Level Platforms Helps MSPs Manage Office 365, Google Apps
Level Platforms is seeking to help VARs and MSPs remotely monitor Office 365 and Google Apps for customers. But the big question: Can channel partners really add value to cloud services from Microsoft and Google, especially when Microsoft and Google essentially control the reliability and scalability of their respective cloud computing platforms?
I’ve got some mixed views on this topic. On the one hand, VARs and MSPs often feel helpless when Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 go dark — leaving customers in a lurch until Microsoft or Google bring their respective cloud service back online. But on the other hand, Level Platforms is definitely bringing some value to the table with its cloud management effort.
Managing Office 365, Google Apps
Level Platforms claims that its latest software release, called Managed Workplace 2011 R3, offers “advanced monitoring and management of cloud services such as Office 365 and Google Docs.” The new release also offers some managed print services capabilities.
Level Platforms adds:
Consider the following scenario: A customer can’t access an Exchange Online service from Office 365. Using Managed Workplace, the MSP can likely determine if the issue resides on the customer’s endpoint, at the firewall, somewhere out on the Internet, or with Microsoft’s service. So while the MSP can’t “restore” Microsoft’s cloud, the MSP can potentially pinpoint and rectify other issues related to cloud responsiveness.
Cloud Management Strategy
This isn’t a new theme for Level Platforms. CEO Peter Sandiford has been talking about cloud management, focused on Office 365 and its predecessor BPOS, for about two years.
Generally speaking, I think most MSPs are still trying to figure out if they really need Office 365 and Google Apps monitoring capabilities. But we’ll keep watching Level Platforms to see if MSPs embrace the strategy.