I have a friend who works for an accounting firm that is using a managed service provider (MSP), or so it was referred to as. My natural assumption was that the MSP was providing monitoring and management capabilities for their network equipment and applications, as well as hardware support for their desktops and laptops. It seemed a logical assumption on my part given that monitoring capabilities look to be such an integral service offering of MSPs.
My friend told me that they recently lost internet access in their office, and no one in the office had any idea why. He told me that they contacted their MSP to inform them of what was going on. I was stunned. Why were they contacting the MSP? If the MSP had remote monitoring capabilities in place, they would already know what was going on, and would have contacted them. Obviously my assumption that the MSP was providing remote monitoring services was incorrect. He told me that the MSP support people had one of their office accountants rummaging around in the back of their network closet looking for the internet router to see if the lights were on and green. Wow!
This got me to thinking about how the “managed” term is overused by MSPs. A number of MSPs are really just service providers in disguise. They are simply providing hardware support and there is no management or monitoring involved in their service. There is nothing proactive in their service.
I know what you’re thinking. If the MSP is not providing monitoring and management capabilities, then they should not use the “managed” part of the MSP term. I will agree with you on that point, but there is another element at work here. While there are solutions available on the market designed to provide remote monitoring and management (RMM) capabilities, there are a number of issues with these solutions that prevent MSPs from acquiring and properly using them.
Many of the RMM solutions on the market today are years old, and some are over a decade old. Most were designed with an older architectural approach that is inflexible, and over time leads to complexity. The complexity leads to expensive licensing and burdensome implementation processes. Many MSPs simply do not have financial resources nor the specific technical talent to implement and deploy these solutions for their clients. For the MSPs that can afford these solutions, the inflexibility prevents them from servicing their clients in a manner conducive to their businesses goals and service offerings. The RMM solutions effectively force MSPs to operate within the limited flexibility and constraints of their architectural approach.
Many MSPs that Vallum speaks to have invested considerable time and financial resources to acquire and implement an RMM solution. Not only do they spend significant amounts on licensing, but they have devoted considerable efforts to get the solutions installed, configured, and working properly. Many have gone so far down a rabbit hole financially that they are reticent to move away from their RMM solution and try something different. Many feel like they are stuck. Other MSPs simply cannot afford the solutions.
A change in the architectural approach of RMM solutions is sorely needed. MSPs should not be faced with the choice of expensive, complex and inflexible RMM solutions versus servicing their clients in a manner that fits their business model. Vallum’s solution, the Halo Manager, has a very different architectural approach. It is both cost effective and flexible. The architecture allows for the deployment of specialized applications called Halo Apps. Halo Apps allow MSPs the flexibility to delineate their services to their clients, providing each client with the functionality they need. The MSP is not hobbled with the Halo Manager. If you’re an MSP dealing with a complex and expensive RMM solution, or one that cannot afford one, please take a look at the Halo Manager.
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.