A Comprehensive Guide to Popular MSP Automation Tools, Sorted by Category and Uses

A Comprehensive Guide to Popular MSP Automation Tools, Sorted by Category and Uses

September 15, 2023

While the digital service provider industry is always adapting to advances in IT software, MSPs still have many labor-intensive and mundane tasks that their teams continue to execute manually. Automation tools present an exciting opportunity to streamline existing systems by delegating day-to-day activities like software deployment, cloud provisioning, system administration, update installation and more entirely to software platforms.

From remote monitoring to CRMs, this article will take a look at the key players in the automation software industry to help you create the right stack for your MSP. Read on to know more about the various types of MSP automation tools currently available, with specific recommendations for each category.

What Is MSP Automation?

MSP automation refers to the use of software tools and systems by Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to automate routine tasks and processes. These tasks can range from IT administration and maintenance to accounting, human resources, sales, and marketing management. The goal of MSP automation is to increase efficiency, reduce manual errors, and free up time for the team to focus on more complex, strategic tasks.

MSP automation can involve several different types of tools and technologies, including:

  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): These tools allow MSPs to monitor and manage client systems and networks remotely. They can automate tasks like patch management, software updates, and troubleshooting.
  • Professional Services Automation (PSA): These tools help MSPs manage their day-to-day operations and business processes. They can automate tasks like ticketing, billing, project management, and resource allocation.
  • IT Service Management (ITSM): These tools help MSPs deliver IT services to their clients. They can automate tasks like incident management, problem management, change management, and service request management.
  • Security Automation: These tools help MSPs manage and automate their cybersecurity tasks. They can automate tasks like threat detection, incident response, and compliance reporting.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR): These tools help MSPs protect their clients' data and systems by automating the backup and recovery process.
  • Network Assessment: These tools help MSPs assess the health and performance of their clients' networks. They can automate tasks like network scanning, performance monitoring, and vulnerability assessment.
  • Patch Management: These tools help MSPs keep their clients' systems up to date by automating the process of applying patches.
  • IT Documentation: These tools help MSPs manage and automate the process of creating and maintaining IT documentation.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): These tools help MSPs manage their relationships with clients and automate sales and marketing tasks.
  • Business Intelligence (BI): These tools help MSPs analyze their business data to make informed decisions. They can automate tasks like data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  • Cloud Management: These tools help MSPs manage and automate tasks related to cloud computing, such as provisioning, scaling, and monitoring cloud resources.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): These tools help MSPs manage and automate tasks related to identity verification and access control.

1. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) Tools

RMM tools are a type of software used by Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to proactively monitor and manage the IT systems of their clients. These tools provide MSPs with remote, behind-the-scenes access to the IT infrastructure of their clients, including servers, networks, and endpoints, allowing them to detect and resolve issues without disrupting the client's operations. RMM tools often include features like automated maintenance, patch management, and alerts for issues that need manual intervention.

  • SolarWinds RMM: This tool provides a comprehensive set of features including remote access, automated monitoring, maintenance tasks, and reporting. It also includes security features such as managed antivirus and web protection.
  • ConnectWise Automate: Known for its robust automation capabilities, ConnectWise Automate allows MSPs to automate routine tasks, freeing up time for more strategic initiatives. It also provides features for patch management, remote control, and network discovery.
  • Kaseya VSA: Kaseya VSA provides a combination of RMM and PSA features. It offers remote control, patch management, auditing, inventory management, and more. It also integrates with other Kaseya solutions for a more comprehensive MSP toolset.

2. Professional Services Automation (PSA) Tools

PSA tools are comprehensive software systems used by service-oriented companies to streamline and automate all major business operations. For MSPs, this includes project management, time tracking and billing, contract management, resource allocation, and customer relationship management. PSA tools provide a centralized platform for managing all client work and internal processes, improving efficiency, and providing insights to help with decision-making.

  • Autotask PSA: This tool provides a suite of features for service desk management, CRM, billing, and project management. It also integrates with Autotask's RMM tool for a more seamless workflow.
  • ConnectWise Manage: ConnectWise Manage is a comprehensive PSA tool that includes features for service ticketing, project management, billing, and reporting. It also integrates with other ConnectWise solutions for a complete MSP platform.
  • Kaseya BMS: Kaseya BMS is a PSA solution that offers features for project management, billing, inventory, CRM, and more. It's designed to free up MSPs from the administrative tasks that often consume their day.

3. IT Service Management (ITSM) Tools

ITSM tools are used to align IT services with the needs of the business. They focus on providing a structured approach to the design, delivery, management, and improvement of the way information technology (IT) is used within an organization. Key processes managed by ITSM tools include incident management (dealing with IT disruptions), problem management (identifying and removing defects in IT services), and change management (controlling changes to IT services).

