Many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) utilize managed service providers (MSPs) for network monitoring and management (NMM) services. The reasons generally center on cost and complexity, as the majority of on-premise installed solutions can be expensive and complex. Licensing costs can be prohibitively expensive, and many SMBs do not have the technical resources in-house to install, maintain and use complex on-premise solutions.
MSPs tout that they are the experts and can deliver these services more efficiently than an SMB can themselves. While it is true that MSPs have the experience and the needed technical resources, still the cost of an MSP service can match or exceed the licensing and support costs of on-premise solutions. The main driver of engaging an MSP is the elimination of on-premise technical resource requirements on the part of SMBs, which in many cases is substantial, and can seal the deal.
Here is an often overlooked question. Besides the cost savings, what exactly is the value proposition of utilizing an MSP? Is the service, capabilities, and responsiveness better? If you compared an SMB using an on-premise network monitoring solution with an MSP providing the same service (apples to apples), will the MSP deliver a better service? My answer to that question is no, and here is why.
The secret that many SMBs overlook in their selection of an MSP is that MSPs are themselves using third party vendor solutions to provide their network monitoring services to their clients, and these vendor solutions suffer from the very same cost, complexity, and inflexibility issues as on-premise vendor solutions. They all utilize the same centralized architectural approach that leads to the solutions becoming monolithic, difficult to maintain and enhance, inflexible, and hard to use. MSPs are therefore subject to the limitations of their vendor solution, and are necessarily incapable of providing a better service than what an SMB could do on their own with the proper technical resources. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the service is less given that the MSPs resources are spread across multiple customers.
Regardless of whether you are using an MSP or an on-premise vendor, if you have a new business requirement that requires new functionality, be prepared to wait months for it to be delivered. The reason is that the requirements eventually end up on the door step of a software vendor, and the centralized architectural approach that they employ with their solutions require a new release of their solution in order to add new functionality. These release cycles require extensive end-to-end testing of the whole solution and can take months to complete. If the vendor does not see the value proposition of your enhancement request, it may be pushed to a subsequent release, or you may not see it at all. Vendor solutions whether MSP or on-premise are limited by their architectures, and simply cannot keep pace with the constantly changing requirements of a dynamic and changing business environment. Don’t believe me. Here is a little test. Ask for a new monitoring capability from your MSP and see what happens.
There needs to be a change in vendor architectures that address the complexity, cost and flexibility issues that plague network monitoring vendors. This need is the reason why Vallum Software was founded. Our solution, the Halo Manager, has a NextGen decentralized modular architectural approach that addresses these issues for organizations and MSPs alike. The modular nature of our architecture allows for the introduction of new functionality without a new release. New functional capabilities can be delivered in a few days or weeks depending on their complexity. We have a free trial download of our solution on our website. Don’t be too shocked by the small download size. Our architectural approach does not have a central server install.
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.