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mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Hey guys!

I've been doing some research over the last several weeks, poking around in threads on tons of forums, signing up for trials, and basically doing due diligence on remote monitoring and management software for managed service providers.

I have a small IT consulting business that I've built up over the last year or so. It started as a part-time supplement to my full time job, and thanks to an awesome employer, I was allowed to work 100% from home in order to focus more on developing my company.

My average client is about an 8 computer site - I have everything from dentist's offices to management consulting firms. Most of the work I do is stuff like manage small servers, do oncall support, coordinate office moves, work on minor database projects, etc.

In any case, that's not really important - what is important is that I'm moving from more of the break-fix model of business I started out with, to developing a MSP 'product' I can sell to clients - which should theoretically help lower their costs, and make my work more predictable. To really deliver on what I promise with this sort of thing, I'm gonna need to move from a simple vnc/logmein/teamviewer type of model, to probably something SaaS based, yet hopefully quite affordable.

So far, I've looked at : Logmein Rescue, Kaseya, Nagios, Spiceworks, LabTech, GFI RemoteMAX, n-able - and am feeling a little bleh. So far, most everything doesn't really look like a great fit except Kaseya and GFI - I really like that both of them have integrated antivirus offerings as an option - but Kaseya is too expensive when I do the math, which I guess just leaves GFI. So, I guess I'm wondering if anyone has any experience working with GFI Max, or might know of any similar software I'm leaving out of my due diligence process.

Things I like about GFI Max :
  • Straightforward, Intuitive Interface
  • Integrated AV (Vipre, as I understand)
  • Easy scripting based on groups or types of machine
  • Easy to roll out to an entire site using group policy - it's a built in option
  • Cheap (basically $13/mo per server, $1/mo per client machine. + extra $1/mo if you want AV - This is basically the price point I'd like to hit ideally)

Things I don't like about GFI Max :
  • Very unpolished use of teamviewer - I like and sometimes use teamviewer, but the way you remote control machines basically feels like it was functionality hacked in to GFI after the fact - and is a bit obtrusive to the user as far as branding/professionalism goes.
  • Relatively unpolished interface : although it's straightforward, it doesn't feel very well put together, and I feel like it's missing some key data by default
  • No built in way to remotely support machines without remote desktoping in - it'd be nice to be able to do stuff like run stuff on a command line, view current processes, upload/download files, etc - without disturbing the user

In any case, what are your experiences working with this sort of thing? Is it worth it to up my budget and try to afford something like Kaseya? Are there other alternatives to my current list of software? War stories from the NOCs of other SMB MSPs? Do you like gummi worms? Did your cat just do something hilarious?

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Farts
Nov 4, 2005


Stay far, far away from Kaseya. Their new version is poo poo and since we upgraded to it their support went from awesome to poo poo in a day.

We switched from Kaseya to Labtech and haven't looked back. (Labtech is cheaper than Kaseya too!)
Labtech lets you run image backups on the machines to a central server(Although it's with Shadowprotect)

Richard Noggin
Jun 6, 2005
Redneck By Default


We're in the process of switching from Kaseya to LabTech. It's been a long process, as LabTech really isn't as refined as they make you think, although it's much, much more capable than Kaseya. I'm hoping that in the next year it will get a much-needed polish. I'm happy to answer whatever questions anyone may have. I work for a MSP that targets small business; we have almost 700 endpoints.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Yeah, when I said Kaseya looked attractive, it was mainly just because it looked capable, the remote control was integrated well, and it had the antivirus thing. I actually didn't spend too much time with the product because the loving sales person never got back to me (not a good sign) - like, she'd send me an automated mail like "Hi! my name is blah blah blah, please let me know if you have any questions!" and I replied with a long list of questions, and then like a week later I just got the same form letter like "Hi, I see you haven't really been using your Kaseya trial - please let me know if you have any questions" - replied to that and still haven't heard back.

Ohwell, fuckem - I just get a bad feeling from their webpage, and I know a couple of my more incompetent 'competitors' here in Atlanta use them - would like to differentiate myself anyways. And did I mention they're goddamn expensive?

