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Client First Visit Checklist—7 Things to Do When Onboarding a New Customer

There are lots of things to do when onboarding a new customer. Many of those things are routine, ordinary, and mundane (read: boring). Therefore, it is very helpful to have a checklist of all the things you need to do when onboarding to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Disclaimer: A real checklist could be pages long, so this article is intended to give you a framework from which to build your own list.

1/ Who

The first thing is to find out “who” you’re dealing with. There are three main categories here:

  • Owners/executives (decision-makers, authorizers, etc.)
  • Users (anyone who might use or interact with any device or service covered by your plan)
  • Vendors (anyone who provides a product or service that interacts or provides access to IT infrastructure)

2/ Where

The next question is where is everything?

  • Main office
  • Branch offices
  • Home offices
  • Mobile users

3/ What, part 1—software

Now that you have all of that information, you need to know what their application layer looks like. These are the main business applications they use daily, and are likely to include things like:

  • Office/Office 365
  • Email client
  • Accounting
  • CRM
  • Line of business software

4/ What, part 2—hardware

The next layer is the device layer. What devices are they using? This does not need to be a detailed inventory of the specifications of the devices. Only the basics are needed here. Also, there are no network connectivity devices here. Those will be listed in the connection layer.

Your inventory will need to cover the following:

  • Device name
  • Serial number
  • Model number
  • Device type (server, desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, printer, scanner, etc.)
  • Primary usage (Servers only: Exchange, file shares, SQL, etc.)

5/ How

Next, we need to define how these devices are all connected with the connection layer. So this is going to cover areas like:

  • Internet service providers
  • Mobile service providers
  • Domain and DNS providers
  • Routers
  • Firewalls
  • Switches
  • VLANs
  • VPNs
  • RDP

6/ Security

Now that you know all the information above, you have a pretty clear idea of how their system is setup. The next piece to evaluate is their security layer. There are two major pieces to the security layer: physical and electronic. Physical security includes things like cameras, front door access, and server room access. What we as managed services providers (MSPs) normally focus on is the electronic access via the Internet. You will need to document the following:

  • Email and spam filtering
  • Router settings
  • Firewall configuration
  • Server service, permissions, and shares
  • Endpoint virus/malware protection
  • Endpoint web filtering
  • Endpoint monitoring
  • Server virus/malware protection
  • Server monitoring
  • User privileges
  • Security information and event management (SIEM)
  • Encryption
  • Removable media controls
  • User education
  • Backup

7/ Plan of action

Once you have this basic information about their IT infrastructure, you can proceed to build a checklist around the following actions:

  • Priority actions—resolving critical security and stability issues
  • Detailed documentation
  • Projects required to bring client up to your standards

By doing a quick discovery of what applications your client uses, the devices they use to access them, how they are all interconnected, and how they are protected and secured, you can then begin to create a checklist of what needs to be done. This may seem a large and arduous process, but it is necessary for you to understand their needs and their vulnerabilities so that the right plan of corrective action may be taken to onboard them as a client.

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