MSP Automation and Work From Home: The Opportunity
Given the global health environment and sudden shift in the amount of work-from-home employees, automation that drives efficiency has never been needed more by the MSP community. In the current climate, the challenge for MSPs is multi-faceted. You must help your customers telework, secure the teleworking environment, move more services to the cloud and, ultimately, do more with less.
In this post, I’ll review the automation policies we’ve been creating to help deal with the new challenges you’re facing. My hope is that by adopting some (or all) of these suggestions, you’ll gain efficiencies that will help you either maintain your margins or—at the very least—allow you to support your customers with fewer resources.
Let’s discuss each of these topics and see how you can leverage your existing RMM to be more efficient.
Teleworking is the big challenge for MSPs that are not used to automating deployment and configuration. We’ve seen companies face this challenge in a few different ways. Some are refurbishing old laptops and shipping them to employees who are working from home. Others are telling users who have available home computers to use their own devices but to follow a standard setup. And a few more are providing their customers with some form of virtual desktop deployment.
To facilitate each of these deployment scenarios, our partners have asked us to help them with a few key tasks. Here are some of the most popular links to automation scripts that can help you:
- Install applications (Adobe Reader, Winzip, Microsoft Office 365, etc.)
- Configure a VPN
- Create a local admin account
- Create a local work-only non-admin account
Securing the environment
Automation can help you secure the environment too. Start by ensuring you have your preferred antivirus solution in place. If you can’t use your preferred, make sure they have a “good” product in place. And, if you must work with personal devices, make sure there is some sort of antivirus solution installed at all. On home computers, people often overlook virus protection products and assume Microsoft’s default program with Windows 10 is enough.
In each of these cases you can use your RMM solution to identify what, if anything, is deployed for antivirus, and then leverage the automation engine to automatically deploy your preferred solution when one isn’t present. Here are some monitoring templates and automation scripts available to help you:
- General antivirus (AV) monitoring (monitors a great number of AV products)
- SentinelOne AV monitoring
- Monitor risky apps
Gain efficiencies in your RMM
And finally, I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s important to gain efficiencies with your RMM solution. You’ll have different resources to leverage depending on which solution you own. I can’t speak to other products, but as a SolarWinds MSP employee, I can highlight some of the free and available resources here for you. If you own a different solution, identify if they have equivalent resources available that can help you gain efficiencies on your platform.
Regardless of what platform you own, using any RMM solution efficiently isn’t magical. It requires a time investment to learn how it works and what it can do. For this reason, this last section covers training and resources available from SolarWinds MSP that can help you gain the knowledge required to elevate your efficiency to another level. Many MSPs are finding they have a little more time right now, so they’re in the perfect place to brush up on training and put processes in place that gain efficiencies.
Here are some available resources from SolarWinds MSP:
- The Head Nerds page will link you to all the Head Nerd Boot Camps and Office Hours in the upcoming months.
- Boot camps touch on several different topics including automation, efficiency, monitoring, backup and recovery, and security. You do not need to be a partner to participate in the sessions. Use this link to register if you’re interested: Register – Boot Camp.
- Office hours are open Q&A sessions for anyone wanting to know best practices, suggestions, etc. about any of the topics listed above. Again, you do not need to be a partner to participate. Use this link to register if you’re interested: Register – Office Hours.
- Success Center:
- From here partners can access the MSP Institute and find both product training and industry information designed to help you take your business to the next level in an on-demand environment.
- Access the automation cookbook to see all of the available policies we have created for you.
We have a lot of resources available for you, but please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have a question. If you want help creating an automation policy or need direction on something, reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn—or even by carrier pigeon if its easier for you. Click on any of the following to get in touch: Email; Twitter; LinkedIn
Also, if you’ve created an automation policy and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to email me.