IT Insight: Onboard with a Managed Service Provider

What inefficiencies is your business struggling with? Is your IT infrastructure up to date and what are the inherent risk factors you may not be aware of? A complete assessment and audit of your current IT and onboarding with a Managed Service Provider is in order. It is important to note that some MSP’s provide basic services, while others handle a multitude of services for their clients. The planning process includes taking into consideration your current IT infrastructure, your current capacity, future growth, security, and cyber security strategy, as well as your budget.

Assessment and audit of your current network needs to be documented. You should be provided with a map of your current IT infrastructure, a list of current vendors and software licensing, access to your 365 Tenant to manage subscriptions and users, and an inventory of your IT assets, documentation of your users and business processes and how that relates to your current IT inefficiencies.

Your Managed Service Provider will look for applications running the same tasks, out of date software and hardware and security issues such as password protection and mobile device management for remote users.

A thorough plan for deploying what changes are necessary while data is migrated and preserved and what existing services are retained is documented. A full IT “roadmap” establishing when changes are expected should be detailed and easy to follow. Onboarding should include notification of processes, progress and any issues that may arise. The goal is to meet your business needs without little or no interruption of service. Your new MSP should have a clear and well documented Onboard process/ project plan with various stages, steps, and timeframes to have a successful transition. Changing providers is a hard decision and can be one of the most difficult projects if your MSP has not mastered this process. Client meetings and setting the expectations will reap huge benefits to both parties.

Proper implementation should include training by your MSP on any new technology in addition to training key employees who understand these changes until your MSP becomes more of a support role in that context. Understanding how to use the help desk, escalate tickets, request service for products or new services should be clearly defined documented and explained to your staff.

Onboarding with a Managed Service Provider allows for access to a dedicated team of IT experts, 24/7/365, monitoring incident management and IT resolutions, with scalability as your business grows and changes. Your MSP onboarding should include your business continuity plan to protect you from security threats. Your partner should offer a thorough Security Operations Center to monitor your network 24/7 for any unusual activity or network traffic and shut it down before any additional risk or potential ransom attack occurs.

There will always be critical issues to address. It is imperative that after the onboarding project is complete, your MSP updates you on what was discovered and needs to be addressed. Examples of this could be an outdated firewall, infrastructure that is aging and not performing, backing up data that does not need to be backed up or removing licenses not needed in your Microsoft 365 portal that will save you money. Security today dictates an MSP that will provide you with a risk assessment and the necessary services and training to mitigate any risk with a disaster recovery plan in place to meet your uptime needs.

Downtime creates stress, costs money, and causes turmoil for your business, employees, and customers. Secure you assets and plan for your future with comprehensive services and onboarding from your Managed Service Provider.

JoAnn Hodgdon is vice president and co-founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. For 25 years, PCGiT has provided comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and strategic vCIO services to their clients. You may reach her at or through