SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

All Together Now: CloudBlue

At this week’s Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit conference for partners, MSPs and resellers, a new line of business called CloudBlue was announced and released into the wild whacky world of cloud computing. My take is CloudBlue basically aggregates a lot of existing Ingram Micro cloud assets under one umbrella. It is considered a new division within Ingram Micro and Microsoft is a significant strategic partner in this solution. Microsoft declined to specify if it was a financial investor.

Microsoft and Ingram Micro will co-sell the CloudBlue commerce platform to new service providers joining Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and the CloudBlue platform will operate on Microsoft Azure.At this week’s Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit conference for partners, MSPs and resellers, a new line of business called CloudBlue was announced and released into the wild whacky world of cloud computing. My take is CloudBlue basically aggregates a lot of existing Ingram Micro cloud assets under one umbrella. It is considered a new division within Ingram Micro and Microsoft is a significant strategic partner in this solution. Microsoft declined to specify if it was a financial investor. Microsoft and Ingram Micro will co-sell the CloudBlue commerce platform to new service providers joining Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and the CloudBlue platform will operate on Microsoft Azure.

Almost two and a half years ago, Ingram Micro acquired Odin (the successor brand to Parallels). While I’ve covered that in the past, Odin brought a line of work to Ingram allowing ISVs, Distis and entrepreneurs to create a cloud marketplace with provisioning, billing and support. In many ways I thought that interesting in that I liked Odin as an independent solution that could serve other distributors such as D&H Distributing plus its really strong research arm that published excellent primary research. Over the past couple of years, I felt we had “lost” both the independent platform and research with the Odin acquisition; CloudBlue now clarifies what “happened” to Odin and brings the platform back to the center of attention. 

In an interview with Richard Dufty, Executive Vice President of Ingram Cloud, he stated that CloudBlue brings together a rich set of assets in the Ingram Micro family in a multi-year development effort.CloudBlue has the following components: 

Marketplace

Service Catalog

Subscription Management

Billing and Invoicing

Provisioning

Reporting/BI

Channel Enablement

Platform

You can see in Figure 1 showing a significant resource commitment in terms of money, time and labor. You can also get a sense of the CloudBlue scale, scope and geography. 

CloudBlue Fig1

Figure 1: CloudBlue facts. 

The CloudBlue commerce platform enables service providers of any size and a wide variety of business models to automate, aggregate and monetize their own cloud and digital services as well as those from third-parties. CloudBlue also enables ISVs to take their offerings to market almost instantly across the entire multi-service provider ecosystem with the company’s industry-leading cloud commerce and anything-as-a-service (XaaS) platform. Loosely translated, an SMB Nation MSP could be a cloud market place/cloud distributor. Reflecting Odin’s roots, CloudBlue launches with significant telecom support: Sprint, Centurylink, Cogeco, Telefonica, O2, Telenor, Telekom Austria, AmericaMovil, Cobweb, GTI, Copaco, PCM and Telstra.

Self-Service Platform?

In another private meeting with Ingram Micro executives, it was noted that CloudBlue will endeavor to offer a customer-facing self-service portal. I called BS as it has been my (admittedly biased) experience that technology self-service is an oxymoron (customers are lazy IMHO). But the upside for CloudBlue is that I believe partners and MSPs will be in continued market demand; this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. Self-service is over-rated.

Developers are the New Rock Stars

An inherent assumption concerning CloudBlue is the focus on intellectual property and DevOps. This is less of an infrastructure play and more of a app bolt-on play. It’s a natural progression as they aren’t making servers like they used to buddy boy. It creates a challenge for us Big Iron server-side guys as we’ll need to continue our own transformative journey to recreate and reinvent ourselves. Look at Figure 2 and observe the CloudBlue architecture and design. This is showing the internals with an emphasis on API-based connectivity. 

fig2 cloudblue

Figure 2: Get Your Geek On!

The Ingram CTO who presented the CloudBlue architecture emphasized ease-of-use in API creation and integration but I’ve had my fingertips burned in software development projects so I’ll withhold judgement until I learn more about CloudBlue. At the core of the CloudBlue ecosystem, is its proprietary API technology, APS, which customers can use to immediately connect to CloudBlue’s network of vendor solutions, enabling them to offer these vendor solutions in conjunction with their own core services quickly and easily. CloudBlue provides a single entry point to an ecosystem of the world’s most innovative ISVs, including more than 200 pre-integrated solutions from Microsoft, Dropbox, DocuSign, IBM, Cisco, Symantec and many more.

BTW – you can revisit a past blog on Slingr’s “Platform as a Service” play that provides additional context on API integrations and the bolt-on concept here.  

