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IT Management Maturity for SMBs – Where Do You Place?

it-maturity

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 Answer to Higher Ed IT Challenges – Automation

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Higher Education IT pros face myriad IT challenges ─ unstable budgets, constant end user churn, a never ending battle to attract students, and tough competition which requires innovation just to keep pace.

The answer to these challenges sounds simple, but it will deliver seriously great results. You must automate your IT operations and maximize efficiency so you can focus on your school’s strategic needs.

First we’ll tackle the benefit of automation. Then we’ll show what areas of innovation you can focus on once your IT shop is operating at peak efficiency.
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The Ten Most Important MSP Business Metrics – How Do You Measure Up?

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In the MSP world, there are tens of dozens of possible metrics you can adapt. Try and do so, though, and you’ll spend all your time measuring and precious little driving growth. The trick is to choose those metrics that work for your business and management style.

MSP consultancy Taylor Business Group (TBG) is focused on helping clients drive profit, and it has 10 metrics it says are the most important metrics to keep MSPs on track to achieve their goals.
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How to Thrive in an MSP 2.0 World: Increasing Growth, Margins, and Customer Loyalty

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In last month’s blog, I outlined how rapidly changing SMB client requirements are reshaping the MSP Market.  These demands to broaden MSPs’ service portfolio, combined with downward pricing pressure from increased competition, are squeezing operating margins and reducing the overall profitability of an MSP’s business.

The MSP world is changing fast, with new technologies, new competition and ever-changing market forces, pushing MSPs towards their next phase of evolution. Kaseya calls this next phase MSP 2.0, since it is a natural extension of the MSP 1.0 phase that emerged after the Break/Fix era.

New MSP Growth Opportunities and New Challenges

The new MSP 2.0 environment creates both new growth opportunities and new challenges for MSPs.

Overall, the rate of consumption of MSP services by SMBs is expected to grow annually over 45% year over year for the next several years, representing a global market opportunity approaching $75 BILLION USD per year by 2020.

However, while the opportunities are clear and overwhelming for the MSP market as a whole, individual MSPs must each adapt to these changing market dynamics or risk falling behind.

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Slugfest: Should You Choose Google Apps or Office 365 for Work?

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In the early days of the Web, the cloud was too slow for interactive productivity tools. Now it’s way better and Google and Microsoft are in a pitched battle for cloud productivity supremacy.

Microsoft Office has ruled the productivity software roost for over a quarter century. The cloud may be the one opportunity for an upstart, say Google Apps, to upset that apple cart. That’s why the search giant launched Google Apps as a beta in 2006. Four long years later, it came out of test mode and became a commercial product which has been on a roll ever since.

Microsoft apparently wasn’t happy watching Google come out with cloud productivity apps that mimicked the Microsoft suite. In no time flat, Microsoft had Office 365, its complete end user set of productivity apps with some server goodies thrown in for good measure. In fact, Office 365 shipped only a year after Google Apps went commercial.
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Why MSPs Should Rule the IT World

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MSPs are clearly on the move. Seeing the value of outsourcing, SMBs and larger shops alike are moving in droves towards managed services. At the same time though, too many organizations do the things the old way, having understaffed IT teams struggling to keep things running – and not availing themselves of state-of-the-art managed services.

There are two problems IT needs to overcome, both of which are solved by managed services. First, it’s hard for small overstressed teams to secure the network, ensure performance, and fix all the problems that constantly arise. The bigger issue is this struggling IT team has virtually no time to think strategically. That leaves them both vulnerable and at a huge competitive disadvantage in their industry.
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How Changing SMB Client Requirements Are Reshaping the MSP Market

A lot of the time, we can get caught up in discussions about ‘hot’ markets for MSPs – and the list is growing, from security to cloud to mobile to firewall management.

But it’s important to level set occasionally.  The reason these markets are hot is because the technology requirements of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that MSPs serve is undergoing a sea change.

SMBs Now Have Enterprise Needs

Technological requirements that were once the needs of only large enterprises are now are becoming mainstream requirements for SMBs.

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GUEST BLOG: Become the Trusted Security Advisor Your Clients Need

These days, every organization needs someone they can trust for advice on IT security. Global enterprises like the Wall Street banks can afford to put one or more trusted security advisors on staff; but down on Main Street, most folks have to look outside the organization for trusted security advice, just as they do for trusted IT advice. And that represents a great opportunity for MSPs who make the right investments in security knowledge and offer the right mix of security solutions.

Traditionally, anti-malware has been the leading edge of security selling by MSPs and it still represents a golden opportunity for adding revenue to IT contracts, if you can get past some of the current linguistic confusion about malware protection. Here’s how I would boil it down for prospective clients: “the best way to keep malicious code off your systems is a properly licensed, appropriately configured, fully-supported anti-malware solution that is both comprehensive and centrally managed.” And in my opinion, the best way to implement this approach in all but the largest organizations is through an MSP who really understands the security landscape and can offer the kind of flexible billing that today’s business environment demands.

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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 Patch Management Crisis and How to Solve It

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Most end users, and even some IT pros, feel pretty safe if they have up-to-date anti-virus/antimalware, firewalls turned on, and complex passwords in place. This overlooks one of the biggest threats to your PC and network – poor or non-existent patching.

The vast majority of successful exploits are against unpatched machines, some 85% according to US-CERT, part of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Why is This So Bad?

While viruses can be a nuisance (and often worse) to unprotected machines, the kind of attacks aimed at unpatched machines can be far worse. These are targeted at doing real damage – stealing data, escalation of privilege, releasing bots, gaining deep entry into the network, and worse.
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