Licensing methods are not for MSP

This product is not MSP ready.
Its like the developer has never worked in this type of environment and simply does not understand it.

You can’t assign it to a client but just to the pool.
Example:
Purchased 70 licenses for 3 clients.
A-40
B-25
C-5
Next year when the license is up for renewal and lets say B does not respond or want to put it off.
The system will just push out licenses to devices asking for it. So I would have to uninstall the security client for the devices not to be licensed.
If the client then a month later wants to renew, I will have to deploy the security client again.

If we dont have license control tied to the client who purchased the license, no MSP will use it.

out of interest how do other AV companies handle this?

if you supplied AVG cloud surely it would he the same ? If the client didnt renew then you would need to uninstall the agent ?

ITSM makes it very easy to remotely remove CCS. If the client doesn’t renew but then decides to go for it a month later the price should go up due to the extra time you need to spend pushing the client out again. This should be made apparent in the renewal quote.

currently CCS is licenced on a “trust” basis. No licences are actually assigned. But you must have to correct licences for the deployed agents…

Not sure how this will work where we buy licences via distribution channels and not directly from Comodo.

That makes sense I think.
I assume that the licenses for each company will only be used by that company?

When do you expect this to be released?

No, we dont have to uninstall the AV client.
it just stops getting updates.
We buy a license and apply it to the account.
We dont buy a license for us and split out some for a client like we need to do now with Comodo.

Hi James,

You would be able to see the license that you get from channel at this stage: https://6jny9l.axshare.com/#p=11 then basicly you can select that license and click activate. It will continue the workflow from this step: https://6jny9l.axshare.com/#p=15

So, no issues expected with partner case as well.

This is something I raised nearly 2 years ago.

Most others that have portals enable you to add a client and assign the license to a client.

The structure for C1 is there but not implemented, currently it is done on trust as stated by @dittoit

It just suck having to keep a spreadsheet with who bought licenses. Trust or not, you still got to buy them.
But the new feature looks very promising.

Being honest no.2 is the highest as this enables us to give customers the best value for money and customers must come first.
And as a distributor of yours this is also the biggest question and turn off we get.

Once this is done the Endpoint licensing would be a good one, so you can do the following: -
Customer purchases 10 licenses for example
You enter their code into you ITSM and assign it to their company
Once assigned to their company you assign it the devices

This would give full management as you would then see license expiration and more in your portal in the ITSM Audit section I would help which solves the spreadsheet idea etc

Unfortunately spreadsheets are the way, but if you want a little bit of that taken away look at us for distribution as we keep full records for you.
https://c1forum.comodo.com/forum/msp-area/26526-distribution-with-a-difference

Just posting my experience from the past using various other MSP-managed AV products:

  1. The MSP purchases a certain number of seats.
  2. The MSP adds clients to the portal by installing the endpoint.
  3. The MSP manages which clients are renewed and which clients went to another product. How the MSP maintains that information is up to them. Most do not use spreadsheets.
  4. The MSP uninstalls the endpoint on any/all machines if the client fails to renew.
  5. The seat/license is freed up inside the portal.

This is how it’s always been done, using all of the various managed security products. I don’t understand what the big deal is by having CCS integrated within the C1/ITSM portal - Kaseya has done that for decades.

Spreadsheets are not used by any of the MSPs that I worked for as a way of maintaining any real information. They are only used to aggregate information for easier presentation and ease of reference. The only places I see users maintaining spreadsheets as a database of information is with inexperienced or lesser experienced enterprise IT admins. If you are an MSP and you are using spreadsheets for recordkeeping, you need to call Gary Pica and connect with TruMethods to learn to be more productive. No offense, but spreadsheets just might be the least of your concern.

Hi @mschubeck

I totally agree with you that spreadsheets are dead and should not be used at all; but actually having a management system in place to manage and monitor all the expirations of various products is not cheap, and cost drives a lot of the SMB/SME markets at present we find.

I’m interested to know more about the integration comments you made as my understanding of Kaseya is there is an agent installed to each desktop (Comodo’s agent is Comodo Client Communication [CCC]) which is then used to monitor, manage and license each device (just link Comodo’s idea of CCC talking to ITSM etc). Maybe my understanding is wrong, but i’d be interested to know so we can work on getting a platform that does do what is needed and works.

