The No-Fail Guide to Becoming a Trusted Advisor

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You may think Trusted Advisor is a trite phrase. In fact, some think we should retire the term altogether. But as an MSP there is nothing wrong with being trusted or engaged as an advisor. So forget about whether you love or hate the term and just embrace the concept.

In a blog last month we talked about why you should think about being a Trusted Advisor. Now we’ll talk a bit about how you do it.

You can start this transition, if you haven’t already made it, with existing clients. Dig deeper into their technical affairs. Go the extra mile in managing and monitoring devices and their network, and proactively offer new ways of gaining efficiency and supporting innovation. They’ll feel the benefits and pass the word along.
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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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When It Comes to MSPs, What Does Agile Even Mean?

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Agile is a term first widely applied to software development, but now is used just about everywhere (maybe overused is a better way to put it). Being nimble, able to change course quickly, and not bogged down by minutia can make even the largest MSP Agile.

Do a Google search on “Agile MSP” and you’ll get 4,630 results, only a minority of which actually refer to managed service providers.

Dig into the results that do, and you’ll find about a dozen different takes on what it means to be an Agile MSP. For some, it just means being flexible and forward thinking. Others try to apply Agile development directives 100% to MSPs, which really only works if the MSP is likewise development focused.

Some of the Agile development techniques make sense, but applying Agile development lock stock and barrel doesn’t truly fit the MSP model.
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Should an MSP Grow by Going Vertical?

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Vertical markets are a great way to expand your business. Going after more and more clients no matter their industry is also a great way to expand your business. And doing both at once isn’t a bad approach either.

So how do you figure out what to do? As an MSP professional that is really your call. Rather than telling you what to do, we’ll talk about the value, and the protective value, of being a vertical MSP.

A big reason to go vertical is that you aren’t just selling your expertise in managing and securing general-purpose systems. Instead you can make these systems shine in particular industries, such as finance, public companies and healthcare – all three of which require compliance expertise.

Let me ask a simple question. IF you are selling to a college, and have educational expertise, do you have a better chance of sealing the deal than a general business MSP? Of course you do. You have a massive advantage in getting this new business. In a case such as this, would you rather be a commodity or an expert?

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How MSPs Can Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Marketing

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Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are great with technology, but not always so marketing savvy. Still, how can you expand a business when no one knows who you are?

Sure, much of your business may be develop by word of mouth, based on great customer referrals. But if that is all you do to market yourself, you are leaving money on the table. And you are  seriously curtailing your ability to expand, especially geographically.

The good news is that MSPs tend to be very (okay, very very) smart, so learning a thing or two about marketing isn’t that tough.

The real question is: are you committed to stepping up your marketing efforts?

If you are, we have some advice to get you jazzed up, fine tune your existing marketing, or maybe just get you started.

Of course, there are challenges. An MSP is not Procter & Gamble with millions to spend on every form of advertising, promotion and marketing.

Many MSPs are small or medium-size businesses, and have to be nimble and ready to engage in a little guerilla marketing warfare.
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Hidden HIPAA Traps

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How You Can Become a Healthcare MSP Master

Many industries have compliance rules, but few are as strict as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

While HIPAA is a set of U.S. regulations, many countries have similar rules.

When it comes to these complex rules, healthcare companies can’t always go it alone. It helps to have a trusted partner who is expert in all things HIPAA, such as an MSP with a vertical health care focus.

The good news for MSPs is that your HIPAA expertise lets you sell services at a premium – compliance is just that important.

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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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GUEST BLOG: Documentation – The Next Frontier for Kaseya VSA Customers


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Few would argue that to deliver a great service, and profit at the same time, we need to focus energy on people, technology and process. Sadly, process is often the most overlooked of these three key areas. Why is that? It’s because it’s perceived as a difficult, painful thing to fix. But is the ROI there to fix it?

Technology is supposed to make us more efficient and make life easier, but does it? It is estimated that IT staff typically spend 20-30% of their time looking for information. This is costing an average of $19,000 per employee per year, without factoring in the opportunity cost associated with making productive use of this wasted time.

Where does all the wasted time go?

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