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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…

Turn Managing Office 365 from Bear to Breeze

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Microsoft Office 365 sounds like a piece of cake to install and use. And for a single end user, it can be. But just try and move an entire shop, even a small one, over to the Microsoft productivity cloud suite. The management difficulties can be shocking.

Part of the problem is the administrator skills needed for on-premises Microsoft Office are almost exactly the same as those required for Office 365 – which translates into  a deep mastery of PowerShell scripting and Active Directory. This comes as quite a surprise to many Office 365 customers.

The result? Some customers looking to move to the cloud opt for Google Apps, and live with far fewer features, rather than tangle with the management beast that is Office 365.
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Inside a Next-generation RMM

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Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solutions are the foundation upon which successful MSP businesses are built.

But all too often MSPs struggle with their RMMs, and devote a full-time admin just to run the darn thing. Complexity is just one thing holding back optimum exploitation of RMM solutions. Other drawbacks of some RMM tools are an inability to scale, less than robust automation, and weak reporting.

The quality of your RMM is critical as it is the main way MSPs produce revenue. That’s why the idea of a next-generation RMM is so important. So what is a next gen RMM? It is one that eliminates the downsides of today’s generation of solutions. Not only that, a next-generation RMM vendor should never stop innovating — always looking for new features that make MSPs’ clients lives easier and their IT more productive.

Did you know that last year, some 59% of managed offerings from MSPs were driven by an RMM, and that revenue grew Continue Reading…

MSPs & NOC Services: How to Get 24×7 Coverage without Hiring More Staff

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The largest MSPs can offer 24×7 service and support. They have their own Network Operations Center (NOC) or already get such a service on an outsourced basis.

Not all are so lucky. Some smaller MSPs can only handle trouble tickets and other duties during work hours. That’s bad enough for a local client in the same time zone. They want their systems fixed no matter what time it is. It’s an impossible situation for geographically dispersed clients. Having limited service hours can severely limit your own expansion ability.

The answer for many is to 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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Latest Research on What MSPs’ Customers Want

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Kaseya recently published its second annual IT Operations Benchmark Survey, which included results from 1,200 small- and mid-sized companies (SMBs) representing over 50 industries and 20 countries.

I thought I would share several insights from the survey that are extremely valuable to the MSPs who are targeting these companies.
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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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9 Top Security Predictions from Gartner– Plus Advice!

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As a leading analyst firm, Gartner comes out with a steady stream of predictions. One of the latest rounds concerns security. The predictions are designed to help IT pros take security seriously. After all, cybercriminals are more organized and dangerous every day.

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