MSPs, or Managed Service Providers, are seeing a convergence of business conditions that are both expanding market opportunity and making it more difficult not to be—or be partnered with—a major industry player. The growing need across all industries to be digitally connected, the arrival of cloud computing and the required expertise in cybersecurity are slamming into an IT labor force gap. MSPs that can fill these needs while being easy to work (flexibility, simplified billing, reliability…) are going to be the winners.
An example of the current situation comes from a recent article by Michael George, CEO of the Continuum IT management platform. He likens it to the revolutionary, stand-alone technologies like personal GPS, MP3 players and the Palm Pilot. Then in 2007, Apple combined all three along with a cellular phone into the iPhone. It was the combination of functionality that consumers wanted. Integrated and easy to use.
MSPs today face the same thing. Effective, yet disparate solutions and requirements for companies create both benefits and headaches. Corporations are looking for that iPhone equivalent to let them focus on their customers and business, not operations.
Successful MSPs are going to be the IT providers and service organizations that are able to support the entire stack of cloud, IoT, and scalable data services, and deliver it in cost competitive and reliable fashion.
When it comes to the network infrastructure business of MSPs, there are a number of tools designed to better manage and support customers. The Uplogix out-of-band platform enables unique functionality for delivering strong networks while controlling costs and providing unique features that help deliver extra value to customers.
Differentiating in a crowded market: Out-of-band as a service
With multi-tenant access capabilities of Uplogix, MSPs can give customers highly-granular & secure visibility and control over their gear while retaining control of customer premise devices. As an add-on service or value-add functionality, customers are enabled to solve more issues on their own, instead of blaming the carrier. We call this the “mean time to innocence,” and knowing who owns the problem, especially in the early stages, is almost as important as knowing the solution.
- WAN traffic failover | Having the ability to channel network traffic over the out-of-band link if the primary link is down is a cost-effective back-up for price-sensitive customers.
- Mass upgrades | Giving customers the ability to update configs and OS files on their gear with confidence can be like an insurance policy, enabling quick response to zero-day exploits that often go unpatched or are delayed.
- Proactive alerting | MSPs aren’t known for helping troubleshoot customer equipment issues. With Uplogix, customers can receive alerts on their own gear that will help them triangulate issues faster.
Greater efficiencies and stronger security for MSPs
- Quicker time to revenue for provisioning | Uplogix can provide an intermediate LTE network connection for remote provisioning access and limited initial customer traffic. This reduces the experience level needed for technicians on customer premises, allowing the most experienced people to be where they are needed most—virtually. Stage devices onsite with faster device configuration and the ability to integrate onsite service level metrics.
- Tighter security even when the network is down | Changes made during network outages, whether for recovery or malicious purposes, are often difficult to track. Uplogix records all device interactions (both human input and device response) when the network is up, or down, allowing for faster resolution.
- Reduced OPEX through automation | Uplogix takes care of initial run book recovery steps, freeing admins to focus on bigger challenges. Centralized management tools benefit from a reliable network connection and onsite monitoring. Ongoing management tasks like upgrades and configuration changes benefit from the Uplogix automated “safety net” for mass updates and reliable remote config management.
- Common management platform for heterogeneous gear | Uplogix manages gear over the console port, a common base-level connection that operates independently of the network. This also means that Uplogix can manage a wide range of networking and communications gear, allowing MSPs to deliver gear that the customers want.
- Robust, locally-collected analytics | Since Uplogix sits in the rack with the network infrastructure, more complete device data can be collected and fed to NOC tools (even when the network is down), and service levels can be measured from the customer’s perspective for documenting SLAs and triangulating problems.
The Uplogix out-of-band platform has some clear benefits for managed service providers to deploy gear faster, manage it better, and control costs while hitting their SLAs.