Cittio Upgrades MSP Platform

Starting at $400 for one monitored node and shrinking to as low as $20 per node in dense IT environments, WatchTower delivers an MSP feature set that rivals the monitoring capabilities of products such as HP Openview and BMC Patrol but with far less complexity, Lerner said. "We are a simple version of a huge, enterprise-class platform," he said.

Last year, 86 percent of Cittio's products were resold and managed through channel partners, Lerner said. Now, the San Francisco-based network monitoring vendor's mantra is to enable VARs to perform network monitoring, which he called "a pretty logical followup to equipment and software sales."

And Cittio resellers can make good money as MSPs, Lerner added. "For every dollar people invest in WatchTower, we are seeing $3 in return and 50 percent increases in consulting opportunities," he said.

Computers and Networks Unlimited is getting ready to offer managed network services to its customer base via WatchTower, said John Hudson, president of the Vineland, N.J.-based solution provider. Cittio's flexible solution and pricing also may allow Computers and Networks Unlimited to offer monitoring in a forensic capacity, he said.

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"For customers troubleshooting a network problem, we're going to say, 'Let us take over for a week and see if we can figure out what's wrong,' " Hudson said.

VARs also can lease WatchTower for short, tactical customer engagements or set up payment plans that work with customer billing cycles, Lerner said. The product, too, enables VARs to provide network monitoring only during afterhours and weekend time slots or only to specific departments or IT layers, such as security or non-Windows environments, he said.

Konstantin Vilk, founder of ISPAN Services, a VAR and MSP in San Francisco, said he often blends various WatchTower-based monitoring services for customers. ISPAN even sells WatchTower outright to many of its large customers so they could perform network monitoring in-house, he said.

"What we find most often are that the customers who go for a hosted model tend to have at least one to 15 servers," Vilk said. "Then, after they reach the 20-server mark, it's more feasible for them to buy [WatchTower] as an enterprise product. In that case, we make the sale and then support them by augmenting their IT department."

Cittio's WatchTower update comes in the wake of other MSP platform upgrades earlier this week by SilverBack Technologies and N-able Technologies.

Billerica, Mass.-based SilverBack improved its remote monitoring and service delivery portfolio by integrating Retina Network Security Scanner technology from eEye Digital Security. Retina will allow new-vulnerability assessment reports to be generated through SilverBack's MSP platform. The compliance-focused move will complement SilverBack's firewall monitoring, patch management and host-based intrusion monitoring tools, the company said.

N-able, meanwhile, rolled out N-central 4.5, which allows the MSP product's service automation tools--including remote access, patch management, desktop monitoring and asset management--to work together in one platform. The Ottawa-based vendor also split its MSP 3.0 partner program into two entities, MSP N-abler and MSP Titanium, to better serve VAR customer segments.