SaaS: The New MSP Paradigm
SaaS for MSPs
SaaS for MSPs? Oftentimes, SaaS and MSPs are presented as competing solutions. Should an end user adopt a solution where they implement and manage multiple cloud-based softwares on their own? Should the company hire an MSP to manage their multiple SaaS deployments to maintain updates and integrations? In reality though, SaaS management should not be considered separately from managed services but rather as a component of the MSP’s arsenal. SaaS should instead be considered as integral to managed services.
The reason for this thinking is that end users like SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) quickly bring on SaaS packages to their place of employment. In fact, according to 2016 statistics, the average organization uses about 13 cloud-based applications. Furthermore, Gartner predicts by the end of 2020, 80 percent of companies will no longer buy software licenses but rather will buy software subscriptions. Without a central organizing principle, these numerous software packages can quickly outpace the security and management capabilities of the company
This blog will examine how MSPs can promote themselves in a SaaS based world and what attributes they should highlight.
Software updates and security patches
MSPs need to step up to the plate when it comes to security as they will not maintain a competitive advantage if they do not. In fact, security is probably the greatest area in which MSPs can provide value to their client. The paradigm that MSPs must overcome though is businesses believing that they can manage SaaS security on their own and that security is only for their endpoints.
MSPs are in the unique position to ensure that updates are downloaded and that important patches are included. What MSPs and cloud customers need are benchmarks to ensure that responsibility is shared and that there are clear marks for which part of the security pie each is responsible for. The fact that cloud workloads now exist in constant flux—exacerbated by virtualization and containers—makes it even more critical
The importance of password management in a SaaS setting is heightened by the constant flux of employees in any organization. One can easily imagine a situation where an employee downloads a SaaS application, leaves the company and maintains access to the application. The now ex-employee has the ability to compromise the application and data on the application.
As more devices – all of which will have passwords – get connected, managing their passwords and access proactively will allow your business to prosper.
MSPs who offer advanced monitoring services and can take on the risk of providing availability (up-time)-based SLAs are in a great position to help (SMBs).
Traditionally, SMB have had expectations about the performance of their on-premise infrastructures. However, with the adoption of many SaaS platforms, SMBs must now figure out how to maintain a cloud infrastructure. This set-up is a great place for MSPs to help.
Firstly, they have the skilled resources that can quickly support the virtualization growth plans of SMBs and to help them optimize their server farm installations. Secondly, they have tools which enable them to track, monitor and manage critical application service levels across the entire infrastructure, including being able to keep track of applications as they migrate dynamically between different virtual machines and different servers. Thirdly, they can provide detailed reporting and analyses to aid discussions about the infrastructure investments needed to maintain SLAs and to inform business/IT decision making.
By helping the IT departments of mid-sized companies meet their SLA mandates, MSPs can help free in-house IT staff to better respond to business requests, can bolster the reputation of IT within their own organizations, and can help provide the detailed intelligence needed for IT to add strong value in conversations regarding business innovation.
One major area where MSPs can offer value to the SaaS paradigm adopted by so many of their customers is in the arena of critical alerting. Critical alerting is clearly an area that SMBs need to offload to MSPs. IF an issue occurs, the SMB wants make sure that the MSP is quickly and persistently alerted. Additionally, SMBs want to ensure that one who is well conversed in their IT structure and SaaS layout is able to unknot any mess that has arisen.
The SaaS model is ideal for critical alerting as it enables a virtual model where the MSP can be alerted anywhere at any time. This model of delivery also ensures a value stream to the MSP as they are able to receive alerts no matter where they are located and don’t need to be tied to a computer.
For MSPs, whose job is to make their clients’ lives easier, focusing on a SaaS paradigm provides a unique opportunity for growing their business.
To learn more about SaaS for MSPs and ways to profit from implementations, download our whitepaper.