Scale Sales Quickly

A woman who most recently was a CMO inside a Big Data organization once told me what her takeaway was from her graduate school experience (MBA): learning how to scale. Agreed as MBAs are typically oriented towards enterprises and not entrepreneurs. Adopting the same MBA-like mindset, I’d concur with Ingram Micro’s assertion that CloudBlue’s raison d'être is rapid sales scalability (CloudReferral; CloudMarketplace; CloudPremium). It’s “graduate school” for the merchant and reseller class. You can see BlueClouds scalability intentions in Figure 3. 

CloudBlue Fig3

 

Figure 3: Visualizing worldwide scalability via CloudBlue.

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RapidFire Tools, Inc. Launches “Audit Guru,” The First Tool to Automate and Streamline GDPR Compliance Audits

New Software Appliance and Portal is Purpose-built for MSPs to Help Their Clients Navigate the Complex General Data Protection Regulation Mandates.

ATLANTA, GA, USA –March 5, 2018– RapidFire Tools Inc. today announced the availability of Audit Guru for GDPR™, the world’s first compliance process automation solution designed to address the sweeping new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which becomes law on the May 25, 2018. The tool is being offered exclusively through the RapidFire Tools RapidFirechannel of authorized Audit Guru partners, and includes a robust cloud-based portal that resellers can use to manage the entire GDPR audit and reporting process. MSPs can provide an array of value-added GDPR services built around Audit Guru, which can range from a simple and straight-forward resale of the tool to organizations that have their own internal IT and compliance staff, all the way up to a fully managed, ongoing GDPR Compliance-as-a-Service offering.

“The new GDPR requirements put into place tough new standards that regulate how personal information is collected, electronically stored, and secured,” noted Rapidfire Tools CEO, Mike Mittel. “These new laws impact every company that collects data about any individual living in the European Union. There is a huge amount of confusion, fear and uncertainty associated with GDPR because of the fines and crippling sanctions associated with non-compliance,” he added. “Audit Guru addresses these concerns by providing MSPs with a solution that literally guides them through the compliance process, automates the collection of necessary data, and generates the required documents.”

The new offering leverages the same technology found in Network Detective, the company’s market-proven, award-winning family of IT assessment, documentation and reporting tools. “This is not just another check-list product with a laundry list of tasks that the MSP has to perform,” explained Win Pham, lead developer of the tool. “We've created a turn-key virtual software appliance that automates the production of mandatory compliance reports, provides ongoing issues detection, and manages the manual collection of supplemental information required from key stakeholders.”

The marketing opportunity extends far beyond MSPs located within the European union. “As if the EU isn’t a big enough market, even if the MSPs or their clients are based outside of the EU, if they own electronic database files that contain personal information about customers, prospects and other individuals who are based inside the EU, they are subject to the regulation,” explained Mark Winter, RapidFire Tools’ vice president of sales. “This makes the market for Audit Guru even broader for MSPs, MSSPs, and VARs who wish to expand their offerings to include GDPR compliance services.”

Audit Guru is sold to MSPs directly by RapidFire Tools or through any of their European distributors. MSPs who are interested in becoming an Audit Guru Reseller Partner should visit www.auditguru.com, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call +1-678-323-1300, ext. 2.

 

About RapidFire Tools
RapidFire Tools, Inc is the leading global supplier of business-building technology tools for MSPs to help them close more business, offer more services, keep more customers, and make more money. The company’s offerings include: a complete set of IT Assessment, Documentation and Reporting tools; tools for IT Compliance Process Automation; and tools for Insider Cyber Threat Detection & Alerting.
European distributors include: Achab (Italy), Prianto (UK), and Upstream (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden).

 

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IoT for Real: Sensors

I’ve really struggled to see the Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity for MSPs. While IoT was/is a topic de jour at nearly every MSP-related conference currently, it’s still a pie in a blue sky concept. So what’s the reality of IoT as I write this in early 2018? I’d offer industrial applications that are, to be brutally honest, far afield from the traditional MSP world.

I have two data points to back up my research.

Both involve relationships I have from the Microsoft days. First, there is an employee

who recently returned to Microsoft from other endeavors and spent a year researching IoT in the Azure product group. We had lunch discussing the old Response Point product inside Microsoft Research but more importantly, his view of IoT. Basically the Azure product team is going to view IoT as CONSUMPTION! The trillions of data bits gathered from industrial cafeterias (rea coffee makers needing a maintenance visit) and trucks crossing the country will fill up Azure storage containers. At the end of the day, the Azure business model is timesharing and consumption so the more the merrier.

iot home

 

The other IoT encounter concerns Stijn Henrikse. We worked together inside Microsoft SMS&P during the Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) era. Recently he landed at Fluke Corporation as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of its Fluke Digital Systems group. MSPs will fondly recall Fluke as the gold standard for network measurement instruments. We met for coffee over the holiday break and he offered the most practical insights into IoT that I’ve received to date. It concerns industrial applications here and now. Think HVAC systems inside buildings. Then think of a medical campus with a large number of building having different and varied systems. I’d offer Fluke early success in IoT in this realm are akin to the adage “…that which we measure we can manage.”