I really liked the look of LabTech - the fact that it was more an application and less a web based thing. I like the idea of the interface looking much better and being much sleeker, as well as the response time naturally being quicker since it's a local thing. The three things immediately turning me off from it are A. it needs a server, B. it looks more powerful, but less intuitive, and C. didn't see any mention of it either including any antivirus product, or even supporting 3rd party ones in any sort of integrated way. I also asked them for a price breakdown and haven't heard back - so... I dunno if it's more or less cost effective than GFI, which would be a major factor for my small operation.

I have it installed on my server, but truth be told I was sort of thinking about ditching my in house server, or at least relegating the things it was responsible for - not upping the ante and basing my entire MSP thing off it. Not that that's a deal breaker - just a thought.

Idimmu
Feb 22, 2003



dumb question, whats an MSP?

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Idimmu posted:

dumb question, whats an MSP?

Sorry, I used the full words in my first paragraph, but didn't spell out it was what MSP stood for. Managed Service Provider. Basically outsourced IT, for small to mid size businesses that can't or don't want to afford in house technical staff.

Saliva
Jun 2, 2006
Its whats in your mouth

I work for a small MSP and we use a combination of VNC/Teamviewer for remote access, plus a combination of DeepMeterix IP Monitor and PRTG for monitoring. The battle between IPmon and PRTG is contentious in my office, IPMon has always been great providing consistent results for us but it lacks the functionality we're looking for that we have with PRTG.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Saliva posted:

I work for a small MSP and we use a combination of VNC/Teamviewer for remote access, plus a combination of DeepMeterix IP Monitor and PRTG for monitoring. The battle between IPmon and PRTG is contentious in my office, IPMon has always been great providing consistent results for us but it lacks the functionality we're looking for that we have with PRTG.

That's interesting, thanks for sharing. I've often wondered how many MSPs (like myself as it stands) just come up with their own monitoring stuff via open source programs. What all do you use PRTG to do?

In the end, patch management and the like is too big of a deal for me to just go with a network monitoring tool, but still glad to hear from other people in my shoes.

Saliva
Jun 2, 2006
Its whats in your mouth

PRTG can be setup to monitor directly from the PRTG server to check things externally which for us is mostly ping, http, and smtp. If you want more intrusive monitoring you need to install a probe one one device inside the network that uses WMI sensors. We mostly check things like disk usage, CPU usage, whether the Exchange store is online, etc.

If it is setup properly you can have certain sensors dependent upon a master, for example, if the WAN interface ping is down I don't need it to tell me that everything else is offline. This seems somewhat intuitive but it needs to be setup. In addition, we have it send out text messages if something is offline after 30 minutes so a little extra attention is necessary. Since we focus on small businesses primarily, the number of times someones DSL or cable happens to go down for several minutes leads to many many many notification messages. The text message a little perk to draw special attention and sometimes will wake one of us up if it happens at night.

Saliva fucked around with this message at Jun 25, 2011 around 23:15

Regex
Jul 20, 2010



Have you considered an outsourced SaaS provider? There's quite a few companies that offer patch management, a centralized management/login portal, antivirus, etc.

I've used Zenith Infotech (http://www.zenithinfotech.com/) before - a pretty standard Indian MSP company. There's a few like them, but that's the only one I have experience with.

They whitelist and push out patches, have a scripting interface, you can push out agents from a central location, etc. It includes a license to Vipre, remote access is LogMeIn, all that good stuff. You can schedule alerts, and have them call you if a server goes down or whatever. It's all white label, too - so you can rebrand it with your logo/name.

Quality can be a little spotty (likely because it's cheap) - probably one in twenty agents have to be manually fixed, and it can take them 15 minutes to call about a server down, but it works okay for most things. YMMV.

A larger MSP will outgrow them pretty fast, but it's a decent way to get started until you've grown large enough to put together something custom.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Regex posted:

Have you considered an outsourced SaaS provider? There's quite a few companies that offer patch management, a centralized management/login portal, antivirus, etc.

