Managed Service Providers or MSPs in asset management, which started as remote IT support and troubleshooting in the 90s, have evolved into one of the most prominent IT business models. According to a Statista’s report, the global MSP market share was valued at 152.02 billion USD in 2020 and is expected to grow close to 274 billion USD by 2026.
Rather than just troubleshoot or monitor remote IT systems, MSPs these days offer services that manage the IT infrastructure for organizations entirely.
Managing infrastructure on a large scale, often for hundreds of companies, means MSPs need robust asset management strategies to maintain a profitable business and ensure quality IT services to their clients.
In a moment, we'll dig into the link between asset management and MSP, as well as the features you should look for when searching for a solution of this kind. But before we start, don't forget that we have a definitive guide on IT asset management, or ITAM, just in case you need to take a peak.
Why should an MSP care about asset management?
MSPs manage entire IT infrastructures for many clients based on service level agreements. And without a robust asset management solution, they’ll find it challenging to handle all these assets.
Without careful management, all assets — both hardware and software – will deteriorate and can become too expensive to manage. And in the worst-case scenario, it can cause unexpected hardware failure and a service outage.
Poor asset management can also affect the MSPs’ and their clients’ cybersecurity. For once, delayed software security updates and firmware updates can leave the IT infrastructure vulnerable. On the other hand, it’s like a green light for rogue assets and shadow IT.
Combine this with another 2019 study that found that unpatched vulnerabilities caused breaches in 27% of organizations, and you’ll understand why MSPs should care about asset management.
MSPs will also need to manage licenses for third-party software. A 2016 study on 129 companies revealed that in the US, there was an average license wastage worth $US 259 per computer in all the companies studied.
This can add up quickly for MSPs who manage IT infrastructure for many clients. You may use more licenses than you’ve paid, resulting in failed software license audits.
Besides these issues, the lack of an asset management strategy can be too costly in many other ways. It can affect your reputation, create security compliance issues, and put you at legal risk.
How can an ITAM tool improve the effectiveness of MSPs?
An ITAM tool can streamline the asset management process for managed service providers. Here’s how.
Keeping track of all the assets
If you have too many assets, you must keep track of them. Mainly, you can do a manual inventory when all assets are in different locations. But that will take up a lot of resources, and you simply cannot afford to update it regularly – this is one of the reasons why an Excel sheet simply won’t work (scroll down for more on this).
An ITAM tool like InvGate Insight simplifies and automates this to a large extent. It can find all the assets in your network and information like vendor details, last security patch, and more. It can also continually update this inventory with little intervention from your end.
Besides inventory, you can simplify how assets are assigned to employees, monitor the software license assets employees use, and ensure they don’t end up as shelfware.
Monitoring and troubleshooting their assets
An ITAM tool can give MSPs complete visibility into their assets. It will be impossible for an MSP to watch all of their assets 24/7/375 manually. But asset management tools have a monitoring feature to control devices functioning as required, check for malfunctioning, and raise alerts on time before issues become too big.
Organizations can configure their IT asset policy within the ITAM tool and ensure that the team is alerted in case of any deviations.
If an employee raises an issue on their device, the service desk team can use their ITAM tool to remotely access and fix it — this is one of the many advantages of having your ITSM and ITAM tools connected.
Securing an MSP and their client’s IT infrastructure
As discussed earlier, ITAM is essential to an organization’s cybersecurity strategy. It gives complete visibility into an organization’s assets. Using this, the cybersecurity team can assess the risks facing an organization and its assets and build its security strategy around it.
The IT team may struggle to contain a security breach without an IT asset management tool. They may find it challenging to identify the attack surface and the affected assets and mitigate the attack's impact. It can also slow down the cybersecurity team as every process has to be carried out manually.
Integrating their software deployment process
With an ITAM tool, IT teams don’t have to visit every workstation or server to deploy software physically. If a client requests a new software solution or migration to a different system, the MSP can execute this remotely to a large extent. It reduces the service teams' workload and the resources MSPs need to handle IT services.
MSPs can also automate software updates and security patches using an ITAM tool and ensure that all the devices get them on time. They can also manage software licenses and allocate them most efficiently.
Making better data-driven decisions
IT asset management tools are usually a treasure trove of valuable data and insights. For example, InvGate Insight can give extensive details on software usage and hardware status and help you determine the cost and ROI of each of your IT assets.
Based on this data, organizations can optimize their software and hardware procurement cycles, improve their profit margins, and ensure the end-users get the best experience.
An excel sheet won’t do well as an asset management solution. Here’s why
Asset management is not just about keeping an inventory of assets. It’s about getting your assets to work for you, ensuring that they deliver the expected performance, are in the best conditions, and optimizing spending on them. And you cannot do this armed with an Excel sheet.
The solution won't be scalable if you manage your infrastructure with Excel. Hence, you’ll have to automate processes and checkboxes. A robust asset management solution can make this easier.
What are the features an MSP should look for in an ITAM tool?
When choosing an ITAM tool, MSPs should look for state-of-the-art analytics. They’ll need a solution that can give them a complete financial picture of all of their assets and granular data on individual purchases. The ITAM tool should empower stakeholders and executives to make data-driven financial designs.
MSPs will also need a system that can monitor many diverse devices. Their customers will have various requirements, and the asset management solution must be able to monitor and keep track of different devices. The system should be able to remotely access these devices, schedule updates and patches, and troubleshoot them as necessary.
In short, an asset management tool for a managed service provider should be able to help manage their resources efficiently and, simultaneously, be capable of supporting large IT infrastructures.
Frequently asked questions
What is SAM MSP or SAM Service Provider?
A software asset management managed service provider takes care of a client’s asset management needs using their skills, software, and resources. It is a sub-category of MSPs or a niche MSP function in which a client pays an MSP to take care of their IT service needs (software asset management in this case).
Does an MSP need an asset management solution?
Yes. MSPs or managed service providers manage massive infrastructures for multiple clients, and they should get an asset management tool to streamline this. Without an ITAM tool, they can face asset loss, unexpected downtime, cyberattacks, and their IT expenditure can go out of control.
What is an RMM or a Remote Monitoring and Management solution?
An RMM or Remote Monitoring and Management is software used for remotely monitoring or controlling devices. They’re used for remotely troubleshooting appliances, installing software or a software patch, and watching them for any malfunctions.