There are numerous tools available to help a managed service provider carry out its day-to-day operations. Nowadays, an MSP’s toolbox may include everything from items that simplify system management to solutions that improve efficiency at the support desk. Which tools are indispensable enough to warrant a “must-have” label? There are quite a few depending on the need, but here are seven that come to mind.
1. Professional Service Automation Software
Professional service automation technology is a core component in several professional environments, but is particularly useful in the IT setting. In addition to providing structure, PSA software gives MSPs the functionality they need to run smoothly and efficiently. A well-rounded solution will drive a broad range of functions, including document and project management, scheduling and invoicing. By automating these tasks and others, a good PSA tool helps MSPs save loads of time and boost productivity.
2. Remote Monitoring and Management
Continually managing and monitoring an IT infrastructure can be challenging for even the established vendor. RMM solutions centralize and streamline both, powering critical functions such as server and application monitoring, database administration and virtual machine management. MSPs use RMM tools to make sure they can deliver an effective, secure and reliable service from any environment.
3. Remote Access Protocol
There are also utilities out there that handle remote management tasks on a smaller, more simplistic scale than the aforementioned RMM concept. For instance, Secure Shell (SSH) provides secure access to servers and desktops from remote systems. A tool like this comes in handy for a service provider that needs to quickly troubleshoot and resolve a technical issue for a client.
4. Patch Manager
Applying patch updates is vital for the efficiency and integrity of IT systems. MSPs can benefit tremendously from tools that allow them to centralize patch deployment and management. These are crucial, but time-consuming tasks when done manually so automation becomes a perk of luxury status.
5. Malware Protection
If it’s one element no service provider can afford to compromise, it would be security. Clients depend on their vendor partners to keep their mission-critical data and applications secure. With the internet being a regular fixture in the foundation of business, MSPs need to actively use software that detects and removes viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malicious threats that exist in cyberspace.
6. Network Security
No system is 100 bulletproof, but one of the most effective ways to keep information and operations safeguarded is to prevent threats from penetrating the network. Luckily, security technologies such as firewalls, virtual private networks and intrusion detection systems exist to protect the perimeter. Considering that the threat landscape is constantly evolving, these tools are equally important for both the MSP and its client base.
7. Backup Plan
The most powerful security technologies can only do so much without a comprehensive data protection plan in place. There must also be a system that is not only capable of backing up huge volumes of data, but restoring it should the critical need for recovery arise. A handy backup tool will support the most complex disaster recovery efforts while aiding MSPs in creating a recurring revenue stream from the one benefit bound by no dollar amount – the client’s peace of mind.
While the opportunities are as ripe as a branch full of golden apples glistening in the sun, the MSP market is riddled with pitfalls. Failing to use the right tools is one of the easiest to avoid. This list makes up the comprehensive collection of items that should be included in the toolbox of every managed service provider, so now there’s no excuse.