Performing network assessments may seem pretty straightforward. You scan the network, create a report of devices and infrastructure, drill down into areas of interest such as performance or security, and then use that data to inform decisions about upgrades, changes and what priority each action should have.
Unfortunately, there are some missteps managed service providers (MSPs) make that can make their network assessment offerings — and the information they produce — less valuable to clients and to the MSP business itself. Consider whether your MSP business is making these five mistakes:
1. Using Your RMM for Network Assessments
Your remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool probably does a fantastic job of continually monitoring your clients’ IT networks, computers, and endpoints using agents that allow your system to communicate with specific devices. But network assessment tools work differently. They operate during a finite window of time to take a snapshot of the entire network — not just devices with agents that communicate with your RMM.
A network assessment can uncover issues that your RMM won’t find, like devices connected to the network without authorization. Network assessment scans also evaluate a network for specific issues, like devices that aren’t compliant with security policies, adherence to regulations such as PCI DSS or HIPAA, or focus on specialized components like the Exchange or SQL server.
2. Not Managing Customer Expectations
Picture this: you complete a network assessment of devices on your client’s network or run a scan for a prospect during the sales process, and then you present a professional, branded report with significant findings. The response you get, however, is, “What about security?” Network assessment tools often give you the opportunity to scan the network with different objectives in mind. Not clearly defining the scope of the assessment for your client or prospect could create confusion or cast doubts on your expertise.
Before offering network assessments, you may want to establish parameters for several types of assessments you can perform based on the tools you use and your areas of expertise. Explaining those options to your customers can help prepare them for what to expect.
3. Putting All Your Faith in the Network Assessment Tool
Your network assessment tool can return recommendations for next steps along with the results of a scan. What will make a network assessment truly valuable to your clients, however, is your expertise. Don’t just print out a report and hand it to the client. Use the report as a part of the service you are providing. Don’t make the report the only receivable.
4. Bad Timing
When you perform a network assessment can make a world of difference to your MSP business. If you sign a new client first, and then perform an assessment second, you may uncover issues that you didn’t know existed. Performing a network assessment as a part of the sales process or prior to finalizing your contract can give you the transparency you need to understand exactly what providing managed services to that business will require — and price it accordingly.
5. Leaving Money on the Table
If you have a network assessment tool, maximize your ROI. For example, use your network assessment tool as a part of quarterly business reviews. Reports from your network assessment tool can demonstrate that you’re keeping an eye out for potential risks — something that the client may not realize you are doing.
Performing those assessments on a quarterly basis in addition to reporting from your RMM may reveal ways you can improve service delivery to that client or reveal new opportunities to expand the services you offer.
Network Assessment Offerings Done Right
Just like with any tool you use for your business, network assessment tools are meant to give you capabilities, greater efficiency, and the potential to provide better customer service. Avoid network assessment mistakes by carefully planning how you will provide your service and strategically using your network assessment tool.