MSPs, SaaS and the management of remote devices Whether we like it or not we are all IT users now. Through the ubiquity of networks of devices that we rely on for information, security and day-to-day transactions even those who eschew technology now rely on it, even if they do not acknowledge it. The failure of these networks can lead to widespread disruption, unhappy customers, unproductive employees and lost business. Ensuring their availability, security and efficiency is a job for experts who need powerful tools to carry out the task.
- The IT requirements of many businesses are now best measured by devices under management rather than number of employees, or even IT users Many devices, such as in-store video displays, security gates and wireless routers, are now part of computer networks, the management of which is just as critical to many businesses as that of traditional PC networks.
- These networks are increasingly taken for granted by their users, many of whom would not even consider themselves users of IT The only way to manage such networks is remotely. Even when devices are assigned to end users, they will not have the skill, time or inclination to help manage them.
- IP is the main network protocol that links all these devices allowing easy interaction between private IP networks and the public internet Using the internet protocol (IP) has wide ranging accessibility benefits, not just for users but also for managers who can access any device from anywhere given the right tools and can access centralised databases that define configurations, access rights and usage policy.
- Keeping such networks running requires specialist skills that many organisations, especially small ones, do not have in-house Businesses need to focus on their core activities and managing IT can be a distraction. As they come to rely more and more on networks of increasingly diverse devices and the management task becomes ever more complex, many have now turned to managed service providers (MSPs).
- For MSPs IT management is their core activity and they have the wide ranging experience and skills to undertake the task This goes beyond just the capability to manage networks of remote devices but also housing the infrastructure of servers, routers, load-balancers and so on that support them. MSPs house these in enterprise-class data centre facilities that are beyond the means of many of their customers.
- MSP staff need access to management tools wherever they happen to be and the data that defines device usage needs to be centralised and easy to share Networks are part of the cloud and MSP staff work in the cloud. It makes sense to place management tools and the data they rely on in the cloud where they can be shared with customers who define access and usage policy. Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the best ways to provide this capability.
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