  • ServiceNow: ServiceNow is a leading ITSM tool that provides a range of features for IT service delivery and operations management. It also offers capabilities for IT business management and application development.
  • BMC Remedy: BMC Remedy is an ITSM tool that provides features for service desk management, incident and problem management, change management, and more. It also offers capabilities for IT operations management and digital workplace management.
  • Cherwell ITSM: Cherwell ITSM is a flexible and customizable ITSM solution that provides features for incident management, problem management, change management, and more. It also offers capabilities for IT asset management and project management.

4. Security Automation Tools

Security automation tools are used by MSPs to automate a wide range of cybersecurity tasks, including threat detection, incident response, and compliance reporting. These tools use technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify potential threats, respond to security incidents, and generate reports for compliance purposes. This not only improves the speed and efficiency of cybersecurity operations but also helps MSPs to provide a higher level of service to their clients.

  • Rapid7 InsightIDR: This tool provides features for threat detection, incident response, and compliance management. It uses user behavior analytics and endpoint detection to identify threats quickly.
  • AlienVault USM: AlienVault USM provides a range of security features including asset discovery, vulnerability assessment, intrusion detection, behavioral monitoring, and SIEM (security information and event management).
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection: This tool provides multi-layered protection to secure endpoints against malware and attacks. It uses machine learning and behavior analysis to detect threats.

5. Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) Tools

BDR tools are used by MSPs to protect their clients' data from potential loss or damage. These tools automate the process of creating backups of data at regular intervals and storing them in a secure location. In the event of a disaster, such as a cyberattack, system failure, or natural disaster, the BDR tool can be used to restore the lost data from the most recent backup.

  • Datto: Datto offers business continuity and disaster recovery solutions that provide data backup, recovery, and business continuity for local, virtual, and cloud environments.
  • Veeam: Veeam provides a range of products for data backup and recovery, including solutions for cloud data management and backup for Microsoft Office 365.
  • Acronis Cyber Backup: Acronis provides cyber protection and hybrid cloud storage through its range of products. It offers fast and reliable backup, disaster recovery, and secure data access.

6. Network Assessment Tools

Network assessment tools are used by MSPs to evaluate the performance and health of their clients' networks. These tools can monitor network traffic, identify bottlenecks, detect performance issues, and provide insights into network usage. They can also identify potential security vulnerabilities in the network, helping MSPs to protect their clients from cyber threats.

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor: This tool provides comprehensive network performance monitoring features that allow MSPs to detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues.
  • Paessler PRTG Network Monitor: PRTG Network Monitor allows MSPs to monitor all systems, devices, traffic, and applications of their IT infrastructure.
  • ManageEngine OpManager: OpManager provides network monitoring features like physical and virtual server monitoring, flow-based bandwidth analysis, firewall log analysis and archiving, and configuration and change management.

7. Patch Management Tools

Patch management tools are used by MSPs to automate the process of applying patches to their clients' IT systems. Patches are updates released by software vendors to fix bugs, improve performance, or address security vulnerabilities. Patch management tools can identify which patches are needed for each system, download and install them automatically, and generate reports to confirm that all systems are up-to-date.

  • ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus: This tool provides automated patch management for Windows, macOS, and Linux endpoints, plus patching support for 300+ third-party applications. It's available both on-premises and on the cloud.
  • SolarWinds Patch Manager: SolarWinds Patch Manager makes it easy to perform 3rd-party patch management across tens of thousands of servers and workstations, and enables you to leverage and extend the capabilities of Microsoft WSUS or SCCM to report, deploy, and manage 3rd-party patches as well as Microsoft patches.
  • Automox: Automox is a cloud-based patch management platform that provides automated patch deployment, OS patching, software patching, configuration management, and software deployment.

8. IT Documentation Tools

IT documentation tools are used by MSPs to create and maintain a comprehensive record of their clients' IT infrastructure, including systems, configurations, and processes. These tools can automate the process of documenting IT assets, making it easier for MSPs to manage their clients' IT environments and respond to issues.

  • IT Glue: IT Glue is a cloud-based IT documentation platform that allows you to document applications, devices, passwords, and other IT assets.
  • Confluence: Confluence is a team collaboration software that provides a platform for creating, organizing, and discussing work with your team.
  • Docusnap: Docusnap makes the visualization and evaluation of your network's inventory a breeze. It offers features like IT documentation, network visualization, license management, and more.

9. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

CRM tools are used by MSPs to manage their relationships with clients and automate various sales and marketing tasks. These tools can track interactions with clients, manage sales pipelines, automate marketing campaigns, and provide insights into client behavior and preferences.

