Gathering the Passwords

antique-close-up-equipment-hanging-615350One of the hardest tasks to finish when onboarding a new client is collecting their passwords, which are in all likelihood disastrously organized. The situation is like changing your address after you’ve moved: you never quite get them all and years down the line you’ll realize you’ve still forgotten one.

Some passwords are obvious:

  • servers, workstations, email

Others less so:

  • databases running on servers, routers and firewalls, printers and copiers

Now depending on your Statement of Work for your client, all of that might not be your responsibility, so just get whatever credentials your client has and then go about resetting the rest. Don’t put this off, or you’ll naturally need access to something in an emergency and you don’t want to be fussing around resetting passwords.

If your client has previously been using the services of another MSP, you should recommend that your client request all the credentials their old MSP has on file. This most commonly includes:

  1. User Names & Passwords
  2. Encryption Keys
  3. License Keys
  4. Physical Keys (for servers and network cabinets)

Note that MSPs will often set up an email account in the name of a client, with the client’s permission, but which only the MSP uses, manages, or has access to. This is so that an MSP can use an email account to create and manage other accounts for the client that the client technically owns but isn’t the client’s primary email account.

So for any account made with this MSP-managed email, you won’t even be able to reset the password without a great deal of trouble, since you don’t have access to the email tied to the account either. Similar difficulties can arise in trying to access accounts with multi-factor or two-step authentication enable, since you’ll need access to another email account or device.

So definitely encourage your client to ask for any credentials their old MSP has on file, reset and record the ones you need, and leave the rest with the client.


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