New Client Onboarding

Understanding the Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) Onboarding Process

What actually happens when your small business hires a managed IT services provider (MSP)?

From the moment you decide Silverleaf is your choice for an outsourced IT department until the day some IT issue needs fixing, we want you to have the best possible experience with us – and it all starts with onboarding.

With the initial onboarding process, we get to know how your business works, and you get to see how we operate as your IT department. Our goal is to develop a plan to bring your current infrastructure up to date, resolve any current risk factors, and target inefficiencies your organization may be struggling with.

Frequently, these issues may not be obvious internally; it may take an external service provider to uncover them. In fact, one of the main goals of our onboarding process is to discover these potential issues early on, and to help new clients understand and define their exact IT needs.

By following a standard onboarding process we can establish a strong line of communication, set clear expectations, and form the foundations of trust from the very beginning of the managed IT services engagement – before we implement major changes or commit to a long-term service agreement.

Here’s an overview of the Silverleaf new client onboarding process, from start to finish:

Our Onboarding Process

Phase 1: Documentation

During the initial onboarding phase, we collect basic information on your IT systems, learn your unique business processes, and get a “snapshot” of your current IT system status.

Network Assessment
Onboarding starts with an in-depth network assessment which includes:

  • Gathering basic information about core networking devices including gateway routers, firewalls, modems, wireless access points, and switches.
  • Identifying other network connected devices including printers, NAS/SAN storage, and VoIP phones.
  • Accounting for all network-connected workstation endpoints, desktop PCs, laptop computers, and server computers.
  • Measuring Internet download speed, upload speed, and latency

The purpose of the initial network assessment is to get an overview of your technical IT environment, an understanding of your business pain points, and an idea of what your unique “IT roadmap” looks like. It’s a starting point for a new business partnership.

Third-Party IT Vendors
Your business probably operates with various other technology services, or third-party IT vendors. We collect contact information about your IT vendors including:

  • Email service provider
  • Domain name registrar and DNS records
  • Internet service provider (ISP)
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) or phone service provider
  • Previous outsourced IT service provider (if applicable)
  • Software vendor for other critical Line of Business (LoB) applications
  • Vendors for purchasing new hardware and software

NOTE: It’s extremely important that we are able to get in touch with your other IT vendors in the event of a problem or outage. Additionally, we will work with your previous IT service provider on your behalf (who is still technically one of your vendors) to gather information and ensure a smooth transition to our managed IT services.

Administrative Passwords
In the course of serving as your company’s outsourced IT department, invariably we will need access to certain administrative passwords to complete our duties. We record your sensitive login credentials in our secure, fully audited password vault including:

  • Server domain admin password(s)
  • Local workstation admin password(s)
  • Firewall/router admin password(s)
  • Email service provider password(s)
  • Domain name registrar and DNS password(s)

NOTE: In accordance with security best practices, we do not record individual user account passwords (only administrator account passwords).

Phase 2: Implementation

The second phase of onboarding includes installing software on your computers, establishing a baseline hardware/software inventory, and registering your users in our Help Desk.

RMM Installation
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software is crucial for our ability to keep an eye on your IT infrastructure remotely and respond when required. RMM installation includes:

  • Installing RMM agents on your workstation and server computers
  • Making sure the RMM tool is compatible with any applicable antivirus programs and backup routines
  • Testing the monitoring and alerts to ensure they work
  • Installing antivirus on your workstation and server computers
Hardware & Software Inventory
With the help our RMM software, we are able to compile a complete hardware & software inventory of your computers which includes:

  • Computer make and model
  • Hardware specifications like CPU, RAM, and storage
  • Operating system information, version number, install date
  • A full list of all installed software applications on each computer
  • Licensing information for software applications
User Registration
Your company’s employees and staff – users – are the ones who actually use your IT systems. We make sure your users are properly onboarded by:

  • Registering your company’s users in our help desk
  • Gathering contact information (name, phone, email) for all users
  • Identifying all groups and membership for remote access
  • Authorizing special users who have executive, billing, and/or administrative privileges
  • Training users on how to submit support requests (via webform, email, chat, and phone)

Phase 3: Reporting

During the final phase of onboarding, we report our findings to you and make recommendations for upgrades, as well as lay out a plan for ongoing service.

Backup & Recovery Status
Are your critical IT systems backed up? Would your current backup solution actually work if you needed to restore data? Reviewing your company’s current backup & recovery status is an important part of onboarding which includes:

  • Identifying current backup systems (hardware and software)
  • Identifying backed up data and apps
  • Determining status of backup systems (and if they’re running successfully)
  • Estimating recovery point objectives (RPO), or the maximum tolerable amount of data to lose in the event of a disaster
  • Estimating recovery time objectives (RTO), or how long it would take to recover from backup in the event of a disaster
Project & Upgrade Recommendations
We’ll provide a summary of recommended hardware and/or software upgrades, risk management solutions, and any other strategies to help improve network efficiencies and overall health, including:

  • Network device upgrades to improve overall performance and reliability
  • Email system migration upgrades to improve security, deliverability, and functionality
  • Workstation computer upgrades and replacements for improved user productivity
  • Backup system upgrades for reduced risk of permanent data loss and down-time
IT Report (Runbook)
Finally, we’ll compile and review with you all of the findings and recommendations from the onboarding process into a comprehensive runbook document. These will include:

  • Full hardware inventory
  • Full software inventory
  • Network map
  • Administrative passwords
  • Third-party IT vendor list

Onboarding Process – Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about our new client onboarding process? View our Onboarding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

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