What to look for in your service-level agreement with your technology services provider
When you decide to hire a technology services provider, it’s easy to look at the positives. You see those nagging IT problems disappearing, your company’s efficiency improving and your constant concerns over cybersecurity finally lessening.
Your technology services provider has told you they can deliver on all of these goals, but what protection do you have if these promises don’t become reality? How can you judge whether the agreements you made verbally will hold true throughout the course of your contract?
Enter the service-level agreement.
Your service-level agreement outlines the goals and expectations of your agreement with your technology services provider. From response times and prioritization to liability and a termination clause, it should all be outlined here. So to be sure that your technology services provider is contractually obligated to follow through on everything you discussed in the negotiation process, here are five things to look for in your service-level agreement.
* Service itself. The focal point of any service-level agreement is naturally the services themselves. What is your technology services provider responsible for providing to you? From cloud storage and IT consultation to network security, every service you’re expecting your managed services provider to perform should be outlined here. If it isn’t, be sure to ask why.
* Availability. If an issue arises — and one will, no matter who you contract with — how quickly will your services provider respond to your needs? The answer should be spelled out in the agreement — ideally a time for both business-hour and non-business-hour incidents. Keep in mind, however, that this is just a response time and that the time required to rectify the concern could vary wildly depending on the nature of the case.
* Replacement and repair. Who is responsible for replacing old hardware? Assuming the item wasn’t destroyed by one of your employees, your printers and computers will slowly age and eventually become obsolete. When they do, your service-level agreement should outline who is responsible for supplying new technology.
* Measurement metric. Your service-level agreement should include some type of measurement metric allowing both parties a way to review how the contract has been executed. This will likely be the product of discussions between you and your technology services provider, and the final result should appear in the agreement.
* Termination clause. If either side determines that the agreement is not working for any reason, a termination clause allows for an early exit to the pact. Your service-level agreement should include such a clause as well as the guidelines of what must be done if the agreement is ended early. Be sure that this clause is in the agreement, and that you’ve agreed to the terms before you sign.
To learn more about service-level agreements and how we can help you with your technology services needs, contact us today.