Cisco’s RMM Platform for SMB MSPs: Next FindIT Steps

Brad Sakai
Brad Sakai

When Cisco Systems quietly launched FindIT earlier this month, it caught ChannelE2E's attention in a big way. Yes indeed, FindIT is an RMM (remote monitoring and management) platform for MSPs in the SMB sector. And yes, enhancements are coming. But what exactly are the Cisco FindIT technology and business models?

Brad Sakai, senior product line manager, shared some details with ChannelE2E today. FindIT requires two pieces of code -- one piece gets deployed on-premises at the customer setting. The other is the management piece for the MSP. Once deployed, FindIT allows MSPs to manage Cisco 100 to 500 series network equipment. The platform can also discover third-party networking gear but Cisco has no plans to build out management capabilities for that gear.

In some ways, Cisco FindIT sounds like it could compete with Auvik Networks -- but Auvik's offering supports non-Cisco network device management. Also, there could be emerging competition from Uplevel Systems, which recently launched an SMB network appliance for MSPs.

Cisco FindIT is free for up to 10 devices. From there, it costs about $2 per device per month for each additional device as part of an annual Cisco engagement. The actual pricing will vary a bit based on the number of devices an MSP manages.

Cisco SMB Management Tools

Cisco has a mixed history in the SMB management tools market. The company killed its OnPlus managed services platform in 2013, shifting customers to the cloud-based Meraki offering at the time. More recently, the OpenDNS platform (now called Cisco Umbrella) has been very popular with security-minded MSPs.

The seeds for FindIT were planted around 2014, when Cisco formed a skunkworks team to explore SMB-centric MSP needs. While cloud-based Meraki is best know in the mid-market, some Cisco insiders saw a gap at the low-end of the market. Indeed, most RMM tools in the space focused heavily on PC, server and mobile management -- but not network management.

Gradually, Cisco gained more and more MSP-centric SMB talent through organic hires, mergers and acquisitions. Marc Nagao, a Kaseya veteran, has been with Cisco since 2012. An MSP-friendly talent influx arrived when Cisco acquired OpenDNS in  August 2015.

In recent months, not by coincidence, the FindIT team and the OpenDNS team (now rebranded Cisco Umbrella) have been in close contact.

Cisco FindIT: What's Next for MSPs, SMBs

Cisco officially launched FindIT on December 1. But the roadmap certainly doesn't end there. The company is planning to release upgrades every six months or so. Among the potential offerings in the pipeline: Embedding FindIT's code directly into Cisco's SMB networking hardware. Also, support for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure will arrive soon.

And what about potential integrations with PSA (professional services automation) platforms? "We’re aware of it and actively exploring it," Sakai said. Watch for the FindIT team to potentially surface at MSP-centric conferences in 2017 -- leveraging event knowledge from the Cisco Umbrella (formerly OpenDNS) team.

We'll be watching.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.