Just for your information so you see where we come from and how we are setup so it might help us get a better understanding of where we might be all going wrong: -

  1. Clients are added to the portal via C1 (this then adds them to SD, ITSM, CQM etc)
  2. We install CCC onto all managed end points
  3. Client purchases CCS license and CCC is used to deploy this software (CCC is also used to configure the AV via profiles)
  4. We record all customer details in SI Portal (Documentation platform) which does licensing alerts etc
  5. If a client does not renew their CCS license we use CCC to remove the AV system (if the client removes CCC I believe the config from CCC which also includes the license fails after awhile)

What we are looking for is better management of the actual licenses inside the C1 system, in particular ITSM (IT & Security Manager). We are after this as at the moment MSPs purchase the licenses from distributors like us (we are also an MSP too) and have no way of linking this to a client. So we basically have a code which does nothing other than prove we bought the software for X period.

Hope this explains our setup a little, and lets you know what we are looking for from Comodo.
How does Kasseya compare??

Thanks
Robin

Let me please say first that my post was specifically targeting the OP that said “it’s like you have never been an MSP and don’t know what you’re doing.” Well, I know what I’m doing as an MSP and have been doing it the current way for 18 years now.

We don’t use Kaseya any longer because they were extremely overpriced for the quality of their product. I agree that costs definitely drive an MSP’s service offerings, and I am constantly looking at ways to be more profitable - whether through increased efficiency or through lower costs of the tenant/client/overhead infrastructure.

Some of the RMM platforms we’ve used in the past - like Kaseya - simply have the distributed security license attached to the portal, and it shows you the machines on which it’s installed. Others - like PacketTrap and Naverisk - did not have that integration and so we had to purchase AV seats separately, and manage them through their own portal. This would be something like AVG, Avast and Kaspersky. So, CCS falls into the first category by having a security product integrated into your main ITSM portal/dashboard.

Based on your last post, it sounds like you’re wanting the billing and deployment all combined and wrapped up into one common product, is that correct? That has never been a problem for us because our PSA/billing software is separate from our RMM software. Therefore, we simply developed a workflow that includes multiple steps for onboarding and offboarding a client. Part of those steps includes installing or removing the security endpoint. As soon as a client orders or cancels the security portion, we simply generate a ticket to install or remove those endpoints. I can see a value in having the automated removal tied to a “failure-to-renew” task, but I just think that this is being made into a mountain instead of the molehill that it is.

In general, I think that it would be a complete waste of resources for an MSP to track specific endpoint licensing on a per-machine basis. The type of granularity that it would involve is typically only needed by the engineers and service techs, not by the billing department. My comment about TruMethods is meant to be sincere - if you’re placing too much emphasis on the wrong things, you’re not going to be successful as an MSP. Something this minor should not put you anywhere near the edge of profitability.

Again, I didn’t mean anything personal or offensive about the spreadsheets part, just responding to that specifically because it was mentioned specifically.

@mschubeck
You list products that uses its own portal to track the licenses like AVG, Avast, etc. Makes it easy to track who bought what and when, right?

Comodo sold me one license that was valid for 70 devices (something like that). Those are now used by 4 different clients.
There are nothing in the portal that tells me who I assigned them too so that means I need to track that somewhere else.
You also said the spreadsheet is dead and I agree. But it must be tracked and since the portal itself doesnt do it where do you track it?
Thats my point. If we have to track this outside the portal it would just be easier to buy something else. Also, the cost of the license is much higher than anything else we have used.
its not competitive compared to lets say Symantec. So paying more and no way to track it makes little sense for MSP I would say.

Today we submitted a proposal to a client for AV renewal. They are currently using Symantec.
I can logon to their server and see how many license they have. Sure I have to check multiple locations for multiple clients but I do have a place to check.
I gave this client a demo of the CCS, two different people over there saw it. Both said the same thing “why would I pay that much more” but thats a different issue.

