Security Central: IT Glue Says Password Management May Not Be Sexy, But You Still Need It
Years ago, Chris Day saw a problem in his managed service provider business, Fully Managed. His techs were spending too much time trying to collect the documentation they needed to service customers and keep client accounts up-to-date in his professional services automation (PSA) platform. He looked around for a product that would offer a multi-tenant solution for IT documentation, and couldn’t find one. So he decided to build it himself.
The platform streamlined his MSP operations and help desk service processes exactly as he’d hoped it would, and it wasn’t long before he realized his wasn’t the only MSP that would benefit from such a solution. He decided to spin it off into its own product within its own company. Five years ago, IT Glue was born.
From the get-go, Day understood that Fully Managed competitors were the sales targets for IT Glue. He needed to establish trust with other MSPs he hoped would buy the product, so he quickly formed a partner advisory council and built out the platform according to the feedback IT Glue received in conversations with channel partners. Today, IT Glue has a Slack channel for customers to chat through and a public idea forum where users can submit ideas, ask about features and vote on product developments. Five years after its founding, IT Glue is used by more than 60,000 customers, and its popularity is pushing other MSP-management software providers to either up their IT documentation game or integrate IT Glue into its own solutions — a critical ask from customers.
Jory Lane, director of technology for managed service provider D-Tech Consulting, has been a ConnectWise partner for years, and considers its PSA one of the best in the business. While the platform’s core modules such as its service desk, projects module, and agreement and invoicing are a business imperative in today’s MSP landscape, it has some severe limitations.
“The features for ConnectWise as far as storing procedural documentation, so your step-by-steps, your how-tos, it’s just not where we needed it to be,” says Lane. “Now there may have been some changes in the last couple years that I can’t speak to, but it wasn’t its strong point, and I don’t believe it still is.”
Lane explains that ConnectWise and other PSA platforms offer modules like the ability to store procedural documentation or provide granular permissions for assets, but those capabilities just weren’t where Lane needed them to be. He couldn’t store a password for a server, for instance, and lock it down by specific groups or individual users the way he needed to.
In all the talk these days around things like threat detection and response or cognitive security prediction capabilities, we don’t hear a lot about password management. It isn’t a sexy topic, and password managers have been around for well over a decade. Despite this, we hear instance after instance of users’ lax behavior resulting in bad actors gaining access to ridiculously easy passwords, and thus the entire network.
“A lot of the big conversation is around just trying so hard to educate users and protected users from themselves, so to speak,” says Luis Giraldo, vice president of product at IT Glue. “You can implement all of the technology in the world that you want but if they keep clicking on that link, or to It Glue’s point, if they keep using the same terrible passwords over and over again, none of it’s really going to matter.”
Security issues aside, password management is a time-consuming headache for technicians. Users forget their passwords or lock themselves out after trying too many times to enter login credentials. Forrester Research estimates that the average help desk labor cost for a single password reset is about $70. If you take away the need to reset those passwords constantly, says Giraldo, you can reduce the number of help desk tickets significantly and free tier one techs up to generating profit through projects or additional sales efforts.
It seems like a simple thing, but IT Glue’s partner community began asking for a solution to help them manage passwords. There were already solutions that would somewhat fit their customers’ needs, but MSPs needed a multi-tiered product that could store all of their documentation in one place, not to mention sell as a separate product to clients. IT Glue decided to address the problem with its own password management offering, My Glue.
IT Glue and My Glue both are designed for one reason: to increase efficiencies. MSPs are managing more customers, more data and more software platforms than ever — and trying to do it with the same size staff. And if partners could make a little on the backend through My Glue resales, all the better.
“It’s a product that’s filling a gap that needed to be filled, and it’s a new SKU we can put on our agreements,” said Lane. “It’s a great opportunity for us to go out, show them this product, show them how affordable it is, how easy it is to work with, and how if they desire, it could integrate directly with us as their IT provider as well for sharing information and documentation.”
In other words, it’s priced low enough that D-Tech can sell it to their customer’s customers and leverage it as a sales tool for the more comprehensive IT Glue platform.
And, says Lane, IT Glue and My Glue is designed to provide a user experience (UX) that makes it easy to search for data, which further helps with efficiency in terms of reducing on boarding time. It can easily take three to six months to onboard a junior level technician who’s suddenly tasked with managing 50 clients and 2,000 endpoints. Anything an MSP can do to make the UX easy to navigate is a plus. With its quick search bar, mobile app and Chrome extensions, it’s easier for new users to acclimate to the platform in order to start meeting service level goals.
Password management might not be as sexy as other security tools on the market today, but it remains a security imperative. In an ideal world, users would admit they needed to up their password security game. But MSPs have to run their business in this world, where users are careless and need something simple to help them stay secure — and stay off of the help desk lines.