What Unified IT Management Looks Like

Posted:
02/11/2021
| By:
Steve Cochran

We’ve all heard the phrase: “The devil’s in the details.” As any MSP owner knows, that’s incredibly true when it comes to managing the many elements necessary for running a successful MSP business. From ticketing to hardware monitoring to SOC operations and more, MSPs handle dozens and dozens of duties every day. All these elements are managed, in this day and age, via software.

As MSPs grow, so does their technology footprint. By the time you’re running a successful MSP that serves numerous client needs, you will likely have accumulated quite the tech stack. And as MSPs expand services, add tools, and adopt new software, it can become harder to document and resolve customer issues, stay up to date with accounting, manage staffing across technicians, and more. When all these important tasks spread across different pieces of software, things can get jumbled up—and fast.

That’s why MSPs are turning to the idea of unified IT management, which brings together all the pieces of your MSP software stack into a single platform. Also known as unified monitoring and management, this approach links up monitoring, management backup, access, and more. 

With this approach, MSP business owners can:

  • Keep customers secure
  • Keep systems uptime high
  • Solve issues more quickly and more easily 
  • Keep a watchful eye on endpoints
  • Stay ahead of incidents
  • Prepare for outages

For example, ConnectWise’s unified IT management platform provides a broad range of tools that integrate into a single, out-of-the-box suite. MSPs can select the tools they need, such as ConnectWise Automate, and then expand to more pre-integrated tools whenever they need new or different technologies. Here’s what MSPs should look for in a unified IT management solution.

Customer Support

Customers expect fast responses and solutions, and 24/7 support has become an important differentiating factor for MSPs. Many MSPs owners offer around-the-clock support, whether it’s a network operations center (NOC), a security operations center (SOC), or a help desk for day-to-day troubleshooting. Sometimes these functions are offered in-house, and sometimes MSPs outsource to vendors who can provide specialized support (such as cybersecurity monitoring) or around-the-clock coverage.

In a unified monitoring and management approach, any support function will be integrated fully across your stack of tools, such as RMM, backup, and more. Ideally, there will be some level of automation to support the team, too, saving them time and ensuring that their efforts are focused on more advanced issues that require focused attention.

Automation 

Speaking of automation, it’s a must-have for MSPs today. If you were to make a pie chart of your MSP technicians’ tasks, a good chunk would be daily, repeatable items. With automation, those routine tasks can be handled by scripts. Rather than having to, for example, deploy patches one by one, automation technology can monitor for updates and install patches on customers’ machines. This is more secure, as systems will be more up-to-date, and it also frees up technicians’ time for other customer work. 

With unified IT management, automation software will be integrated with all your other tools and technologies. For example, our ConnectWise Automate tool integrates with ConnectWise Command, a RMM solution, and ConnectWise Recover, a backup tool. These integrations ensure that policies and patches are automatically deployed, systems are backed up in the event a problem occurs, and support teams can drop into client machines to help at a moment’s notice. And it all happens from a single platform, so you never miss a beat.

RMM

RMM software is the bedrock of any MSP business. By remotely monitoring, managing, and supporting clients’ endpoints, MSPs ensure smooth sailing and catch issues as they happen. The best RMM tools will include some core functionalities, such as: ticketing support; automation (as mentioned above, a huge benefit for MSPs); policy configuration, password management, and other security-related functions; and more. 

With a unified IT management approach, your RMM should be tightly integrated with everything mentioned in this blog post. Since it’s effectively how MSPs keep an eye on client machines and stay ahead of issues, it’s important that the RMM have a connection to and visibility across all aspects of your tech stack.

Security Solutions

Unfortunately, we live in a world where cybersecurity incidents make headlines on a daily basis. But it’s not just the big brands or household names that need to be on-guard—small to mid-sized business, often the bread and butter of MSPs, are also at risk. SMB cybersecurity is a growing area of opportunity for MSPs. 

An all-in-one approach to IT management will include cybersecurity tools, such as threat detection tools that monitor apps, advanced DNS protection, and more. Offerings will be integrated with a SOC that has visibility into these tools; backup software in the event of a critical cyberattack; automated scripts that protect endpoints; and more. With integrated systems, MSPs ensure that there’s a single source of truth, which enables them to gather more insights, see potential issues more clearly and catch them faster, and keep customers’ systems more secure.

Smarter IT Management for MSPs

In short, whether you call it unified monitoring and management or unified IT management, an all-in-one approach to IT management is all about having an integrated, 360-degree view into your clients’ IT needs. This way, MSPs can keep a watchful eye on hardware and software from a single platform, enabling them to better serve clients, manage staff, and grow their businesses.

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