What is our primary use case?
Our use cases for ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP are for configurations, updates, patching, and automating the patching. It is easier based on the rings that we want to update. It is much easier to update the deployment settings so any critical patches can get automatically updated. Certain patches can go through a particular sequence or test and be approved and also for software configurations or self-service portals for certain software or software license management. We also use it for MDM. MDM plays a good role with modern management and other aspects. That's a really good feature. Also the system tools are easy to manage and to maintain on any computer.
The other good aspects of it are its system tools. It comes with system tools which are really helpful for easily managing and maintaining the computers. We can schedule system activities, defragment activities, or any other sort of system maintenance activities quite easily. And then the other elements with the tool are deployment. So for any bare metal deployment where we have Dell or HP, we can have a golden image that can be deployed to multiple machines in bulk. That's another aspect of it.
One important element I would like to highlight is about the endpoint security aspects of it. We do have a good visibility and transparency on the vulnerability, threats and patches, any zero day updates. We can mitigate such risks quite easily with vulnerability management as part of the endpoint security, and the solution does have device controls. So any USB or any devices that may be be vulnerable can be protected. We have device controllability in the application solution.
It also has application controls. So any white listing, black listing or gray listing audit or enforcement mode can be easily achieved with the application manager. And I reckon we have two more. One is on the browser security, because a lot of vulnerabilities are happening based on plugins, add-ons, extensions, browser extensions, and other things. It also allows for managing multiple browsers in one go and keeping it up to date and making sure it's all protected. The bit locker management is the other element that's part of the solution.
So the whole suite is handy.
I have it both on-premises and cloud because as part of my day to day job, I need to demonstrate both based on the customer needs and requirements. So we have the SaaS solution and also we have it as an on-premises solution. The on-premises solution is preferred mostly by very security conscious organizations, but the majority are also opting for maximum security. The majority are going for SaaS based endpoint management and security solutions.
How has it helped my organization?
One important thing it does is protect the customers' security forte - making sure all the work station server applications are up to date and patched to mitigate any risk. That's one key element. The other one is about reducing the efforts involved. Say a customer, or we, spend quite some time doing this task, the effort has been reduced quite a lot and the efficiency improved significantly, and it saves a lot of money. The rate of return on investment is quite high with this.
What is most valuable?
The features that I have found most valuable are the threats and patches element of it. We have done quite a lot of testing compared to other vendors with identifying the vulnerabilities. This means a lot more accuracy in terms of the patches and making sure it's all up to date. It also identifies any sort of misconfigurations and zero day updates and if there is a fix, we can easily update it. Even if there is no fix, if there is some sort of manual resolution that is available based on certain vendors' updates, that is also available and quite handy. So engineers don't have to spend a lot of time identifying a resolution for a certain vulnerability. That is quite handy.
Another important element is the cool features with the repository. We use quite a lot of script. So the application comes with configuration management. So by default it has quite a lot of templates which make the job much easier. On top of that, if we need any custom scripts, we can put it all in a single repository and access them when we need it to use them.
The tool is pretty intuitive and it's not too cumbersome. It's not too complicated. Anyone with a basic knowledge can easily get on with it and get their hands dirty.
What needs improvement?
I am an advocate of the solution, but at the same time, I'm also a devil's advocate. Although they say it is an enterprise solution, we don't have 24/seven human support. All we have is only 24/five support available from the vendor. But in terms of 24/seven, they do have a community support and an online chat bot and other things, but the human support is only available from them 24/five. That is one area that the vendor can improve.
In the next release or next update, they literally started supporting quite a lot of environments, so they do support all flavors of Windows, Macs, Linux and other platforms. I would like to see more in the SaaS tool. The one that is missing is the software deployment for Linux platforms. And I reckon that's already in the next release, but if they can speed it up that would be good.
For how long have I used the solution?
I am one of the distributors for ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP for the New Zealand market and not just a partner distributor, I'm also a user for the solution because we use it for internal purposes, as well.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
As an application by default, it's not a hundred percent bulletproof. Some vulnerabilities will always be there, but what I like about the application is that it is all transparent per ManageEngine''s security policy. It is pretty much transparent, available to all customers and any reported vulnerabilities get addressed accordingly. They also have the bug bounty program and the ManageEngine's security team is quite responsive in terms of any reported vulnerabilities with the tool. I've seen there are certain issues that got fixed in less than 24 hours towards any critical vulnerability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP is pretty easy to scale if it's on premises. We know about a real deployment in South Africa where they are managing about 53,000 devices in one single application server. That is one of the deployments I've heard in the solution for the desktop central endpoint management and security. But in terms of cloud, there is no limit at all - the scalability is quite easy. There is scalability on the SaaS based solution, too. There is no limit at all. So based on customers' needs, spending ability, and their requirements, they can scale it up.
