Here’s some good news for managed service providers: you’re in high demand. The market for managed services is expected to grow from $145 billion in 2016 to $242 billion by 2021, according to a recent report from Markets and Markets. If you provide network monitoring and management, you’re in even more luck. IT departments are growing in complexity, and for many growing businesses, the strain on their network bandwidth has reached a breaking point. Today’s IT leaders are turning to MSPs in droves to get help with their day-to-day operations. And they don’t just want quick fixes, but the kind of daily, ongoing maintenance and prevention that will protect them from embarrassing, costly downtime situations.
As the demand for managed network monitoring services increases, so does the competition. Today’s IT teams are looking for MSPs that can deliver. Vendors who want to succeed need to stand out. A big part of distinguishing your services from a competitor’s lies in the tools you use.
MSPs need network monitoring software that can minimize technology disruptions and ensure smooth performance for the customers they serve. The market is flooded with options, from open source to comprehensive commercial network management suites. Is the tool you’re using right for the job? Here are seven things your network monitoring software should allow you to do.
Related Content: Download the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: Network Monitoring Software in 2017.
1. Make a profit.
You want to invest in the best network monitoring solutions possible, but at the end of the day, you still have to generate revenue. Finding MSP software that allows you to provide excellent service for a reasonable value is key. Do you really need an expensive, full-fledged network management solution, or would a more niche network monitoring/mapping solution provide what you need (and at a lower price point)? Hone in on the features that are essential to your (and your customers’) success.
2. Meet and report on SLAs.
As the contract that binds you to your customers, the SLA is everything. Customers expect you to meet promised performance levels and agreed-upon metrics of quality. Are you equipped to follow through?
Find a solution that gives you the ability to create reports and show historic performance levels. SLA reporting functionality allows for accurate and consistent reporting on service delivery.
3. Visualize their network.
If you can’t see a physical visualization of your customer’s network, including their core devices and where they’re located in relation to other devices, it’s difficult to know how the network is performing and where problems are originating. Visual network mapping can make your life as an outside service provider a thousand times easier. A topographical network map not only brings you up to speed on how the customer’s network is configured, but it makes it easier for you to quickly pinpoint problems.
4. Access customer monitoring installation remotely.
Cutting down on travel to and from customer sites speeds up troubleshooting and helps you stay profitable. Remote access to a customer’s monitoring platform ensures you have the information you need when you need it. Depending on your needs, many tools offer either single user or team-based remote access with the option to switch between devices (e.g. your office workstation, home computer, laptop, or mobile device) as needed.
5. Automatically fix issues.
Traditional network monitoring focuses on detecting issues as they arise so an IT team has time to investigate before they become larger problems. Some customers want you to go farther and actually fix the problems, too. Network automation paired with network monitoring helps you quickly remediate issues in a scalable way. Look for solutions that provide you with this paired capability.
6. Meet unique IT requirements.
From the operating system they run to device count, every customer’s network is different. Flexible software that can monitor a wide variety of network devices on multiple platforms will help you best meet their needs.
And, as the market shifts, you need to be prepared to respond to changing customer demands. Cloud migrations, virtual network elements, and IoT devices are just a few of the trends facing the modern IT manager. Use tools that can support networks that are in constant flux.
7. Control user access.
While you’re the one monitoring and managing the network, many customers want access to the tools being used. Having the ability to provide read-only or limited access to select customers keeps them informed without more power than they need.
It’s clear that today’s businesses are more concerned about uptime than ever before, and the MSP’s role is only growing in importance. Are you ready to stand out from the crowd and be the network monitoring partner they need?