When you’re busy running your IT business, stopping to write things down can interrupt your flow. However, documentation is vital if you want to run your company effectively.
The documentation you take the time to put in place will save you time, money and effort later. Get in the habit now, and it will become easier to infuse it into your flow overtime — plus save you countless times down the road. For example, when you’re hiring new employees, onboarding will be significantly smoother if you have the documentation process readily available and other helpful information to refer to. In addition, automated RMM and PSA systems can also improve your ability to keep accurate documents and do most of the heavy lifting for you.
There are two main categories of documentation for a Managed Service Provider, internal and external. First, we’ll dive into internal documentation.
Internal MSP Documentation
1. Licensing for Applications & Services You Use
There are a number of different software tools MSPs use to run their businesses. Each of these will have their own licensing, help desk and registration details.
When you’ve got a system down, the last thing you want to do is have to spend 45-minutes searching for contact information. It’s also helpful if you know exactly the service plan you have and what your pricing is when budgeting for a new year.
Keep documentation of all software licensing you use so you can easily access details as you need them with the right documentation platform.
2. Passwords & Login Credentials
IT businesses, just like other companies, will have a variety of different passwords and login credentials that employees use for a number of internal systems.
Ensure all these are documented in a secure location (such as a password manager) and keep tight control of privileged accounts to reduce risk.
3. Domain Registration & Website Details
Another type of internal documentation is the information for your company domain registration and website. This would include your website’s IP address, FTP details, WordPress login details (if applicable) and any other information related to your company website, emails and domain.
4. Your Standard Operating Procedures
One of the most important types of documentation that MSPs need to keep is their own standard operating procedures (SOPs). This should be a dynamic document that is kept updated regularly.
This will include details on how customer tickets are to be handled, expected response times, hours employees are expected to work and any other operational instructions that keep your organization running and employees need to follow.
External MSP Documentation
1. Customer Tickets & Resolution Details
Newer IT businesses sometimes fall down on their customer ticket and resolution documentation. They might take just a few minutes to fix an issue, and decide it doesn’t need to be written down anywhere.
This is bad habit to get into because every customer interaction is important. One simple fix of a Wi-Fi router might be connected to a larger problem that a customer has shortly thereafter.
You want to use an automated system for ticket creation and resolution that will document all customer interactions and make it easy for your team to type in the resolution notes and develop a knowledge base.
2. SOPs That are Customer-Specific
Customers that you work with will often have their own set of SOPs that you need to know when working with them. You should keep these documented and easy to access for any technician that may be required to step in to support their IT needs.
3. SSL & Website Information for Clients (IP addresses, etc.)
Many IT businesses will host and manage customer websites. In this case, an important external documentation is the SSL certificate and website information for those clients.
No one wants to get an emergency call because a customer’s SSL certificate just expired, and now potential leads are getting an “unsecure” warning. Keep track and set reminders.
4. All Credentials Required to Work on Client Systems
You should put a documentation system in place, so your team has all needed credentials to service a client. It could be a passcode for the front door or a login for the server.
If one person is always handling the same customer, it’s easy to become complacent with formal documentation. But this information needs to be in a place where everyone can access it if needed.
5. Client Backup Configurations
Backup and recovery is one of the “bread and butter” services of a managed service provider. You should have multiple things documented, such as where backups are being stored, how often they’re taking, the data restoration timeframe, etc.
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