Managed Services Without Big Up-Front Costs

Call it the managed services paradox: Plenty of VARs want to offer managed services, but they often lack deep enough pockets to pay for robust managed services platforms. What's the solution to this financial shortfall? Here are a few options.

During CompTIA's SMB Summit last week, I heard about a few pay-as-you-go MSP platforms that don't require big up-front payments from VARs. One prime example is SecureMyCompany.com, which leverages Kaseya and McAfee software in a hosted solution for VARs. But SecureMyCompany isn't alone. Rivals like ProactiveWatch.com are also jumping into the market.

For instance, ProactiveWatch has just launched its so-called "Managed Services the Easy Way" program, which allows VARs to generate recurring revenue with no up-front investment in managed services infrastructure. The company's subscription-based monitoring service is a month-to-month solution for VARs with no up-front commitment or other fees.

Frankly, I haven't dealt much -- yet -- with ProactiveWatch. But the trend toward zero or minimal up-front costs is undeniable. Even Autotask -- which one VAR recently called "the Cadillac of managed services platforms" -- has a $99 starter solution called Autotask Go. At minimal price points, MSP platform providers will surely grow the overall market for managed services.

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