Blog   NDA, MSA, SOW and SLA. Confidentiality agreements when you outsource QA

NDA, MSA, SOW and SLA. Confidentiality agreements when you outsource QA

By Anna Senchenko

Today, the world wide web processes tones of private data we openly share. Sure, building trust with each other is crucial for healthy relationships. But sometimes we come across negative experiences of stolen ideas, plagiarism, or privacy policy violation.

The same fears come up when you plan to execute your software business project. Often, start-ups use outside services for web development, design, and quality assurance. However, you may worry about the copyright security when it comes to sharing your idea with so many people. We decided to briefly explain the legal ways to protect your software from leakages when you hire an independent QA team. With this information in mind, you`ll keep the cooperation safe and result-oriented.

Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

It is a legal document between two or more parties that includes confidential information shared by the company and the client. The primary goal of the agreement is to keep private information secure from shares to the third parties. It protects your business idea against copyright violation. NDA can be unilateral (one-way), bilateral (signed between a contractor and a client), and multilateral (several parties involved). The form is mostly individual. The parties usually create it after the initial discussion of a project scope. In any case, it is important to sign NDA agreement before revealing any project details.

Standard NDA must:

  1. Include the information to consider as confidential
  2. Explain which information doesn`t undergo NDA policy
  3. Protect intellectual property rights
  4. Pinpoint a duration of NDA (usually it is valid 2, 5, or 10 years)
  5. Set conditions of breaking the contract

When you are hiring independent QA engineers for your project, make sure the company is ready to follow NDA policy with the clients. Such confidentiality agreement prevents the company from using your product idea, design, functionality, etc. Moreover, it forbids QA engineers presenting their work publicly.

Why Have a Master Service Agreement?

The MSA sets the basic terms that will regulate future agreements between a client and an agency. It includes maximum possible terms and speeds up the agreement process. In the future, you won`t need to renegotiate the deal and focus on project details instead.

An MSA typically includes:

    • Service overview
    • Payment terms: the rate, deadlines, covered and uncovered expenses
    • Audits: the ways a client can check the progress of the project completion
    • Confidentiality terms
    • Product warranties
    • Dispute resolution process

So, MSA governs the entire relationship between the parties. It doesn`t include the process of service delivery. You may be interested in signing a Master Service Agreement if you never worked with an agency before. However, if you don`t have MSA, it is crucial to outline all the legal terms in the Statement of Work.

Statement of Work vs Service-Level Agreement

Statement of work (SOW) is a contract between a client and an agency that includes the specifics of each product and the services to be delivered. It usually works as a project agreement and sets expectations. The parties often sign SOW along with MSA.

These are the key elements of SOW:

    • Project overview and results to achieve
    • Project stages: the ways each will be completed
    • Deliverables: what is to be produced
    • Deadline
    • Costs: estimates and payment schedule
    • KPI
    • Additional legal sections (if no MSA)

SOW provides in-depth information on deliverables, requirements, standards, and criteria of every project stage. It becomes a “guideline” for the parties to determine what is “in scope” and “out of scope.” That is why a well-structured statement of work prevents conflicts between the parties and makes the outsourcing process safe.

If you plan to hire a QA company, you may request working under a service-level agreement. While SOW regulates the services to provide, SLA assigns metrics to measure them. In this case, the company guarantees high-quality project delivery as a result.

A service-level agreement contains:

    • Business objectives to achieve
    • Service deliverables
    • Performance expectations customer sets to the provider
    • Legal effects if the provider doesn`t follow performance standards
    • Pricing terms

Put simply, SLA helps you to clarify what product you will receive.


Outsourced software testing is a safe way to keep your project bug-free. It is important for us to deliver high-quality services and protect your data from leakages. QA Madness works under NDA, MSA, and SOW (SLA) agreements. Moreover, we are compliant with the EU General Data Protection Policy (GDPR). It applies to the organizations that offer services and process private information. Per your request, we can sign the GDPR agreement to make sure your data is secure.

Ideas are senseless if you don`t give them a chance to live. In other words, a successful business requires ideas to execute. In this case, additional precautions keep your product unique and secure. And that means a lot in a highly competitive market.

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