The new client honeymoon is very short — if you mess up early, the relationship's over. Unfortunately, clients don't appreciate the fact that you're unable to troubleshoot network issues if you can't log on to the router, that you can't properly update DNS A or MX records if you don't possess administrative rights to the name server powering the client's domain, or that you can't create or terminate a user account if you don't possess administrative rights to the client's server. It's a consultant's job simply to fix it and make such problems go away.
So, in order to be successful when you assume the care and feeding of a new client from a previous IT consultant or an internal IT staff member, ensure the client receives the following checklist to help ensure your office receives all the documentation and credentials it requires to be successful.
Client service migration checklist
- All server administrator usernames and passwords
- Each server's specific role
- Backup methods in place for each server
- Remote access methods in place for each server
- All workstation administrator usernames and passwords
- Workstation managed antivirus credentials
- Router username and password
- Data circuit providers
- Data circuit WAN IP addresses
- Critical router configurations (site-to-site VPNs, user VPN accounts, etc.)
- Wireless networks, encryption methods, passwords, and IP routing subnets
- Data circuit type
- Telephony platform administrative username/password
- IP / VLAN subnets and configuration
Web / Email
- Domain names in operation
- Authoritative name servers
- Name server/domain administration administrator username and password
- Email server location
- Antispam/antivirus filter provider
- Antispam/antivirus filter provider administrator username and password
Start on the right foot
This checklist is not exhaustive or all inclusive; however, any IT consultant possessing the above information will prove far more effective than an IT provider stumbling in the dark trying to find his or her way. Further, if a new client pressures the consultancy to perform complex tasks quickly (maybe more quickly than the client is even really ready for), the consultant can point to this checklist to help remind customers that certain data and information isn't negotiable and must be in hand before specific tasks, challenges, or projects can reasonably be attempted.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.