The Importance of IT Documentation for Remote Work

Whether temporarily or permanently, MSPs are enabling their clients to work remotely, and they need to document each change, new solution, and configuration.

IT Documentation

Among all the curveballs that the pandemic threw at businesses, maintaining the ability to access information vital to operations remains a top challenge. You may have your own war stories to tell – people who needed to work from home but didn’t have passwords or licensing information, users who called you because they didn’t know the particular software employees used, or desperate clients looking for warranty information. However, solving IT issues is much easier if you have all the information you and your clients need recorded in IT documentation software.

An IT documentation solution also makes keeping up with recording vital information simpler and faster during times of rapid change, such as the shift to remote work in the early 2020s. A. Alex Cabral, CEO at SI Portal, says his team saw an increase in IT documentation use as managed services providers (MSPs) scrambled to meet new demands. “We received feedback from our MSPs stating that the increase in the remote workforce caused them to increase time spent on documentation,” Cabral says. “There was a lot of documentation going on as MSPs worked to get their customers on remote work platforms using features of their remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools to provide services to their customers.”

What to Document for Remote Users

For some MSPs, equipping users to work from home or remote locations was a new undertaking – and you still may be catching up. Information you should document for your clients who transitioned to a remote work model, either temporarily or permanently, includes:

  • Company-owned laptop or other device models, serial numbers, and warranty information.
  • How each device is configured for each user.
  • The software that each employee uses, including license and passwords.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) configuration and details
  • Security solution configurations
  • PBX configuration for remote phone or fax service
  • Instructions to enable each employee to connect remotely
  • Details of administrative accounts and who has administrative privileges

Cabal comments, “IT teams vary in the effort they put into documentation. Some like to share every detail, ensuring they can focus on work rather than looking for information. Others like to hold the information they find and share it only when requested.”

In some cases, MSPs’ good documentation practices enabled them to use existing information to make the transition to remote work more manageable. But in other cases, work-from-home mandates impacting an MSP’s entire client base all at once may have revealed some gaps. Cabral says, “We provide MSPs with the tools to find and address those gaps – but I hope they were able to address them before the surge occurred.”

If IT Documentation is a Part of Your Workflows, Stay the Course

Although MSPs without good IT documentation practices probably experienced aha moments when businesses quickly shifted to remote work, the pandemic didn’t teach the industry anything new about IT documentation. In fact, the transition to remote work helped to prove that using an IT documentation solution, especially one that makes employees accountable for documentation, is critical to streamlined workflows, retaining vital information in an organized, searchable format, and quickly finding what you need so you can focus on the work at hand.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of Managed Services Journal (formerly XaaS Journal) and DevPro Journal.