6 Reasons MSPs Must Manage Office 365 – Right Now!

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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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Simplifying IT Compliance for Credit Unions & Community Banks

compliance

As a CIO, IT manager, or MSP servicing financial institutions, you realize that compliance is an important priority. You need to be able to manage both internal compliance, ensuring employees follow operational policies to mitigate risk, and external compliance following rules and regulations established by outside entities such as the government.

Realizing the need for compliance is just half of the equation. Being able to effectively manage that compliance in an efficient and cost-effective manner is the second part. Let’s briefly look at some of the issues facing financial institutions concerning compliance, and then look at how you can achieve the second part without a big bank budget.

Compliance Worries of Financial Institutions

Compliance, auditing, and security issues keep financial professionals awake at night, and rightly so. Security lapses and failures in compliance can lead to huge fines, ruined reputations, and lost customer confidence. A CDW sponsored survey in 2015 asked senior executives at banks what concerns they had for their banks:
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Monitoring and Managing Devices for Your Distributed Workforce

airport-working

The rise of cloud computing, the move to Software as a Service (SaaS), and the continuous increase in the abilities of tablets and smartphones, has created a paradigm shift in the way IT does its business. It used to be IT could lock down the infrastructure, put up a firewall, and you could control employee access, monitor compliance, and maintain security.

Today, you not only need to manage laptops and devices used by a highly distributed workforce, you also need the capability to do your job away from the office by managing remotely. Let’s look at the challenges to properly monitoring and managing your mobile workforce (sometimes called off network monitoring), and how to overcome those challenges successfully and efficiently.

The Challenges of Off Network Monitoring

In today’s global and cloud environment, leaving the office and network doesn’t mean leaving behind corporate data─your job doesn’t end when your workforce leaves the office. Nor does your leaving the office mean your work is done. You are still responsible for the security and monitoring of all your systems.
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The Kaseya “Times Twenty” Initiative: What it Means and Why It’s Vital to the Future of Your Business

Kaseya’s mission is to provide the technology and best practices that MSPs need to succeed.  We always focus on ways to help MSPs drive down the cost of administrative (i.e., non-revenue generating) tools and activities to free-up precious human and investment capital to be re-invested in new revenue generating services that drive growth.

I’m pleased to introduce Kaseya’s “Times Twenty” initiative, which focuses on enabling MSPs to put that capital to work in designing and deploying IT service offerings that will generate a 20 times return on their investment.

At its core, the Times Twenty initiative is about the value of money.  Specifically, your money.  You and your staff (all of them – marketing, sales, service delivery, finance and admin) work hard to earn this money.  You can’t afford to invest it in anything – people, technology, systems – unless you know you’ll be getting a high return on your investment.

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How to Automate Every IT Process You Want To – Even When It Seems Like You Can’t

finding-automationLast month, I talked about how to prioritize your automation efforts in 2 steps.  Before you jump into the first project that comes to mind, first identify all potential automation projects, and then prioritize them based on benefits– either time savings or better customer experience.  Sometimes, though, there’s a great project – one where automation will benefit both your IT staff and your business – but there’s no straight-forward way to automate the process.

This month, I’ll discuss the best way to go about automating any single process in a direct manner even when you can’t automate using a GUI alone.
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Security Services are Ripe for Explosive Growth in 2016

Online Data Security Concept Illustration with Padlock Icons, Cyber Background and Circuit Board Elements. Internet Security Technologies.

If you’re not thinking about expanding your Security services, you should be.  At least that’s the news from Kaseya’s 5th Annual Global MSP Pricing Survey*.

‘Heightened security risks’ is the top IT problem or service MSP respondents expect their clients to face in 2016.  And it won by a mile, selected by over a quarter of all respondents and receiving  40% more votes than the second-highest selection. This result isn’t a surprise given the unremitting flow of news on breaches and hacks.
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Looking to Increase Automation?  2 Simple Steps to Start Off Right!

automateI talk to MSPs a lot about automation and how important automation is to increasing efficiency, productivity, and IT performance.   Research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) determined that implementing automation reduces operating system deployment time by 68% on average, and time spent managing virus and spyware systems by 83% on average.

So it’s not a surprise that MSPs often ask me, “How do I automate?”   My answer is always, “Well, it’s not that simple to tell you.”

Which isn’t the answer they’re looking for.

What makes this such a hard question to answer?  I thought about this a lot recently, and realize it’s because figuring out WHAT to automate is very different for each MSP.  So much depends on their particular customer base, services, and in-house IT expertise.

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Time Management and Technicians: A Manager’s Guide to Success

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I recently received an email about “time management and prioritization” from a colleague.  I started thinking about what that means for an IT technician – and specifically what that means for the technician’s manager.

As Peter Drucker famously observed, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Whether you have one technician or a large team, it’s essential that you provide guidance and structure to make sure that they are handling support tickets appropriately, completely, and professionally.

A technician is great at fixing problems and finding the root cause of a problem.  You can just say “I need you to go fix this or go take care of that,” or “Let’s get this project done,” and they are on board.  However, it doesn’t mean they are all skilled at true time management.

A technician occasionally getting overwhelmed can be managed through a quick reminder on how to prioritize tasks.  However, if your technicians frequently run into trouble, here’s a handy 3-step process to find the root cause.
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Eight Steps to Better Security with Patch Management Automation

patch-management-and-securityHow do you make a hacker happy? Make sure your systems aren’t patched with the latest fixes. Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Report revealed that 99.9% of vulnerability exploits happen more than a year after the specific vulnerability was reported. In fact, 97% of the attacks in 2014 were from a list of ten published vulnerabilities – and there were patches available to fix those vulnerabilities. Better patch management could have significantly lowered that number. Patch management is critical for IT managers in all industries, but let’s use the healthcare industry as an example.

Security Breaches Are Costly

In a 2015 survey, healthcare executives reported that in the last two years 81% of their healthcare facilities had been compromised – and less than half felt they were properly prepared to prevent future attacks. In 2013 alone, it is estimated that breaches cost healthcare facilities $1.6 billion and affected millions of patients.
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