Good morning, SMB Nation Community, and welcome to the autumn season in the northern hemisphere. I just wanted to pass along an interesting bit of news from RapidFire Tools! I was recently able to speak with Michael Mittel, President and CEO, who gave me the rundown on his company’s latest offering: Inspector.
Let’s start with a bit of product background. The RapidFire Tools Inspector Application was released mid-September 2014, and its subscription has been designed to support more sophisticated IT assessments, such as internal vulnerability scans and layer 2-3 discovery. Interestingly, Inspector is an Application-as-a-Service with Software-as-a-Service attached, and is available to MSPs via an annual subscription.
I asked Michael about that particular model, as well as more about the application features:
Harry: Help me understand the annual fee instead of a one-time fee.
Michael: Sure. This is actually part of our business model, but even more than that, RapidFire Tools is completely responsible for the application maintenance, repair and replacement, so the MSP doesn’t have to worry at all about the hardware, and part of the annual subscription is to keep that service in place. Plus, like our other subscription services, the fee includes all updates to software, firmware, etc. for the life of the service, as well as unlimited use of the product.
Harry: So how can MSPs utilize this application?
Michael: There are actually two ways for MSPs to use this. Firstly, they can move it from customer to customer, performing scans and looking for vulnerabilities that could lead to a breach, or they can actually have the appliance as a permanent fixture. For this method, data collection and alerts become fully automated. We ultimately designed Inspector to be a more time-efficient solution for MSPs to not only provide reporting, but also to perform project documentation to their clients. Inspector is designed to provide an accurate network picture, and can see device types, IP addresses, hostnames, OS information.
Harry: Are you looking to enter the RMM market with this application?
Michael: 100% not. I can certainly see how you could think that, but here’s the differentiator: Inspector is not agent-based, and it has no probes. It is not a threshold based system with alarms and alerts. It is purpose built to do vulnerability scans and layer 2/3 mapping. Also, we have the additional benefit of pre-configured software on the appliance , so all the MSP should have to do is plug and go. In fact, we see this appliance as being complementary to most RMM tools on the market, with the added benefit of finding some issues that RMM tools won’t find.
Harry: Is this the type of tool that an MSP can take into a client and have some detection of hacking attempts?
Michael: 100% yes. That’s exactly what we’ve wanted to do with this solution. We are looking for malicious internal attacks. Our recommendation also is to leave an inspector appliance at the site for more in-depth recording.
Harry: What kind of end user is this built for?
Michael: There’s no real number indicator, though 50-100+ nodes are candidates for permanent installation. However, the more complicated the network, the better it would be to have the client leave an Inspector appliance onsite.
Harry: Are you seeing folks who are niching their practice towards small retailers, etc.?
Michael: Yes, we are starting to see that a bit, but it’s not the norm in the SMB community.
Michael concluded our interview with letting me know that RapidFire Tools has partnered with Lenovo and Zotac for the OEM on the appliance. He also let me know that, once the item is ordered, MSPs receive it within 2-3 business days via UPS. As a special treat, I will get to meet Michael at this year’s IT Nation conference, where he will be giving me a demo of the appliance in real-time.