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Formulating the Right High-Level Strategy

Remember the old saying “you won’t ever get there unless you know where you’re going”? This is true for MSPs attempting to craft a high-level strategy.

Many times MSPs focus on short-term financial and business planning, which are often done in quarterly and annual increments, rather than taking the time to create a longer-term strategy.  Having a higher-level view of where you want your business to go often makes the shorter-term decisions easier.  Knowing your destination greatly increases the chances that you will end up where you want to be.

This section will outline critical elements of a high-level strategy, including:
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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…

The Future of MSPs Lies in Adding Value to Cloud Services

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Managed Service Providers (MSPs) spent the last decade or so making a major transformation ― moving from a focus on break/fix to true managed services ― and at the same expanding their list of offerings to become more complete providers.

Now they are going through an arguably even more significant change ― becoming cloud leaders to the SMB market.  To do this effectively, MSPs also need to work with clients on a higher level by acting as a trusted advisor and even offering Virtual CIO (vCIO) services, including partnering with clients to conduct in-depth IT consulting, budgeting, and planning projects. Continue Reading…

2017 MSP Predictions: ChannelE2E’s Take

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ChannelE2E covers the managed services space like a glove. Its writers talks to top MSP vendor executives and MSPs of all shapes and sizes most every day.

So when the influential web site talks, we listen.

Recently ChannelE2E polished up its trusty crystal ball and peered into the future – and came up with a set of predictions for MSPs in 2017. Make sure to check out the full article, but we were struck by these particular predictions. Continue Reading…

5 IT Cloud Myths and Beliefs – Debunked, Confirmed and In-Between

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The cloud is still full of mystery. After all, you can’t see and touch your applications and data, and you have less control than with their on-premises counter parts. Now that the cloud is maturing, some issues are becoming clearer.

Here is a reality check on 5 cloud myths and beliefs. Continue Reading…

How an IT Inventory Exposes Unprotected Systems, Shows What is Out of Date, Supports Proper Hardware and Software Planning, and Helps you Survive a Software Audit

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We old timers remember the emergence of the PC as an IT force. In mainframe dominated organizations, PCs were snuck in, put surreptitiously to work, and then proved themselves more than worthy.

Today, IT itself deploys myriad devices ― so much so they have a hard time keeping track of their own handiwork. And end users and departments are still bringing in their own machines and applications. This has long gone on but in recent years has come to be called Stealth or Shadow IT.

Meanwhile, the average end user has multiple devices: PC, tablet, smartphone, etc. And they are increasingly adept at finding and using new applications.

All this adds up to a major management headache and security threat. IT must get their arms around this problem if they are to provide a safe and effective computing environment.
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Root Cause Analysis for Complex Networks: The Traverse Answer

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Network Root Cause Analysis (RCA) has never been exactly simple. But when networks and IT infrastructure had a simpler architecture, finding a root cause was not overly complex. It was largely either the LAN or the WAN.

Today that relative simplicity has been replaced with ever increasing complexity. Nowadays, we still have LANs, but they often connect servers to other servers and then feed wireless access points which are how end users get to the network.

At the same time, computing is now more distributed. Applications reside both in-house and in the cloud, and some of these are hybrid so the processing is shared between the two. And rare today is the on-premises server that is not virtualized. This turns one server into many and makes it more difficult to find which VM is causing the problem.
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IT Service Management and IT Maturity Best Practices

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When Gartner talks, IT listens. Recently the noted research house pontificated about IT Service Management (ITSM) and gave 10 bits of advice to best harness this technology. The suggestions come care of Top 10 IT Service Management Next Practices.

So what is ITSM? ITSM encompasses a range of activities, processes and policies aimed at making IT services delivery efficient and effective – and that meet end user and customer (in the case of a service provider) needs. ITSM can be implemented by an internal IT department, and here it brings discipline to service delivery and end-user support. It is also used by service providers so they can insure all clients are supported by top-rate, continually improving IT services.
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Word to the Wise IT Pro: Master the Cloud

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The world of IT is ever changing. Back when I started writing about computers in 1984, smart IT folks were leaving jobs managing mainframes and learning about microcomputers and early local area networks (LAN). That turned out to be a career blessing.

These days a transformation of the same magnitude is occurring in the form of the move from on-premises to cloud computing.

In the mainframe days, MIS Directors often were responsible for bringing in LANs, micro-based servers and PCs, and hired staff to manage all this. Mainframe operators, in the meantime, became LAN and application managers and PC technicians.
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The Beauty of Managed, Automated Security for IT

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Security has gotten too complex for an SMB IT staff to fully manage without help. The threats posed by cybercriminals are worse than ever, and the damage that they do is unparalleled. Keeping up is tough enough. Staying ahead seems near impossible.

Security is Job One

As a member of the IT department, your most important function is to protect the network and safeguard your organization’s critical data. While down servers and unstable applications can make your department look bad, the most visible failure is a security breach. That’s ‘heads rolling’ territory.

Security is also a visibility issue for companies who see their reputation and business possibly ruined due to breach publicity.

These fears are what makes security the number one priority for business leaders and the top way they judge IT.

Meanwhile most SMB IT staffs don’t have the time, budget, manpower or the tools to handle security in an optimum way.

So what’s a responsible IT department to do? Continue Reading…

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