Automation is essential to a scalable and efficient MSP business. Almost all of us can agree on that, and the numbers back it up. A recent survey found that nearly 95% of MSPs indicated process automation is required to focus on strategic goals and innovation.
Not only does automation reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR) and increase predictability, it frees up you and your team to work on more creative tasks that drive differentiation.
But it’s very easy to get lost in the trap of automation for automation’s sake—just ask George Costanza.😂 Trying to automate something just because you can isn’t a wise business decision. The key is figuring out what MSP automations drive value.
To help you make an informed decision, the 12 automations below cover common use cases that are strong candidates for MSP automation.
- Automate network alerts
- Automate maintenance activities
- Automate ticket routing
- Automate issue remediation
- Automate patch management
- Automate hundreds of workflows with PowerShell scripts
- Automate vulnerability management
- Automate client communications
- Automate SLA monitoring
- Automate client-facing reports
- Automate quoting for prospective clients
- Automate billing for existing clients
1. Automate network alerts
Network devices are the backbone of modern IT. If the network goes down, productivity often goes to zero. Even performance dips — what I like to call brownouts — can drastically impact business. For example, too much latency and jitter can lead to poor-quality VoIP calls and video conferences.
Because of the importance of the network, network alerts are a great example of MSP automation. They can help you react to outages sooner and proactively address brownouts before they lead to bigger issues. Using indicators like ping triggers and simple network management protocol (SNMP) monitors to trigger notifications are two great examples of network alert automation.
2. Automate maintenance activities
If you work in IT long enough, you’ll come up with a list of maintenance tasks you perform to keep things running smoothly. For example, new machines may come provisioned with network services you need to disable or enable. Similarly, you might need to send a Wake-On-Lan (WoL) packet to ensure some machines are on at a specific time.
Scheduling these tasks to run automatically provides two key benefits:
- Reduced risk of human error: Once you automate the work, you reduce the risk of a human forgetting to do a routine task.
- Increased productivity: If your technicians don’t have to worry about routine maintenance tasks, they can focus on the work that really requires human attention.
3. Automate ticket routing
Effective ticket handling is one of the best ways your MSP can boost productivity and client satisfaction. A lot of the work involved in ticket management is repetitive, which makes it an excellent MSP automation candidate.
One of the easiest ways to frustrate your customers and reduce mean time to resolve (MTTR) is to not get their ticket to the person that can solve their problem. That’s why automatically routing tickets to the right place can have a major impact.
Automation can help you route tickets with context so you can address common use cases. For example, you could automatically route all the tickets for a specific client to an account manager or auto-assign a ticket to Tier 2 support based on status.
4. Automate issue remediation
RMM software is the cornerstone of many MSP workflows. Automated issue remediation is a prime example of why. With automated issue remediation, an RMM platform can detect and address issues without a human taking action.
The key to getting automated remediation right is investing some time in creating and maintaining your configurations. Questions to ask as you build your library of remediations include:
- What alerts have a well-defined fix?
- Is the fix scriptable?
- How should your remediation action combine with your ticket automations?
5. Automate patch management
A quality patch management strategy can be a cybersecurity game changer. Many exploits in the wild today result from vulnerabilities that have a published patch.
Additionally, there’s arguably some brand risk for MSPs without a solid patch management plan. Anyone could fall victim to a zero-day exploit. But when you’re a client’s trusted advisor, falling victim to an exploit with an available patch is tougher to justify.
Automation enables MSPs to regularly schedule patches to address this use case and reduce risk.
6. Automate hundreds of workflows with PowerShell scripts
PowerShell scripting is one of our favorite MSP superpowers. With PowerShell scripts, you can automate everything from standard maintenance tasks to complex user management workflows. And while it’s true that scripting is a common RMM feature, the Syncro platform does some cool things to help make MSPs’ lives easier, such as:
- Running scripts as a logged-in user or the System account
- Adding script variables from the Syncro platform
- Making scripts available in customer portals
- Maintenance mode support to avoid nuisance alerts and skip automated remediation actions related to a script
We also have PowerShell scripts available on the platform and a large community script library so you can hit the ground running.
