How an IT Inventory Exposes Unprotected Systems, Shows What is Out of Date, Supports Proper Hardware and Software Planning, and Helps you Survive a Software Audit

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We old timers remember the emergence of the PC as an IT force. In mainframe dominated organizations, PCs were snuck in, put surreptitiously to work, and then proved themselves more than worthy.

Today, IT itself deploys myriad devices ― so much so they have a hard time keeping track of their own handiwork. And end users and departments are still bringing in their own machines and applications. This has long gone on but in recent years has come to be called Stealth or Shadow IT.

Meanwhile, the average end user has multiple devices: PC, tablet, smartphone, etc. And they are increasingly adept at finding and using new applications.

All this adds up to a major management headache and security threat. IT must get their arms around this problem if they are to provide a safe and effective computing environment.
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Root Cause Analysis for Complex Networks: The Traverse Answer

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Network Root Cause Analysis (RCA) has never been exactly simple. But when networks and IT infrastructure had a simpler architecture, finding a root cause was not overly complex. It was largely either the LAN or the WAN.

Today that relative simplicity has been replaced with ever increasing complexity. Nowadays, we still have LANs, but they often connect servers to other servers and then feed wireless access points which are how end users get to the network.

At the same time, computing is now more distributed. Applications reside both in-house and in the cloud, and some of these are hybrid so the processing is shared between the two. And rare today is the on-premises server that is not virtualized. This turns one server into many and makes it more difficult to find which VM is causing the problem.
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IT Service Management and IT Maturity Best Practices

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When Gartner talks, IT listens. Recently the noted research house pontificated about IT Service Management (ITSM) and gave 10 bits of advice to best harness this technology. The suggestions come care of Top 10 IT Service Management Next Practices.

So what is ITSM? ITSM encompasses a range of activities, processes and policies aimed at making IT services delivery efficient and effective – and that meet end user and customer (in the case of a service provider) needs. ITSM can be implemented by an internal IT department, and here it brings discipline to service delivery and end-user support. It is also used by service providers so they can insure all clients are supported by top-rate, continually improving IT services.
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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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Sagiss Makes Managing Office 365 into Growing Service with Kaseya 365 Command

 

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20 year-old MSP Sagiss is no stick in the mud and is always looking for new opportunities. These days the company is helping clients move to the cloud with its new Office 365 management service, made possible by Kaseya’s 365 Command.

We reached out to Sagiss CTO Jim Lancaster and service desk leader Javier Caporal to find out how 365 Command eases cloud transitions and helps clients exploit the full benefits of the Microsoft cloud suite.
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What Do SMB IT Departments Need from an MSP?

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SMB IT groups who try and go it alone find they can never keep up, never mind effectively get ahead. SMBs that contract with an MSP to outsource their IT operations have a much easier time. Their systems get fixed quickly and perform well. And these SMB get to keep up with new technologies such as cloud services and applications. This can lead the go-it-alone crowd to contract a case of “MSP envy.”

The only answer is to join the parade and find your own MSP.

This is a big decision. Chances are you’ll want to work with a provider for a number of years as switching MSPs can be plenty disruptive.
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Building and Tuning a High-powered Sales Engine

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Probably the single most important aspect of running a business is sales. Sales are the life-blood of the business:  without sales you don’t have customers; without customers, you don’t have a business.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a small MSP where the owner wears the sales hat or global MSP with a large international sales team: selling well depends on having the fundamentals right. Before you pick up the phone and make your first prospecting call, you need to prepare.  This means more than going to the prospects’ website and finding out the name of the IT person.
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Kaseya VSA: The Best RMM For MSPs

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What would an MSP be without an RMM? Not much. Fact is, remote monitoring and management solutions are the core of most MSPs’ operation. The RMM defines how much you can do with client networks and end points. And it defines the technician experience – how efficient and easy the RMM is to use.

With this in mind, Kaseya has been working night and day to improve Kaseya VSA, now on version 9.3 with 9.4 soon to come. Much of the work has been to fully tune VSA to suit the needs of MSPs. It truly is next generation RMM. That’s our view. Now independent consulting firm Clarity Channel Advisors has confirmed what we knew all along – that VSA is the best RMM solution an MSP can buy today.

Kaseya VSA faced off against Autotask, ConnectWise and SolarWinds MSP.
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Single Password = Security Failure: How Two-Factor Authentication Saves the Day

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Decades ago, hackers learned how to crack passwords, especially the ones that are overly simple or obvious. Did you know the most popular passwords are the most insecure? password1, 123456 and even default are still all too commonly used.

Weak passwords are a cinch to hack. But other approaches to hacking are nearly as easy. With social engineering, a hacker can masquerade as an IT admin and simply ask for your password over the phone or through email. This works far too often.

Then there are brute force attacks where a hacker tool simply makes password attempts automatically one after another until one works.

In fact, password hacking is so sophisticated that it took only ten days for a hacker group to crack 11 million passwords from the notorious Ashley Madison web site.
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How the Right PSA Can Drive MSP Growth

psa_blog_bigThe MSP market is growing fast. According to the report Managed Services Market by MarketsandMarkets, managed services will rise from $145 billion this year to $242 billion in 2021. That’s a healthy Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.8%.

Unfortunately not all MSPs are growing that fast, and many of those that do would love to grow even faster.

To take on new clients, your technical solutions, such as your RMM, have to scale to support that growth. However, there are also internal business issues and client business issues —such as contracts, billing and project management that ―have to scale as well. That’s where a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution built especially for MSPs comes in. It makes running your operation more efficient and brings discipline to many business functions. And yes, that PSA will help you achieve growth goals and manage that growth.

Impediments to Growth

There are many hurdles that keep MSPs from growing at a healthy clip. One problem is not having the right business tool such as that MSP-specific PSA. Smaller MSPs don’t think they can afford a PSA, so don’t bother getting one. As you’ll learn later, price should be no barrier to gaining PSA capabilities – provided you choose the right vendor.
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