The adaptation of the core Network Detective product adds a self-service portal that lets home workers scan their machines, scores them, and lets the MSP block unsafe ones from connecting to the network.
Today, RapidFire Tools, a Kaseya company, is launching the Network Detective Work from Home [WFH] solution. A slightly modified version of the core Network Detective offering, it was created to help MSPs deal with the demands of supporting home-based workers during the pandemic. However, it will also provide them with a tool that is likely to be of continuing use long after the pandemic has passed.
“Network Detective is a multi-faceted tool like a Swiss Army knife that the MSP uses to collect data from the networks,” said Michael Mittel, president and GM of RapidFire Tools. “With COVID-19, there has been mass migration to people working from home, so the MSP has to support all these Work From Home computers.”
The Network Detective Work from Home edition modifies Network Detective to make it easier for MSPs to support these home deployments. The key here is a self-service portal that lets the home-based employee initiate their own network and security scan, which can then be assessed by the support team before they connect to the corporate network.
“Network Detective is very good at analyzing PCs for risk related issues,” Mittel said. “Adding the self-service portal lets people working from home avoid configuration and setup from IT. But it also provides protection from dangerous home PC environments being attached to the business IP.”
The other modification in the WFH edition is adapting risk scores which Network Detective had before to provide a new self-service assessment report for each individual WFH deployment.
“It looks at things like what patches are missing, is there a firewall, are there any threatening applications,” Mittel said. “The person working from home gets a report with a letter grade on their environment, and MSPs can limit their ability to connect unless they have a satisfactory risk score. The MSP can determine what a satisfactory score is.” Network Detective will automatically rescan weekly and produce an updated risk score.”
There’s no extra cost to the MSP for the WFH solution, since it’s part of the Network Assessment Module and doesn’t cost RapidFire Tools anything to make available. Whether the MSP charges the customer for it is something Mittel thinks will vary between MSPs.
“Some, if they see it as project work, would charge for it,” he said. “Some will see it as part of the ongoing value they deliver to their customers. That’s important today, when the pandemic can make it hard for MSPs to get new customers. This certainly is something that will help them keep the customers they have, and that’s very important to them.”
Long-term, while many people are likely to return to office situations, Mittel thinks the market for WFH will remain substantial.
“I think there was already a trend to work from home, coming from cloud computing,” he said. “Some people may not do it all the time. Working from home was very difficult for me. I like the social interaction. When this is over, I’ll probably spend most of my time at work. But I also live close to where I work. For people who live further from work, or who really like working from home, and are productive there, they like the flexibility. This is something that Network Detective was ready to handle as a tool, to help MSPs migrate people to work from home, and letting them connect to business IT without posing a danger to it.”
Mittel thinks it’s likely that WFH’s capabilities will be expanded going forward.
“We are thinking of doing some things that are more high tech,” he said. “Right now, we provide a grade on each person’s computer to determine if it passes. We are thinking of advance notification options to alert MSPs if peoples’ environment falls below a passing grade. That would be a more dynamic element that would let MSPs respond to that.”