Managed IT Support for a Pharmaceutical Company: (4 Levels Reviewed)

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August 26, 2021

State-of-the-art facilities deserve state-of-the-art IT strategy and support.
What do MSP services look like for a company with a 120,000-square-foot generic pharmaceutical manufacturing facility?
Organized into four ticket categories, the next eight examples provide a vivid snapshot of routine events (tactical support) and longer-term plans (strategy).
The organization has two locations with 60 people in laboratory, warehouse, and office roles.
Highlights are sourced from Connectwise, our Professional Services Automation (PSA), and NCentral its companion remote, monitoring, and management tool (RMM).
Each ticket type in this IT plan is prioritized according to severity: Emergency Response, Quick Response, Elevated, and Normal.

#1 – P1 (Emergency Response) Tickets

The RMM generated an alert: “Agent Status on MainServer-12 is Failed.”
When the service transitioned from a warning state to a failed state, one of our network engineers responded swiftly and created the following activity report:

  • Checked and found server offline in RMM
  • Confirmed asset to be a physical machine
  • Checked Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDrac) details available in IT Glue (IT Document Management)
  • Logged into another server
  • Connected to the server through iDrac
  • The server was powered on with a black screen appearing
  • Reset server
  • The server is online in RMM
  • Logged out from the server
  • Total ticket time was thirty minutes

The RMM triggered the following message: “Connectivity on Router – Huntsville ISP is Failed.”
Integris service plans cover every device connected to your network, including third-party customer premise equipment (CPE) from your ISP.
When the service transitioned from a normal state to a failed state, engineers quickly identified 100% packet loss and reset the CPE.
In many cases, Internet access can be lost and recovered without the client knowing. However, every service-impacting event is automatically examined and captured.
Maintaining detailed documentation is a critical best practice. Surprisingly, it’s not easy to do unless you have the right systems in place. IT Glue is a powerful solution every MSP should use. (We can’t live without it.)
Learn More: IT Glue Feature Overview

#2 – P2 (Quick Response) Tickets

The client opened a ticket for us to quote “Networking Equipment.”
The following requests are cited verbatim and just the beginning of the exercise:

  • Do you have a brand of KVM consoles that you typically recommend?  If so, can I please get a quote for one?
  • Please send a quote for two of the Meraki MR18 units (like we have in our other facility). These Meraki access points are for the lab.
  • I also need another POE switch. Would you recommend a Dell X1026P 48 port rack-mounted model? Or a Cisco 2960X 48port rack-mounted unit?  We can install the units in the rack, but we would need them configured.

This wish list will be carefully vetted by Integris engineers to ensure these additions are still relevant. There may be new offers and bundled solutions with incentives and rebates the client is unaware of.
The client will get quotes/recommendations but the items and brand names may be different if more resilient, cost-effective alternatives are available.
This ticket was very straightforward: “Urgent – Printer Offline!”
One of their printers was offline so they could not scan or print copies. Integris engineers immediately attempted to reach the employee associated with the ticket but could not reach them via phone.
As it turns out, they don’t have a phone in the “doc control” office and a coworker managed to resolve the issue. The whole episode consumed less than ten minutes of energy.
In the future, they will more than likely migrate to Hosted VoIP with Find Me/Follow Me so we can automatically connect with every employee via smartphone.

#3 – P3 (Elevated) Tickets

Speaking of future phone system upgrades, the client opened a ticket under the heading “Cisco phone license.”
Cisco premise-based VoIP systems require licenses and this client did not have a dedicated Cisco Partner of record. (Their previous MSP re-sold them a Cisco solution from a third-party they never knew personally.)
We found a reliable partner and learned that newer Cisco licenses require a different hosting configuration and quoted a 5-user license bundle.
Reducing licensing complexity is one of the reasons it’s nice to have an MSP doing granular research on your behalf.
Integris’s PSA receives automatic updates which are immediately relayed to the client. This one pertains to data backup: “Bootable Screenshot for CLIENT-CITRIX on CLIENT-DATTO BDR – SUCCEEDED.”
Daily screenshot images are shared with clients to verify backup was performed. The screenshots showing the machine’s login screen, indicating the device is fully booted and ready to operate.
Verification of backups is not universally and automatically adopted by every MSP, which is why we make a really big deal out of this repetitive task. If all else fails, everything will not fail if you have a good backup.

#4 – P4 (Normal) Tickets

Quarterly vCIO meetings with the client occur every three months and get cued up as tickets that say: “Schedule Strategic Business Review (SBR).”
While the terms vCIO and SBR are frequently used interchangeably, there are different tiers of vCIO with a higher associated cost for clients that need more comprehensive attention.
This client falls somewhere in the middle and relies on Integris to recommend IT solutions that are closely aligned with their regulation and compliance frameworks (HIPAA, NIST CSF, SOC2, and more)
One recurring theme is the long-term plan to migrate a majority of their onsite assets to more secure and resilient cloud alternatives.
A typical SBR conversation might cover the age and capabilities of their current file share with potential timelines to make a shift with plenty of lead time before the asset reaches end-of-life support.
The help desk receives a steady stream of new account setup requests like “Please configure AD and Office 365 for first name, last name.”
Integris serves as their Microsoft 365 Administrator and can easily remove employees, add new ones, and re-assign workstations to new members of the team.

What’s Next?

This company was a start-up when we first spoke with them. And their IT systems were concentrated onsite versus in the cloud. They were also stuck in a contract with another MSP for two more years.
It’s been very rewarding to partner with their team while carefully supplanting legacy infrastructure with a host of new services that are being constantly added to the Microsoft Cloud (Azure AD, Intune, MFA, Teams, Information Rights Management, and more).
Can your IT provider gracefully maintain what you have while effectuating a smooth digital transformation?
Integris has managed this balancing act since 2008 and we look forward to providing you with a steady stream of real-life educational content.

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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