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WannaCry Ransomware Exposes Crisis of Unpatched Systems, Failure to Back up

 

Would it surprise you to learn that one of the most successful computer exploits in history happened against a vulnerability for which a patch already exists?

That’s just what happened with the WannaCry (also called WannaCrypt) ransomware attack that crippled hundreds of thousands of computers last Friday and continues to wreak havoc this week. Continue Reading…

Blocking Windows 10 Creators Update and File Explorer Ads

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Not every upgrade is welcome, even if it does provide a bevy of features. Takes Windows 10 Creators Update, which started rolling out to beta testers and will next be delivered to the vast body of Windows 10 users.

This update includes a bunch of new items that will please consumers and gamers, but do far less for enterprise customers. Because of its consumer bent, enterprises may want to block or at least delay this upgrade.

But there is a more compelling reason to say no, according to long time Windows guru Paul Thurrott. Creators Update means your Windows File Explorer could be stuffed with ads. While many of these are for useful Microsoft services such as OneDrive, the technology makes a veritable wave of ads possible. Continue Reading…

Guest Blog: Make Sure to Think Happy IT Marketing Thoughts to Fly!

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IT marketing requires a positive attitude. This is where fiction, as an educational medium, becomes one of the most useful tools, and to that end, it’s worthwhile to consider J.M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan.

The story has captured the imagination of children worldwide for decades, and it’s easy to see why: you can fly. Peter Pan points to a happy thought and some pixie dust as a recipe for becoming airborne. You get your happy thought, hold onto it, and begin to soar. Now, not many realize this, but that character and plot device (happy thoughts as a means of flight) are both real aspects of Barrie’s life. There are speculations that Captain Hook represented Barrie’s wife, and Continue Reading…

Massive iCloud Hack Shows Criticality of Strong Authentication

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Apple has a reputation for building secure systems. The Mac is still far more hack proof than PCs, and the iPhone being a closed system has not been hit with a plethora of malware.

The iCloud had much the same reputation – until this week.

Hackers reportedly successfully compromised millions of iCloud logins. The hackers, dubbed the Turkish Crime Family (but ironically based in London), then demanded Apple given them $100,000 in iTunes cards. This is a takeoff on ransomware. Instead of locking up data and demanding money, the bad guys steal data and want cash for its return. The group has been trying to extort money in return for the log ins from other companies as well. Continue Reading…

Six Ways CIOs Can Harness Cloud and Network Monitoring to Keep the Business Running

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When C-level IT execs think of business continuity, their minds usually wander to backing up and recovering data.  They worry about how to deploy seamless, ultrafast access to backup data when the primary systems and storage have been compromised.

But a complete business continuity plan needs to address an even more pressing issue.  Despite all the attention paid to backup and recovery, the network generally goes down more often than storage crashes. And without the network (and all the infrastructure and data centers dependent on that network) running, key business applications and services stop in their tracks. Continue Reading…

Vertical Strategies and Top Vertical Markets

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Vertical markets are a great way to expand your business. Going after more and more clients no matter their industry is also a great way to expand your business. And doing both at once isn’t a bad approach either.

So how do you figure out what to do? As an MSP professional that is really your call. Rather than telling you what to do, we’ll talk about the value, and the protective value, of being a vertical MSP.

A big reason to go vertical is that you aren’t just selling your expertise in managing and securing general-purpose systems. Instead you can make these systems shine in particular industries, such as finance, public companies and healthcare – all three of which require compliance expertise. Continue Reading…

Building Effective Service Bundles

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MSP customers have more than one IT need. So why would you sell a client just one service? Since you already have a relationship, it makes sense to broaden it with more services and higher level consulting and advising.

The good news is that SMBs prefer bundled services – it’s that whole “one neck to choke.” Research from AMI-Partners shows SMBs are 3-4 times more likely to opt for service bundles.

Meanwhile results from the annual Kaseya MSP Pricing Survey shows that bundling is a key approach to success and that faster growing MSPs bundle their services. At the same time, they don’t go overboard with options, but instead limit their offerings to a small number of tiered service bundles. Continue Reading…

Finding and Keeping the Best Employees

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Managed services providers (MSPs) tend to be relatively small organizations, which makes each and every hire absolutely critical. At the same time, teamwork among such a small and hard-working staff is key, so your employees must be both technical and able to get along well with others – coworkers and customers alike.

Complicating this further is that, being relatively small, most MSPs don’t have dedicated HR staffs and aren’t trained in the ins and outs of hiring.

Whether you are a fast-growing outfit or just experiencing normal turnover, you probably have a job or two open at any given time.

So let’s get to hiring! Continue Reading…

CompTIA Tells MSPs Where the Growth Lies

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CompTIA knows a thing or two about MSPs. As a channel advocacy group, it talks to service providers every day, counts hundreds as members, and does regular surveys.

That’s why Kaseya was so pleased to have CompTIA board of director member Tracy Pound speak at our recent Kaseya Connect Europe event. Pound is also managing director for Maximity Ltd., an IT training firm.

In a workshop session “CompTIA MSP Trends and Insights: Growth Opportunities”, Pound shared highlights of what the organization has learned by working so closely with providers. Pound had one area of focus that stood out — how to achieve healthy growth in large part by embracing the cloud. Continue Reading…

Remote Access Work Systems Cut Business Costs

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In these competitive times, businesses have to do what they can to trim the fat and cut costs. This is often an unpleasant process. Cutting costs can mean laying off employees, reducing benefits packages, or moving to smaller or less appealing offices. All too often, reducing business expenses means getting rid of the things that make employees happy and productive. For that reason, cuts can hurt a business more than help.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Some cost cutting solutions save businesses money without reducing employee numbers or worker satisfaction. In fact, what I’m talking about can boost worker happiness and productivity! Continue Reading…

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