An IT Support Contract is an agreement between you (the client) and a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP provides technical support or other IT related services such as cloud data backup for an agreed monthly fee. Most IT support companies will charge for a set amount of support hours which will be depleted as your IT issues are logged and resolved. SysFix IT Support Ltd as an example provide unlimited IT support for a fixed monthly fee.
Why Do I Need An IT Support Contract?
Information technology is the backbone of any business and without it, most businesses simply cannot function. The most important aspect for many businesses is that their IT systems simply work. It's hard to imagine life without technology and when things don't quite work as they should, processes start to fail and this in turn will lead to a negative impact on your business.
Many business owners simply fail to recognise the importance of backing up their data, maintaining system updates and applying security patches, after all, IT support is an expense which can sometimes be seen with little or no return on investment.
However, with that said, poorly maintained systems and a lack of investment in IT security can be disastrous, leaving your business a prime target. It seems quite a bold statement to make but considering that most businesses fail shortly after experiencing data loss, it's an area that should not be overlooked. Cyber crime is big news at the moment and as internet based criminal activity increases, so does the risk to your business. Some IT maintenance agreements will incorporate managed antivirus and network security as part of their service offering which takes away some of the potential risks.
The Benefits Of An IT Support Contact
- On a computer support contract, you receive priority support over customers that are not.
- You pay a fixed fee per month in return for a fully managed IT service.
- You can concentrate on your own job without worrying that your IT systems need attention.
- An IT support agreement ensures that your systems are up to date and protected from hackers.
- By subscribing to an IT service, you receive many extra benefits such as help with procuring new hardware and software, help with planning annual IT budgets and help and advice with project work.
- Streamline your accounting with a single invoice for broadband, backup, IT support, antivirus and Office 365.
- Establish internal procedures and workflows to log and resolve IT issues.
- Prevent issues before they cripple business function by being proactive rather than reactive.
The IT Support Contract sets out...
What an IT Support Contract IncludesGenerally speaking, an IT maintenance agreement will set out what an IT Service Provider will support within the business. It will include the number of computers, laptops and servers that will will be supported and sometimes a list of software covered for support.
What an IT Support Contract ExcludesIt's normal for IT companies to exclude certain items or services within their IT contracts such as call outs or technical support for custom software that was developed specifically for that business. Such items can usually be added to a service agreement for an extra charge where the service provider feels they can offer adequate assistance in order to support it.
How Long It Will Take To Fix Issues or Respond To Them
A service level agreement sets out the IT service providers aims and objectives in responding to and resolving IT faults or change requests. Each logged IT support request will have a priority assigned to in in which the service provider will aim to respond to it and resolve it in a set time frame. This is commonly known in the IT industry as a Service Level Agreement.
The response time is the amount of time it takes an IT consultant to respond to the request for assistance and the resolution time relates to the time it takes to fix.
A server containing business data that won't power on would be classed as "Critical" or "1" and may have a response time of 4 hours and a fix within 8 business hours whereas;An individual user that is unable to print would be classed as "Normal" or "3" as a possible workaround exists which would be to use a colleagues machine until a computer engineer makes contact. It's normal practice for an IT provider to have many types of service level agreement at different price points.
Legal Disclaimers and Confidentiality Agreements
When signing an IT Contract, you should expect to find a number of clauses that ensure your confidential business data will be protected, that the IT service provider has the necessary skills and public liability insurance and the obligations of the client.
An IT support contract may contain some of the following.
- Who the agreement is between.
- When the agreement starts, Dates and Duration, Service Hours.
- The contact details of both parties (The client and the Service Provider)
- The Service Requirement
- Permitted Expenses and Charging Basis.
- SLA Summary
- Locations Covered
- What's Covered
- What's Not Covered.
- Definitions of terms used throughout the contract.
- Service Provider Responsibilities.
- Client Responsibilities.
- Copyright and intellectual property rights.
- Employment obligations and 3rd party rights.
- Protection of clients business
- General terms
- Signature page.
Selecting An IT Provider
Taking into account all of the above, at the end of the day it comes down to personal choice and whether the IT support companies that you shortlist can meet your individual requirements. Most businesses rely on recommendations or online reviews whilst others select a provider based on a more rigorous vetting process.
Price is one factor that you should not simply base your decision on. As a business owner, you need to trust the company that will be managing your IT systems and equally, you'll need to understand each other and communicate well, establishing a great rapport and long lasting relationship. Speak with local businesses and find out who their IT provider is, search for internet reviews or establish meetings to discuss the needs of your business and draw up a shortlist.
There are many IT companies in London and beyond that "claim" to provide managed services but on closer inspection, you may find their websites lacking. only list a mobile phone number, don't list their business address or have no office premises.
Questions you should be asking your prospective MSP
- What is the monthly fee for maintaining your IT systems?
- Is on site support included and if not, what are the hourly rates and is there a call out fee?
- Do they fix their pricing for the duration of the contract?
- What is the duration of the contract?
- Do they work on PC or Apple Macs, or both?
- Do they provide server and network support?
- Do they deal with both hardware and software computer repair?
- Are most of their clients in a particular industry and is yours one of them?
- What other services do they provide?
- Are they specifically dealing with a particular business size?
- Are they easy to contact for support?
- What are their opening times?
- Is there scope for out of hours work?
- Are they listed with a professional body such as the London Chamber of Commerce?
- Can you find a credible list of online reviews for the company?
- Are they willing to provide a reference from an existing client?
What Can SysFix Do For You?
SysFix IT Support prides itself on providing a comprehensive outsourced IT service that meets the needs of your business. Our IT consultants speak in plain English and keep technical jargon to a minimum. Not only does SysFix offer IT maintenance in the form of IT contracts but we aim to establish ourselves as your IT department. We work with a wide range of businesses within the UK and abroad, both large and small. Unlike other IT companies, we provide a tailor made solution specific to your business that encompasses a single invoice each month for all IT related services. This is a great advantage in that you have a single point of contact that will deal with backups, broadband, antivirus, telephone systems, websites, email and online digital marketing.
For a no obligation chat, please feel free to contact us to discuss your IT requirement or visit our Business IT Support page.