Scott Galvin, Vice President of Support Services
Safe Systems, Inc. is currently finalizing testing on our new our MSP (Managed Service Provider) service. Therefore, I would like to spend a few minutes on what a MSP does, and why it is important to both your network health and how it ultimately lowers your management and technical support costs. A MSP is a company that manages another company’s IT infrastructure via the Internet. This is not intended to replace the need for an internal system administrator or IT department. Instead, it is a real-time monitoring tool that can be used in combination with existing employees’ talents to help the company’s network run efficiently and to maximize uptime by catching problems in the beginning stages before they escalate into major issues.
Our managed service offering product gives us our first truly proactive toolset to help assist you with your network by keeping a constant eye on selected network devices (i.e., servers, routers, switches, etc.) and alerting us when a problem is first indicated, in many cases before you might know about the issue. For example, let’s say that your email server has stopped sending and receiving emails overnight. Now, not only can we call you at 7:00 a.m. EST (at a specified emergency number) to alert you to the issue, but given proper remote access we can begin to immediately remedy the problem which would greatly increase the likelihood that your financial institution experiences little or no downtime. If this scenario were to happen with our current toolset, we would be forced to wait until the administrator alerts us to the issue and then begin working on it (most likely just as the bank opens).
An example that illustrates reduced cost and better performance would be a situation where we are alerted to server temperature issues. By correcting the temperature in sufficient time, using something as simple as a box fan, this becomes a non-issue. However, if this server is left alone, elevated temperatures in a server environment can lead to bad hard drives, slow performance, and even server replacement.
Because MSP is real-time monitoring, it can also assist in troubleshooting issues that can be difficult to locate. Routers and switches are more difficult to determine as having problems than a server but are no less critical. Another aspect of the MSP, which is very useful to those financial institutions with multiple locations, is that it can keep an eye on those branch servers that don’t get looked at quite as often. Not only can we help alert you if there is a problem with the hardware and software on the machine, but we can also alert you if a backup or antivirus update has failed.
There is another MSP feature which is just as critical as the real-time monitoring and that is monthly reporting. Monthly reports will illustrate various aspects of performance, device health, and several areas of network management such as Windows updates, antivirus updates, and successful backups. These reports will not only provide an accurate network report card that can be given to your Technology Committee and to examiners, but they will also give your IT staff a valuable tool to manage your network by enhancing their ability to spot trends such as servers being overloaded or hardware starting to go bad.
Overall, the MSP service is a tool that can lower the operating cost of your network, reduce service outages, improve troubleshooting, and even provide quantifiable information for auditors and your Technology Committee on how your network is performing. The ability to become an extra set of eyes and ears for your internal IT staff without causing any kind of performance degradation on your network makes this an obvious next step in our mission to become your technology partner.