How to Transition from Internal Staff to an MSP

How to Transition from Internal Staff to an MSP

By on Jun 1, 2023 in Managed IT Services

Working with an IT support firm like Astute Technology Management can help your business dramatically increase the stability of its network technology, streamline or lower IT costs, embrace new technology with confidence, and work with less stress.

However, transitioning from a small internal IT staff to a managed IT service provider (MSP) isn’t always easy. When onboarding an MSP for the first time or changing to a new MSP from one that’s disappointed you in the past, here are some useful tips you can follow to make the process easier.

Define Your Expectations

The first stage of the transition should involve some work from your MSP to determine your goals for your partnership. Knowing exactly what you’re trying to achieve is the only way to set yourself up for success.

Identify your IT needs
Before you start searching for an MSP, evaluate your organization’s technology requirements and where you need external support. This assessment will help you define your expectations, priorities, and goals for the MSP partnership.

Research and select your MSP carefully
Conduct thorough research to find reputable MSPs that align with your specific needs and industry requirements. Consider factors such as expertise, experience, service offerings, scalability, and customer reviews. Request proposals and evaluate them based on your criteria to select the most suitable MSP for your organization.

Set goals for the transition
After you’ve identified the MSP and hammered out the commercial details, the next step is to work with your new MSP to create a transition plan. The plan helps both parties understand milestones, responsibilities, and how they’ll communicate throughout the transition.

Define timelines and milestones
Define milestones and target completion dates for each phase to keep the process on track. This timeline will serve as a reference point for both your organization and the MSP, ensuring that everyone is aware of the expected progress and deadlines.

Clarify roles and responsibilities
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of both your organization and the MSP during the transition. Identify key stakeholders, point of contacts, and decision-makers from both parties. This clarity helps ensure effective communication and accountability throughout the process.

Part of this process is also building a plan of communication between the MSP and your team so that stakeholders from both sides stay well informed throughout the transition. Defining primary points of contact, frequency of updates, and modes of communication can help to manage expectations about the transition, help you address concerns, and maintain transparency.

Want to know more about how to choose the right MSP for you? Read our MSP buying guide by clicking here!

Transfer Documentation and Knowledge

At the start of your engagement, your MSP will ask you to provide information about your IT systems and security protocols. This knowledge transfer helps the MSP’s team understand the unique features of your network IT environment and tailor their services to keep you functioning efficiently.

To prepare for this step, gather and organize documentation about your IT infrastructure, software licenses, configurations, and any ongoing projects. Your MSP will be able to start supporting your firm much faster with this information in hand.

According to Kane Tabor, Astute Technology Management Co-founder, there are a few areas of particular importance where businesses can improve onboarding efficiency.

  • Encryption Keys
    Secure workstations, services, and system backups rely on encryption to keep data safe from prying eyes. By organizing your encryption early in the knowledge transfer phase, your MSP can weave those systems into its overall security plan without any wasted time.
  • Software Licensing
    Vendor management is an important part of an MSPs job. By preparing and transferring all the software license information to your MSP early in the process, it not only speeds up their work but also helps them identify areas of incompatibility, security weakness, or cost optimization.
  • Vendor Information Transfer
    Information about backup vendor, telecommunications or Internet service provider (ISP) vendors, and any other third parties with information about your facilities and technology are all important areas that many businesses overlook during the onboarding process, adding time and stress to the process.

Prepare for a Cybersecurity Audit

One of the benefits of bringing an experienced MSP onboard to help you manage your technology is the benefit of their cybersecurity expertise. To make sure that process is as smooth as possible, there are certain points that both you and your MSP will want to address together during the onboarding:

Remote Access Cleanup
Remote access systems are notorious entry points for hackers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote access systems were one of the major drivers in the rapid increase in cyberattacks. Most responsible MSPs will make auditing and repairing the back doors in these systems a priority during onboarding because they’re so often exploited.

Vulnerability Identification
The MSP will use a combination of manual processes and automated tools to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your network. The audit should focus on both technical vulnerabilities and potential risks arising from human factors, such as poor password management and lack of user awareness.

The 700,000-person labor shortage in the current U.S. cybersecurity employment market can be addressed with a strong MSP partnership.

Be Open About Your Technology Policies

Your new MSP will need to understand the rules that you’re using to govern your technology and the people who are using it, in addition to the tools themselves.

Acceptable Use Policy
We’ve spoken to several businesses in Ohio that are eager to allow staff to work from offsite locations, use private mobile devices from work, and embrace permanent work from home solutions. Doing that requires an airtight acceptable use policy (AUP) that sets clear guidelines for the appropriate and responsible use of technology resources within an organization.

Remote Access Policy
As an adjunct to the technology audit above, you should be ready to share your company policy on who can access company resources, under what circumstances, and on what devices. Understanding the scope and approval process will help your MSP make strategic amendments to the policy to help close security vulnerabilities.

Stay Focused on Feedback and Collaboration
Remember, any worthwhile MSP wants to be your long-term partner and help you solve your most challenging problems.

During onboarding, review their service-level agreements (SLAs) with the MSP. Ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of the expected response times, resolution times, and service deliverables. This alignment establishes a framework for ongoing service and performance measurement.

Beyond that, foster open and regular communication with the MSP to help nurture this relationship. Provide feedback on their performance and responsiveness so that they can meet your expectations.

A strong partnership is built on open, two-way communication.

The 5-Star MSP Committed to Ohio Businesses

Small and midsized businesses in Columbus and Cincinnati often struggle to find a dependable IT partner. The Astute Technology Management team has helped businesses in healthcare, commercial construction, and professional services streamline their IT management with maximum efficiency and minimal stress.

If you need IT support, contact us at any time at 614 389 4102 or [email protected].