Outsourcing Network Management and Monitoring

Outsourcing to some, is a bad word. Almost as bad as “consulting”…. a word that makes me cringe. The fear of losing control seems to be the driving factor in steering IT folks clear of outsourcing. But it doesn’t have to be that way at least not with End to End. Now I don’t want to sound like a commercial, but I do see a significant advantage to our services over the competition. I will start by addressing the control factor.

Recently we were working with a prospect that had an existing Internet service with one of the big Canadian Carriers, I won’t mention names. As part of our engagement, we needed to gather some information regarding the configuration of the Cisco Router that terminated the Internet connection. The customer engaged their Carrier to provide configuration information and the carrier refused!!! Who’s network is this anyway? They played the “security card” and indicated that everything was provisioned and working as expected… After a couple of emails back and forth with the customer and carrier, I explained that this configuration was required for auditing purposes and that a “scrubbed” configuration, that is, a configuration that removes any reference to the carriers own security, would be fine. They still refused. Now I know we will eventually get a copy of the configuration, we just haven’t pushed hard enough yet. Since we have gone through this before, once we pull the compliance card, they will likely give in, but what a waste of everyone’s time.

Our Differentiator:

Like most MSP’s End to End provides a portal, where customers can access statistical information regarding their network and it’s performance. Unlike others however, End to End also provides access to all configuration files. Configurations are captured nightly and saved in our database. Access to scrubbed configurations are provided only to authorized users and they can be compared against previous configurations. In my previous example, access to these configurations would have saved countless emails, telephone calls and about two weeks.

Security appears to be another factor that shy’s IT folks away from Managed Services, but why is it then, that these same IT professionals allow a Carrier to control their Internet Gateway? I have had a lot of experience working with all of the carriers and I can guarantee you that Security is not their strong suit. In fact, I know the “default” password used by most of the Canadian carriers and I know that they never change it!!! Can you imagine this? Does it scare you? It would scare me!

Our Differentiator:

End to End uses RADIUS to control access to all devices that we Manage. This allows us to quickly add and remove user access to all devices that we manage. It allows us to track access by username, and to give customer either read only access or write access in a shared support model, AKA, co-source.

You have your own tool?

Unlike other Network Management tools our eView Portal is completely agent less. There is nothing to install at the customer premises. There is nothing to install anywhere, all we need is network connectivity – SNMP, Ping, SSH, HTTPS. Similar to the Salesforce.com model for CRM the eView portal can be up, Monitoring, Alarming and Capturing your Network in less time than it takes to install a competitor’s product.

Whats Next?

Our development team is working on an exciting new device access method that will truly be the most secure and functional means of network management, flexibility and control. Already in Beta, we expect the first release of this new access method to be in production by Q4 of 2010.

Perhaps you don’t want to outsource your network management and you just need a tool. End to End has already deployed this model to a number of our wholesale partners and as the need grows, the features are growing along with it.

So while the word “Consulting” still makes me cringe, I hope I have helped to convince you that Outsourcing is only a bad word when done by the wrong people.

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