MSPs are essential for enterprises to survive in this competitive era. Due to accelerating digitisation, enterprises rely on their IT infrastructures to maintain service availability. An enterprise might not have ample manpower to look after the IT infrastructure. For example, an e-commerce firm might focus on hiring marketing and sales professionals. The e-commerce firm might not have ample funds to hire IT teams and look after its IT infrastructure. For the same rationale, the e-commerce firm might outsource the management of IT infrastructure to an MSP. MSPs offer a wide range of services and help enterprises maintain business continuity. Network monitoring is one of the services offered by MSPs. Read on to understand the importance of network monitoring for MSPs.
The current state of network monitoring for MSPs
MSPs have to monitor the client’s IT infrastructure and the connected devices. Usually, MSPs have access to RMM (Remote Monitoring & Management) solutions for managing the client’s IT infrastructure. With an RMM solution, MSPs can manage endpoints remotely like PCs, workstations, and other endpoints. However, traditional RMM solutions cannot keep up with the increasing complexity of network devices and endpoints. Even though an RMM solution helps manage remote endpoints, it does not do much to monitor the IT network. The network is the infrastructure that allows PCs and workstations to perform without disruptions. Without securing the network, an IT infrastructure will always be at risk.
RMM tools are efficient in managing the endpoints connected to the network, but what about managing the network itself? Any MSP might tell which endpoints are discovered by their RMM tools. However, MSPs have no answer when asked about monitoring the entire network. For example, an MSP still using traditional RMM tools might not have the answer to the following questions:
- What services or traffic sections require high bandwidth on the client’s network?
- Do you know all the endpoints (excluding servers and PCs) connected to the client’s network?
- Can you manage WANs and LANs simultaneously from a remote location?
Network monitoring has become complex over the years. Over the decades, IT networks have sprawled and grown bigger. Several new endpoints are connected to the IT network. Earlier, MSPs monitored the performance of crucial software systems to maintain the optimum level of service availability. At present, there is a need to monitor the network itself and prevent mishaps. An MSP that offers network monitoring services is likely to win more clients.
Features of network monitoring
Usually, MSPs deliver network monitoring services via a platform. An effective network monitoring platform helps MSPs to apprehend the client’s IT network in its entirety. The performance and uptime of any network will be measured. New-age network monitoring platforms allow MSPs to provide many cloud services and gain visibility into the client’s network. By new-age network solutions, we do not mean traditional RMM tools. Technologies like AIOps (Artificial intelligence for IT Operations) can offer much more than traditional RMM tools. Monitoring for MSPs can be taken to the next level with AIOps-led solutions.
New-age network monitoring tools can help MSPs in many ways, like:
- New-age network monitoring tools can help MSPs with topology mapping. With topology mapping, one can understand the relationships between different elements in an IT network.
- New-age network monitoring tools can help MSPs manage the asset inventory. Each client will know all the devices and assets connected to the IT network.
- Any device connected to the IT network can be discovered in real-time with network monitoring.
As you can see, a new-age network monitoring tool does several things which a traditional RMM tool might fail at. An enterprise is not looking for MSPs to monitor its PCs and workstations. An enterprise can monitor the PCs themselves with a traditional RMM tool. Enterprises are looking for an MSP that can help them gain visibility into their IT network. In this age of digitisation, an MSP is required to provide a wide range of IT services like monitoring, incident resolution, cybersecurity, event correlation, cloud services, root cause analysis etc. Besides PCs, many other devices have respective IP addresses and are connected to the IT infrastructure. For example, there is a need to monitor firewalls, routers, load balancers, switches, and other devices connected to the IT network. A traditional RMM tool might not monitor these devices, thus giving birth to the need for new-age network monitoring solutions to maintain service availability.
MSPs have to incorporate network monitoring as one of their services. Most MSPs are common, and enterprises might not prefer them. For example, most MSPs monitor the PCs of enterprises with traditional RMM tools. If you are also offering the same solution as other MSPs, there will not be any USP (Unique Selling Point). By offering network monitoring services, an MSP can stand out from the others. Also, network monitoring services are essential in today’s scenario where phishing attacks and ransomware are common. Not to forget, an MSP also has its IT infrastructure to offer IT services to its clients. An MSP can start monitoring its network first and extend the service to clients when satisfied.
The concept of proactive network monitoring
Network monitoring for MSPs has been reactive for a long period. For example, most MSPs start taking action after a breach or failure has occurred within the IT network. As a result, MSPs get quickly into damage control and prevent the endpoints from losing connectivity to the network. However, an MSP might not go far by being reactive. Clients will sooner or later realise that the MSP isn’t helping them reduce downtime. It is only controlling the damage after a network downtime has occurred. For the same rationale, MSPs need to adopt AIOps-led monitoring solutions and move towards proactive network management.
An AIOps-led monitoring platform will offer rich visibility into the IT network. It will collect data from each endpoint or device in the IT network. It will set the normal performance standards for each endpoint or network section. When a network device does not perform to its expectations, the AIOps-led platform generates an alert. The best part is that the alert will be generated in real-time, and MSPs can help fix the problem before it causes downtime. Proactive monitoring for MSPs will also help boost the customer retention rate. Attract more clients by offering network monitoring services in 2022!