Below are three PowerShell examples from our community script library to give you some ideas.
- Auto configure user profiles: Our friends at CyberDrain provided this PowerShell script that auto configures Microsoft Outlook with a user’s email address.
- Disable browser password saving: Disabling insecure features is an important maintenance task. This script disables browser-based password saving in Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
- Monitor storage space: This script from CyberDrain monitors storage spaces and physical disks in Windows.
For a deeper dive on PowerShell scripting, check out 8 Ways to Supercharge Your MSP With PowerShell Scripts.
7. Automate vulnerability management
We’ve already covered automating patch management, but that’s just part of the broader scope of vulnerability management. At a high level, vulnerability management covers:
- Discovery: Enumerating the assets in an organization and the associated threats.
- Prioritization: Ranking the vulnerabilities based on the overall risk.
- Remediation: Addressing the risk through mitigation or elimination.
Patch management falls into the remediation category. But MSPs can and should automate vulnerability discovery and prioritization. For example, security scans can detect insecure network protocols like SMB v1 and potential application vulnerabilities.
8. Automate client communications
With the surge in popularity of chatbots like ChatGPT, there are a lot of exciting MSP automation possibilities around client communications. However, you don’t have to use AI as your customer service rep to benefit from automated communications. In many cases, automatic communication that’s triggered by conditions like a ticket status change can improve your response times and uniformity in your messaging.
9. Automate SLA monitoring
SLAs protect your MSP business and set clear expectations with your clients. To maintain credibility, it’s essential to regularly meet or exceed your SLAs. When dealing with multiple sites, alerts, and technicians, it can be easy for an SLA breach to slip through the cracks if you’re not careful.
Automation can help you detect when an SLA has been breached or is at risk of breaching. For example, if a ticket’s due date has passed, you could leverage automation to send an alert or automatically escalate it.
Looking for an SLA crash course? Check out MSP SLAs: The Quick Start Guide.
10. Automate client-facing reports
When an MSP does its job well, the client might not even notice. After all, no one stops to think, “Hey, the servers sure are running great today!” Reports can help MSPs demonstrate their value to their clients. They can also enable refresh opportunities when older hardware and software are detected.
Manual reports are useful, but automation takes them to the next level. Automating creating and distributing client-facing reports makes it easier to scale the practice across all your customers.
11. Automate quoting for prospective clients
Pricing can be tricky for an MSP to get right. However automation can simplify the process once you’re comfortable with your price points and offerings. For example, Quoter is quoting software that MSPs can use to integrate with multiple PSAs and reduce administrative overhead.
12. Automate billing for existing clients
Billing is a critical part of MSP cash flow management. Ensuring your clients get accurate and timely invoices increases the likelihood of timely payments. Automating billing for your existing clients streamlines the process and adds predictability to your billing workflows. For example, automated billing features can:
- Dynamically count employees and assets to bill accordingly
- Add unbilled ticket charges as a line item
- Configure recurring invoices using a stored payment method
Syncro users can also benefit from a variety of payment processing integrations.
Where should you start?
If you’re new to MSP automations, it can be difficult to know where to start. Frankly, it probably doesn’t make sense to go from 0 automation to all 12 of our suggestions here.
So, how do you know where to start? Begin by asking yourself what repetitive tasks your team deals with most. Then walk through the manual steps. If the manual steps are well-defined and efficient, automate them if you can. If the manual steps aren’t efficient, tweak them and reevaluate. Monitor the impact of automation on your business, then scale it to more processes when it makes sense.
Syncro simplifies MSP automation
From network alerts to billing, MSP automation can boost productivity and profits in plenty of areas. Getting it right requires the right mix of process optimization and tooling. Syncro is integrated MSP software that provides the tools to automate and integrate a wide range of MSP workflows. To see what Syncro can do for your MSP, sign up for a free trial today.