Our team occasionally encounters questions from Continuum partners about the difference between our network assessment tools that are available to them from Continuum, and the reports available through Continuum’s RMM software. While both systems are looking at a wide array of network and machine data and activity, the way they collect and report on that information is very different.
In this post, we’ll cover how network assessments work, and how you can leverage them as a tool for prospecting new clients and retaining your existing ones.
How to Perform a Network Assessment with Continuum
Continuum’s Remote Monitoring and Management software relies on agents that are installed on network servers and end-user machines. They are continuously running, looking for predefined conditions and generating alerts when those conditions are met. In comparison, the network assessment tools that Continuum offers require no agents, probes, or installs, and are designed to take a “snapshot” of the network, capturing a much more comprehensive view of the network infrastructure. Instead of generating real-time alerts, the assessment tools will automatically aggregate the massive amount of collected information, organize it into logical groupings, analyze the results to highlight things that need attention, and generate branded reports for internal consumption or to be shared with the client.
This makes the assessment tools ideal for prospecting. You can leverage network assessments to:
- Discover issues that the client is unaware of to highlight the unrealized need for your services.
- Generate professionally prepared, prospect-facing reports that will differentiate you—and what you can do—from the incumbent network manager.
- Assess the condition of a prospect’s network ahead of time, to help you properly quote your services.
- Establish a management that prioritizes network issues from highest to lowest risk, helping your prospect understand the need for a recurring service contract.
For Analyzing the Network
The Continuum RMM tool is essential for monitoring network activity once you land a new client. It also allows you to easily deploy new software and new patches across an entire client system. However, the RMM software is a post-sales tools by nature, whereas network assessments can be used to capture sales as well as service existing customers.
For example, it would be difficult to enter a prospect’s location and install monitoring agents onto their system before a contract is signed, for a number of reasons. First, it takes significant time to deploy agents. Second, you are making changes to the network, and if something goes wrong, you might get the blame. Third, the incumbent IT company will know someone was on the network, and your prospect will want to avoid that. Finally, if you don’t win the managed service agreement, you’ll be required to send an engineer out to remove the agents. This once again is a change to the network, and will cost you time and money.
A non-intrusive, agentless network assessment scan can be used as a free offering to help get you in a prospect’s door. Since it is agentless, it avoids all the pitfalls of installing monitoring agents. And the resulting reports almost always identify issues that need to be addressed, highlighting your expertise and providing an opportunity to offer remediation.
They are also useful to determine how many RMM agents, antivirus licenses, backup storage, etc. are necessary for a new client site.
For Improving Service Delivery
But, in addition for use as a new business tool, the network assessment tools they are equally valuable for improving service delivery when conducted on a regular basis on client networks alongside the RMM software. Special change reports and management plans generated by the tools allow you to identify hidden changes to the network and machines that are connected to it – and see patterns and trends that the RMM agents aren’t built to detect.
Network assessments can also be used as a verification tool, to ensure that RMM systems are working effectively. For instance, if your client adds a new computer to the network without installing an RMM agent, your RMM software has no way of knowing. A network assessment scan will flag the new addition. And what if your RMM solution falsely reports a successful patch, which happened to several Wannacry victims? Regular monthly or quarterly network scans will verify that your patches are current—a crucial factor to maintaining the long-term viability of your clients’ networks.
That’s why it makes sense for you to have both the Continuum RMM software and complementary IT assessment tools at your disposal to deliver a more comprehensive and effective offering.
By Gretchen Hoffman