Understanding your customers’ networks is crucial to managing their infrastructure. Whether you are onboarding a new customer or you’ve worked with them for years, knowing what devices are on their network is critical to your success. It’s also important for your customer, as unmanaged devices can cause issues on the network and—at worst—become a big security risk.
When you’re onboarding a new customer, it’s important to find all the devices during your discovery phase because you cannot manage what you do not know about. You also cannot quote on what you do not find—and being able to quote “all the things” ensures you properly bill for them. If you offer managed services, customers expect you to be responsible for everything on the network. And you do not want to be in the position of having the conversation with your customer to explain something is not covered because you did not find it during onboarding.
It’s also important to remember discovery needs to be an ongoing process. Monitoring your customers’ networks post onboarding is important for two main reasons:
Monitoring for new network devices is also important for your own bottom line. The sooner you know about new devices, the sooner you can start billing for them. Also, it creates project work when your customers add new devices to their network. At the bare minimum, you should charge for the time it takes to document the device and make sure it is properly configured.
Some network devices are separately billable and some offer additional revenue opportunities. For example, if your customer adds printers and you have the ability to monitor ink/toner levels, you can get into the consumables business or offer managed print services. If you notice employees are using company Wi-Fi on their phones, you can generate project work to add a guest Wi-Fi network to get those devices off the main company Wi-Fi. This will help increase security and performance on the company Wi-Fi by reducing the number of unmanaged devices using it.
Rogue devices on a network can be the first step to a breach. The act doesn’t necessarily have to be malicious; someone could connect an infected phone to the company Wi-Fi instead of the guest network. It’s also not uncommon for an employee to bring in a home router and set it up as a wireless access point. These access points are extremely hazardous to the security of your network. The worst-case scenario is someone with malicious intent adds a device to the network to give themselves unlimited access to your client’s network.
Important Tip: You should never leave unused network jacks live and connected to the network. Make people ask for ports to be enabled when adding new devices to the network. This can be done remotely with managed switches and proper labeling of your network jacks.
The bottom line is, as a managed service provider (MSP), you are expected to be responsible for the entirety of your client’s network. Without the proper tools to monitor the network for new devices and manage those devices, you open yourself (and your customer) to risk—and are most likely losing revenue for those devices.
With the addition of Network Device Monitoring, SolarWinds® Remote Monitoring & Management platform can help you discover what’s on your customers’ networks and import devices directly into the dashboard for monitoring. This helps ensure you can do your job more effectively and your customers’ networks are secure. To find out more or to start your free trial, click here.
Eric Anthony is principal of customer experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed service provider business for over six years. You can follow Eric on Twitter at @EricAnthonyMSP
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