When I am doing the renewal for the 4 clients I mentioned earlier I would have to refer to the “spreadsheet” since Comodo does not track this. If one of the clients buys another 10 licenses it will be a new license and we need to track that too with the “spreadsheet”. You say its a total waste to track per device but we dont even have a way to track how many we purchased for a client, it must be done manually.

yeah, I dont think this is very MSP friendly and it makes little sense. I think there are many things in this portal that shows they do not really understand the MSP business.

Wrong. With all of the products I mentioned, you simply purchase a pool. It’s up to your PSA/billing software to track who paid for what and how many.

The same way you track anything that your client buys or has ordered - in the billing software. Your invoicing doesn’t go granular down to the license on the statements, you simply charge by the overall quantity, correct? You can’t make changes to the quantities you bill for every single month, that will drive you insane and not always be accurate anyway. If you want to review a client annually, semi-annually, or quarterly (too frequent, in my opinion) then what criteria are you going to use for the review? Machines checking-in within the last week? Last month? At any point throughout the year? What about duplicate entries in the ITSM for the same machine - how are you going to catch those? My point is that you need to invoice your clients according to a set quantity of machines and not adjust it too frequently. Otherwise, you’re going to get into a pissing-match over a single endpoint and ultimately lose the customer, even if you’re right. The more frequently you decide to adjust what you’re billing your client, the more time it’s going to take to reconcile your figures so neither you nor them are getting screwed.

Your problem is that you’re buying per-client. That’s why most companies don’t sell that way - they sell a pool of licenses instead. Some things, yes. Anything for endpoints whose counts are subject to go up or down every month? Nope.

The problem is the way you’re running YOUR MSP, not that they don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve worked for several, including a large regional with over 150 employees, and not a single one does it the way you’re describing. Unless I’m still misunderstanding what you’re trying to say, I have to place the ball in your court on this one.

In other words, you should not be billing according to any reports that you run from within your RMM software. You should be billing according to orders placed by the customer.

Ok, I was genuinely confused about what the problem was and I was sure I had to be misunderstanding something, so I went back and read everything again from start to finish… are you saying that this isn’t about the billing, and that you have to track down which license was used where so that you can renew or uninstall it properly? If so, then I would agree that this is structured improperly. Your license pool - regardless of how many you purchase now versus later - should always have the same expiration date, based either on the anniversary of the first group of licenses, or off of a calendar year. Subsequent purchases should all be prorated, one way or another.

With this example group of 70 licenses, if it has a different expiration/renewal date than other license groups, then you should be able to find who you sold them to in your billing software based on the dates of service. However, you should still be working off of tickets/projects and change orders. Therefore, if a client says that their year is up with CCS and they want to go to Symantec instead, then just uninstall it from their machines. If that leaves 50 unused licenses in your pool for a short time, then that’s the way it is. You need a quantity of licenses always available as a buffer anyway. I stand by my position that you shouldn’t be purchasing just when a client places an order - some things you need to keep on-hand.

Also, don’t let your clients nickel-and-dime you to death about the cost of something. If they find something $10 cheaper per year across 50 endpoints, then you’re talking $500 annually. THEY don’t tell you what software you include, YOU tell them. There could be many reasons why you want to charge them more for CCS instead of SEP, and a major one is management. If they want to install SEP and manage it themselves, then let them. They’ll run back to you begging you to install CCS after that first year. If you can’t justify that to your client, you need a salesman that can. If you get into the habit of allowing your customers to price-shop every part of the MSP product and service you’re providing for them, you aren’t going to be successful for very long.

In all my years as an MSP, never did a client ever argue about the specific brand of managed AV we used, nor did they argue about the price. It’s just a minor add-on to the rest of the management package.

That’s where your CRM or other customer management comes into play. When a client places an order for a renewable product that has a defined expiration date, like say an SSL certificate as an example, then you have to create some type of calendar-based event for the renewal, right? Whether you use an automatic 12/24/36 month ticket, an Outlook event, or the CRM that your sales department uses is up to you, but either way you still have to use something to manage it, yes. No, that’s not built-in to any competing security product that I have ever seen or used.

It’s good to see so many active members giving great feedback.
Keep it up guys!!!