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Managed Services — 8 Necessary Services & Features
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.
8 Services & Features You Need In Your Managed Services Agreement
Cybersecurity is top of mind in the business world today. More and more breaches are occurring as cybercriminal tactics become more common and more effective.
That’s why your IT company should have a comprehensive plan detailing how cybersecurity gets addressed. Their procedure must include:
- Firewall settings
- Intrusion detection
- Intrusion prevention
- Encryption at the file level
- Service delivery specifications
2. Infrastructure Management & Support
It may not be as exciting as cybersecurity, but administration for your infrastructure is just as important. Don’t forget that your infrastructure is the backbone of your IT environment; it needs to be well maintained to keep your business functioning.
That’s why all managed IT services should include basic server maintenance, network administration, storage maintenance, and typical network issues.
3. Helpdesk Support
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many service contracts don’t include Helpdesk Support, or do, but impose extreme limits of its use. It could be that hours of operation are only at specific times of day, or that any overage amounts to extreme additional charges.
Either way, it’s worth checking to make sure that you’re getting the support you need at a reasonable rate. You’ll want to have access to support via phone, email, online ticketing system, and even Live Chat if available. 24/7 availability is a bonus, but will often come at an additional cost. If your business doesn’t operate after hours or on the weekend, you probably don’t need 24/7 support.
4. Network Monitoring & Maintenance
Just as your infrastructure and staff need support, so does your network. Control plays a critical role, especially when you consider how network vulnerabilities can disrupt your network. You need to have a remote monitoring solution put in place and personnel responsible for tracking any suspcious activity and addressing it according to cybersecurity best practices.
5. Data Backup & Disaster Recovery
Your IT company shouldn’t only be concerned with supporting you while everything is working properly. They should also have plans in place to address your data and business-wide continuity in the event of data loss, power outage, inclement weather, or otherwise.
If your IT company uses the cloud for backup purposes, you’ll want to know:
- How secure is their cloud backup solution?
- Is their backup 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 won’t get backed up in the cloud, where are the backups getting stored?
Furthermore, check the service agreement to make sure a disaster recovery plan comes standard. If it’s not mentioned in the agreement, ask to have it added.
A comprehensive and detailed disaster recovery plan must be included so that when disaster strikes your business, you’ll know you’ll have immediate access to your backups and a recovery plan that will get you back online quickly.
6. Policy Development & Implementation
IT isn’t just about technology. It’s also about how it’s used and how it is maintained. Over time, your business will change, and so will your IT infrastructure. As it does, those old policies will need to be re-written and updated, or new ones will need to be created, especially if your industry has mandatory compliance regulations.
Make sure to request that any and all new or updated documentation covers security, data monitoring, and BYOD. Policy creation and updates to current literature needs to be defined in the managed services agreement.
7. Termination of Service
There’s always the possibility that, after trying it out for a few months, you’ll determine that managed services aren’t the right fit for you. Maybe it’s your budget, maybe it’s your size, maybe it’s your needs – there are plenty of reasons why managed services aren’t the right call.
As there’s a possibility that you’ll have to terminate your managed service agreement, it’s best to check ahead of time what will take place. You don’t want to incur any undue penalities for canceling your contract, so make sure to verify under what conditions you (or IT company) can cancel the agreement on their end.
8. Non-Solicitation Agreement
Last but certainly not least is the non-solicitation agreement, which should protect both you and the IT company against the other’s attempts to hire each company’s employees. Make sure the IT company also agrees not to sell your information to other companies, especially when they might be seeking to establish a service agreement contract with you. Be sure to check the documentation to see if it gets included. If not stated, ask to add it.
Ask The Right Questions About Your Managed Services Agreement
If you’ve decided you’re not getting what you need (or deserve) from your current IT company, then it’s time to start looking for someone else.
In your research, make sure you ask 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?
You can’t afford to settle when it comes to managed IT services. Do the work needed to find an IT company that will deliver everything you need to enjoy an optimal IT environment.
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