Categories of tools

MSPs rely on a wide range of tools to deliver efficient and reliable IT services to their clients. These tools help MSPs manage their clients' IT infrastructure, automate routine tasks, monitor performance, and ensure security. By understanding the roles and functions of different MSP tools, MSPs can better leverage their capabilities to streamline operations and maximize value for their clients.

PSA (Professional Services Automation)
  • Examples: ConnectWise, Datto Autotask, HaloPSA.

  • Job-to-be-done: Streamline and automate business processes, including ticketing, project management, time tracking, billing, and reporting. PSAs serve as the central hub for managing MSP operations and provide a single source of truth for client data.

RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management)
  • Examples: ConnectWise Automate, Datto RMM, NinjaOne.

  • Job-to-be-done: Monitor, manage, and maintain client IT infrastructure remotely. RMM tools enable MSPs to proactively identify and resolve issues, automate routine tasks, and provide remote support to clients.

Documentation management
  • Examples: IT Glue, Hudu.

  • Job-to-be-done: Store, organize, and manage documentation related to clients, devices, networks, and processes. Effective documentation management ensures that MSPs have quick access to accurate and up-to-date information, enabling them to deliver faster and more efficient service.

Security tools
  • Examples: Huntress, Blackpoint, SentinelOne.

  • Job-to-be-done: Protect client IT infrastructure from threats, such as malware, ransomware, and data breaches. Security tools help MSPs to implement and maintain robust security measures, monitor for potential threats, and respond to incidents effectively.

Backup and disaster recovery
  • Examples: Datto BCDR, Veeam, Acronis

  • Job-to-be-done: Ensure data protection and business continuity for clients by backing up critical data and systems. Backup and disaster recovery tools enable MSPs to quickly restore client data and services in the event of hardware failures, data loss, or other disasters.

Network Monitoring and Management
  • Examples: Auvik, LogicMonitor, Domotz.

  • Job-to-be-done: Monitor, manage, and optimize clients' network infrastructure. Network monitoring and management tools help MSPs to proactively detect and resolve network issues, ensure optimal performance, and provide insights into network usage and trends.

Security Awareness Training
  • Examples: KnowBe4, Phin Security, BullPhish.

  • Job-to-be-done: Educate employees on cybersecurity best practices, recognizing and avoiding threats, and maintaining secure behavior. Security awareness training tools help organizations build a strong security culture, reduce the risk of breaches, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

How these tools work together to streamline operations

MSPs often integrate their tools to create a cohesive and efficient workflow. For example, PSA tools can integrate with RMM solutions and Network Monitoring and Management tools to automatically generate tickets when issues are detected. Documentation management tools can be connected to both PSA, RMM, and Network Monitoring platforms to provide relevant information within tickets or device management consoles. Security tools can send alerts to the RMM or PSA, triggering automated remediation or escalation procedures. Backup and disaster recovery solutions can also be integrated into the MSP's toolset, ensuring seamless data protection and recovery processes.

While all these tools play a crucial role in MSP operations, their relative importance may vary based on the specific needs and priorities of each MSP. Typically, PSA and RMM tools serve as the core of an MSP's toolset, as they directly impact service delivery and operational efficiency, so lets dig into them a bit deeper.

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The MSP KB is an open source resource by Ashley Cooper and Kelvin Tegelaar