The Basic Setup

men-working-at-night-256219My recommended setup for the One-Man-Show MSP is pretty straightforward. But first, remember that used systems are your friend. You don’t need to pay the premium on new systems when you can get used i5 systems with 512GB SSDs and 16GB of memory for a few hundred bucks and you have access to your own Windows licenses via your Microsoft Action Pack.

1. Desktop

The most important thing about your desktop setup is that it has three monitors. That sounds like a lot of monitors, but remember that you’re going to have at least a dozen dashboards open each monitoring something different and you don’t want to be nipping and tucking these things around all the time as you work. You’ll want to keep at least some of them open most of the time.

Also, when you remote into a client’s system via one monitor, you’ll want to have a second monitor to use to look things up and then a third to pull up the system in your RMM software to get stats, run scripts, etc.

2. Test Systems

You really need one Windows server and one Windows 10 desktop to tool around with and test out updates. And it really needs to have an SSD so you can quickly restore Windows from an image after the tooling or updating goes awry.

3. Wiping System

Everybody has and gets hard drives to wipe and it’s really annoying to have disks in the process of being wiped constantly clicking away at your desk, especially noisy ones. So get an old system, leave a few SATA/IDE/etc adapters connected to it, and stick it in a far corner wiping drives.

4. Laptop

Obviously your laptop needs will be dictated very much by your unique preferences, but from my experience get something with onboard hdmi, ethernet, and at least one legacy USB A port because you do not want to be fussing around wondering whether something is not working because of a finicky dongle.

5. Multi-Function

No, they’re not perfect at anything, but you’ll end up doing a little bit of everything. You’ll scan some packing slips, registrations, and confirmations. You’ll print some invoices, labels, envelopes, instructions, and promotional flyers. You’ll make some copies of statements and contracts for your accountant and lawyer. You’ll print some coloring pages for your kids because they get up so early.

6. Tablet

A tablet isn’t essential, but comes in very handy. It doesn’t give any functionality beyond a phone’s, but it takes some of the load off your phone and gives you another tool to use so you’re not constantly reaching for your phone. It’s also handy to have an additional device to leave at your desk for the purpose of answering endless MFA prompts without whipping out your phone again and again.

7. Wireless Earbuds

They’re expensive, but the more useful the more mobile you are. When you’re away from your office, you’ll find untangling a snarled mess of headphone cables or trying to find a quiet place to put the client on speaker phone is very stressful and sometimes impossible.  Worse, you answer the phone flustered and sound unprepared.

8. Smart Watch

This is definitely something to wait on until you, your business, and your workflow have all matured, but this is the best way to get the push notifications for support requests, system alerts from your RMM software, and texts. Remember that you shouldn’t be doing this job sitting at your desk all day. Whether you’re working onsite at a client’s office or are talking with prospective clients, you need to be out and about, albeit connected, and you can’t be compulsively checking your phone.

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