I've used Zenith Infotech (http://www.zenithinfotech.com/) before - a pretty standard Indian MSP company. There's a few like them, but that's the only one I have experience with.

They whitelist and push out patches, have a scripting interface, you can push out agents from a central location, etc. It includes a license to Vipre, remote access is LogMeIn, all that good stuff. You can schedule alerts, and have them call you if a server goes down or whatever. It's all white label, too - so you can rebrand it with your logo/name.

Quality can be a little spotty (likely because it's cheap) - probably one in twenty agents have to be manually fixed, and it can take them 15 minutes to call about a server down, but it works okay for most things. YMMV.

A larger MSP will outgrow them pretty fast, but it's a decent way to get started until you've grown large enough to put together something custom.

Cool, no I haven't really considered this much. I know a few of the providers I've looked at offer this sort of thing, but it always just seemed a little shady to me. How is their support, other than the small lagtimes, etc? I've actually had clients who have had outsourced support like this (mostly for very specific applications, like strange proprietary healthcare software), and they all just are constantly banging their head against a wall while dealing with some dude in India. I'm not sure that's what I wanna offer people paying me good money, but if it's fairly unobtrusive and cheap, it might be worth considering I guess?

Regex
Jul 20, 2010



mindphlux posted:

Cool, no I haven't really considered this much. I know a few of the providers I've looked at offer this sort of thing, but it always just seemed a little shady to me. How is their support, other than the small lagtimes, etc? I've actually had clients who have had outsourced support like this (mostly for very specific applications, like strange proprietary healthcare software), and they all just are constantly banging their head against a wall while dealing with some dude in India. I'm not sure that's what I wanna offer people paying me good money, but if it's fairly unobtrusive and cheap, it might be worth considering I guess?

We actually didn't use their helpdesk services at all - we still took care of that part. We only had them working on the back-office stuff, so pretty much none of our clients ever knew they existed. Since it's all white-label, and we were the only ones to talk to them, there's pretty much no end user impact.

Support's not bad, but you'll really only ever use it when a LogMeIn agent doesn't install right or something like that.

Really, it's more just getting the toolset from them - AV, remote access, patch whitelisting, and alerts. We sell a level of service, and we only felt comfortable with our offering if we were in complete control of that portion.

VVV Pretty much this. VVV

Regex fucked around with this message at Jun 27, 2011 around 15:55

sanchez
Feb 26, 2003


Zenith is pretty interesting. If a client server goes down you get your choice of emails or a call from an incoherent Indian guy. Also their patch white listing process is glacial.

I think it's a service that you need to get used to, there are numerous quirks. Don't let them talk to your clients.

I still like it though.

sanchez fucked around with this message at Jun 27, 2011 around 15:15

Sprawl
Nov 21, 2005


I'm a huge retarded sperglord who can't spell, but Starfleet Dental would still take me and I love them for it!


We use this thing.

http://www.gidsoftware.com/remotehelpdesk.htm

and we have it on a 4 user license it works alright for simple reverse connection.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Well, I've added Naverisk and Centrastage to my list and scratched them off. Naverisk is too expensive. Centrastage looked loving amazing : really nice interface and displayed all the system info I would expect, but their automated task thing is a nightmare to figure out. You have to 'buy' task packages (like "reboot this computer into safe mode!") that don't cost any money? and then apply task packages to computers or something I don't know it made 0 sense which was a shame.



The more I look at other packages the more I keep on coming back to clunky old GFI Max in all its horrible UI glory. It seems to have everything I want to do, and maybe not be the most eloquent at getting it done, but... feature wise I think it's pretty much all there.

Still interested in hearing more from other IT shops though, thanks for all your guys replies thusfar.

NotWearingPants
Jan 3, 2006

Certainly I was sufficiently insecure to have felt the need to establish to my own satisfaction before the age of 33 whether or not humans can fly. If that makes me a chippy little autodidact in your eyes then so be it.

Regex posted:

I've used Zenith Infotech (http://www.zenithinfotech.com/) before - a pretty standard Indian MSP company. There's a few like them, but that's the only one I have experience with.

