Master service providers, or MSPs, manage the IT infrastructure and end-user systems that keep their clients’ companies humming. What keeps your MSP-client relationship running without a hitch? A good master service agreement (MSA)! Just like you need to keep your client’s software and operating systems current, it’s important to keep your MSA up-to-date. In fact, if you are an MSP, updating your MSA should be a priority ticket in your job queue.
An MSA is a document that memorializes the agreement negotiated between an MSP and its client. A statement of work (SOW) is not the same as an MSA. The SOW covers a specific project while the MSA covers all the work done for the client.
The Industry Might Shift
It’s unlikely the way you do business as an MSP will remain static. Clients’ expectations and needs may change as IT continues to evolve. Provisions that worked in prior agreements could be rendered obsolete while the need for updated provisions becomes evident.
An attorney with MSP and MSA experience can assess your situation amid an everchanging industry and help make the changes you need.
Current MSAs May Be Incomplete
Think about where you got your current MSA? Did you search “MSA” online and pull up forms another company developed? Then your MSA may be missing a few connections.
Some of the most common MSA provisions include:
- Liability. It’s important to state who will be responsible when something goes wrong.
- Payment. When and how will payments be made? Will you charge late fees? How much will the client pay for your services?
- Intellectual Property Ownership. It’s very possible that you and your client may develop software, hardware, or systems that are considered intellectual property. Who receives the intellectual property rights in cases like this?
- Non-Disclosure Agreements. MSPs and their clients often exchange proprietary information during their working relationship. Having non-disclosure provisions may protect both of you.
- Termination. How will your relationship end? Provisions contained in your MSA may prevent trouble if you and your client part ways.
Does Your MSA Have the Right Stuff?
Have you looked at your master service agreement recently? If it’s been more than a year, or if you are unsure about them, have your MSAs reviewed by an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Virtus Law know how to coordinate a defense that legally protects rights to data ownership. To set up an appointment, call us at 612.888.1000. Our offices are in Minneapolis, Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing, but we serve clients throughout Minnesota.