Over the last two years I’ve had meetings and conversations with MSPs about their business. Many of them came from the Value Added Reseller (VAR) business and have been asked by their customers to add additional services to help them better manage their business. This opened the door to augment their traditional reseller business into a MSP.
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Managed Service Providers continue to look for ways to deliver the highest level of service. It’s what keeps them “sticky” with their customers. The other thing they look for is a differentiator. Everyone does security. Everyone does voice. Everyone does cloud. Most have custom portals for users to see reports and issue trouble tickets. But few focus specifically on their customers’ end users. This is what Quality of Experience (QX) is all about.
Network uptime, router/switch management, high MOS scores for voice, DDOS mitigation, and content filtering are basic entry-level features for many MSPs. But having these services doesn’t guarantee the users on the network will perceive performance to be acceptable. For instance, if everyone in the office streams a news video or viral YouTube video, then networks stand a chance of having a “Brown Out” due to high volumes of traffic to what would normally be considered acceptable use applications. MOS scores can fall. Critical applications may become unresponsive and cloud access to SaaS becomes unavailable or unresponsive.
Today’s networks are all about Quality of Experience. If customers don’t experience a high level of satisfaction with WAN performance then they’re very likely to shop around and find a MSP that will deliver this for their company. Here are 3 ways MSPs use Exinda to differentiate themselves and deliver exceptional customer QX:
1. Monitoring and Reporting
Before any QX solution can be implemented it has to deliver extensive monitoring and reporting. It also has to be easy to generate these reports for customers. Exinda has developed an intuitive Web User Interface that is easy to understand and easy to generate reports – extensive reporting on networks, VLANs, IP Addresses, URLs, users, and applications. Using Application Performance Scoring it delivers alerting (see blog post by Nick Gagliardi: Does Your Online Student Testing Performance Make The Grade?) and can help you setup predefined reports to be delivered directly to your customer’s inbox at specific intervals, for example hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.
Quality of Experience is all about how the network is controlled. Not just application control but also by segment, user, time and host. It also has to be simple to understand and to implement. It needs to have both Global Policy and Customizable Policy. It needs to be managed locally or from a central cloud service with multi-tenant access. Exinda delivers effective control of all aspects of the network. Whether you need to protect or limit a “type” of application (like all streaming traffic) or be very specific like allowing only Skype-Voice to a specific host or user on the network.
One way to improve end user perception of performance is using a cache solution. While some cache software and appliances offer specific application cache, Exinda has implemented cache that is controllable (see point two above). Control needs to be complete. Caching without control doesn’t solve user complaints – it just masks them by making more bandwidth available to applications that might not be critical for the business. Exinda’s cache allows for applications or groups of applications to be controlled and cached. So when users on the network are trying to access the latest IOS update or download a new version of Adobe, applications like voice and video won’t suffer.
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