It includes a license to Vipre

Vipre was one of the things that turned me off when I looked at Zenith Infotech. Why are they including a crappy anti-virus that nobody's ever heard of and that sounds like a car alarm manufacturer?

Packaged anti-virus in general turns me off from MSP software providers, just like the crappy managed McAfee helped turn me off from Sonicwall years ago. I want to be able to tell my clients I am providing them with what I think is the best anti-virus solution, not some add-on crap that's included in a package deal.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






NotWearingPants posted:

Vipre was one of the things that turned me off when I looked at Zenith Infotech. Why are they including a crappy anti-virus that nobody's ever heard of and that sounds like a car alarm manufacturer?

Packaged anti-virus in general turns me off from MSP software providers, just like the crappy managed McAfee helped turn me off from Sonicwall years ago. I want to be able to tell my clients I am providing them with what I think is the best anti-virus solution, not some add-on crap that's included in a package deal.

Yeah, I agree about the Vipre thing. It just sounds gay, and the client is pretty shady. Systray icon pops up and the window just says "Managed Antivirus!" I swear if I saw it on a computer where I didn't already know what it was, I'd think it was one of those fake AV products.

To be fair though, I have a repository of viruses, and I threw a couple of them at Vipre in a VM. It found all of them, but they were pretty blatant like trojans etc. No idea how it fares in the real world.

I'd kill for one of these that implemented MSE - I know GFI supports it (why am I starting to sound like a walking talking advert for gfi?) so I'll probably just end up scripting the MSE install out and using it as a policy for all desktops.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


NotWearingPants posted:

Vipre was one of the things that turned me off when I looked at Zenith Infotech. Why are they including a crappy anti-virus that nobody's ever heard of and that sounds like a car alarm manufacturer?

Packaged anti-virus in general turns me off from MSP software providers, just like the crappy managed McAfee helped turn me off from Sonicwall years ago. I want to be able to tell my clients I am providing them with what I think is the best anti-virus solution, not some add-on crap that's included in a package deal.

Vipre is actually a decent antivirus if you configure it properly. It may not be this super well known AV, but it is a hell of a lot better than mcafee, norton, AVG, and avast.

NotWearingPants
Jan 3, 2006

Certainly I was sufficiently insecure to have felt the need to establish to my own satisfaction before the age of 33 whether or not humans can fly. If that makes me a chippy little autodidact in your eyes then so be it.

I could handle the name and it's lack of visibility, but as far as I know Vipre still refuses to be included in the av-comparatives.org tests which seems shady to me.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


mindphlux posted:

Yeah, I agree about the Vipre thing. It just sounds gay, and the client is pretty shady. Systray icon pops up and the window just says "Managed Antivirus!" I swear if I saw it on a computer where I didn't already know what it was, I'd think it was one of those fake AV products.

To be fair though, I have a repository of viruses, and I threw a couple of them at Vipre in a VM. It found all of them, but they were pretty blatant like trojans etc. No idea how it fares in the real world.

I'd kill for one of these that implemented MSE - I know GFI supports it (why am I starting to sound like a walking talking advert for gfi?) so I'll probably just end up scripting the MSE install out and using it as a policy for all desktops.

I'm an MSP with about 80 customer companies on Zenith. Vipre fairs well real world in my experience. GFI owns Vipre, so I wouldn't be shocked if that's the provided AV when you use it.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


NotWearingPants posted:

I could handle the name and it's lack of visibility, but as far as I know Vipre still refuses to be included in the av-comparatives.org tests which seems shady to me.

Well, that may change now that GFI owns it, as they were bought by them about 6 months or so ago. Still see the big rear end sunbelt (company who made Vipre, bought by GFI) building sign in downtown clearwater when I go there though.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






You guys who have used Vipre - I'm having a bit of trouble with GFI's client. On about 1/5th of the machine's I've deployed it to, it just seems not to be installing. Anyone had any problems with that?

Thanks again for all the replies thusfar, I'm still a bit annoyed I haven't found anything more suitable than GFI - the more I use it the less I'm convinced that's even the best option.

