MSP software consolidates monitoring for managed service providers. MSPs use these solutions to manage multiple client infrastructures, systems, and devices.
Using both managed service providers and MSP software differs from the “break-fix” approach, which is the practice of soliciting IT assistance only when something goes wrong within company infrastructure. Instead, MSP software takes a proactive approach to software and device upkeep, consistently monitoring systems, reducing downtime, and update and patch regularly.
While searching for MSP software to purchase, look for:
- A help desk, ideally with multiple methods of getting in touch with service personnel such as email, mobile submission, and desktop ticketing portal.
- A good mobile interface. Even if not all organizations need mobile applications for the majority of their work right now, they might in a few years, including MSPs. Mobile applications provide flexibility to monitor networks and systems from more locations.
- Cloud-based solutions.
MSPs and Security
Some of the most important features in MSP software are security precautions and proactive update practices. Recent ransomware attacks have revealed that managed service provider software is a good target for ransomware firms because MSPs serve so many customers; if their systems are compromised, ransomware providers can exploit a greater number of businesses.
In early July 2021, IT management firm Kaseya’s remote monitoring and management tool, VSA, underwent a ransomware attack. VSA is a product for MSPs, and the attack affected 1,500 companies, Kaseya said. The attack occurred through a software update; the ransomware firm used a zero-day vulnerability. The number of ransomware attacks are growing, and after the Kaseya attack, MSP software is a likely target for cybercriminals .
MSP software allows providers to better automate client services and monitoring. However, that streamlined IT management also carries risks: the more customers an MSP reaches, the more businesses that will be compromised when ransomware is deployed.
Many MSP software vendors have security integrations and protocols to protect their customers. It’s important to discuss security with a vendor before purchasing their software. Good signs to look for include implementation of zero trust concepts, including lateral movement monitoring, and frequent updates and patching.
Top MSP Software and Tools
The following solutions focus on different areas of IT, but all serve MSPs as they monitor customers’ networks, servers, computers, or endpoints.
Altaro VM Backup
Best for MSPs that need virtual machine backups and restoration.
Altaro VM Backup, designed for multi-tenancy, allows MSPs to back up their clients’ Hyper-V and VMware machines and restore backups. Users can make offsite VM and server backups to other servers or to the cloud. They can start with fewer VMs but scale into the thousands if needed. MSPs pay per virtual machine.
Through Altaro, MSPs charge their customers monthly recurring fees for backups. They can also charge customers for storage consumption. Altaro VM Backup offers a free trial for 30 days.
- The user interface is clean and easy to understand
- The software is easy to configure
- Deduplication is fast and effective
- VM Backup has good industry pricing
- Altaro regularly adds updates to the product
- Backups are fast, and restoration processes work well
- Lack of direct cloud backups. Customers noted that they had to back up to another location before then backing up to the cloud
- Fewer VM backup locations than they wanted
Best for small businesses that need a solid RMM.
Atera is a cloud-based remote monitoring solution for managed service providers and IT teams. It allows MSPs to remotely manage their clients’ computers and servers. Atera offers some CRM features, including billing and SLAs. It’s an ideal solution for small MSPs and IT firms.
Atera’s pricing approach is somewhat unique in the industry: it’s technician-based pricing, which means that customers pay for technician work rather than per machine. Per-machine pricing can drive expenses very high, depending on how many devices users add, but Atera doesn’t take this approach. Atera also allows users to add unlimited devices.
- Easy setup and an easy-to-use interface
- Webroot antivirus integration
- Automated patch management
- Splashtop integration for remote access and support
- Low prices overall
- Inability to add necessary details to reports
- Issues with ticketing
JIRA Service Management
Best for organizations that need good help desk ticketing and have IT personnel to manage it.
Known as Service Desk until 2020, JIRA Service Management is an IT ticketing solution for MSPs and enterprises. In JIRA, both employees and customers can submit help desk tickets. Because it’s more complex to learn and configure, it’s best for businesses with a dedicated tech team that can utilize its excellent ticketing features.
JIRA offers an on premise and a cloud version of Service Management, as well as an on-premise free version for non-profit organizations.
- A modern and intuitive user interface
- Highly customizable software
- Project management assistance
- Good ticketing platform and management
- Facilitated communication between company employees and with company customers
- Integrations with other Atlassian products
- Complicated to set up and use
- Expensive for smaller businesses
Best for enterprises that need to customize their remote monitoring platforms.
Intended for both on-premises and cloud environments, LogicMonitor is a cloud-based monitoring platform that helps MSPs manage their clients’ infrastructure. LogicMonitor aims to reduce alerts and efficiently locate problems within customer technology. On LogicMonitor’s dashboard, customers can view cloud instances and virtual machines. They can also customize the dashboards.
LogicMonitor’s price is better suited to large companies that can afford it.
- The ability to track CPU and container usage, volume utilization, and cloud service billing costs
- Customizable monitoring experience
- Write their own scripts for data collection
- Multi-device monitoring from one console
- Data collection for significant volumes of information
- Root cause analysis for issues
- 24/7 support that impressed multiple reviewers
- The platform has a steep learning curve
- An overabundance of alerts that are not always clear
- An outdated user interface
For businesses that need to constantly monitor from mobile devices.
Pulseway, a network and device monitoring solution, is the standout software of this overview: though it’s not quite as well known as other major MSP solutions, its customers highly celebrate the excellent mobile app and the price. Multiple Pulseway users have spoken about the ability to fix issues remotely from their phones.
Pulseway includes patch management and a Webroot integration for antivirus.
- A stellar mobile application
- Reasonable pricing for the features provided
- Widespread device and system management from mobile and desktop
- Both predefined scripts and customizable scripts
- New features regularly added to the software
- Easy implementation and configuration
- Specific alerts
- Third-party patch management is new and doesn’t work for some apps
- Support for non-Windows machines, such as Mac and Linux computers, is somewhat lacking
For medium-size companies that need reliable website filtering and malware blocking.
WebTitan provides website, email, and malware filtering and blocking for MSPs and other organizations that need to restrict user or employee access to web content. WebTitan offers a few different solutions, but its specifically designed MSP solution is cloud-based.
MSPs can choose whether to host the software with TitanHQ, the provider, or on their company’s servers. Web content filters can be applied to Wi-Fi networks and hotspots. Users can remotely filter web content. To fix mistaken site blocking, they must whitelist and blacklist domains.
- Easy solution setup
- Customizable blocking and filtering features
- Highly reliable restriction for malicious sites and emails
- Few false positives
- Great customer support
- Competitive price for features offered
- Active Directory integration for monitoring what users have logged into machines
- Difficult for some users to set up, despite contradictory reviews indicating deployment simplicity
- Software reporting features don’t allow enough specificity.