Our clients definitely have plans to increase their usage in the future. I represent New Zealand as a Product Manager, so I see quite a lot of uptake in terms of security solutions, particularly from all segments, all verticals of our industry. I see the good aspects of ManageEngines. They provide free endpoint security management and security solutions for up to 25 devices. A lot of small businesses are quite comfortable and covered with the free solution. It has all the features. There is no restriction in terms of features as such.
But with respect to any organizations who have more than 25 devices that need to be managed, they are more than happy to pay for it because the investment that they're making, and the returns that they're getting, are significantly high and the value for purchases is quite huge. We are having a lot more conversations with a lot of customers across the mid-segment, big enterprises, a lot of government agencies, councils, central government agencies, and even the security agencies. We have quite a lot of inquiries around this tool. They are using it quite a lot.
How are customer service and support?
Customer service is very knowledgeable. There is no doubt about it because ManageEngine's workforce has been built based to be 80 to 90% engineers and architects, mostly from technical. There is an area for improvement in terms of their customer service approach, when it comes to different zones or different types of customers they are dealing with. But they're quite prompt and they're very responsive and knowledgeable.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
As a software distributor, we ourselves use quite a few other solutions as well, which are still on the cards for us to weigh. ManageEngine is quite easy to deal with and very easy and simple to manage compared to the other tools that require a lot more technical competency to manage and lot more time to be spent on them. So in that way, ManageEngine is very simple. We also take into consideration that although it is in one of the sweet spots where cost per device make ManageEngine ideal for enterprise, it may not be ideal for the MSP market because we don't have any kind of MSP monthly billing and things like that. They do have MSP solutions, but it's still not too welcomed by our MSP market because of the billing and pricing aspects.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is very straightforward. It's pretty easy. The deployment is quite simple. The application comes with a single packaged installation file by default with a post press database and a packaged installation. All you need to do is download the application and install it in the right spec server. You just need to have all the firewall configurations updated accordingly and the product is ready to go within an hour. And if it is SaaS based, it's much easier. It literally takes about five to 10 minutes to have the application spun up in our Australia data center or in US or in Europe based on the customers' data center cluster. It's literally less than an hour and a customer can start having their rings secured.
The number of people involved in the deployment depends on the organization. For us, it's literally just me. You can manage the aspects of it because once I update all the appropriate automation policies and stuff, then it is really simple to manage. But there are certain customers who work with a larger team. They have multiple policies that are designed for each and every department and business unit and business functions. So, for deployment, if a customer wanted to have it in their SQL environment, all they need is probably an initial assistance from a database administrator and some firewall assistance from network admin or firewall administrator and an application, a champion or an application or owner who can install the application and they can start using it right away.
Literally in less than hour we can get the application up and running, if not even less time. If it's cloud it literally takes about 10, 15 minutes. If it is on premise, a similar time but if you have to customize the configuration based on multiple department functions, rings and other things, then it might take a bit longer to do the last mile configuration optimization based on each and every department's function.
What was our ROI?
Our customers have definitely seen some good returns on investment from using ManageEngine.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP is very, very reasonable compared to the market based on multiple solutions that we review. ManageEngine sits in the easy to afford category for any organization, it's not too expensive and it's pretty affordable based on the organization's needs and demands.
There is just the annual subscription fee. The annual subscription comes with the default annual maintenance and support contract services. But there are some other people who don't have as much resources. They might seek out professional or implementation services if the customer needed additional services, and those are charged accordingly based on the scope of work involved and any training that's required. But most of the customers are quite comfortable and they get it all done by themselves.
What other advice do I have?
My advice to anyone considering ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP is to choose your data center right. It is easy to get carried away without knowing where we are setting up. By default, ManageEngine applies some intelligence based on the location IP address. It recommends the right data center to pick it up, but that's one important element. Another thing is that any customers who are using ManageEngine solution services can also subscribe to our cloud availability services, the status page. So we get to know if there is any maintenance and also keep an eye on the roadmap. We get to know what's happening, what's coming. If any major release is coming, the team keeps everyone updated.
The customer community support forum is quite responsive and very helpful, everyone helping each other. Different organizations put their challenges and some of their best practices out there so that other organizations with similar challenges can benefit. This a good aspect. I recommend to please be a part of the global community and we can help each other.
On a scale of one to ten, I would give ManageEngine Desktop Central MSP the rating 8.5 to nine. The reason I'm not giving a 10 out of 10 is in terms of the pricing or the MSP customization and the RMM elements of it. If they had the pricing right for MSP, to make it monthly or very specific to the MSP market in Australia and new zone regions, then they would fulfill the whole cycle requirement.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor