By Mark Winter, Vice President of Sales, RapidFire Tools
Network assessment is a unique and effective discipline under the “network security” umbrella. A network assessment tool doesn’t simply monitor a network, the way RMM software does. It provides ongoing network “snapshots,” which when conducted regularly can identify patterns and behaviors that potentially predict a breach. It’s a more proactive and holistic way to support a client’s network security program.
Our earlier “Close More Business” blog explained how network assessment can be used to offer non-invasive, fast data collection; to onboard new clients; and to upsell services such as back-up and disaster recovery. In part two of this series, we’ll examine additional ways to help the MSP increase business and mitigate risks for its clientele.
Sell Managed Security-as-a-Service
Your client’s networks—and indeed, their businesses—are constantly at risk. The market is rife viruses, spyware, malware, and worms that can inflict irreparable harm through downtime, loss of data, and security compromises. Even the most robust of anti-virus and malware protection doesn’t perform perfectly 100% of the time.
Network assessments can serve as regular “Security Health Checks” for your clients, helping them protect their assets, guard against downtime—and basically sleep better at night. However, regular is the key element here. A single assessment is only the first step of what should be an ongoing process, one that recognizes network changes and behavioral models over time.
An MSP can often sell managed security assessments as a supplemental service, generating incremental revenue, since such is not often included in the standard service contract. Many of our partners report gaining $250 more per quarter per client for the most basic security services, which would include performing vulnerability scans of the clients firewall (and other public-facing IPs), validating that systems are secure (patched, have a/v), conducting data mapping of employee access and more.
Identify New Projects
A network is an ongoing entity, moving through a lifecycle that constantly changes. Whether you’re prospecting a lead or visiting an existing customer, an IT assessment doesn’t just provide simple network documentation, it often unearths opportunities to provide additional services.
For instance, assessment reports detect when systems are near capacity, and identifies machines that are approaching end-of-life. The reports identify the opportunity for upgrades and migration projects, delivering concrete documentation to clients and prospects alike of exactly what machines and platforms require a refresh. Network Detective’s Active Directory analysis can assess whether there are inactive login credentials with enabled access, which are often ex-employees or old vendors. This poses a serious security risk from both disgruntled ex-employees and hackers who could gain easy access to confidential information.
One of our MSP partners used Network Detective to detect a huge security risk: More than 700 accounts on their client’s network maintained log-ins that were still active, despite those users no longer being employed by the organization. That assessment led to a substantial networking project for the MSP.
Offer an Exchange or Cloud Migration
Microsoft Exchange migrations continue to provide a terrific opportunity for an MSP to gain revenues, whether migrating to Microsoft Exchange 2016 or to Microsoft Office 365. A network assessment report creates a record of the client’s current Exchange environment, allowing the MSP to ascertain the overall project parameters, in addition to providing the necessary information required for such an undertaking regarding client mailboxes, distribution lists, and mobile device usage. A post-migration assessment provides documentation of the new environment, detailing the scope of the work and verifying its completion.
A similar course can be taken for a migration of network assets to the cloud. Assessment reports document the client’s environment so the MSP can analyze the current network, determine which components are candidates for the migration, and assist in the detailed planning and execution as the MSP transitions servers or desktops to a hosted platform. Of course, a post-project assessment would be performed to document the new environment, to verify accurate project completion.
We’re not finished educating the managed services market on how to profit from network assessment tools. Part 3 of this blog will outline how IT assessments can be used to affect MS SQL Server health checks, and conduct lucrative HIPAA or PCI compliance assessments—which some of our MSP customers have turned into an ongoing practice.