Scaramouche
Mar 26, 2001

SPACE FACE! SPACE FACE!

Just adding in that Vipre is legit; it was originally made by Sunbelt Software who had a really good consumer product called Counter Spy. Counter Spy was good since it was licensed software from GIANT (though they've since developed lots on top of it). GIANT was then purchased by Microsoft and their technology turned into MSE. Didn't know GFI had bought(?) Sunbelt though.

Cryptic Edge
Aug 4, 2006

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Giant became windows defender, forefront was purchased and became MSE/Forefront.

Also, the Sunbelt software building has finally changed the sign (a few months after the sale of sunbelt) it's now the GFI Software building. Such was a sad day when I saw that a few days ago. Either way, Vipre if you get the configuration right is a solid AV, with lots of options to customize the functionality and display of it for your environment.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






weeks later, still sort of disappointed, and just sort of beginning to accept that even if nothing out there can even do what I want (I'm not even sure what I want a MSP package to do any longer, that's how ridiculous this search has gotten), at least GFI is cheap enough to where if I dump it 6 months out, it shouldn't be the end of the world.

A horrible way to make a business decision, but I just don't know what else to do. I've logged probably 40-50 hours researching this poo poo at this point.

Richard Noggin
Jun 6, 2005
Redneck By Default


mindphlux posted:

weeks later, still sort of disappointed, and just sort of beginning to accept that even if nothing out there can even do what I want (I'm not even sure what I want a MSP package to do any longer, that's how ridiculous this search has gotten), at least GFI is cheap enough to where if I dump it 6 months out, it shouldn't be the end of the world.

A horrible way to make a business decision, but I just don't know what else to do. I've logged probably 40-50 hours researching this poo poo at this point.

Stick with it. Look at LabTech. 40-50 hours is *nothing* compared to how much time an RMM tool can save you.

Studebaker Hawk
May 22, 2004



I just did this same eval for my company (MSP). We stuck with Kaseya due to getting a screaming deal. It IS a good product despite its detractors (microsoft syndrome).

Look at Labtech and PacketTrap. Level Platforms licensing doesn't make any sense for your needs. PacketTrap is the more mature product and what I would recommend if you have any vmware or serious networks (it doesn't sound like it). Labtech is a bit more extensible with its search/filter capabilities. The integtrated AV with both is sketchy (I don't like Vipre, or Zenith for that matter). I would be happy to talk shop over some other medium.

Richard Noggin
Jun 6, 2005
Redneck By Default


LabTech doesn't have integrated AV at this time - it's coming later this year and will be based around ESET NOD32.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






thanks for the encouragement everyone. I was about to just sign the GFI service agreement (still might) but I decided to check this thread first, and think I'll do some more looking. I didn't really give labtech enough of a chance, and hearing it's getting NOD32 is a huge deal to me - it's the one antivirus I really like.

studebaker - I'd love to chat some time. I haven't really met anyone else in my line of work recently, it'd be fun to shoot the poo poo and hear a little about why you went with kaseya.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Just thought I'd post an update, since I'm still interested in hearing from others doing the same thing.

I went with GFI Max, and though it's not nearly as polished or capable as I'd like, it's sort of cheap, and gets the job done. I have set all sorts of alerts, automated stuff I used to do manually, etc, etc. Still though there's about a billion things missing from it. :/ is a system-idle time counter too much to ask for? it'd be nice to know if my clients are using their computers before I jump on their system with a giant non-branded very indiscreet 'TEAMVIEWER' systray popup.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






I sort of wanted to bump this, just because I continue to really be interested in the topic, and hope to maybe catch some new people.

But, I have an additional question, also along the MSP line : do any of you guys or your companies make any money off of reselling virtualized services? IE, 'cloud' exchange servers, sharepoint, webhosting, etc.

