TriActive Embraces Next-Gen MSP Model

Increasingly, solution providers are adding managed services to their offerings. Buyers of those services are focused on security, storage and disaster recovery in 2007, according to a report released earlier this year from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). One-third of the 322 users of managed services surveyed said they plan to invest or upgrade their spending in managed security services in 2007. The same percentage of organizations, 33 percent, said they plan to invest or upgrade spending in storage, backup and disaster recovery services.

Many companies do not have the expertise in-house to meet those needs, so they turn to MSPs. It's a growing area of expertise for the VAR community, but one that needs to evolve, says Ron Halversen, TriActive's vice president of product marketing.

"In MSP 1.0, solution providers said, 'We fork out a lot of money and we buy licenses, and we offer SaaS, but the infrastructure cost and staffing requirements are huge. And that infrastructure handles nine to 12 customers. We have large upfront costs,'" Halversen said. "With MSP 2.0, the service provider does not have to make any upfront investment. With a subscription model, the partner pays only for what they use. This allows the service provider to focus on their customers instead of buying, building and running an infrastructure."

TriActive's Managed Services On Demand hosted service is a modular set of services partners can use to deliver partner-branded managed services to their customers. According to Halversen, all a partner needs is a Web browser. The service includes everywhere-coverage for remote laptops, desktops and servers with functions for asset inventory, associated fixed assets, software utilization, license compliance, software license harvesting, patch management, software delivery and Web-based remote control. It also includes help desk incident and problem management with support for tasks, workflow and auto-routing, escalation and notification, and an integrated Web-based executive dashboard and reporting system.

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"With MSP 2.0, we have a NOC, and we say, 'Mr. Partner, you can use what you need.' No expense or technology is needed. They can install and be managing that customer in 15 minutes. We provide nonbranded brochures and data sheets. And our entire desktop management suite costs the partner $2.25 per month, per user," said Halversen. "Partners can remotely push this into customers. Within 15 minutes they have a picture of what they have."

Such a recurring revenue stream, which might cover asset management, cleanup and license compliance, for example, is attractive to VARs. SMBs are, in particular, an attractive target for solution providers, because they have neither the time nor the talent to perform the required tasks. Halversen added that TriActive's own study on 350 SMB installations, representing more than 140,000 managed endpoints, found that at each company there was an average of 58 PCs (15 percent) missing antivirus software, another 24 with out-of-date A/V definition files, and 152 missing critical Microsoft patches.