Building Word Power – How Good is Your MSP Vocabulary?

vocabulary

The world of Managed Service Providers (MSP) is a specialized one, and there are terms just for this industry.

We’ll walk through a few key terms specific to MSPs, as well as technologies MSPs should be familiar with. Play along at home and see how well you do!

Different Styles of Solution Providers

The terms that refer to IT providers in the channel can be a bit confusing, as they are sometimes misused, and there are a lot of gray areas and overlap.

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GUEST BLOG: Why Your Sales/Marketing Automation Investment Won’t Bear Results

salesfunnel

There’s so much more to MSP Marketing & Sales Enablement than just software implementation

MSP sales and marketing enablement has gained a lot of popularity. More and more MSPs are looking to leverage sales and marketing automation platforms in a bid to improve their overall sales figures. The truth is, purchasing a sales or marketing automation platform alone will never help.

This blog talks about the groundwork you need to build for your sales and marketing enablement program to work for you.
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The Patch Management Crisis and How to Solve It

patch-software

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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Hottest 2016 Markets for the Ambitious MSP

hot-markets

Two top organizations that carefully track Managed Service Providers (MSP) and the channel recently released their research and views on the hot technologies for 2016. These predictions aren’t ironclad, but they do give some insight into what the market and IT consumers are thinking. You might even get a new business idea or two from these lists.

Smart MSPs don’t stand still. Often they launch new services that are adjacent to ones they already have, making an easy and natural extension for existing clients. Some take a bolder stance, and go into brand new businesses that are hot, but have little to do with the existing service portfolio.

CompTIA, a long standing organization that serves the channel, releases its IT Industry Outlook 2016, an annual report. This free, extensive report, examines the overall IT market, the state of the channel, and the hottest technologies.

Meanwhile the Channelnomics Top Technologies for Growth in 2016 report is available for free in its executive summary form.

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The Encyclopedia of MSP Measurement

metrics

The famous business book “Managing by Measuring,” by Mark T. Czarnecki, praises the virtues of tracking operations and making decisions based on what you can learn from measurements. Smart MSPs do the same thing, and use many metrics to drive strategies and shorter-term tactics.

These metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) define how well the organization is doing, and are critical to assessing your company’s value.

There are so many available metrics, that you can waste a lot of valuable time trying track them all. Instead choose the metrics that fit your company, and track those closely. We bring you 15 of our favorites.
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How Banks Can Stop Fearing the IT Audit

lion-tamer

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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GUEST BLOG: Solid Security with Kaseya plus Proven Next-Generation Endpoint Protection from Webroot

Each year, Webroot publishes a Threat Brief, a detailed report which details the churn, change and growth within the cybercrime ecosystem. 2015 was another record year in which more malware, malicious IPs, websites and mobile apps were discovered than in any previous year. The current rate of cybercrime comes as no surprise, given continuous innovations and little in the way of risk for those who choose to participate. The continued onslaught of hacks, breaches and social engineering scams targeting individuals, businesses and government agencies has caused many in the security field to ask if it’s truly possible to defend against a persistent attacker.

At Webroot, we believe it is possible to effectively protect enterprises and end users alike, but only by understanding your adversary and the techniques they employ for their attacks. Webroot’s sophisticated approach and secure solutions reflect an in-depth understanding of the threat landscape and how attackers think, allowing us to provide cutting-edge, proven next-generation protection and real-time detection of threats as they emerge. With Kaseya VSA’s integration of Webroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection, it has never been easier for you to manage and protect your users.
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Making Sense of MSP Merger & Acquisition Mania

puzzle

M&A activity is remaking the MSP competitive landscape, with new announcements made almost daily.  MSPs ignore this ongoing M&A ‘mania’ at their own risk. Every MSP must evaluate all options and determine their preferred plan, whether it’s to buy, sell, merge, or stay the current course.

Let’s look at some of the pluses and minuses of for each option, factors to consider when evaluating the right approach, and leading drivers on valuations.

Evaluating Options

Not surprisingly, you need to determine your strategic end-game before evaluating which M&A option suits your MSP.  If you don’t know where you want to go, it will be very hard to find the right path.  Just to make thing more fun, there is often more than one way to get to your destination.
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6 Reasons MSPs Must Manage Office 365 – Right Now!

office-365

Too many managed services providers (MSPs) are seeing tried-and-true revenue streams vanish as clients migrate to the cloud. Providers that manage desktop applications, for instance, can lose business when these customers move from on-premises versions of Microsoft Office to Office 365.

Instead of letting customers make this move under your nose, you should be pro-active. If they want to migrate productivity apps to the cloud, you might as well help in the move, and then offer ongoing Office 365 management services. This puts you in a leadership position, offers solid migration fees, creates a solid new source of recurring revenue, and puts you in a whole new business.

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CSI: Kaseya (or How to Protect Corporate Data When A Laptop is Stolen)

thief

Earlier this week, Premier Healthcare, a Bloomington, Indiana-based healthcare provider, reported a data breach that could affect over 200,000 people after a thief stole a laptop containing patient information.  While the laptop had password protection, it wasn’t encrypted.

While the bulk of data breaches making the news are the result of phishing or hacks, a large percentage of breaches are caused by straightforward stealing.  And while, in this instance, the laptop was taken from a secured onsite billing area (suggesting forethought), many thefts are simply opportunistic — a crash and grab of a laptop left on a car seat, for example.

Whether your company laptops store sensitive healthcare information, private information helpful to identity thieves, or proprietary client information, you need to be prepared to limit exposure in the case of theft.

When a laptop is stolen, you probably worry about these three things right away:
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