N-able's N-central 8.2 Adds Remote Control, Centralized Backup

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N-able Technologies released the next version of its managed services platform, N-central 8.2, to MSPs on Tuesday.

The latest version includes a new module for technicians to more quickly fix and remotely monitor issues on desktops and servers. The DirectConnect module utilizes a network of relay servers to help MSPs ensure that a customer's performance and reliability are sustained wherever a technician connects from, said Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-able. Remotely, technicians have access to functionality including asset and warranty discovery and reporting, task automation, endpoint security and self-healing, according to N-able.

"It's not just a LogMeIn or Citrix-type remote solution but has the functionality of N-central. It gives you the ability to be able to deliver all of those activities through your central pane of glass," Garbutt said. "This is going to be the best application for remote control management in the industry."

The DirectConnect module is also included in N-able's "freemium" Essentials licenses, free licenses that N-able provides to MSPs to install on clients' devices to get them kickstarted in managed services.

In addition, N-central 8.2 now includes a centralized backup and recovery solution powered by CA Technologies' CA ARCserve D2D r16.

"We've been selling the CA product for the last year. We've been working with partners to evolve the CA application to be the best backup and recovery solution on the market. Now we've completely integrated it into N-central as with our managed End Point Security solution," Garbutt said. "Because it's fully integrated it comes with all the features, functionality for all things IT managed through your NOC."

The release of 8.2 is the start of N-able's strategy delivering functionality in three main categories for MSPs in 2012, Garbutt said. The first is to enhance the company's centralized RMM platform. Second, N-able plans to continue its freemium strategy and is to help partners establish standards for services and IT delivery, Garbutt said.

"That's not only how they set up delivery, but how they deliver their services. The bottom line is to help them scale the business and increase profitability. This is something that's lacking at any level and it's a key focus for us in 2012," Garbutt said.

N-able has embarked on a nine-city road show to market N-central 8.2 that hits Texas this week and Chicago next week, Garbutt said.

NEXT: Compiling Best Practices

The Ottawa-based company also plans to continue its "50 in 50" strategy to make 50 tweaks to its products in 50 weeks. The tweaks are based on top requests from technicians, said Robert Grapes, director of product management at N-able.

N-able currently has more than 200 ideas on the list and improvements recently added to the product that came from the list include LDAP or active directory infrastructure and simplifying the administration, Grapes said. "We've also introduced two-factor authentication. This appeals to compliance driven organizations and we've introduced an end user remote control application," he said.

Part of that standards strategy involves documenting best practices, which should help all MSPs, Grapes said.

"When we ask a question have you documented processes, the answer is usually no. If a lead tech leaves the organization, what do you do to recover tribal knowledge," Grapes said. "This initiative is to write down the best practices. From that, we've created not only documentation of but higher level process activities that MSPs should be doing."

The best practices and processes are being compiled in N-able's new "run book," which is available to partners. "They can decide which best practices even to tweak and tune and say I want to automate this process, which relieves the technician of that manual activity of pursuing those tasks and leave responsibility to the product," Grapes said.

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