Cloud4x is a managed services provider founded in 2015 focused on delivering the finest IT services to the Australian market. Leo Raikhman is a co-founder and Director of Cloud4x Enterprise Systems.
According to Leo there is a lot of standardization between managed service providers, “We all use the same general tool set, offer many of the same services, and focus on the same types of clients.” To differentiate, Cloud4x initially focused on delivering managed services for MSPs. “80 – 90% of issues are easily solved by level one or two technicians. We decided to focus on the 10 – 20% of challenges they couldn’t solve, allowing our MSP clients to uplevel and manage more complex clients and solve more complex problems.”
This model enabled Cloud4x to hire top-tier solutions architects and engineers and build a brain trust unique to the market. “We saw the best and worst of what other MSPs were doing, so as we transitioned into a traditional MSP, we had a strong plan in place. All the brainpower we accumulated was thrown at building out new automation, identifying new markets, and delivering creative solutions,” says Leo.
Moving to Ninja
Before moving to Ninja, Cloud4x was using Atera as their RMM. “Atera is really built for smaller MSPs and for a while it was a good fit for us. Once we passed 5 or 6 engineers and our client footprint and complexity increased, we realized we needed to upgrade to a more powerful solution; one that reflected our growth.”
“Ninja has all the capabilities and feature maturity we need while also being cloud-native, easy to implement, and easy to learn” says Leo.
“We have the expertise to wrestle any application into a solution that works, but for once we didn’t have to,” explains Leo. “We thought it would take six months to a year to transition from Atera to Ninja. Instead, it took days to weeks, with essentially no one logging into Atera within one month of implementing Ninja.”
Automation as a force multiplier
“Ninja is a huge force multiplier for us. It’s effectively like hiring two full-time employees,” explains Leo.
Cloud4x automates their end-user device setup from the Windows build process, through device configuration, to installation of custom applications for all their clients. They also automate validation – checking that the device was setup correctly, attempting automatic remediations if a validation step fails, and opening a ticket if automatic remediations fail. “Device setup would easily take a level two technician 2 – 3 hours per endpoint, with all the issues associated with a manual process. For a small customer, we’re talking 200 plus hours of work. With the automations we’ve built in Ninja, onboarding a new device takes 10 minutes in terms of manpower, and a level one technician can do it. That’s a 95% reduction in manhours,” explains Leo.
Automation isn’t just a time-saver for Cloud4x, it helps them deliver more effective services more reliably. With the post-COVID reality of supporting clients at office and at home, expensive firewalls, SD-WAN, and on-premises systems are no longer effective security solutions for most Cloud4x clients. “We’ve started implementing OpenVPN as a service a lot more” explains Leo. Installation of the OpenVPN client-side solution is complex and inevitably fails on some number of machines. “There are six points of potential failure with OpenVPN: app installation, certificate import, private key permissions, the VPN configuration file, the OpenVPN service status, and the tunnel connection. Using Ninja, we’re checking hourly that VPN is working as intended. If a failure in one of the six points of failure is detected, our automation will attempt to remediate. If the issue is too complex and we cannot automatically remediate, we’ll at least open a ticket for a technician to address,” says Leo.
Cloud4x has invested heavily in these automations, allowing Ninja to deliver complex, error-prone processes while technicians focus on delivering value for clients.
“Ninja’s scripting engine and automation capabilities beat others I have tried by a country mile ,” says Leo.
Ninja’s fit for other MSPs
“Pretty much every MSP uses the same toolset, and pretty much every RMM has the same set of features,” says Leo. “Ninja just works, works reliably, and works in a way that makes sense for managed service providers. So far, the team thinks its slightly better than sliced bread.”