All Bases Covered

N-able's versatile 6.7 upgrade heads a string of MSP platform updates

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Managed service providers can now have remote control functionality for virtually any IP-enabled device under N-able Technologies Inc.'s new N-central 6.7 platform upgrade.

In addition, the amount of time it takes to get a customer up and running has been reduced to less than an hour, according to Gavin Garbutt, CEO of the Ottawa-based MSP platform vendor.

N-central 6.7 works in standard Microsoft Corp. environments, but now includes
support for heterogeneous products such as routers, switches, printers—anything with an IP address, Garbutt said.

"We have an application that is simple to use, provides advanced reporting capabilities for SLAs, all the different aspects of asset management, life-cycle
management things and helps MSPs distinguish themselves and provide value to customers," Garbutt said. "This is about helping service providers do more with less, allowing customers to do more with less. [It's about] how we help partners with their service delivery model with the business goals of the customers in mind."

Another new feature of N-central is integration with Intel Corp.'s vPro technology. Meanwhile, N-able's new N-compass 3.0 business reporting software includes flexible drag-and-drop report building and time-based SLA reporting as well as asset reports that detail the performance and life-cycle expectations of all technologies tied to the network, and allows for more strategic planning on hardware and software upgrades.

N-able introduced the updates at its N-able Partner Summit last week in Dallas.

"In [N-central] 6.0, we had power on/power off functionality. Now we have entire out-of-band remote control. You can remote-control sessions into the BIOS before the OS boots to help identify things preventing the machine from operating properly," Garbutt said. "[With vPro], our scripting takes control of those power-control capabilities to embed normally routine scripting like defrag. It can be scheduled for off hours, then [it can] restore the power state back to where it was earlier."

Alan McDonald, president of AllConnected Inc., a Simi Valley, Calif.-based MSP, said the quicker deployment times and vPro integration will help his business.

"Anything we can do to reduce the discovery and deployment time is a great benefit from a profitability standpoint. The faster we can get a network done, the more issues we can avoid," McDonald said.

Most customers' networks can be discovered in an hour or two, which allows AllConnected to get a digital footprint and roll the customers' devices into the
N-able dashboard, McDonald explained.

"Previously that might [have taken] six hours or 10 hours. We had to allow for a day. Now we've got guys coming in at the beginning of the day and they get the job done before lunch. It's nice to have it in that time frame."

McDonald believes AllConnected may be able to complete a network discovery task within the confines of a customer visit, but he's not ready to guarantee
that just yet.

"Another thing really neat is the Web-based remote control. We're really looking forward to that," McDonald said. "Before, to remote into a device, we had to establish a VPN. Now it's a one- or two-click process. It saves a lot of time."

Next: Platform Improvements

Platform Improvements

The International Association of Managed Service Providers (MSPAlliance) announced a certification and education relationship with Microsoft Corp. for IT service providers. Under the agreement, MSPAlliance recognizes Microsoft's IT infrastructure certifications for Microsoft solution providers while the vendor will in turn recognize MSPAlliance's accreditation certification among its partner base. Elsewhere, through PGP Corp.'s PGP Service Provider Network, midmarket and small businesses can take advantage of PGP solutions without requiring the upfront infrastructure/hardware investments typically required for implementing encryption technology solutions. And Autotask Corp. released Autotask ProPlus, an IT business-optimization solution that combines Autotask's professional services automation software with advanced implementation and IT business-consulting services.

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