How to start an MSP

Young man in his living room drinking coffee, looking at his smartphone and paperwork, and planning how to start an MSP


Want to start a managed service provider or MSP business? Ultimately, your success as an MSP depends upon effectively empowering your people/agents with the right tools and training to support client companies. Learn how to support your MSP employees and delight your MSP customers/clients.

What does an MSP do?

Managed service providers manage a range of IT processes and functions, like a call center or IT helpdesk for the purpose of improving a client’s operational efficiency. Outsourcing IT support allows small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to essentially “rent” an IT department rather than hire expensive, hard to find in-house talent, thus reducing costs. In addition, hiring an MSP allows SMBs to benefit from an MSP’s specialized expertise, enabling the SMB to focus on its core business, which is presumably not IT support.

What technology does an MSP need?

When thinking about how to start an MSP, be sure your technology supports all the capabilities you want and need to deliver to your customers. Well-rounded MSP capabilities stem from well-rounded MSP technologies.

1. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software.

RMM software allows the MSP to gain visibility and control over their clients’ endpoints to stay ahead of technical issues. By keeping client endpoints healthy and up to date, MSPs can support the uptime their clients depend on to stay productive.

Equipment and capacity monitoring. By using background access, MSP agents can monitor system diagnostics and keep end user machines updated without disturbing end users. Alerts for unexpected hardware and software failures allow an MSP agent to proactively address potential client IT support issues before they become “real” problems.

Remote execution and other remote access features. These tools eliminate repetitive tasks and help MSP agents save time, stay on track, and scale services by automating manual tasks and workflows across thousands of client company computers simultaneously with custom or pre-written scripts. MSPs can also complete background administration tasks such as transferring files without impacting employee workflows.

2. Remote support software.

Remote support software allows the MSP to deliver on-demand troubleshooting and issue resolution for client companies when they encounter technical issues. Because client devices can vary, the ability to offer multi-platform support to all devices including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chromebooks is key.

  • Multi-agent collaboration. This allows an MSP agent to invite other agents to collaborate on a live session, which is especially useful when tackling complex IT issues.
  • Simultaneous support for multiple end users. This capability optimizes an MSP agent’s time and prevents end users in need from waiting too long to get help by allowing the agent to support several end users simultaneously. Agents can start new sessions when they already have an active session.
  • Unattended remote support sessions. This allows MSP agents to complete fixes when it’s convenient for everyone.
  • Camera sharing. This allows the MSP to support anything and everything their clients rely on, including non-connected physical equipment that cannot otherwise be accessed. It uses the end user’s smartphone camera to give the MSP agent eyes on the scene to troubleshoot issues with devices like Wi-Fi routers, printers, and more.

3. Enterprise-grade security.

MSPs and client companies alike are prioritizing cybersecurity to defend against cyberthreats, malicious actors, and IT vulnerabilities. Security that can be relied upon becomes a big competitive advantage for MSPs, and requires:

  • Zero trust identity-based access control that requires identity authentication before remote access tasks are executed. This helps prevent supply chain attacks that can give a malicious actor unfettered access to all endpoints within an IT environment.
  • Permission-based support with data encryption using government-approved 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • SSO to securely log in with the same credentials used for other enterprise apps and multi-factor authentication/MFA for a second level of security to make credential attacks extremely difficult.

4. End user portal.

This provides an easy way for you and your clients to stay in communication. Your end user can use this portal to seek IT help, and it ties into the MSPs helpdesk interface and automatic ticketing to eliminate the manual workload of creating and managing tickets.

5. Multi-tenancy capabilities and PSA integrations.

IT software with multi-tenancy architecture can simplify how MSPs organize, configure, and bill each of their client accounts. PSA integrations can also save you time with streamlined reporting and administration.

Combat talent shortages and MSP onboarding challenges

To stay competitive, MSPs need to develop service offerings that deliver superior value-added services to their client companies, but they are not immune to the increased competition for IT talent and high employee turnover rates. In fact, MSPs confront two big obstacles to adding premium services for their client companies:

  1. The need for technical training among MSP staff (44% report this)
  2. A difficulty of hiring people with the necessary skill sets (37% report this)

Effectively training IT staff and onboarding them onto tools that support their success is not only foundational for productivity (both for MSP agents and the client companies they serve), but also to reduce employee turnover. MSP employees who struggle to help clients due to gaps in their knowledge are often unhappy (and thus at a higher turnover risk) and less productive.

MSPs must invest in easy-to-manage technology tools to facilitate smoother, faster onboarding of new agents. The fewer tools an MSP agent needs to toggle back and forth between, and the easier it is to learn how to use those tools, the better it is for agents and end users alike. More tools and more complex tools, on the other hand, only lead to more problems with training, onboarding, and employee engagement.

Set up your MSP for success with easy, consolidated tools

Having a single IT support platform like GoTo Resolve for Managed Service Providers can truly maximize productivity by eliminating constant toggling back and forth to access the right tools to resolve client issues. Having a unified platform that delivers everything you need to support your MSP clients is a massive win-win-win for you, your employees, and your client companies.

GoTo can help you optimize your new or existing MSP with GoTo Resolve for MSPs, a comprehensive, unified, and easy-to-deploy MSP solution.

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