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What Business Value Should MSPs Expect from Their Vendors?

While it’s unlikely any of us will ever pass an audition for Cirque du Soleil, MSPs display some truly remarkable juggling skills. Successfully operating a managed services business requires keeping a wide variety of technologies working reliably at the same time. Choosing the right number and mix of services to offer your client base, optimally balancing your staff and resources to serve those customers (over-provision and you lose money, under-provision and you lose clients), all the while battling service costs in today’s demanding customer expectations market.

Part of that juggling act is choosing the right vendors to partner with. It is a key factor in cost-effectively meeting your current service obligations, and your ability to scale services profitably as customer needs change. While there are various criteria to consider when selecting a services partner vendor, a handy shortcut when choosing an endpoint security partner is to remember this “Three E’s” test as part of your evaluations: 

  1. Efficacy
  2. Efficiency
  3. Elasticity

1. Efficacy: Does the vendor help you meet your operational requirements?

This is an obvious one: Does the vendor’s solution actually do what it says it will? Few things are more aggravating than learning that you must invest in additional hardware or software for a solution to actually deliver the capabilities you thought you had already bought. Such additional purchases will not only drive down your ROI, they also typically impose extra management tasks and costs.

When it comes to endpoint security solutions, an MSP’s single highest priority will naturally be the ability to keep its clients well protected. To that end, some MSPs have resorted to utilizing a combination of two different endpoint security solutions to combat threats such as ransomware that many older AV products just fail to fully address. This ‘doubling -up’ approach entails higher purchase costs, and in the end for little gain, as there is still a risk of infection, client disruption and the need for costly remediation.

By contrast, Webroot has applied unique technologies and methodologies to its endpoint security solution to deliver a single endpoint security solution that offers fundamentally high-efficacy prevention and protection, ease of use and high system performance compared to any combination of other endpoint security solutions. Webroot’s use of multiple vectors of cloud-based & cloud-driven prevention and predictive behavioral intelligence discovers most malware as soon as it attempts to infect the endpoint and contains and remediates any potential infection until it can be acutely identified, removed and the endpoint auto-remediated to a last known good state.

2. Efficiency: How easily is the vendor’s solution deployed and managed?

It’s easy to fixate on the initial purchase cost of a solution, but of course it is the sum total of a solution’s acquisition, installation, administration and customer service expense that will ultimately determine its cost-effectiveness and ROI. All too often an MSP can discover that what seemed like a low-service, highly effective endpoint solution is in fact a servicing money pit.

For example, many AV solutions still require a dedicated on-premise server to be installed at each client site. Whenever the vendor releases definition or signature updates, the user must download them and—because of potential user productivity issues—schedule when to push them out to every endpoint device in the client’s IT environment. This is an inherently labor-intensive, time-sensitive and unaccountable process that puts a constant drain on operational services costs.

Unlike those antiquated solutions, Webroot employs a completely cloud-based architecture that eliminates the need to maintain a signature database stored with the client software on the device. Instead, Webroot maintains a collective, continuously updated, real-time set of correlated threats in the cloud. This approach provides individual and collective real-time protection and it also allows Webroot to be the best overall* performing endpoint security solution. All of these factors lead to significantly lower management costs for you and greater productivity and uptime for your clients.

*PassMark Software Performance Benchmarks here

3. Elasticity: Can the vendor’s solution be easily scaled as needed?

Growth is a challenge that every MSP eagerly anticipates, but the reality of scaling out operations in an efficient and manageable way can be daunting. Business solutions that may have been workable in smaller environments can quickly become unwieldy and fiscally impractical when you have to stretch those solutions to fit much larger and more geographically diverse client bases.

Conventional AV solutions provide an excellent example of this inelasticity; while their hands-on deployment and management requirements are inefficient, they are not insurmountable in smaller and more local locations. But the need for your IT technicians to visit a multitude of client sites daily in distant locations is inefficient and costly.

Conversely, Webroot endpoint solutions are easily managed via a web-based console that’s accessible using any popular browser. You can log into this console from any location and see your entire IT environment; an MSP with many clients and a multitude of endpoints, even if they are spread across the globe, and conveniently access them all through this single portal. Webroot’s monthly billing and invoicing underscores this elasticity by including the ability to “true-up,” thus ensuring you only pay for licenses you actually use—and helping you prevent financial over-commitment by buying licenses you don’t yet require.

Choosing the right vendors to partner with can be a key factor in your ability to cost-effectively meet your current service obligations, and your ability to easily scale services as your customer needs change. Learn how solutions that pass the “Three E’s” test help MSPs maximize efficacy, efficiency and elasticity.

Guest blog courtesy of Webroot. Read more Webroot blogs here.

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