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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Beyond Servers and Desktops: Are You Missing Half of the Network Story?

Posted March 23, 2017by Alex Hoff

Beyond Servers and Desktops: Are You Missing Half of the Network Story

When offering network services to your clients, managing servers and endpoints—and managing them well—is important. That pretty much goes without saying. Of course, this is all possible with a proactive remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution that helps you automate your server and endpoint work. Without the help of automation, running antivirus programs, software upgrades, patching and more just wouldn’t be feasible.

But that’s only half the story of network management.

The other half is, well, the network. It’s the infrastructure like routers, switches, firewalls, and wireless controllers—the packet pushers that form the beating heart of most businesses.

Chances are good that your technicians are still doing remote screen shares and logging into infrastructure devices one by one in order to build a view of a client’s network and understand what’s going on. If that’s the case, that’s a huge inefficiency that’s eating away at your profit margins. It also puts you and your clients at risk. No one likes that feeling of not having the answer when the client calls with an issue—least of all the client. So, is there a better way?

The Problem with Manual Infrastructure Management

It Isn’t Profitable

The tasks involved in managing network infrastructure are largely the same as they’ve always been. Technicians still log in through a command-line interface (CLI), type in a set of cryptic commands, then try to analyze whatever data is returned. What’s worse is that the language can be different across vendors! The CLI is a powerful tool in many respects, but one that’s remained largely untouched despite decades of improvements in usability and design. The CLI can be important as a network data source but it doesn’t have to be the only way you can access information.

Manually querying single devices and trying to parse and correlate the flood of information that flows back means important details can be missed. Essentially, it’s time-consuming for your techs, it eats away at their productivity and it just doesn’t scale.

It Can Be Risky

Your clients expect that you’re actively managing their infrastructure the way you actively manage their servers and endpoints. But the risks of not doing so can be business-crippling.

Take California-based MSP ITque for example. An unexpected routing change crashed their client’s network at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, right at the peak of weekend production time. Luckily, with the help of an infrastructure tool, ITque was able to identify the problem as a routing change, see what the configuration used to be and revert it to bring the network back up – all within ten minutes. If they hadn’t been able to see and control the infrastructure, ITque estimates they would have spent at least 48 hours trying to troubleshoot and fix the issue. What’s more, the client would have lost $25,000 an hour in profit while it was happening. In other words, it would have been a $1 million loss for the client.

As it turned out, ITque looked like heroes. By averting a costly disaster, ITque helped build trust with the client and deepen their relationship. However, this would not have been the case without a reliable network infrastructure tool.

What if you had received that 2 a.m. call? Could you have saved the day in ten minutes or less? Would you have deepened the relationship with that client… or lost them?
 

Get the Full Network Story

To get a complete view of your clients’ environments, you need be able to manage beyond servers and endpoints. Network infrastructure RMM helps you manage and automate networks at scale in the same way traditional RMM helps you manage servers and endpoints.

There are many benefits to network infrastructure RMM, some include:

  • Building documentation by automatically mapping and taking inventory of the network
  • Monitoring and alerting on network elements
  • Backing up network configurations, and giving you the ability to quickly restore a previous configuration
  • Offering secure remote access to infrastructure devices

Combining a network infrastructure tool with a robust RMM solution such as Continuum’s ensures you’re covering the whole network. And covering the whole network means there will be less risk, simplified management, happier clients and more profit in your pocket!

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Alex Hoff is the VP of product and sales at Auvik Networks. Auvik's infrastructure-focused RMM (remote monitoring and management) helps MSPs grow their network services profitably.

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