Networking, Channel technologies, IT management

Cloud Managed SMB Networks: Can MSPs Cash In?

My home has more than 50 devices connected to my wireless network. This is a modest home for a family of four. This means we average 12.5 devices per family member. If my small family of fur can have that many devices, imagine how many devices MSPs need to manage for even a small business of four employees.

Complicated networks are no longer reserved for enterprise level clients. Businesses in the SMB market have an increasing need to get a handle monitoring and maintaining their networks.

Indeed, multiple vendors are trying to address SMB networking for MSPs. That's a complicated task since the SMB hardware market is highly fragmented and very diverse. Among the moves we've been tracking:

Now, Linksys wants a piece of the action. The company recently unveiled Linksys Cloud Manager, which is a cloud-hosted WiFi Management Platform purpose-built for small business environments. The solution offers centralized visibility, management and control of a wireless network without the cost and complexity of traditional hardware controllers, overlay software, or annual hosting costs, the company claims.

Some features of Linksys Cloud Manager include:

  • Centralized Management via a Global Map – Manage multiple, unlimited client WiFi networks from one centralized dashboard with a single login. Visibility of all accounts, sites, access points, and devices.
  • Remote Monitoring and Network Insights – Provides alerts and real-time statistics so network administrators can anticipate potential network issues without the need for on-site monitoring and troubleshooting. View through a web browser, historical and real-time traffic on the network, at-a-glance analytics about top clients and devices, including uptime, signal strength, connection duration, etc. Built-in troubleshooting tools to identify problems using features such as a Ping Test, Blink LED, RF Environment Scan, and Rogue Access Point Detection.
  • Scalability – Scales from single sites to unlimited networks worldwide.
  • Zero-touch Provisioning – Configure APs before unboxing them. After deployment, Linksys APs automatically connect to the cloud over SSL and can be configured remotely, whether they are offline or online.
  • Over-the-air Upgrades – Firmware is automatically updated.
  • Email and Text Push Notifications – Message alerts and warnings on network and device connectivity and network health re: power loss, downtime, or configuration changes.
  • Management Portal – A browser-based dashboard and user interface enables IT administrators to provision networks on the go from a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, with no additional app to download.
  • Multi-role Platform – Multi-management level accounts give users the ability to set roles (owner, admin, viewer) and provide specified users access to specific networks.
  • Technical Support – 24X7 live customer support.

We'll be watching to see if Linksys integrates with third-party PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms that MSPs typically leverage in the SMB sector.

And in the next few days, we'll offer some updates on the intensifying Cisco vs Datto competition in the SMB sector. Stay tuned.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.