N-able CEO: GenAI Is ‘The Next Evolutionary Step’
‘When we think about how an MSP goes from being in the middle of the pack to that upper quartile, it's the MSPs that do a couple of my favorite verbs, and those are standardized and automate. The ones that automate and standardize are the ones that drive more efficiency out of their business, have higher profits and also have a happier workforce and happier technicians, because they’re getting out of the mundane.’ says N-able CEO John Pagliuca.
N-Able CEO John Pagliuca said there's three big trends that he’s watching in 2024, and they all center around GenAI and making MSPs more efficient.
“Number one, the blurred line between IT and security, that line is gone,” Pagliuca told CRN. “It's still there for enterprise but for the channel, for SMBs, there is no blurred line. That means MSPs are leading customers with security and IT [operations], monitoring and managing of workstations and servers. What's helping MSPs differentiate themselves from one another and adding value to the customer base is bringing in that security layer.”
To help MSPs with this, the Burlington, Mass-based vendor has released N-able MDR (managed detection and response).
“The way that we've done it, which is different than the market, is we've separated the software from the service, we think about MDR as a service,” he said. “The approach that we're taking is it's a service and software. That means the MSP can have eyes on glass and have complete visibility. There's a SOC (security operations center) that we're running that we can provide that level of threat hunting and response to the MSP.”
He said the blurred lines of managing and securing an endpoint are also gone.
N-able has also recently made continued enhancements to its RMM platform, N-central, that include advanced management capabilities for iOS and macOS devices, improved analytics and reporting, deeper integration of security and backup solutions and generative AI for script automation.
There are also deeper integrations with N-able EDR (endpoint detection and response) and data protection-focused Cove as each offering has been introduced to support the N-central layered security framework. MSPs that have standardized on EDR can add on more advanced threat protection with managed EDR.
The second trend, Pagliuca said, is automation.
“When we think about how an MSP goes from being in the middle of the pack to that upper quartile, it's the MSPs that do a couple of my favorite verbs, and those are standardized and automate,” he said. “The ones that automate and standardize are the ones that drive more efficiency out of their business, have higher profits and also have a happier workforce and happier technicians, because they’re getting out of the mundane.”
As GenAI is the “next evolutionary step,” N-able has leveraged AI in a variety of ways, including how it builds code. To help automate tasks, N-central now leverages GenAI to automate the creation of scripts based on prompts, leverages an MSP’s existing ChatGPT private account to ensure their data remains confidential and provides tools to leverage machine learning to automate mundane tasks.
“It's really the same concept of how can we help these technicians write a script, write an automation or workflow, or provide an answer to them so that MSPs can do their jobs and drive that efficiency,” he said.
N-able is also releasing a set of REST APIs that will allow MSPs to drive more efficiency so they can push and pull data from their professional services automations (PSAs) or other solutions.
“Our efficiency for the MSPs… we're laser-focused on that, so that MSPs can do more,” he said. “You have the REST APIs on one hand, you have our level of focus with things like ChatGPT on the other hand and all is to put these MSPs, hopefully, into that upper quartile from a performance efficiency and hopefully profitability.”
The third trend is how workflows are changing in the sense of using SaaS applications, “we're pushing more and more to the hyper scalers in the cloud.”
He said N-able is currently in beta testing with a cloud management tool that eases workflows for MSPs in Microsoft cloud environments. Capabilities coming out in early 2024 include an API refresh with new REST-based APIs and enhanced cloud capabilities which allow MSPs to deliver simplification of Microsoft Cloud management.
“An MSP has to onboard and off board 365 and all these Azure instances, that's a pain,” he said. “What we've done is we've gotten back to the automation and we wrote low code, no code ways for MSPs to write this themselves. They can do a bunch of these workflows in an automated fashion.
“This leads more scripting and more automation so that these guys can build it once and then replicate, replicate, replicate, automate and standardize, driving their profitability and their impact,” he added.