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Need to Up Your Game in Security? Attend Kaseya Connect

Kaseya Connect

As an IT professional, you deal with the risk of threats every day – whether from lost cell phones, stolen laptops or weak passwords. That’s why Kaseya Connect, taking place April 14-16 at the beautiful Omni Orlando Resort, offers a host of sessions on mitigating risk and uncovering new business opportunities in a world filled with ever increasing security threats:

  • Making Money with Authentication-as-as-Service
    How MSPs can generate new revenue streams, increase customer retention and neutralize their competition by offering their own Authentication-as-a-Service model.

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Five Things You’ll Learn at Kaseya® Connect

Kaseya Connect Banner

If you haven’t decided to attend Kaseya Connect this year, what are you waiting for? Here are five things you’ll learn at this year’s event:

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MSP Pricing Survey – Sticky Bundles, Higher Fees

Bundling strategy increases value and stickiness

The message is clear, small and medium businesses are very interested in bundled services. A recent newsletter from AMI-Partners, I-Signal*, which reports findings from their research programs, indicates that SMBs are 3 to 4 times more interested in bundled services than in single services. They gain more value from bundled services and are loath to switch service providers unless they can do so without disrupting their existing business. The strong interest in bundled services supports the notion that SMBs are indeed more interested in value than price, despite their insistence to the contrary.

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Kaseya Connect: Come for the Conversations!

Register for Kaseya Connect!

Every year Kaseya holds its premier user conference, Kaseya Connect. If you are a Kaseya customer, you have probably seen the promotions, and are asking yourself, “Should I attend?” As you might expect, the Connect event features all of the right components:

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MSP Pricing Survey – MSPs Grow but Size Matters

The Kaseya 2014 MSP Pricing Survey results clearly demonstrate that the managed services market is a significant growth opportunity. Almost 100% of the customer survey respondents had experienced positive monthly recurring revenue (MRR) growth over the past three years. We asked respondents to select from a range of MRR growth rates starting with less than 0% and ending in greater than 20% growth. The results were fairly evenly spread across all ranges – see chart below – except for a very small negative growth segment, suggesting that there could well be key differences in approach taken by faster growing MSPs. To examine these differences we split the responses into two, roughly equal groups, one for MSPs who had experienced MRR growth at greater than 10% per annum and one for MSPs whose MRR had grown at less than 10%.

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The Managed Services Market is Evolving – Fast!

High growth forecast for key managed services

Many key elements of the global managed services market are forecast1 to grow at double-digit rates. For example, Mobile (MDM) and BYOD managed services are expected to grow at around 27% per year through 2016. Private cloud services – where a service provider offers managed co-location or dedicated instances – are expected to grow at 22%. Public cloud services, as a whole, seems to be growing at around 17 to 18%, but within that, SaaS is growing at 19.5%, managed security services at 22%, and systems infrastructure and IT Ops management at over 40%. One of the fastest growth areas is office suites in the cloud, which is approaching a growth rate of 50% per annum. All of these represent significant opportunities for MSPs to support their small and medium size business (SMB) clients’ cloud migration plans and their IT service deployment, management, mobile computing and security needs.

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IAM Profitable: Get Your Piece of the IAM Market

IAM is Profitable

If you’re an MSP or an IT service provider, then you’re involved in a business model that’s always looking to improve its offerings and increase its bottom line. With the global IAM (Identity and Access Management) market increasing at an explosive rate, being able to offer authentication and password management isn’t just a smart move, it’s also a safe move!
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IT Management Community Participation Extends Knowledge and Adds Value

Waltham Community Meetup

This week I attended a Kaseya “Local Meetup” event in Waltham, Massachusetts, and it struck me again just how important it is to have a strong IT community. In the Meetup evaluation forms, virtually everyone who attended said that sharing ideas with like-minded people was a key benefit to attending the event. Without exception, everyone left the meeting with new contacts and friendships in the IT management community.

A few things about the meeting really hit home:

Tips and Tricks:

Kirk Feathers, a leader in the Kaseya technical community, led a “Tips and Tricks” session, sharing interesting and innovative approaches to maximize the usage and benefit of IT management tools, both from Kaseya and its partners. Everyone in the room chimed in, asking questions and offering their own insights. Copious notes were being taken. And more than once, two or more people set up follow on conversations on particular topics.

