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PSAs and Strategic Growth for MSPs: Top 5 Myths Debunked

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Many new MSPs start their business with an accounting product, a calendaring tool and a prayer, but they soon realize that they can do more – much more – in terms of managing the health of their business with a solution that gives them control over and visibility into their entire business process from prospect to invoice.

Unfortunately, many MSPs feel that once they select their PSA tool that they are then locked in with that selection for all eternity.  But like any technology decision made 5, 10, or even 15 years ago, it should be routinely re-visited in light of developments in technology, your business needs, and the MSP market dynamics as a whole. Continue Reading…

IT Operations Survey Shows Improvement for SMBs

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IT is a tough job no matter where you work. It is especially tough in SMBs which don’t have the staggering budgets and massive and highly specialized staffs of their larger enterprise brethren.

SMB IT pros end up wearing so many hats they can barely walk through the door.

Fortunately, these IT professionals are getting better all the time at their jobs; have better and better tools to manage resources; and often have Continue Reading…

How MSPs Can Make Office 365 Management Easy

office-365There are so many reasons to love Microsoft Office 365. Employees can work remotely and, regardless of device or location, can access all their applications and files. Businesses especially appreciate the scalability and lower infrastructure costs that Office 365 brings to the table.

The problem is that managing more than a few users is time consuming – which is costly and the furthest thing from strategic IT work. Meanwhile, PowerShell scripting is often necessary for true granular control, which means  an additional  cost of learning or hiring someone who does this kind of scripting – something IT can ill afford.

This substandard and complex management approach puts IT at risk because auditing and reporting is either less robust, or entirely non-existent.

A great answer is for IT to put Office 365 into the hands of a Managed Service Provider (MSP). But MSPs find it difficult to manage customers that have moved to Office 365 because
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IT Management Maturity for SMBs – Where Do You Place?

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There is no shortage of IT maturity models, which are guidelines on how to create and optimize a progressive IT infrastructure.

These models were devised years ago when big consulting firms and integrators such as IBM and Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), now owned by HP Enterprise, analyzed the operations of large enterprises. They would then craft a detailed plan to simplify IT and make it more efficient and productive.

Microsoft even jumped in a decade ago with its Infrastructure Optimization (IO) framework, a maturity model largely focused on making Microsoft shops more modern.

None of these approaches fit the bill for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). And it is SMBs that need this kind of help the most. That’s why Kaseya developed an IT Management Maturity Model specifically for companies ranging from less than 50 to up to 3,000 employees.
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The Pundits’ Take on MSP 2.0

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MSP 2.0 is not exactly a new term, but it is really catching on to describe the current managed service provider market.

The Kaseya Take on MSP 2.0

As a vendor largely focused on MSPs, Kaseya has a deep commitment to help MSPs successfully navigate in an MSP 2.0 world.  Kaseya offers a comprehensive collection of solutions, from RMM to PSA, identity and access to cloud monitoring, and more, that are all MSP 2.0 ready.

In our analysis, MSP 2.0 is in part a manifestation of market growth. MSPs have matured from part-time operators and small 1-5 person technician-dominated companies five short years ago to larger process-centric organizations with strong technical capabilities combined with professional sales, support, marketing, finance, and management teams. Because of the larger clients, super-MSPs that could handle the scale evolved. These MSPs are 100% focused on growth and expansion and employ professional sales, marketing, and technical delivery organizations to acquire new accounts and often displace smaller less mature MSPs.

On the other side, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the prime targets for MSPs, are increasingly demanding and requiring the same technologies and processes that have been pioneered and used for years by enterprises.

This means SMBs are now Continue Reading…

The No-Fail Guide to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

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You may think Trusted Advisor is a trite phrase. In fact, some think we should retire the term altogether. But as an MSP there is nothing wrong with being trusted or engaged as an advisor. So forget about whether you love or hate the term and just embrace the concept.

In a blog last month we talked about why you should think about being a Trusted Advisor. Now we’ll talk a bit about how you do it.

You can start this transition, if you haven’t already made it, with existing clients. Dig deeper into their technical affairs. Go the extra mile in managing and monitoring devices and their network, and proactively offer new ways of gaining efficiency and supporting innovation. They’ll feel the benefits and pass the word along.
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Security You Can Take to the Bank

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How Banks and Credit Unions Can Safeguard Data and Ace Audits

In today’s rough and tumble environment where hackers no know bounds, every financial institution, regardless the size, has to beef up security and remain ever vigilant.

According to recent surveys, 83% of the financial leaders who responded felt that data is their most important asset, and 79% said that having a strong technology infrastructure was critical to ward off cyberattacks. Unfortunately while most feel that security is a top IT budget priority, fewer than one in five believe they have strong security in place.

It shouldn’t be that way – nor does it need to be. Smaller banks may feel that they can’t afford to implement measures to detect and prevent security breaches. The truth is they can’t afford not to. Let’s look at why security is so important to financial institutions, and how even the smallest institutions can achieve their security goals without “breaking the bank.”

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The Encyclopedia of MSP Measurement

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The famous business book “Managing by Measuring,” by Mark T. Czarnecki, praises the virtues of tracking operations and making decisions based on what you can learn from measurements. Smart MSPs do the same thing, and use many metrics to drive strategies and shorter-term tactics.

These metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) define how well the organization is doing, and are critical to assessing your company’s value.

There are so many available metrics, that you can waste a lot of valuable time trying track them all. Instead choose the metrics that fit your company, and track those closely. We bring you 15 of our favorites.
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How Banks Can Stop Fearing the IT Audit

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There are few things people fear more than a tax audit. If you are an IT pro in a community bank or credit union, the pain of an individual tax audit is multiplied many fold when it comes time for a business-wide IT audit. These audits can happen anytime, not just once a year, and financial IT pros must always be prepared.

Making sure that you constantly stay in compliance with company policies, and the many and sundry local and federal rules and regulations, can be a nightmare. That’s only part of the issue — proving that you are in compliance by acing an audit is just as hard on IT and IT Ops departments. These groups must show that their organization is in compliance, including that patches are up-to-date, security is proven to be tight, and deep and careful activity logs are kept to record who has done what on the network.

In a recent survey of audit professionals, respondents were asked about audit practices. The results:
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Making Sense of MSP Merger & Acquisition Mania

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M&A activity is remaking the MSP competitive landscape, with new announcements made almost daily.  MSPs ignore this ongoing M&A ‘mania’ at their own risk. Every MSP must evaluate all options and determine their preferred plan, whether it’s to buy, sell, merge, or stay the current course.

Let’s look at some of the pluses and minuses of for each option, factors to consider when evaluating the right approach, and leading drivers on valuations.

Evaluating Options

Not surprisingly, you need to determine your strategic end-game before evaluating which M&A option suits your MSP.  If you don’t know where you want to go, it will be very hard to find the right path.  Just to make thing more fun, there is often more than one way to get to your destination.
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