Things You Should Care About Managed Service Agreement

Outsourcing your IT processes to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a great idea. But to benefit the most from an MSP, it is essential that both the parties are on the same page regarding requirements and deliverables.

With an accurate Managed Services Agreement outlining the services provided by MSP, clients can build realistic expectations while covering the MSPs against liabilities.

While creating a Managed Services Agreement, there are certain things which you shouldn’t miss out; let’s go through them in detail.

1. Services

The first and foremost thing to be included in your agreement is the kind of services you are going to provide to the client. Whether it is just management, cloud, support services or a package of all of them; everything should be clearly outlined. It is also important to mention which services are excluded to avoid future complications.

2. Response time

The agreement should clearly define the duration of which you will be responding to an issue brought up by your client. Make sure to specify your business hours and if you will be providing services in addition to those business hours. If yes, then whether extra charges would be applicable for that or not.

3. Responsibilities

Your Managed Services Agreement should clearly account for all the things you will be responsible for during your association with the clients. It should state what responsibilities will be taken up by you in cases of system, hardware or network failures or glitches.

All such scenarios should be pointed out in detail so that the client doesn’t form any misconception about your services.

4. Availability

Your client can build unrealistic expectations regarding the services they will be getting from you. To avoid this, it is very important that you define the realistic services which you will be able to provide them. For example, how fast will you be fixing any system failure or disasters? How often will backups be carried out? It will provide them with a real assurance of your services.

5. Client demands

To avoid getting called for unreasonable client demands, it is important for you to define your system requirements. What that means is, there must be some standards defined in the agreement on the basis of which the client will be able to avail your services. If these set standards are not met, you are not liable to offer your services.

6. Guarantee

Don’t promise more than you can deliver. While confirming your alliance with any of your clients, be sure about your deliverables and abilities. It is best to avoid making false guarantees in order to acquire a prospective client.

7. Performance

Your agreement should document expectations concerning system performance with clarity. It is especially helpful if you are dealing with services related to hardware, workstations and third-party systems.

8. Priorities

It is possible that your clients might trouble you with petty issues and make them seem as urgent. To avoid this scenario, you must define your priorities without any confusion. It gives your client a clear idea of what problems can be stated as urgent and which of them can wait a little longer for solutions.

Bad Factors About Shadow IT

Shadow IT is the term used for personal technologies (BYOD), applications, and software or services supported by a third-party service provider, instead of an organization’s IT provider or technology department.

Over the past several years, Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) technologies have been core drivers of innovation (and disruption). Mobile and cloud services have given end-users the ability to access data and perform their work roles from nearly any location. As a result, businesses’ applications have moved from behind the safety of the company firewall to public Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for everything from accounting to human resources.

These technology trends have also resulted in the “consumerization” of IT, where end-users have come to expect a fast, easy to use, mobile first experience. These expectations can cause with frustration with legacy technologies that may not work as well for employees on the go.

End users gravitate toward the simplest solution. Why go and find a work-related device when your cellphone or tablet is sitting on the desk? Thanks to the Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, employees have access to literally thousands of applications that they can quickly install and use to carry out their job functions, all outside of the network perimeter. So why is this an issue?

THE RISKS OF SHADOW IT

There are several issues at hand with Shadow IT. Users choosing their own applications can open companies up to security issues, take them out of compliance with legal guidelines, and negatively affect other users in their business without meaning to. Here are some of the ways Shadow IT can impact your business:

Security – Unsupported hardware and software are not subject to the same security measures as supported technologies. Without the ability to monitor and control application use, software and apps that incorporate business data and integrate with existing business applications are at risk of cyber-attacks and malware infections. This leads to lost time, lost productivity, lost revenue, and lost reputation.

Compliance – The governance and compliance risks from Shadow IT are extremely serious as sensitive data can easily be uploaded or shared. There are no processes to ensure confidentiality of data or access policies if an employee is storing corporate data in their personal DropBox or EverNote account. Breaches resulting from failing to meet compliance guidelines can lead to significant fines.

Workflows and Processes – Technologies that operate without an IT department’s knowledge can negatively affect the user experience of other employees by impacting bandwidth and creating situations in which network or software application protocols conflict. Additionally, IT Support teams may not be ready with answers or a resolution when end users present issues with unsupported tools. This slows down workers and creates additional strain on IT.

REDUCING RISK AND MAXIMIZING BENEFITS

For all the risks Shadow IT presents, it also carries the potential for rewards. New applications can revolutionize processes and allow employees to work smarter and more efficiently. This requires a careful balance between management and flexibility.

Most end users do not equate using certain applications or devices with extreme consequences. This is where IT needs to be flexible and communicate well. Instead of telling end users they can only use one system for work, clearly outline what type of data is okay to work on in unsupported applications and which data should remain secure in your supported network. Make sure that you identify allowable uses in your Acceptable Use Policy.

The time has come to move past the denial stage of Shadow IT and communication is key. Educating end users and providing clear, concise, information usage guidelines can help you develop enforceable boundaries. Take the time to understand the processes and needs of employees. Research and employ solutions that address those needs, both current an