High system availability is one of the most important metrics in the managed services provider (MSP) space. While not every MSP can achieve four nines (99.99 percent) or the even loftier five nines (99.999 percent) standard for availability, organizations must set extremely high standards while avoiding management overhead and complexity along the way. This is difficult enough in data centers, where MSPs can tightly control the configuration, but it becomes even more challenging when managing multiple endpoints, where users make changes. Additionally multi-location IT environments make day-to-day management a chore.
All of these availability issues exist in a complex and demanding marketplace where growth is on the way, but competition is fierce. As such, it isn’t enough to simply maintain availability effectively. Instead, MSPs must develop strategies to leverage automation and endpoint management tactics that allow them to maintain high levels of uptime without taking on an excessive management burden.
How Market Dynamics Drive Efficiency Issues
The managed services market is experiencing a period of global growth. The sector is expected to be valued at $257.84 billion by 2022. To get there, the market will rise at a compound annual growth rate of just over 11 percent from 2017 through 2022. While this expansion is significant, it comes at a time where many MSPs are facing threats to their core business models.
The MSP industry has historically been dominated by relatively small-scale technology providers. These vendors are often considered ideal for partnering with startups and small businesses that tend to rely heavily on third-party vendors for their IT acquisition and management strategies. However, large-scale MSPs are beginning to sweep up market share in the sector, similar to how big box merchants have been gradually taking over retail.
In a Channel Partners Online report, industry expert Miguel Lopez explained that MSPs are increasingly competing less with small local firms and more with the giants of the industry as super MSPs are beginning to dominate the market. Merger and acquisitions have led to the development of these major MSPs, and consolidation is set to continue.
These market dynamics are pushing MSPs to automate and improve efficiency at every turn. Growth opportunities are present, but every MSP needs to be able to automate and optimize at the scale of the industry giants. This extends into maintaining high levels of availability. You can’t afford to have staff spending hours each week on menial tasks. You’d be missing out on too much value potential.
The Deep Freeze Cloud platform can empower MSPs to cut labor times associated with endpoint availability dramatically, reducing the amount of staff involvement needed to achieve high up-time standards.
Ensuring High Endpoint Availability
Downtime isn’t only caused by failure. MSPs must look at uptime at both the system and service levels. If a configuration error prevents a user from accessing a VPN, making it impossible to work, the service is unavailable due to an error at the endpoint. MSPs can’t waste time hopping on the phone and try to resolve extremely simple issues manually. They also can’t afford to travel to branch offices every time a system or service goes down. The Deep Freeze Cloud platform allows for remote endpoint management, letting MSPs automate and streamline many of the tasks needed to drive high levels of availability. Key capabilities include:
- Automated patch/update processesWith the Deep Freeze Cloud platform, MSPs can establish standardization across groups of endpoints, automatically rolling out patches and updates across multiple devices and ensuring computers don’t slip through the cracks.
- Self-healingAvailability issues often center around problems that arise due to small configuration changes or glitches that take a long time to identify and undo. Deep Freeze Cloud platform’s ‘Reboot to Restore’ mechanism will automatically restore correct system configurations, minimizing the management overhead that comes with resolving any form of downtime.
- Eliminate security-related downtimeWith reboot-to-restore functionality in place, MSPs can easily eliminate the impact of a malicious zero-day threat, rendering it ineffective. This takes security incidents that could demand significant time and resources from IT and turns them into minor problems that are resolved quickly.
- Virtual partitioningService and system availability aren’t the only issues MSPs must contend with. They must also deal with the time it takes to recover data in the event of any sort of service or device disruption. Virtual partitioning within the Deep Freeze Cloud platform lets users retain vital data on a device, even if a physical partition doesn’t exist on the computer, eliminating the challenges that come with restoring uptime.
MSPs of all sizes must automate and optimize to keep up with market conditions. Maintaining endpoint availability has long been an operational pain point in the sector, but MSPs have new options. The Deep Freeze Cloud platform is making automation and robust management capabilities accessible, empowering MSPs to reduce their day-to-day involvement in managing computers while also improving availability.