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Monitoring and Managing Devices for Your Distributed Workforce

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The rise of cloud computing, the move to Software as a Service (SaaS), and the continuous increase in the abilities of tablets and smartphones, has created a paradigm shift in the way IT does its business. It used to be IT could lock down the infrastructure, put up a firewall, and you could control employee access, monitor compliance, and maintain security.

Today, you not only need to manage laptops and devices used by a highly distributed workforce, you also need the capability to do your job away from the office by managing remotely. Let’s look at the challenges to properly monitoring and managing your mobile workforce (sometimes called off network monitoring), and how to overcome those challenges successfully and efficiently.

The Challenges of Off Network Monitoring

In today’s global and cloud environment, leaving the office and network doesn’t mean leaving behind corporate data─your job doesn’t end when your workforce leaves the office. Nor does your leaving the office mean your work is done. You are still responsible for the security and monitoring of all your systems.
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The Kaseya “Times Twenty” Initiative: What it Means and Why It’s Vital to the Future of Your Business

Kaseya’s mission is to provide the technology and best practices that MSPs need to succeed.  We always focus on ways to help MSPs drive down the cost of administrative (i.e., non-revenue generating) tools and activities to free-up precious human and investment capital to be re-invested in new revenue generating services that drive growth.

I’m pleased to introduce Kaseya’s “Times Twenty” initiative, which focuses on enabling MSPs to put that capital to work in designing and deploying IT service offerings that will generate a 20 times return on their investment.

At its core, the Times Twenty initiative is about the value of money.  Specifically, your money.  You and your staff (all of them – marketing, sales, service delivery, finance and admin) work hard to earn this money.  You can’t afford to invest it in anything – people, technology, systems – unless you know you’ll be getting a high return on your investment.

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Looking to Increase Automation?  2 Simple Steps to Start Off Right!

automateI talk to MSPs a lot about automation and how important automation is to increasing efficiency, productivity, and IT performance.   Research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) determined that implementing automation reduces operating system deployment time by 68% on average, and time spent managing virus and spyware systems by 83% on average.

So it’s not a surprise that MSPs often ask me, “How do I automate?”   My answer is always, “Well, it’s not that simple to tell you.”

Which isn’t the answer they’re looking for.

What makes this such a hard question to answer?  I thought about this a lot recently, and realize it’s because figuring out WHAT to automate is very different for each MSP.  So much depends on their particular customer base, services, and in-house IT expertise.

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How to Win the MSP Service Delivery Trifecta: Efficient, Effective, and Consistent

venn3Quick!  What’s the first adjective that comes to mind to describe excellence in MSP services delivery?

If you’re a client, the word could be ‘effective.’  Effective service delivery means that you are getting your desired result.  If your MSP delivers services effectively, you’re a happy camper.

If you’re the IT technician, the word might be ‘consistent.’   Consistency measures the regularity of the use of resources to reach a stated end.  So processes that are consistent (and predictable) make life sweeter when you’re the one driving the IT dashboard.

As an MSP owner, you might say ‘efficient.’  Since efficiency indicates how well you use resources, more efficient services delivery usually means more profit at the end of the day.

Of course, since you’re not a one-dimensional cardboard character, you know you need all three for real, sustainable success as an MSP.  How do you win the trifecta of effective, efficient and consistent service delivery?
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Straight Talk and Tough Love: Building Trust with Your Clients

MSP Client Communication Best Practices
As with any relationship, it takes hard work and dedication to keep MSPs and their clients aligned and in synch.  The worst situation is when you believe everything is fine, but you find out too late that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding.  Maybe your client won’t dramatically throw a drink in your face in front of a restaurant full of people,  but it will still sting if a client walks out the door and moves on to another MSP.

So what should you do to avoid this fate?  You can find guidance in rules that govern any type of relationship.

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Five Commons Sense Fails for Onboarding New Clients

Strategic Onboarding for MSPs

I was talking to an MSP the other day about onboarding.  He had thought long and hard on how to optimize his onboarding practices, incorporating current best practices and expert recommendations.  He had developed a robust onboarding plan, with checklists and documented timelines. He leveraged this process both as a selling device to instill confidence with prospects, and as a client management device to streamline the first critical steps in a client engagement.

Despite all that hard work, however, he had overlooked several critical onboarding considerations that could result in even more satisfied clients, less client churn, and, perhaps most importantly, stronger margins.

Why did this smart, up-to-date managed services professional miss these opportunities?  He had fallen sway to common sense ideas about onboarding that, while not exactly wrong, aren’t totally right.

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8 Ways MSPs Increase Profits by Eliminating Unplanned Work

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As you manage your MSP business, it’s vital to minimize unplanned and unexpected work, especially if they result in unpaid work.

You can’t price your services profitably unless you can confidently estimate the staff resources required to meet your contracted obligations. Any unexpected client work directly impacts your bottom line for the worse.

So, how do you protect your business from hidden gotchas or last-minute snafus?

Here are eight steps most often cited by highly profitable MSPs:

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The Real Reason Your Workforce Is Not As Productive As It Should Be

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Chances are, in an average day, you are not accomplishing as many tasks as you would like… and neither are your colleagues or your employees. What is mystifying about that statement is that it seems today’s workforce is putting in more hours and more effort than ever before coinciding with an increased adoption of IT devices and applications designed to improve user productivity. In fact, this has been a key driver for organizations to enable workforce mobility – to provide flexibility in accessing business IT resources (applications, data, email, and other services) from any device at any location at any time in order to improve overall business performance. But even the most accomplished business professionals must admit there are days when little gets done despite herculean efforts.

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Top 4 Ways MSPs Can Take Advantage of Growth Opportunities in 2015

service tiers

Three recent studies underline how 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for MSPs in the U.S.

SunTrust Banks’ annual Business Pulse Survey showed that 78% of small- and 84% of mid-sized U.S. businesses are prepped for growth this year. In fact, automating business processes and investing in technology and facilities were among the top projects noted to support this growth (especially for smaller companies).

The eighth-annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor reported similar U.S. business growth outlooks, with 35% of the U.S. respondents citing insufficient in-house IT staff and expertise to support this growth.

Finally, the CompTIA study, Enabling SMBs with Technology, found that more than two-thirds of companies surveyed have outsourced IT services in the past 12 months, with 90% somewhat or very familiar with the managed service provider concept.

So, how can MSPs best leverage the opportunity created by business growth expectations, an IT staffing crunch, and increased awareness of the value of managed services?
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Step Up to the Plate with Security Services in 2015

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It’s no surprise that security was the No. 1 SMB concern among respondents surveyed for the recent CompTIA study, Enabling SMBs with Technology. As the report states, “Security is quickly becoming a top priority for all businesses as breaches occur more frequently and carry more serious repercussions.”

Comprehensive security management is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a basic requirement to make sure a company’s systems and data are protected not only from malicious agents, but also from human error, oversight and procrastination. The risks are just too high. Over half of small businesses go out of business within six months of a security breachsince they don’t have the resources of a Global 2000 company to weather the repercussions.

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