So here is a question. Why do small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) use managed service providers (MSPs) for network monitoring and management? The answer can include compliance/regulatory requirements as well as a lack of in-house technical expertise to provide these services. However, you can generally boil it all down to cost savings. Many SMBs simply don’t have the in-house technical expertise to implement, manage and use the solutions that would be necessary to provide these services, and they can’t afford to hire the people with the expertise. So they use MSPs to provide these services. While MSPs are less expensive than providing the service yourself with an in-house software solution, when you boil it all down there is not that much difference in solution cost.
Let’s take a step back and analyze this a bit more. Why are network monitoring and management solutions so complex and expensive that they are financially out of reach of many SMBs? Many SMBs cannot afford the licensing of these solutions, and even if they could, they do not have the in-house technical expertise to implement, manage and use them. Some of you may be retorting with open source solutions, but these solutions are also just as complex as proprietary solutions, and in some cases more.
I have written a couple of blogs about the complexity of network monitoring and management solutions. You can find them on our website. Solution complexity and cost are directly proportional. As solutions become more complex, they become more expensive. Complex solutions require more vendor resources to maintain and upgrade them. This complexity translates into greater costs for SMBs in the form of licensing, and time and resources to implement and use these solutions. So the question is, are these solutions just by their very nature going to be complex? I wholeheartedly disagree. Solution complexity is direct result of poorly designed solutions by vendors, and one of the primary reasons for this is that they continue to rely on decades old architectural approaches that no longer work in today’s business environment.
If you agree with my conclusion to this point, then you have to go a little further and conclude that all that MSPs are providing to their customers is a shield from the complexity of software applications. The problem is that while they can shield them from the complexity of the solutions, they cannot shield them from the costs which are passed along. If network monitoring and management solutions were better designed, and less complex and expensive, would SMBs implement and use them themselves? I believe the answer to this question is yes, and MSPs would be bypassed.
While MSPs use solutions that are geared towards remote monitoring and management (RMM), from a complexity and cost perspective there is little difference from the in-house NMM solutions. They all suffer from the same complexity and cost issues. The only benefit that an SMB gains from going to an MSP is not having to incur the resource costs associated with having to implement, maintain and use the solutions themselves.
A network monitoring and management solution that is properly designed with ease of use in mind will be much less complex, and more cost effective, placing it within reach of SMBs. I believe that Vallum Software has accomplished that goal with the Halo Manager. Please download and take a look at our solution. We welcome your comments.
About the Author:
Lance Edelman is a technology professional with 25+ years of experience in enterprise software, security, document management and network management. He is co-founder and CEO at Vallum Software and currently lives in Atlanta, GA.