MSPs that support storefront locations like restaurants, bookstores, malls, and more, understand that public WiFi access is a necessity for these clients. Guest WiFi access is no longer seen as a nice 'perk' when visiting the store -- it is a requirement for customers. Managing these guest networks is quite the task for MSPs, especially if you have multiple clients with multiple locations.
Eager to address those challenges, Aerohive Networks has announced cloud-managed hotspot services for public and guest WiFi access. Aerohive’s software-defined WiFi architecture, provides restaurant chains, coffee shops, and other visitor-oriented locations with fast, reliable Internet access, the company claims. Visitors can use cloud-authenticated services like Facebook and Google to log into the guest network, giving them quick access to the network. The service also offers increased guest management options on the subscription-free Aerohive Connect offering also provide budget-conscious customers with access to greater connectivity options for their visitors.
MSPs Managing Guest WiFi
The company has also today added an inventory tab within HiveManager NG to simplify the reporting of highly distributed deployments; it includes a consolidated audit of wired and wireless infrastructure devices. Aerohive have also included policy exceptions at scale, which can help MSPs deploy manage and update many customers in a short period of time.
In a blog post mentioning the announcement, Aerohive seems to really be targeting the MSP market with this new offering. The post includes a video detailing how the management platform functions, and explains how MSPs can benefit from using it. The company claims that the Hierarchical HiveManager (HHM) allows MSPs and enterprises to create organizations within a single HiveManager NG instance. This setup allows for grouping of devices and policies and can control access on a role by role basis. It also provides a centralized management system for licenses and services.
Centralized management for these types of services is gaining a lot of momentum throughout the MSP market. Whether it is managing subscriptions to software products like Office 365, or controlling firewalls from several clients, the ability to control multiple clients from a single user interface is essential for any MSP looking to grow. I think more software and hardware providers will continue to look for ways to make management of different environments easier for MSPs as the technology to do so becomes more readily available.
Cisco, Datto Pursue networking MSPs
Admittedly, Aerohive isn't the only networking company targeting MSPs. At the higher end of the market, Cisco Meraki has momentum with cloud-managed WiFi networks. And in the SMB sector, Datto is extending from its data protection and storage space to promote managed WiFi and network switches for MSPs.
Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.