I don't know if I'm doing it wrong, but most of my clients are smart enough to do a cursory google search for like, 'hosted exchange' and see that the going rate is like 7-20$/mailbox. if I were to turn around and resell a hosted service to them at any price point that made sense for me (maybe $350 for a "10 mailbox virtual exchange server" and then bill hourly to support it), I feel like they'd be like 'what.'

as a consequence (and this is the same for web hosting, or anything else really that my clients already do in-house and I support) I feel sort of ... obligated? inclined? not to suggest companies I do work for move to virtualized services, even though it'd be much more cost effective for them to do so. just to throw it all out there, I bill 300-500/mo for server maintenance, monitoring, remote support, etc.

I mean there are really good reasons to not use virtual servers, but most of those reasons don't apply to the typical 2-10 person companies I support.

Ein
Feb 27, 2002
.

mindphlux posted:

Just thought I'd post an update, since I'm still interested in hearing from others doing the same thing.

I went with GFI Max, and though it's not nearly as polished or capable as I'd like, it's sort of cheap, and gets the job done. I have set all sorts of alerts, automated stuff I used to do manually, etc, etc. Still though there's about a billion things missing from it. :/ is a system-idle time counter too much to ask for? it'd be nice to know if my clients are using their computers before I jump on their system with a giant non-branded very indiscreet 'TEAMVIEWER' systray popup.

Write a small script for that?


Or just e-mail GFI and request it, they're pretty good about that.


Also, we don't make any money on reselling services like hosted exchange or any hosted services really. We just recommend different providers to the customer and they make their own choice. The time it takes to talk them through all that at their office if, of course, billable.

Maniaman
Mar 3, 2006


mindphlux posted:

But, I have an additional question, also along the MSP line : do any of you guys or your companies make any money off of reselling virtualized services? IE, 'cloud' exchange servers, sharepoint, webhosting, etc.

I don't know if I'm doing it wrong, but most of my clients are smart enough to do a cursory google search for like, 'hosted exchange' and see that the going rate is like 7-20$/mailbox. if I were to turn around and resell a hosted service to them at any price point that made sense for me (maybe $350 for a "10 mailbox virtual exchange server" and then bill hourly to support it), I feel like they'd be like 'what.'

This is the problem we're running into trying to resell online backup. The companies themselves offer 1000000TB for like $5/month, or we can resell it and pay $5/computer on top of something ridiculous like $1/GB.

Basically online backup reseller pricing schemes suck and the big companies themselves still try to undercut you.

Hosting's not as big of a deal. We usually bundle hosting with website maintenance and then just use our server. It's much easier that way, and it's one less thing for them to worry about. (Maintenance is more expensive if they don't use our hosting)

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Ein posted:

Also, we don't make any money on reselling services like hosted exchange or any hosted services really. We just recommend different providers to the customer and they make their own choice. The time it takes to talk them through all that at their office if, of course, billable.

yeah, that's basically where I'm at. the margins are so slim on reselling stuff that I just explicitly state in my service agreements 'I sell all 3rd party services at cost to pass the savings on, I bill only for my time, blah blah.' seems to work ok I guess, since half an hour of billable time is usually 4x what I could make off resold cloud poo poo. blah. same goes for hardware - messing with sales tax and wholesale accounts nets so little money it just doesn't seem worth it - but I just feel like I could somehow be doing better there.


Maniaman posted:

Hosting's not as big of a deal. We usually bundle hosting with website maintenance and then just use our server. It's much easier that way, and it's one less thing for them to worry about. (Maintenance is more expensive if they don't use our hosting)

just out of curiosity, and if you don't mind my asking - how do you present the 'maintenance being cheaper with our hosting' thing to your clients in a positive light? I'm redrafting all my service agreements and products in 2012, and that's one thing I've been sort of wanting to do. like, make service hours more expensive if the customer isn't on a contract, or like you say, make web maintenance more expensive if not on our hosting, etc. But, I'm a little worried my clients will poo poo bricks - or at very least I'll ruffle some feathers when in the end it might just be a marginal increase in revenue.

Trinitrotoluene
Dec 25, 2004



So I received some pricing from GFI but I don't think I can justify the granularity of the costs.

