Networking-focused RMM vendor Auvik Networks has added the ability for MSPs to get a deeper look into customers’ networks through the NetFlow protocol.
Until recently, MSPs using Auvik were able to get basic insights into customers’ network usage through the SNMP protocol, with counters on various network interfaces. But “that’s very basic stuff,” said Alex Hoff, vice president of products and sales for Waterloo, Ont.-based Auvik. It’s helpful when an MSP knows the topology of a client’s network, but doesn’t provide the depth MSPs need when a customer asks the million-dollar question: Why is my network so slow.
“When you want to look at the Internet connection, that’s what NetFlow can help you do,” Hoff said. “It helps answer the question ‘Is the Internet slow because people are working so hard, so we should upgrade our connect, or is the Internet slow because too many people are streaming YouTube?’”
The technology — branded in Auvik’s interface as AuvikFlow — is now available in Auvik’s cloud-based RMM platform through a partnership with San Francisco-based Kentik, another cloud-based offering that connects NetFlow, and does analysis. Kentik’s business is largely in the data centre and enterprise space, tackling topics like optimizing connections between data centres. But they don’t have much of a presence below the enterprise space, and the MSP space is not their hot spot.
Through AuvikFlow, MSPs just need to configure a customer’s firewall to send NetFlow data, and pay an additional monthly fee to enable AuvikFlow on the customer’s firewall. Data can either be sent to Kentik and crunched there, or kept inside the network if the customer so chooses. Data can then be dissected and analyzed within the Auvik dashboard, which by default includes six reports, including top overall connections, top IP-to-IP connections, top protocols in use, top internal users, top external destinations, and top ports.
“Our system is all focused on ease-of-use and information,” Hoff said. “When the CEO says they can’t load a document and asks why that’s happening, the answer is right there.”
The technology has been in a private beta for a while, but Auvik is starting to get interested MSPs up and running on AuvikFlow. As is the case with most cloud-based technologies, AuvikFlow will continue to see improvements based on the company’s bi-weekly update schedules.
“Networking, for MSPs, has been such a black hole,” Hoff said. “This is yet one more way we’re helping with that problem.”
Speaking of update schedules, while AuvikFlow is a major addition for the company, Hoff said Auvik still has “a few more big networking features to come this year,” and suggested the company will continue to focus on expanding its connections into popular RMM and PSA platforms, including both expanding the number of connected platforms, and broadening functionality.