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The Power of Remediating Problems Remotely

Mike Matchett

Recently I talked at length with Jeremy Kurth, the CTO of Logically, about the key services delivered by Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) and how to think about them.  Problem remediation came up a lot, and the importance of fixing problems remotely. In the past, MSP’s tended to be small, regionally tied outfits so that they could either place experts on their customer’s sites, or quickly parachute them in “in-person” when problems occurred.  Today, as we’ve evolved IT in so many ways to support remote and distributed users and cloud-based global workloads, the idea and effectiveness of remote management has really taken hold.

System administrators and technicians can now fix most issues as easily half a world away as they can standing in front of the server rack. With today’s cheap flash storage options, there is increasingly less dependence on data structures that need constant swapping out of failing hard drives.  Overall, virtualization that pools resources, consolidation, software-defined resources and cloud infrastructure are decreasing the things a datacenter IT admin need to physically administer on a daily or individualized basis.

Though advancements in IT allow for most problems to be remediated remotely, there’s still a growing need for additional technology expertise to figure out what to do.  In fact, issues that crop up need to be addressed and remediated faster, as they will affect a wider swath of users and workloads.  Lose a central virtual cluster today, and perhaps all of an SMB’s workloads will go down.

When shopping around for a good MSP, it pays to check not only on their bench of expertise and upstream technology partner relationships, but also look at the way they assign support teams, the internal training and remediation process those teams follow, the level of automation provided to them, and the MSP’s overall ability to escalate to their hands-on deep experts. 

According to Jeremy, it’s essential for an MSP to expertly find, solve and remediate support tickets proactively, and with their ongoing automation of experts they’ve seen 97% of their daily tickets closed quickly and remotely. 

Resolution time is a key metric of successful remediation, probably only second to fixing the problem correctly. That includes intelligent automation that can find real problems in all the noisy monitoring data streams and proactively deal with impending issues before they even become problems.  In my opinion, stopping even one potential end-user problem so that it never causes any business disruption can easily justify a year’s worth of remediation service!

From a reporting perspective, I’d look for an MSP that can easily show you how many issues they’ve remediated for you over time, how many items were proactively remediated, how many internal escalations took place, and of course, the open issues and potential gaps in coverage you currently have. Too many MSP’s will take an SMB’s money for a service, then never really perform that service unless specifically tasked or pushed into it.  You really want an MSP that is going to work with you from day 1, and be proactive in their relationship with you as well as being proactive in their problem remediations.