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Should an MSP Grow by Going Vertical?

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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.

Let me ask a simple question. IF you are selling to a college, and have educational expertise, do you have a better chance of sealing the deal than a general business MSP? Of course you do. You have a massive advantage in getting this new business. In a case such as this, would you rather be a commodity or an expert?

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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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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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Simplifying IT Compliance for Credit Unions & Community Banks

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As a CIO, IT manager, or MSP servicing financial institutions, you realize that compliance is an important priority. You need to be able to manage both internal compliance, ensuring employees follow operational policies to mitigate risk, and external compliance following rules and regulations established by outside entities such as the government.

Realizing the need for compliance is just half of the equation. Being able to effectively manage that compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner is the second part. Let’s briefly look at some of the issues facing financial institutions concerning compliance, and then look at how you can achieve the second part without a big bank budget.

Compliance Worries of Financial Institutions

Compliance, auditing, and security issues keep financial professionals awake at night, and rightly so. Security lapses and failures in compliance can lead to huge fines, ruined reputations, and lost customer confidence. A CDW sponsored survey in 2015 asked senior executives at banks what concerns they had for their banks:
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