Remote monitoring: An unexpected MSP growth driver

An RMM can be an MSP’s “secret formula” for expanding their business and establishing security-centric product offerings.

By Mark Whiffen, Senior Product Manager, Barracuda MSP

Mark Whiffen, senior product manager, Barracuda MSP

During the past year, SMBs were forced to rapidly transform their businesses digitally to accommodate the sudden shift to remote work and the widespread adoption of cloud and SaaS-based applications. This growing digital footprint, combined with the heightened cyberthreat landscape, significantly increased their risk of a cyberattack. 

As trusted advisors to their SMB customers, MSPs must adopt a security-centric approach. This means having the tools and resources in places to detect, prevent, and remediate cyberthreats promptly through the continuous assessment of the customers’ security posture, and proactively address vulnerabilities with multi-layered security solutions, to protect their customers’, as well as their own data, devices, and users. This may sound like a tall order, but a tool already in an MSP’s arsenal, and one that has proven very useful in achieving this objective, is remote monitoring and management (RMM).  

RMMs can offer a valuable amount of insight into a customer’s environment. With monitoring and alerting capabilities and remote management via automation, an RMM also allows MSPs to scale and serve their client base more efficiently and effectively. Some RMMs can even do much more than that. In fact, the right RMM can become an essential part of a MSP’s security-centric business strategy, providing continuous security assessments and the ability to proactively address vulnerabilities, thus creating impactful value to the MSP, and differentiating their services from the competition. 

RMM as a Security Tool

Traditionally, an RMM was a service delivery tool for MSPs. As the MSP market evolved, so did the RMM. Many of the today’s RMMs are integrated with different tools such as anti-virus (AV), Professional Service Automation (PSA), documentation, and more. Some RMMs have even gone as far as becoming a security tool to help MSPs wanting to make security an integral part of their monitoring and management routine. A security-centric RMM solution can help streamline and automate operations while increasing threat visibility and responsiveness.

For MSPs, taking a security-centric approach makes it easier and more efficient to support clients as it allows them to assess security risks, test and update password policies, manage email accounts and deploy security patches, all from a central interface. With a security-centric approach and an RMM in place, MSPs can easily add security services (email, patch management, password management) into their existing workflows without the need to invest in additional staff. 

Most RMMs include some security features such as patch management and AV. The RMM can also be combined with other security solutions to offer a complete platform of security offerings.

Important Value-Added Services

In addition to making it easier to offer security services, an RMM provides several other valuable benefits for the MSP.

The RMM provides a single source of access for viewing customer devices and networks. It tracks all the assets, both software and hardware, and detects any new devices that come into the network unexpectedly. The RMM can also ensure all devices are up-to-date with their security patches, a critical security layer. 

With an RMM, MSPs can increase client uptime. Because they can monitor the network centrally, they can be more responsive when problems arise. Automated alerts allow MSPs to address these issues before they result in costly downtime. That opens up new opportunities through improved customer retention, better referrals, and the potential to offer uptime-as-a-service.

Further, the RMM can enable MSPs to be more efficient, reducing the cost of servicing clients. In many cases, problems can be addressed remotely without an expensive truck roll or travel time. Staff will also have more time to work on client development and other strategic initiatives. 

The role of automation is vital and can help MSPs better manage growth—both in terms of expanding their role with existing clients and onboarding new ones. With standardized and automated operations, MSPs are better positioned to scale up and meet growing customer demand while maintaining margins. 

An RMM tool that incorporates security assessment, monitoring, and management can also help MSPs grow their businesses without incurring additional costs. By turning the monitoring data an RMM collects into tangible security assessment, it serves as a perfect tool to assess the security posture of the customers, effortlessly enabling MSPs to expand their security portfolio to include security assessment, and provide enhanced protection to client applications and data. 

An Essential Part of an MSP’s Security-Centric Approach

For MSPs, a security-centric approach to managed services will be essential for continued growth and profitability. Customers are aware of the increased number of threats and rarely have in-house expertise for staying ahead of those threats. They are looking for partners who can help address those concerns affordably and reliably.

By combining an RMM platform with other robust security tools (web security, email security, zero trust, training, etc.), MSPs can provide the protection their customers are looking for automatically. MSPs will have the visibility to identify security problems quickly, respond before there’s a severe breach, and seamlessly address the problem for the client (or even across their entire client base). In business environments where security is a top priority, the RMM can serve as a platform for future growth.

Mark Whiffen is Senior Product Manager for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers.