Security is an MSP’s Job One

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Security is by far the toughest challenge faced by end user organizations today — which is why so many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) choose to outsource their security to managed service providers (MSPs). SMBs simply can’t afford the security personnel expense (security experts command top salaries) and don’t have the time to do the constant and detailed work it takes to maintain a safe environment. Nor is this a strategic endeavor for busy SMB IT shops.
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5 IT Cloud Myths and Beliefs – Debunked, Confirmed and In-Between

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The cloud is still full of mystery. After all, you can’t see and touch your applications and data, and you have less control than with their on-premises counter parts. Now that the cloud is maturing, some issues are becoming clearer.

Here is a reality check on 5 cloud myths and beliefs. Continue Reading…

Happy Birthday, PCI Council! Unfortunately, Compliance Is Not Enough

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To honor the Council’s 10th birthday―and just in time for a new retail holiday season― let’s look back on how retail security challenges have intensified over the past decade.

The PCI Council’s inaugural year coincided with one of the first highly public, holiday-season retail breaches when, in December 2006, retailer giant TJX acknowledged that they had been the victim of a major breach, stemming from an insecure wireless network that was easily attacked by Continue Reading…

How an IT Inventory Exposes Unprotected Systems, Shows What is Out of Date, Supports Proper Hardware and Software Planning, and Helps you Survive a Software Audit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