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Levels 1, 2, and 3 for a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Candidate | 15 May 2020


Image Levels 1, 2, and 3 for a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

What are the different levels of support for an MSP and the key skills required for each level?  
 
Level 1 - Troubleshooting any user reported issues on a desktop, at least to the point of escalating to a third-party software vendor where required. Troubleshoot basic DHCP, DNS, and network connectivity issues at least at a desktop level. Install a desktop from scratch manually by downloading the ISO, installing it, configuring appropriate settings and attaching it to a domain. Setting up Office 365, including connecting outlook to Exchange Online or Exchange Server. Troubleshoot basic server issues like restarting services, checking event logs, checking back up logs and ensuring backups are working correctly.  
 
Level 2 - install desktop machines from scratch as in level 1 but doing the full migration from an older machine to a new machine including backing up and restoring of appropriate data that's stored locally on the machine. Troubleshoot more difficult problems as escalated from level 1 including network issues where the problem is more located at the server, switch or router. Configuring VLAN ports on switches as required. Adding, removing or editing firewall rules on gateway routers as required. Do Windows Server installations from scratch be that virtual or physical including promoting servers to domain controllers, setting up DHCP, DNS, and file security setups with Active Directory. Troubleshoot complex email and spam issues with trace and security tools used in Office 365 Exchange Online and Exchange Server and third-party products. Do some small projects including small migrations from Exchange Server to Office 365 in an import and export manner. Strong knowledge of setting up servers on a virtual host environment with VMware or Hyper-V including knowledge of resourcing, allocating more disk space and RAM to appropriate servers, and troubleshooting virtualization host issues. Strong skills in the Office 365 console from a configuration point of view. Basic PowerShell scripting for issues not able to be resolved through the GUI. 
 
Level 3 - mainly server, router, switch troubleshooting and support. Design and build projects from scratch based on client's technical requirements including migrating servers sometimes for hundreds of users. Setting up Office 365 and migrating it from Exchange Server through connectors in a hybrid manner. Strong knowledge of Azure AD or AWS, particularly when it comes to user management design and structure of an online active directory environment. Strong security knowledge and best practice when it comes to network design including the ability to setup routers from scratch with advanced threat management. Lead the development of policies and procedures across all clients as minimum-security standards. Strong PowerShell and scripting skills to help automate common tasks as well as build servers and services in the cloud and administer Azure and Office 365 through the command line. Strong knowledge of Wi-Fi including Wi-Fi audits, new deployments, and troubleshooting slow Wi-Fi issues. Project management skills are required to be able to plan, design, and delegate resources for larger projects. A strong professional manner and the ability to liaise directly with a client as well as with technical people within the MSP in order to deliver all projects in a timely manner.  
 
So there you have it, that's my level 1, 2, and 3 for an MSP. In order to move up the levels you need to show both professionalism in terms of your soft skills and growth in terms of your technical skills. That key growth being in servers and networking as well as some PowerShell scripting and Cloud knowledge. Training in order to be certified and then achieving those certifications is a great way to prove that you're moving up the levels. Astute people will realize that these levels are quite different to what is generally required in an enterprise style environment. This is what it makes MSPs so different.



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