Friday, September 05, 2014

SOP: Misc. Tools For Running Your Business

In Volume Three of the new this book series The Managed Services Operations Manual, we look at "Approved Tools" for your technicians. You should also make intentional decisions about tools for your company as a whole. For most of us, these are pretty common: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and Adobe Acrobat.

But you and your team use lots of other tools as well. You might be comfortable letting everyone do whatever they want, but you'll want to standardize as your company gets larger. The most important factors to consider here are: 1) Who needs to share this information? and 2) How will you access this information if someone leaves the company?

For example, you might be just fine letting some people use Google Docs. To what extent do these need to be compatible with Microsoft Office formats? And where are they stored? Under which logons? Do you have local copies, or copies in a company-owned cloud account?

Here are a few tools to consider. In each case, you should decide the questions above - who needs to share, and what do you do when someone leave?

Remote Access tool. Is the tool built into your RMM software the only approved remote management tool?

A Password Safe. We use TK8 Safe ( It is great for storing passwords in an encrypted file. The managers store each other's TK8 passwords in our files so that we can get to the other files in an emergency.

Internet Browsers. In most cases, it doesn't matter which browser people use. But you may find that specific browsers will be more secure or user-friendly with a given LOB - line of business application.

Graphics programs. These include the standards such as Adobe Photoshop for 2-D graphics, Camtasia for video production, Microsoft Visio for network diagrams, and Dreamweaver for web development. (See,, and

Audio editing. If you produce audio, such as podcasts, you should standardize on an editing tool. I have really been impressed with Sony SoundForge, Adobe Audition, and the audio editor built into the Roxio Creator Suite. (See,, and

All the software in this blog post is probably "less important" than the previous five SOP blog posts, but standardization will save you money in the long run. Plus it makes life a lot easier when someone leaves.


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