Monday, March 27, 2017

The question of Best Practices

Written by David Ianetta

One of the most common question I get asked from someone who is new to the RMM Dashboard is, “what are some of the best practices I can put into place?”

This is a fair and responsible question. It stems from the desire is to avoid reinventing the wheel and take advantage of some of the experience of those who have gone before you.

However the answer to the “Best Practice” question in the realm of remote management is not as straight forward as it seams.

For example, I could give you some best practice tips right off the bat for the Solarwinds MSP RM Dashboard. I could tell you to change your Agent Key so that no one is logging in using that. I could encourage you to keep your services and policy settings set at the Server and Workstation level and only make acceptations when you need to at the client and sight level.

But I find what is being asked, especially from those of you who are just starting out as an MSP goes a bit deeper than that.

New business owners that are making the cross over from the life of a tech to running a managed service are looking for ways to be efficient when it comes to setting up policies for services such as Patch Management, Antivirus and Web protection.

And therein lies the difficulty in recommending best practices.

The way these services are used could vary drastically from client to client. That is why it is almost impossible to recommend settings that would apply to all of them.

So where to you even begin then?

You have to strike a balance between being the IT expert for you customer and listening to their needs. This is going to require some thought on your part.

First you determine what your overall services will be.

Within those services, think about the best times to do things like Patch and Virus Scans. What are the types of websites that should be blocked? What kind of routine maintenance should be performed? How best should a client contact you?

Next begin to categorize these services and put them into packages. Keep it simple. Most services can be placed into one of three categories. Security, Maintenance and Break fix.

Some of these services cross over. For example Patches can fall under maintenance and security. Once you have the services in place, decide when you will perform them.

Then when you have this firmly in mind, discuss this with a customer and show
them your best practices first, before asking them what they want.

For example, “this is when I do weekly deep virus scans, therefore this is when you machines need to be left on.” This way you can standardize as much as possible across the board. Chances are that will work for them. But if you ask every customer, "when would you like me to do this?" you are likely to have dozens of different scan times. You are the IT professional, make the recommendation.

The other side of this coin is listening to your customer. That is when the exceptions come into play.

You may want install your patches on Saturday morning, but what if the customer works Tuesday to Saturday?

So to have best practices you need to know what yours are, what your client’s needs are and then how to configure your RM Dashboard accordingly.

Once you have the first two firmly in place, give us a call and setup a Tech Walk!

We’d love to help you configure your dashboard to your own unique business needs!