As you shape an IT contract, it must contain the right elements. If you’re a service provider writing a contract for a new client, make sure your business is protected. On the other hand, if you’re a small business seeking IT services, and you want to make sure you get what you’re paying for; it’s equally important you review the contract. Take a close look at how it has the potential to impact your business, both immediately and in the future.
Take a look at these elements that your IT contract should address, whether you’re buying or selling IT services.
1. What equipment is involved in the contract?
An IT service contract may involve specific equipment. Sometimes, the service provider will offer specific pieces of equipment that the business can keep for the duration of the contract or procure specific equipment that then becomes the business’s property. You need to carefully lay out what equipment the IT company will provide as part of the contract.
You may also want to ensure that your IT contract lays out what equipment is covered by a service contract. For example, a server maintenance contract might cover specific servers or a specific number of servers–and if the business adds additional servers, the cost of the contract may increase.
2. What is the timeline for delivery?
There are many types of deliverables in an IT contract. First, you must consider the delivery timeline for any equipment. How long does the IT provider have to make sure that those items get to the business location? Next, take into consideration delivery for services. Sometimes, the business may have a strict timeline under which they need specific services: for example, a business that contracts with a cybersecurity provider may need its testing conducted within a specific timeframe so that it can remain in compliance. A business that contracts with a general IT service provider for technical support may want to know that any questions will be dealt with promptly, and the contract can lay out the specific timeline under which the provider must deliver those services.
3. What are the regulatory compliance standards associated with the IT contract?
Much of the IT industry is governed by specific regulatory standards. You may need to meet PCI standards if you deal with payment systems, or HIPAA standards if you deal with health information. Furthermore, as you create your IT contract, make sure it clearly lays out all the standards either business must meet to remain in compliance within the industry. You may also want to lay out who is responsible for maintaining compliance in specific areas. There may be several things the business has to control internally.
4. What are the terms for dissolving the contract?
There are several reasons why either party might choose to dissolve an IT contract. The business might find another service provider that can better deliver on its needs. The tech company might want to terminate the specific arrangement with the company. By specifically outlining the terms necessary for dissolving the contract, including any circumstances under which either party could be considered in breach of contract, you can make it easier to deal with many challenges along the way.
5. How long does the service contract last?
Often, an IT contract is for a service: for tech support, for cybersecurity, or for data management. How long do you intend for that contract to last? Additionally, you may lay out a single-year contract term. Or, make the service period longer or shorter based on the specific needs of both businesses.
Creating an IT contract is a critical part of entering into an arrangement with an IT provider. By ensuring these 5 things appear in your contract, you can create a contract more likely to meet the needs of both parties. Need help crafting your IT contract? Contact us today to learn more about how to shape that contract to benefit both companies.