Collaboration Groups:

Establishing collaboration groups is a great way to stay in touch and share information. Chris Anderson, Director of Managed Services for Infranet Solutions in Quincy Massachusetts, shared a great story about collaboration groups. I met Chris earlier this year at “Kaseya Connect,” our annual user conference. During his three days at the event, Chris made it a point to build out his community contacts to the point where he is now part of a formal group which is sharing automation scripts. Using existing scripts and creating new ones is key to efficiently and effectively managing large numbers of endpoints. Chris tells me that the collaboration group’s sharing of ideas and actual scripts is substantially improving their speed-to-automation.

Feedback and Input:

Mads Srinivasan, product manager for Kaseya’s mobility management solution, shared the latest mobility management development work, complete with a demonstration. The purpose was to obtain feedback and input from the group on the features and presentation layer. The session had a good 30 minutes of excellent feedback and suggestions. Mads had an ulterior motive in that he wants 100 beta customers to test out the latest work; virtually everyone in the room signed up.

Time before and after the event was reserved for networking and everyone took advantage. People had a chance to meet the many Kaseya leaders who were present, but more importantly, they built out their IT management community connections. By the end of the event, business cards were swapped, and emails were exchanged all around.

This experience also reinforced the importance of the “Kaseya Community” program, which includes sponsoring these local Meetups, forums for sharing, event postings, etc. All Kaseya users should join to share information and learn about the latest happenings.

Author: Tom Hayes

Dropbox wasn’t hacked. Some of their users just dropped the box…

Dropbox Security Breach

A mixed metaphor never hurt anyone, but when you mix your passwords into everything it’s not going to go well.

Password mixing (reusing passwords) is what many believe was the cause of the recent Dropbox account “breach.” Using the same passwords for everything is a huge problem. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and with passwords the same applies. The more websites you use a password on, the more likely it is to be leaked in a breach, and unfortunately, the reach and potential for damages from that breach also becomes greater.

Reused Password Graph

It’s not a difficult concept if you consider it for long. If one password is used on five websites, then that password is five times as likely to be leaked, as there are five times as many locations where that password is being stored. At the same time, that password provides access to five times as many websites, which means that there’s potentially greater than five times the amount of information available to the person accessing it than one account would have on its own. The more information they have, the easier it becomes to gain access to other accounts. This appears to be what happened with Dropbox.

Think of it this way, if I gain access to your email, then I can reset the passwords of almost every account tied to that email. What are the chances that your email contains information about your choice of banking institution, online shopping account, or PayPal perhaps?

This wasn’t a breach of Dropbox’s systems; it was a failure of their end-users’ password management skills. When users reuse their passwords across so many websites, they sow the seeds of their own ruin.

For system administrators, the source of this problem is painfully apparent. Quite often, a system administrator will have to remember ten or more passwords just for their day-to-day tasks. Add onto that the 20 or so personal accounts that need passwords and the 30 passwords needed for various lesser-used accounts and systems, and you wind up with an obscene amount of passwords to remember. Now consider every end-user that the system administrator manages. How many passwords do you think those end-users each have?

This is why password reuse is such a problem. There are just too many passwords for anyone to handle!

That’s why you need some sort of solution to the password problem. Now, there’s no need to hire some developer to build you a password management system, you just need a password management solution. Let’s throw one more factor into the mix. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re already a Kaseya customer. If so, then make sure that the solution you choose supports a Kaseya integration. That way you can accomplish even more from a single pane of glass.

Only Kaseya AuthAnvil solves that problem, allowing organizations to secure their most valuable asset – their data – by minimizing the risk of password-related security breaches. Learn more about AuthAnvil.

Author Harrison Depner

Get Your Head Out of the Tech: A Realistic Look at Cloud Computing

Cloud Inspection

To understand new technologies, one must first get past the misinformation and pierce the veil of hype to see the product as it actually is. As you can see from the graph below, tech hype progresses in a fairly typical cycle. Currently, we’re just passing the peak of inflated expectations and are beginning to see the beginning of negative press. The relatively recent iCloud incident and death of Code Spaces are just the tip of the iceberg which soon will plunge cloud computing into trough of disillusionment, where it will remain until people realize what purpose cloud computing actually serves, climb the slope of enlightenment, and set out across the plateau of productivity. This same process happens with every major technology hitting the market. Video killed the radio star, and internet killed the video star, yet we still have radio stations, and television networks. The media simply hypes everything out of proportion.

