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For an MSP, “onboarding” is a two-phase process. First, you need to set up a new client customer in your remote monitoring and management (RMM) system. Then, you need to create an onboarding process for each of the users of the client system.

User onboarding requires planning. You need to agree the amount of work needed to introduce each user to the system. That process starts with defining a list of user types and setting out a software profile for each type.

User group profiles will also need to be adapted per access device type and each device location will require different access procedures to be set up in the RMM. The key to successful onboarding lies in logical planning and a clear statement of requirements agreed between the MSP and the client company.

Here’s how an RMM can help you through the user onboarding process.

Define service requirements

Although it might seem that other MSPs set up the service agreement and get everything locked down before the contract period starts, things don’t really work like that in reality.

The service agreement process takes months to refine and requires precise definitions of requirements, such as the number of devices and users to support. Right at the beginning of the bidding process, the client doesn’t always have that information available. So, the first step in setting up onboarding procedures is to get a list of all of the devices at the client site and their functions.

Your RMM will support your service agreement setting process by providing you with a network discovery function. This will detect all devices connected to the client’s network, and list them in an inventory, naming their types and their functions.

Next, the customer needs to list all of the software that it wants each user to have access to and how it should be delivered. The RMM can search each endpoint and server, listing all of the installed software.

Agree user groups with client

With all of the documentation on current usage of the system and the total number of users with account for source material, the client needs to work out a series of roles.

The users of the system fall naturally into groups. For example, account clerks don’t use the same software or applications as web designers or production engineers.

Set up user groups in RMM

The account creation screens in the RMM should enable the creation of user groups. These equate to the roles listed by the client contact. Each role needs access to a subsection of the entire client system. These group profiles need to be recorded in the RMM software.

Define software requirements for each user group

Agree with the client contact which software packages each user group should have access to. The RMM records created at this time are notes. You won’t be creating accounts on the RMM system, rather preparing a list of equipment and software to which each user group needs access.

Not every RMM system is identical and they have different procedures for user set ups. In some, cases, you allocate the list of software packages directly to the group. In other cases, you create roles in a sperate screen, allocate the software to the role and then associate a role with a user group. In some systems, user groups are called roles and roles are called profiles.

Now, when you set up users, you just allocate a group to that user in order to get the correct set of software associated with the account. Finally, you need to create access rights for that user on specific endpoints and systems.

Automate endpoint configuration

Hopefully, your RMM will be able to integrate with Active Directory. In which case, setting up the user accounts can be executed automatically through the RMM interface. If that isn’t possible, then you will need a password manager, which hopefully can share data with the RMM. If that data sharing isn’t possible, then you want to at least be able to export your user list from the RMM and import it into your password manager. If you can’t do that or if you don’t use a password manager, you will need to enter your new user account directly into the access rights management system of the client’s site.

Automate endpoint set up with software

The other aspect of onboarding is to set up the endpoints with the suite of software that has been authorized for the designated user.

When you install a new RMM and endpoint management system, you already have installed software to track. In this case, you need to compose lists of installed instances and check that the number does not exceed the number of licenses that the client has for that software.

When the client is a new company, you need to total up the software requirements and get the client to buy the appropriate number of licenses.

Moving forward, when you are established as the systems administrator for a client, the endpoint creation process can be automated, with all software being installed and configured as a batch job, launched from the RMM.

Add new endpoint to monitoring schedule

During the course of the service contract, the MSP will be responsible for monitoring the performance of the endpoints and servers in the client’s system and maintaining the software installed on them. This stable, ongoing phase of the service requires that any new endpoints are automatically included in the monitoring and management functions of the RMM suite.

Automate wherever possible

If your RMM software isn’t able to complete all of the tasks needed in order to onboard new users and set up endpoints, try to make sure that the extra software that you need to buy in to carry out tasks such as access rights management, is able to fully integrate with the RMM so that you can reduce the need for manual steps and remove the risk of human error.

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