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MSPs and Why Clients Care About SLAs

Kathy Vogler, Communications Manager, Expedient Technology Solutions

When looking to outsource IT infrastructure and remote support or to change suppliers, the client will interview and request RFP’s from multiple service providers. In addition, the client should request the standard Service Level Agreement (SLA), or the deliverables of outsourced services provided by each Managed Service Provider (MSP). SLAs are a scope of the supplier’s responsibilities and commitment to their client.

Standard MSP SLAs are written in legal terms as a Master Services Agreement, a contract that is signed by both parties and often accompanied by an explicit Description of Services that contains sections with details of what is included. For example:

  1. Description of services
    a. Network audit or site survey, management and documentation
    b. Network monitoring terms and the elements being monitored
    c. Support desk business hours and after-hours support
    d. Break fix services including after standard business hour emergencies
    e. Software including operating system responsibilities
    f. Security patching maintenance or virus removal
    g. Change management and asset management
    h. Inventory care of old gear and purchasing responsibilities for new gear
    i. Line of business support and client policy support
    j. Peripheral support and vendor liaison
    k. Disaster recovery plans, network security, backup and storage of data, colocation services
    l. Business review schedule and executive summary reporting
  2. Availability of services
    a. Percentage of time service will be available each month with a precise definition of what constitutes availability
    b. Planned downtime
    c. Recovery times and ticket response times
    d. Description of circumstances beyond MSPs control
    e. Definition of escalation process and procedures
  3. Client responsibilities
    a. Availability of one primary point of contact with substantial knowledge and experience
    b. Adequate broadband
    c. Information on users, hardware, software, and all mission critical operations
    d. Provide after-hours access or contact information for a designated internal resource
    e. Permissions to install monitoring software
    f. Authorization to maintain and access client devices, update antivirus, firmware, warranties, operating systems
    g. Notification of 3rd party activities
    h. Power supply provisions
    i. Server administration to MSP or authorized client personnel
    j. Change management notification processes
  4. Terms of the agreement
    a. Contract length
    b. Renewal terms
    c. Contract termination
    d. Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements to ensure privacy and security
    e. Liabilities and indemnifications
  5. Pricing and payment
    a. Monthly rate schedule based on users or devices and price per
    b. Services not covered by agreement hourly rates
    c. Travel specifications and rates
    d. Billing terms

A service level agreement is the document that describes the level of service the client can expect from the MSP, the metrics of measurement, and the responsibilities of both parties to protect and enable their mutual experience. The metrics chosen should motivate appropriate behavior and incorporate best practice for a long-term relationship. MSPs, while offering managed IT services, do not operate the same and a review of the SLA prior to onboarding will eliminate any guesswork.

 

To learn more about Expedient Technology Solutions, visit www.stressfreeit.com
Kathy Vogler can be reached at kvogler@expedienttechnology.com or 937-535-4300.

By |January 26th, 2018|Managed Print Services|

About the Author:

Whitney Ranger
Whitney is an exceptional oral and written communicator, and the ability to create targeted communications consistent with a specific brand or image. She has years of achievements in communications, public relations, digital marketing, and event planning.

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