12 helpful online tools every MSP needs

| By: Geoffrey Willison

As a managed service provider (MSP), it can get overwhelming putting out fires and wearing multiple hats. Your clients rely on you to not only maintain their IT environments, but a high level of service and organization. Sometimes, you need all the help you can get—which is why we’ve put together this list of tools that can help you streamline your business operations.

Whether you need help with productivity and communication, password management, or even sales and marketing, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover the tools that are essential in the daily work of an MSP.

Task management and productivity tools

To best serve your clients in an effective manner, it’s important that you properly manage your day-to-day tasks. Here are the tools that can help:

1. Asana

Asana is among the favored project management tools available. It can help you manage tasks and projects across a team, while offering elements of collaboration and file storage.

I use Asana daily, and can tell you it’s an easy to use tool with lots of great features. It’s built to suit your needs—allowing you to choose between different views and layouts, assign tasks with instant email notification, drag and drop files, and determine who gets visibility into what. What’s more, you can easily keep track of projects and see how work is progressing, or keep tabs on what needs a little more attention.

2. Evernote

In its early days, Evernote was a simple note-taking app. Since then, it’s turned into a productivity powerhouse that can help you capture, organize, recall, and work with your information.

Evernote can help you declutter your work, and is perfect for those who tend to scribble down thoughts and return to them later. Your notes always will be with you and in sync, on both your desktop and mobile devices. Also, Evernote is able to read text whether it be in keyboard text, PDF documents or even text in a photograph—allowing you to find anything, anytime, anywhere.

3. Google Keep

Much like Evernote, Google Keep is a good way to store and organize important information.

Google Keep gives you the ability to take notes and make checklists to help you keep your day, week, month or year in order. And, if you’re a Chrome user, you can install the Google Keep extension to save the things that you care about in a single click.

Vulnerability assessment tools

Part of your job as an MSP is to recognize security holes, or vulnerabilities, among your clients’ network and endpoints. The following tools can help you detect these holes, as well as malicious intent:

4. Network Detective

Brought to you by RapidFire Tools, Network Detective can help you uncover hard to detect issues, measure risk based on impact to the network, suggest recommended fixes, and track remediation progress.

5. VirSCAN.org

VirSCAN.org is a free tool that uses antivirus engines to scan uploaded files for malware.

While this is a helpful tool for detecting malicious content, it should not be counted on or used as a replacement for antivirus software. Instead, this free tool can be used to check on the amount of risk files pose to your or your clients’ systems.

Password management tools

Security best practices have taught you that you shouldn’t use the same password for everything. But let’s be real, using a different password for 20 different accounts can make it difficult to keep track of everything. These tools can help you in that area:

6. LastPass

LastPass is a website password manager that integrates with your browser and keeps username and password combinations in the LastPass vault.

After you’ve created an account, you can enter the username and password combinations for your most commonly used websites. When you visit a site for which LastPass stores your password, simply click “Log In” or “Sign In” and it will automatically fill out the username and password fields. For websites that you’ve not yet used this tool, you can log in from your web browser and teach LastPass as you go along.

7. KeePass

Similarly, KeePass is a lightweight password manager that allows you to store username and password combinations in a strongly encrypted database.

When you launch KeePass, create a database and set configuration settings such as compression and encryption algorithms. Next, create and modify groups to keep your passwords neatly categorized and start adding entries to each group. The search function in the top menu bar allows for quick access to certain passwords, which saves you from navigating through each group.

Internal communication tools

Good communication and collaboration within a team is the only way to guarantee it’s success. With these communication tools, MSPs can ensure team members remain connected whether they are at the office, on-site with a customer, or on the road for conferences and trade-shows:

8. Slack

Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. It provides real-time messaging, search and archiving—making it an ideal tool to make office communication efficient, organized and to the point.

9. Stride

Brought to you by Atlassian, Stride is another cloud-based solution for team communication. This tool offers group chat and direct messaging, video conferencing and screen sharing, and built-in collaboration tools.

Sales and marketing tools

Like many MSPs, sales and marketing may be your biggest challenge. However, you can leverage the tools below to keep leads flowing in and your sales funnel full and effective:

10. Detective

Want to get some inside info on a prospect or new partner before you meet with them? Detective can help with that.

Detective automates the sales prep process that you might always not have time for. By combing through hundreds of sources, this tool provides you with a simple, one-page profile on the person or people that you're preparing to meet with. Not only will this help you better understand the details of the person you're meeting with, it saves you time too.

11. Moz

Moz is a search engine optimization (SEO) tool that helps you grow traffic, beat out local competition and draw the right prospects to your business.

This is another tool I use on a regular basis because it is easy to use and offers lots of valuable content. Especially if you’re an SEO beginner, Moz has plenty of guides and educational resources to help you. Or, if you’re more advanced, their tools can help you improve search rankings and web page optimization.

While you do have to pay for a subscription, they provide free tools that can prove very helpful for your business, including link building, keyword research, local listing audits, and more.

12. Buffer

Lastly, Buffer is a social automation tool that I recommend for any MSP I speak with. This tool is designed to easily manage your social accounts by allowing you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Not only can you schedule posts with Buffer, you can also track the performance of your content. Also, this tool is available for both mobile and web, and has a Chrome extension you can download for instant sharing and scheduling while you browse.