What does an MSP do?
MSPs are organizations that provide important IT services — generally including any type of continuous management, maintenance, and support — for their clients’ IT infrastructure. These services are provided for networks, applications, and infrastructure. MSPs also aid with digital security and data hosting, either through their own data center or a third party’s.
While MSPs technicians once had to visit clients in-person to address maintenance and support needs, tech applications now often enable the majority of these tasks to be performed remotely. The scope of what each MSP offers can vary based on their core focus and whether they also incorporate services from other providers.
What services does an MSP offer?
The scope of services offered by an MSP can vary, with some specializing in specific tasks and others offering a broader range of functions. Here are some of the most common services provided through an MSP’s technology stack.
Remote monitoring and management (RMM)
Remote monitoring and management software lets MSPs monitor and access their clients’ networks, devices, and systems remotely. This allows them to address a wide range of IT needs without disrupting their clients’ operations.
RMMs allow MSPs to monitor and manage devices in real-time. RMMs can provide instant alerts when an issue arises with a client device, allowing MSPs to proactively address issues before they become a major problem.
RMM software enables MSPs to set up automated remediations for different types of alerts. Possible actions include creating a support ticket, running a script, or messaging a technician. By automating more of the remediation process and reducing the need for human involvement in more mundane and repetitive steps, issues can be resolved much faster.
RMMs also streamline patch management for Windows and other third-party apps. MSPs have the option to choose or block updates, run reports on missing patches, and even create regular patching schedules. This helps keep all devices and systems up to date.
RMMs like Syncro offer robust scripting capabilities to customize and automate a variety of workflows. Syncro actually offers a full library of PowerShell commands that you can run, or you can create your own custom scripts. A robust community script library can be imported with a single click.
Policy creation and management
RMMs make it easy to set up cascading policies so you can better manage challenging customer situations. Reusable policies are designed to scale alongside the MSP to ensure the company can continue to meet all applicable compliance requirements.
Remote access and remote support functionality allow MSPs to access client devices with a single click. Features such as a remote registry editor, remote event viewer, remote file system browser, remote service manager, remote task manager, remote terminal, and remote PowerShell sessions enable streamlined real-time support. It’s just as good as having an IT technician present, and there’s no need for screen sharing or visible work on the user side.
Professional services automation (PSA)
Professional services automation helps streamline many of the back office tasks that are essential to running an MSP smoothly. By coordinating customer-facing activities and key administrative operations, PSA tools help MSPs operate much more efficiently.
Comprehensive ticket management captures all data from timesheets, ticket metrics, and other reports. This ensures that support tickets and associated reports are completed in a timely manner, and that all necessary information is captured for invoicing. This enables the administrative team to focus their efforts on more productive activities.
Automated billing systems ensure MSPs don’t overcharge or undercharge their clients. These systems can set up recurring invoices, or dynamically count employees, assets, and policies involved in a ticket and bill clients accordingly. Automating invoice creation ensures that invoices are sent in a timely manner so MSPs get paid on time.
PSAs offer flexible solutions for customer communications. MSPs can use PSAs to create branded customer portals for reviewing documentation, paying invoices, or opening service tickets. These portals can also be used to facilitate live chat or agent contact forms, while also making it easier for MSPs to email their clients.
Task-tracking systems keep clients and technician teams fully aligned. Ticket statuses that are updated in real-time offer peace of mind to the client. MSP managers can also use these systems to set parameters for acceptable resolution times and to determine if a complex problem needs to be escalated, reassigned, or even merged with another ticket.
A PSA with strong reporting and auditing functionality ensures that all data protection and propriety standards are being met. MSPs must deal with a wide variety of business standards for data compliance and protection in different niches, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and SOX. PSAs can greatly streamline compliance monitoring and provide alerts whenever an issue needs to be resolved.
Why do businesses hire MSPs?
There are several reasons why a business might hire an MSP to help manage its IT needs. Ultimately, however, each of these reasons boils down to a key overarching factor: turning technology into a competitive advantage, and minimizing its burden on the company’s other resources.
Remote workforce challenges
Remote work has become more commonplace than ever — but while this offers several advantages, it also brings its fair share of challenges. MSPs with remote management capabilities are uniquely positioned to manage geographically distant endpoints, no matter how many different locations a team may be working from.
With business websites and networks being more important than ever for reaching customers and keeping teams connected, preventing downtime and service disruptions is crucial for every business. Uptime monitoring allows for rapid detection and remote resolution of issues that could disrupt a business’s operations.
Digital security threats are constantly evolving — and an endpoint that hasn’t been properly patched or updated can become a major risk. MSPs can detect new patches and update systems, and even automate the detection and mitigation of other security risks to ensure that an employee’s device doesn’t compromise the network.
Remote system management allows for far more efficient resolution of IT issues. Automation and scripting, in particular, can address service needs outside of office hours, while remote monitoring and management can offer far more streamlined support than if a tech needed to physically visit a facility to access a device.
3 best practices for MSPs
The right tools and practices can make all the difference in an MSP’s efforts to provide quality work on behalf of its clients. The following tips can be especially powerful for MSPs of all sizes:
Remove the clutter
Software bloat can become a major issue for every business, but especially for MSPs, driving up costs and requiring teams to switch between dashboards a lot more frequently than they should. Eliminating unnecessary tools (or tools with overlapping functions), and consolidating or integrating tools into an “all in one” stack can simplify work and lower costs.
Rely on scripting
Creating custom scripts and leveraging community script libraries can help MSPs automate a wide range of tasks. Scripts can be especially powerful for automating security checks, basic cleanup, and other everyday activities that keep techs from focusing on more intensive work.
Be proactive (not reactive)
Too many MSPs take a reactive approach where they are constantly responding to unplanned work. The most efficient MSPs take a proactive approach by looking for and addressing potential issues before they blow up into a major problem for their clients. They also use automation and teach clients how to self-service minor issues to work more efficiently.
Syncro helps MSPs scale
Syncro is uniquely designed to help MSPs scale, allowing you to grow your business and take on more work without compromising profit margins. With the combination of essential features like RMM, PSA, and remote access in a single integrated platform, Syncro can help you take your business to the next level. Sign up for a free trial today to try it out for yourself.