When it comes to finding an outsourced IT vendor to help you manage your hardware and software, the big question on your mind is probably “will they keep our data safe and prevent us from being affected by tech problems?” That’s a reasonable place to begin, of course, especially when you’re evaluating different companies to work with.

When you’re closer to signing on the dotted line, though, there are a number of more detailed questions you should ask before committing to any monthly or annual IT care agreement. Here are five, in particular, you should pay special attention to…

#1 Is There Any Regular IT Work That Isn’t Included?

A good managed services agreement will protect you against the known and the unknown. In other words, your provider will be there to look after your apps and devices to ensure they work the way they’re supposed to, while also standing by to provide emergency service on an as-needed basis.

The biggest benefit here is that you shouldn’t ever be surprised with IT expenses that aren’t covered. That’s why you’ll want to find out if there any special conditions that don’t apply before it’s too late.

#2 What Kind of IT Consulting Help do we Get?

While business owners and executives love that managed services agreements cover routine maintenance, repairs, upgrades, and installations, that isn’t the only kind of IT support you should be receiving. You want a vendor who will also meet with you regularly as a consultant so you can plan and budget accurately for the future.

Make sure you understand what there is in your agreement to cover periodic meetings that address strategy and forecasting for your technology.

#3 Who Will be Watching Our Systems?

Almost any IT team is going to promise you round-the-clock coverage and monitoring your systems. However, what they might not tell you is that some firms use overseas providers to supply this monitoring. That can lead to communications issues and time delays when the profitability of your business is on the line.

For that reason, it’s smart to ask a few questions and be sure you understand exactly who will be keeping an eye on your networks and devices outside of normal business hours.

#4 Can we Upgrade Our Plan Later?

It’s always good to plan for success. The hope should be that, with the right IT monitoring and consulting, your business will grow and expand. There should be something in your managed services agreement that allows you to scale up your technology coverage for a set rate.

When you have the relevant terms in place, you can plan and budget for new locations or ideas with confidence.

#5 What are the Cancellation Terms?

Conversely, it’s always possible your relationship with your IT vendor won’t work out as well as expected, or that business conditions will force you to scale back. The odds of this happening should be low if you’ve done your homework and asked the right questions, but it’s still good to be protected.

Make sure you know what it will take for you to get out of your managed services agreement if it becomes necessary for any reason, along with what the consequences could be to terminate your contract.

Need High-Quality IT Support and Advice?

At Fantastic IT, we are known throughout Southern California as a leading provider of service, consulting, and insights for small and medium-sized businesses in a number of industries. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote for affordable business technology maintenance and monitoring.