In spite of the trend set by the media, many technologists try to provide realistic advice to people before they throw out their old technology in preparation for the new. Cloud computing isn’t going to eliminate the need for older systems. If anything, it will just augment their purpose. In the following post, I will outline five key elements of cloud computing in a way that shows their upsides and downsides.

Hype Cycle

Accessibility: Boon and Bane

If a user is on a business trip, they can access the same resources that they can at work. The simple ability to access resources from anywhere within the same network is a boon, as it removes much of the need for an internal infrastructure. Unfortunately, as was noted by a French Philosopher, British PM, and a man dressed up as a spider, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Accessibility without appropriate restriction is a highly dangerous risk. A cloud-based system on its own cannot know that your users should not be attempting to log in from Elbonia. If your system is made more accessible to your end-users, then it’s also being made more accessible to everyone else.

In a nutshell, IF your access security is well developed, then you can reap the benefits of increased availability, otherwise you’re going to have a bad time.

Maintenance: Can’t Someone Else Do IT?

This entry would have suited a different article entirely, but it works extremely well for the purpose of realistically portraying cloud computing.

There are two ways this scenario typically plays out. Your cloud-based service provider could be amazing — handling updates, resolving issues, and generally fixing everything before you even notice something has gone wrong. If that’s the case, then you’ve reduced the need for the services of your IT department and in-house infrastructure, thus significantly reducing overhead.

Unfortunately, such a result is not guaranteed, and if your provider leaves a lot to be desired, then your experience is going to be less than positive. Rather than staying ahead of new issues as your in-house techs did, your provider may instead do the bare minimum, only completing tasks when they’re specifically told to do so. Micromanagement is expensive, and the potential service outages resulting from poor service can be costlier than maintaining your old in-house IT infrastructure ever was.

In a nutshell, it all comes down to quality of service. If you move to the cloud and your provider is great, then things will run smoothly. If they’re less than stellar, then your experiences will reflect that.

Reliability: Now With More Points of Failure!

The reliability of a system can always be judged by the number of potential points of failure, and the redundancy (or lack thereof) surrounding those points. Cloud computing is very interesting in how it shifts the reliability of a system from hardware functionality, to relying on the availability of services.

Consider the following, if cloud based systems and in-house systems were both types of vehicles, then in-house would be some sort of SUV, while cloud-based would be some type of high-performance car. This means that their relative performance comes down to the presence of a well maintained road (internet connection). If the road is always going to be available, then the high-performance car will outright win; however, the moment they need to go off-road the SUV has a clear advantage.

I explain it this way, because it’s effective at pointing out the shortcoming of the cloud based model. If you have no internet, then you have no access. If you have an in-house infrastructure and the internet goes out, then work can still be done across the internal network. The high-performance cloud-mobile may be significantly less likely to break down, but without the internet providing access it will just sit idle during those periods.

Security: Something Old, Something New…

Security in the cloud is one of those hot-button topics, so let’s keep this as concise as possible. Companies like Code Spaces, which were bankrupted due to poor cloud security practices, provide a generous justification for their systems to be top-of-the-line. This means that cloud services and cloud service providers are often extremely focused on security. At the same time, there is no action without a cause. The reason why they are so security minded, is because they are aware that, in addition to the usual risks an in-house system may encounter, the new features which the cloud is built upon (such as multi-tenancy, shared resources, and availability) open up new vectors for attack which previously could only be theorized. This means that, while the security in the cloud is often quite strong, there are also new weaknesses which can or may circumvent those defenses.

Costs: You Get What You Pay For

In many instances, cloud service providers offer pay-for-usage models of pricing. This means that you pay based on the resources you are using, and the duration of the time they’re in use. In many cases, this is more cost effective than having the same systems in-house. This adaptability and scalability can be great for any business. On the flip-side, consider cloud based infrastructure the same way you would consider leasing a property. It can be more affordable and ideal to lease an office; however, in some cases it’s more cost effective and practical to buy the property. Whether or not you get a good cost-effective deal for your cloud-based infrastructure comes down to planning for your needs.

Whether you’re planning on migrating to the cloud, are remaining in-house, or are deciding on which you would prefer, the first step to building a strong IT infrastructure is finding the right platform to build upon. Kaseya was designed and built with security as the fundamental building block to its core architecture. To learn more: Click Here.

If you’re interested in some ways to protect your cloud-based IT infrastructure: Click Here.

Author Harrison Depner

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