Software Tools that Managed Service Providers (MSPs) Need

eG Innovations is an end-to-end performance monitoring solution provider offering a dedicated MSP solution for remote monitoring and an MSP partner program to allow MSPs to use our functionality to provide value-added premium services. For example, MSPs use our eG Enterprise solution to provide managed first line helpdesk support or to provide dashboards and portals to enable individual clients to monitor their IT infrastructures and applications. When we build and test our product, we need to consider the other software components that an MSP may be leveraging and integrate with them. In this blog, I’ll cover the types of software we routinely encounter at our MSP clients, including:

Over the years, we’ve seen a few of our MSP partners encounter products that weren’t a great match for MSPs, so at the end I’ve added a list of some questions that might help you in your evaluation process.

Software choices and alternatives for MSPs

MSP Professional Service Automation Tools

Software choices and alternatives for MSPs

Some of the most successful MSPs in the world typically implement Professional Service Automation (PSA) tools in their environment for increased productivity, better management, and effective service delivery. PSA software tools often replace standalone MSP tools for project management, time tracking, invoices, resource planning, collaboration, business intelligence tools, etc.

Throughout the lifecycle of a project, PSA software offers a consistent method for planning, remote monitoring, and measuring its performance. Services can be delivered more predictably, and tedious manual operations can be reduced or automated by centralizing corporate processes and data. PSA is frequently referred to as ERP for MSPs because it is similar to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

A few of the MSP automation or PSA tools (listed alphabetically) are Accelo, Atera, Autotask, CommitCRM, ConnectWise, Clarizen, ChangePoint, FinancialForce PSA, Forecast, Harmony PSA, Kaseya BMS, Karisoft, ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, SolarWinds MSP Manager, Monday.com, OfficeTools, NetSuite OpenAir, Projector PSA, Scoro, TigerPaw software, Tenrox, Workfront, etc.

Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) tools for MSPs

A Remote Monitoring and Management tool is used to manage a computer or network from a remotely accessible location. This tool allows the network administrator to have an authority over the network, including software installation and management of all actions on the client’s systems/network, workstations, servers, and endpoints.

Automation options are available in many RMM applications to help you do routine activities quickly and seamlessly. You can also turn your RMM platform into a central control panel for your MSP operations by using integrations between RMM products and other solutions in your technological stack, such as antivirus and remote backup software.

Some of the important RMM tools available in the market are Autotask Endpoint Management, ConnectWise Automate, Continuum RMM, Datto RMM, eG Enterprise, Kaseya VSA, N-able RMM, Ninja RMM, Pulseway, Repairtech Kabuto, Unitrends MSP, etc.

Helpdesk/Service Desk tools for MSP

As an MSP, your ability to resolve difficulties promptly and efficiently is critical to providing dependable and thorough client support. As a result, helpdesk software and solutions are becoming a more crucial part of providing reliable and complete client experience.

Here’s a list of few of the significant helpdesk and ticketing tools for MSPs:

  • Commodo One
  • Connectwise Manage
  • Freshworks
  • Faveo Helpdesk
  • HappyFox
  • HESK
  • Jira ServiceDesk
  • KIX
  • Kayako
  • LiveAgent
  • ManageEngine
  • Web Helpdesk
  • ServiceDesk Plus
  • Spiceworks
  • Zoho Desk
  • Zendesk

You can read more about what specific features do MSPs look for in service and helpdesk tool integrations with other products to ensure that IT infrastructure tickets are automatically updated across multiple tenants.

Documentation tools for MSPs

Good documentation tools within MSPs can help improve quality and reduce costs. Good internal documentation ensures systems and process are well understood and not reliant on individuals, who could be a single point of failure. Great external documentation and content for their customers reduces support calls and enables self-service reports whilst building a brand as their customers’ trusted expert.

