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Tips to Manage Large Fleets of Devices

Author: Datto VP Rob Rae. Twitter: @RobTRae

Managed service providers, or MSPs, run into an interesting set of obstacles when taking on new clients. These obstacles tend to circle around maintaining operational efficiency with very diverse clients. For example, they may have some clients with two employees and others with hundreds. This equates to very unique IT needs and demands from each customer. On top of their diverse client base, MSPs are also doing the vast majority of their work remotely and need to be able to rapidly respond to customers at the drop of a hat. That being said, the products they implement need to be designed to handle differing IT environments.

As an MSP takes on new clients, they may find themselves going from just a few devices in the field to double digit deployments before they know it. Larger fleets can hinder operational efficiency if they’re not managed accordingly. This is where standardization comes into play. Getting end users on similar devices and contracts can streamline operations for the long-term. As an MSP takes on more clients, they also expand their own team. When it comes time to hire new employees, it’s much easier to train everyone on a consistent product line to maximize technical expertise and standardize the billing process.

Operational Tips for MSPs

There are a few other operational techniques MSPs can implement to streamline management of a large fleet. The following are a some helpful tips to keep in mind as you rollout more devices.

Central Device Management: MSPs should work with a vendor who offers a one stop shop for all of their device needs. Also known as a portal, this is a place where MSPs can manage all of the devices they have in the field and view important metrics around them. They should be able to see device capacity, backup success or failure, and screenshot verification to note that the backups are valid. Beyond device management, a portal should also offer information about new products and features, helpful marketing materials, and a place to open support tickets with their vendors.

Third-Party Software Integrations: Third-party monitoring tools are also incredibly helpful for an MSP as they grow their device fleet. These are also called professional services automation (PSA) tools and remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools. PSA tools help MSPs automate projects, and RMM tools help them monitor systems and remotely trigger tasks, like patching or other software updates. For an MSP, the ability to integrate their device vendor with third-party tools keeps things organized and efficient.

Bonus – Grab This: Success in managing a large fleet of devices relies heavily on how organized you are. The use of a portal and third-party integration tools are crucial to keep all of your device information and tasks easy to find and manage. To learn more about large fleet management, check out the eBook, Fleet Management Made MSPeasy.


Rob Rae is VP of business development at Datto Inc. Read more Datto blogs here.

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