After months of quiet development, Cisco Systems has officially launched the Cisco OnPlus Service -- a cloud-based service that allows MSPs to monitor SMB customers' network infrastructure. At $5 per network location per month, the Cisco OnPlus Service hopes to carve a niche between PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms. Here's why.

During the recent HTG Peer Group conference in November, Cisco offered up free OnPlus Service trials to selected MSPs.

The Cisco OnPlus Service is home-grown (developed by Cisc0) and has a $250 list price for a three-year cloud subscription per managed network location. Cisco believes the actual price will work out to about $5 per month per managed location -- with MSPs able to adjust the mark-up price (if any) to meet their own profit needs.

So far, several hundred Cisco OnPlus Service deployments are in place with the 1,000 deployment milestone approaching fast, according to Cisco. The OnPlus Service can discover any wired or wireless connection. The service requires an on-premise network appliance plugged into a switch or router on the customer's network. The customer information flows securely to a Cisco-managed data center for the corresponding MSP's use.

The big question: Can the Cisco OnPlus Service carve a niche for itself in a market where most MSPs already have multiple tools in place -- particularly RMM (remote monitoring and management) and PSA (professional services automation). In a briefing last week, Cisco insiders said the OnPlus Service is already gaining traction.

Plus, Cisco is working to integrate the OnPlus service with traditional RMM tools. Dan Wensley, VP of partner development at Level Platforms, was quoted in Cisco's official announcement today endorsing the platform.