A few documentation tools to consider are Confluence, Dokuwiki, N-able Passportal, IT glue, ITBoost, etc.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery (BC&DR) for MSPs

MSPs should deploy BC&DR software to back up any system to a range of local and cloud-based storage destinations. The software tool also offers a single interface for controlling and tracking backup and recovery processes as well as automated backup and recovery.

A few useful BC&DR products for an MSP are Acronis, Ahsay, Altaro, BackupAssist, Carbonite, Continuum, Datto, MSP360, Nakivo, Novastar, Storagecraft, Vembu BDR Suite, Veeam, Unitrends, etc.

Asset Management software for MSP

Software applications, laptops & desktops, data centers, and servers are among the IT assets that modern enterprises spend on. If an organization doesn’t have a solid IT asset management plan, the sheer amount of these assets can quickly become unmanageable.

Some asset management tools in the market that might come in handy are ConnectWise Automate & Manage, Autotask PSA & Datto RMM, SolarWinds N-able, Spiceworks, Snipe-IT, etc.

MSP Security Solutions

There are various security tools available in the market for MSPs based on various use cases. A few of the critical security tools are categorized below:

  • Antivirus: Antivirus software solutions from Trend Micro, ESET, Bitdefender, Webroot, and Kaspersky detect malware and help MSPs counter security threats.
  • Endpoint protection: ESET, SentinelOne, Malwarebytes, CylancePROTECT, Symantec Endpoint Protection, Kaspersky Endpoint Protection, Bitdefender Endpoint Protection, and similar applications provide security for remote devices that are part of your network but cannot be guarded behind the firewall.
  • Firewall: Fortinet, Check Point, Sophos UTM, and Meraki firewall software help enhance network defenses and block malicious traffic and other security threats.
  • Email security software: MSPs typically deploy Vircom, Barracuda, SpamTitan, and SolarWinds to handle malware, phishing assaults, and other email-borne risks.
  • Unified threat management: Meraki, FortiGate, WatchGuard, Sophos UTM, and SonicWall, among other unified security solutions offer holistic security management to MSPs by addressing all types of security threats through a single platform.

How to choose an MSP tool – a checklist

It goes without saying that there are tons of tools in the market, and it is quite tough to evaluate all the products for your business. However, drawing up a checklist before choosing a tool is usually a good idea; a few questions to ask might include:

  • Would the tool help in creating high revenue for your business?
  • Does the tool assist you in replacing the mundane and repetitive day-to-day tasks?
  • Is the tool efficient enough to maintain operational intelligence for your business?
  • As a user of the tool, do you find the learning curve of the tool to be short?
  • Does the tool have an excellent customer service team?
  • How well does the tool integrate with the other tools in the infrastructure? Will it involve staff using yet another console or is it integrated with existing tools?
  • Is there an MSP-version of the tool so that you do not spend time on customizations?
  • Does the licensing fit with an MSP model? Is there a subscription model that fits with your customers’ billing cycles and contracts?
  • Is the tool multi-platform? Will it restrict the MSP in moving between private data centers and different public clouds such as Azure, GCP, or AWS in the future?
  • Is the product fully supported with an enterprise service agreement? If an open-source software (OSS) is used, how will you resolve issues if it breaks?
  • Can the product assist the MSP to achieve certifications, audits, or memberships of partner programs, such as the AWS MSP and Azure Expert MSP Partner Programs?
  • If SaaS, is the product hosted in a geographic region that enables the MSP to comply with government and industry regulatory requirements, such as the European GDPR and the Australian Privacy Act?
  • MSPs generally require enterprise-grade security, and as such, avoid products that listen on open TCP ports. Therefore, port security is often a feature to be evaluated when looking at new products.
  • Does the deployment model support multiple tenants and tenant segregation where appropriate?
  • Is role-based access available in the remote monitoring tool and is it appropriate for multi-tenant environments?

Note: All third-party tools, products, and articles referenced are not officially endorsed by eG Innovations and should be used at the reader’s discretion after appropriate due diligence.

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