maintained IT – as simple as that.