  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a comprehensive CRM platform that provides tools for sales, service, marketing, and more.
  • Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM offers a wide range of tools for sales force automation, lead management, omnichannel communication, and more.
  • HubSpot: HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software to help businesses grow.

10. Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

BI tools are used by MSPs to analyze their business data and make informed decisions. These tools can collect data from various sources, analyze it, and present it in an easy-to-understand format, such as dashboards or reports. BI tools can provide insights into various aspects of the business, such as sales performance, customer behavior, and operational efficiency. This can help MSPs identify trends, spot issues, and make data-driven decisions.

  • Tableau: Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool that can help you create interactive, shareable dashboards.
  • Microsoft Power BI: Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization.
  • QlikView: QlikView is a business discovery platform that provides self-service BI for all business users in organizations.

11. Cloud Management Tools

Cloud management tools are used by MSPs to manage and automate tasks related to cloud computing. These tools can help MSPs provision and manage cloud resources, monitor cloud performance, ensure cloud security, and optimize cloud costs. They can also provide a centralized platform for managing multi-cloud environments, making it easier for MSPs to manage their clients' IT infrastructure across different cloud platforms.

  • CloudHealth: CloudHealth by VMware provides a cloud management platform that delivers detailed and accurate cost management, security, and governance for multi-cloud environments.
  • CloudCheckr: CloudCheckr provides a unified cost and security automation platform that gives you visibility, insight, and automation for your AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud environments.
  • Flexera: Flexera provides IT management solutions that help enterprises manage and optimize their technology footprint, from software and hardware to cloud.

12. Identity and Access Management (IAM) Tools

IAM tools are used by MSPs to manage and automate tasks related to identity verification and access control. These tools can help MSPs ensure that only authorized individuals have access to certain IT resources. IAM tools can automate tasks such as user authentication, role-based access control, password management, and audit reporting. This can help MSPs improve security, ensure compliance, and enhance user productivity.

  • Okta: Okta provides a comprehensive suite of identity and access management solutions that include single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, lifecycle management, and more.
  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Azure Active Directory is Microsoft's cloud-based identity and access management service, which helps your employees sign in and access resources.
  • OneLogin: OneLogin's Unified Access Management platform makes it simple and secure for users to access the apps and data they need, anytime, everywhere.

Simeon Cloud: The All-in-One MSP Automation Stack for Microsoft 365 Users

Simeon Cloud is a comprehensive solution that provides a full suite of tools for managing Microsoft 365. It's designed to automate and simplify the management of M365, making it an ideal choice for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Simeon's automation capabilities are one of its key strengths. It allows you to automate repetitive jobs like user provisioning, policy enforcement, and compliance checks — helping you dedicated your time and resources towards more complex and tactical tasks.

Here's a more detailed overview of how Simeon can help MSPs automate mundane workflows:

Audit & Backup:

Simeon Cloud provides a detailed audit trail of your Microsoft 365 environments, all in a single pane of glass. This allows for easy tracking and understanding of changes made across the environment. In addition, it offers the ability to restore configurations to a desired state, ensuring that even in the event of an error, your settings can be reverted without loss of data or functionality.

Baselines & Compliance:

With Simeon Cloud, you can establish baselines for best practices, track drift, and align configurations to the desired state. This ensures that your Microsoft 365 environment remains consistent and adheres to the standards set by your organization. This is particularly useful for maintaining compliance with various industry regulations and standards.

Monitoring & Reporting:

Simeon Cloud offers holistic reporting on your Microsoft 365 environments in a single pane of glass. This means you can monitor all aspects of your environment from one place, making it easier to identify and address issues. Additionally, Simeon Cloud can alert you to changes before they become problems, allowing for proactive management of your environment.

Dev & Test Environments:

Simeon Cloud allows you to sync configurations across your non-production and production environments. This ensures consistency across your environments and allows for seamless promotion of lifecycle changes with advanced approval workflows.

Multi-Tenant Management:

For MSPs managing multiple clients, Simeon Cloud offers multi-tenant management. This allows you to manage multiple tenants with a single set of policies, improving scale and standardization across all your clients.

Application Packaging:

Simeon Cloud provides a feature for reusing, editing, and deploying app packages between tenants and to multiple tenants in bulk. This eliminates countless hours of manual work and ensures consistency in the applications deployed across your environment.

Automated Provisioning:

With Simeon Cloud, you can deploy Microsoft 365 environments from customizable templates with a single click. This improves scale, automation, and consistency across your deployments.

According to Chee Lam, CEO, Deskflix: “Our team would spend countless hours to upkeep and to ensure Microsoft 365 configuration consistencies across all our customers and still, there are gaps everywhere. Thanks to Simeon, we can now focus on providing white glove customer service.” Want to learn more about how Simeon can help you as an MSP? Request a demo with our sales team today to get started!