The pricing is per server per module (test). Some are worth it (Backup check) but others aren't (I'm not paying 0.50p a month per server for a "ping test"). I am seriously tempted to write a basic agent/server in VB and just test it myself.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






Trinitrotoluene posted:

So I received some pricing from GFI but I don't think I can justify the granularity of the costs.

The pricing is per server per module (test). Some are worth it (Backup check) but others aren't (I'm not paying 0.50p a month per server for a "ping test"). I am seriously tempted to write a basic agent/server in VB and just test it myself.

don't look at it that way. just assume you'll use everything, and price it at the cap. $13.95/mo for servers, $1/mo per workstation, and $1/mo per machine that uses their AV product.

13.95 isn't cheap for servers, but $1 per workstation is cheap, and $1 for an antivirus product that works on servers is also pretty good.

edit :unless they gave you vastly different pricing than what I'm getting... :/

mindphlux fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2012 around 17:44

Maniaman
Mar 3, 2006


mindphlux posted:

just out of curiosity, and if you don't mind my asking - how do you present the 'maintenance being cheaper with our hosting' thing to your clients in a positive light? I'm redrafting all my service agreements and products in 2012, and that's one thing I've been sort of wanting to do. like, make service hours more expensive if the customer isn't on a contract, or like you say, make web maintenance more expensive if not on our hosting, etc. But, I'm a little worried my clients will poo poo bricks - or at very least I'll ruffle some feathers when in the end it might just be a marginal increase in revenue.

Sorry, I totally missed this post until today.

The main justification is that if it's on our server we have control of the configuration and don't have to do horrible hacks or workarounds to get around configuration differences. Plus it helps cut out the middle-man. If the website goes down and its on their own hosting, you have no control over fixing it, but you'll be the one catching the blame for it. It also helps keep them from using php & mysql based apps on a horribly configured windows server.


As for the IT support side, right now I don't have any service contracts for support. I'm wanting to set something up for the businesses we do support for so I can get them on a service contract. I've been tossing around ideas in my head for how to do it but keep drawing a blank. Right now I'm getting screwed/screwing myself because the way I have it structured they're just paying for the hours I spend on-site. This gives me no desire to do preventative maintenance, because to them it will look like an added expense, whereas it would be better if they were paying for it anyway.

How do you have your service agreements structured if you don't mind telling?

Trinitrotoluene
Dec 25, 2004



mindphlux posted:

don't look at it that way. just assume you'll use everything, and price it at the cap. $13.95/mo for servers, $1/mo per workstation, and $1/mo per machine that uses their AV product.

13.95 isn't cheap for servers, but $1 per workstation is cheap, and $1 for an antivirus product that works on servers is also pretty good.

edit :unless they gave you vastly different pricing than what I'm getting... :/

The pricing is not too different, we are getting slightly screwed over more than you as we are in England. It looks cheap until you put it on 150 servers and 1500 workstations, then it isn't so cheap. I could hire a full time programmer and a low level tech for that amount per month.

Trinitrotoluene
Dec 25, 2004



Maniaman posted:

How do you have your service agreements structured if you don't mind telling?

Company pays per device. Laptops are slightly more expensive than workstations. Servers approximately 3 x a workstation cost. This gets a client unlimited remote support, free onsite visits and proactive/reactive maintenance limited to OS, Windows critical server services AD/DNS/Backups/File sharing/updates/security etc.

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St0rmD
Sep 25, 2002

We shoulda just dropped this guy over the Middle East"



Trinitrotoluene posted:

The pricing is not too different, we are getting slightly screwed over more than you as we are in England. It looks cheap until you put it on 150 servers and 1500 workstations, then it isn't so cheap. I could hire a full time programmer and a low level tech for that amount per month.

You could, and in 5 years you might have a web site that does half of what a GFI or Continuum (formerly Zenith Infotech) does, half as well, with less support. Instead of thinking "I could get a full-time programmer and a cheap tech for this", think "I'm getting a whole team of programmers who have already built the application and are in support mode, and a whole NOC staff for this"

Also, why aren't you just factoring the cost of your monitoring platform into your pricing and passing it along to the client the way every other MSP does?

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