So how can I relate this to the world of MSPs. There is an emerging answer: NinjaRMM. This spunky ISV has gained traction in the SMB Nation community with its solid RMM product and, equally important, its community participation. In working with NinjaRMM during 2017, I discovered its development roadmap was already pointing towards incorporating IoTisms into its portfolio. Of course the timing isn’t announced but I can tell you this. It’s the underlying commitment to product research and development from NinjaRMM that will make IoT reality for MSPs. How do I define reality? The answer is that it must cashflow (hey – payroll is due on the 1st and 15th mate).

Here is an interesting article we recently curated on the SMB Nation site “The Top 8 IoT Trends for 2018” that you might enjoy.

I’d love to hear how you, the SMB Nation member, is working with IoT. You know how to reach me. Thanks!

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Thoma Bravo Acquires Continuum, A Leading Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) Company

Firm’s Mid-Market Discover Fund Wraps Up Active Week of Deal Making  


BOSTON, MA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 14, 2017 – Thoma Bravo LLC, a leading private equity investment firm, today announced that it has acquired Continuum, a premier global IT management platform for Managed IT Service thoma bravoProviders (MSPs), from Summit Partners. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.  

Continuum, headquartered in Boston, is an international firm that provides MSPs with the platform, services and processes needed to simplify IT management and deliver high quality Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), backup and disaster recovery and security offerings to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Its vertically integrated service delivery model combines a SaaS-based technology suite with a best-in-class Network Operations Center (NOC) and Help Desk, and allows MSPs to remotely administer, backup and secure their clients’ IT environments from a single screen and to scale quickly and cost-effectively. Continuum employs more than 1,400 professionals worldwide and monitors more than 1 million endpoints for its 5,800 partners, including MSPs servicing more than 60,000 SMB customers.

“Continuum sets the industry standard with its turn-key approach in the Remote Monitoring and Management market for MSPs,” said A.J. Rohde, a Partner at Thoma Bravo. “We know this market well, and have followed the company for a long time.  What Michael George and his team have delivered on in terms of an innovative product suite and full software and services model has been very impressive, and we can’t wait to work with them to accelerate the world-class offering they deliver to MSPs, both organically and through add-on acquisitions.”

“The company has a smart and proven business model which solves a well-understood skills gap in the MSP market,” added AJ Jangalapalli, a Vice President at Thoma Bravo.  “With its strong growth and high customer retention, Continuum is a great fit with the Thoma Bravo portfolio.”

“Thoma Bravo is the perfect financial and strategic partner for us at this important stage of our company’s growth,” said Michael George, CEO at Continuum. “This investment will enable us to continue to capitalize on our core value propositions and increase critical investments in product development as well as sales and marketing tools for our MSP partners to help accelerate their growth. We are incredibly grateful for the partnership and support we have received from Summit Partners, and are confident that Thoma Bravo’s operational expertise, knowledge of the space and strategic support will be invaluable to us as we focus ambitiously on our company’s future.”

The acquisition of Continuum was made through Thoma Bravo’s Discover Fund, which debuted in early 2016, and comes on the heels of its acquisition of Riskonnect, an integrated risk management provider, announced last week. The Discover Fund enables Thoma Bravo to expand its investment reach by focusing on growth-oriented technology companies in the lower middle market. Previous Discover Fund investments include Bomgar, a cybersecurity provider; Elemica, a supply chain operating network; Infogix, an analytics company; and T2 Systems, a parking management software firm.

Kirkland & Ellis is serving as counsel for Thoma Bravo. Goldman Sachs and the Carlyle Group provided the debt financing for this transaction. Lazard acted as financial advisor and Goodwin as legal counsel to Continuum.

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The Benefits of Working with a BDR Provider That Owns Its Backup Technology

Headshot Ben AustinBen Austin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Continuum Managed Services

Managed services providers (MSPs) are trusted advisors to their clients. By acting as virtual CIO (VCIO), safeguarding the health of IT environments and maximizing the ROI of their clients’ IT budgets, MSPs are responsible for increasing the business efficiency and profitability of the organizations they serve. This relationship is often started with the implied trust of a customer that their MSP will deliver as promised in the sales cycle. Then, as time rolls by, that trust becomes more tangible based on the actual experience with their MSP.

As this trust grows so does the responsibility of the MSP. One area that MSPs ultimately have significant influence over is the handling and protection of one of their client’s greatest business assets: their data. This trust is at its apex in the delivery of completely reliable and modern backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions.

For your end-clients, BDR solutions are similar to umpires in a baseball game. If you never find yourself talking about them then everything is probably going smoothly. It’s when data loss or excessive downtime occurs that clients lose faith in the credibility of your business continuity offering.

With so much at stake, it’s vital that MSPs minimize any concerns with their business continuity offering by investing in the right BDR platform. So how do you know which solution is right for you? One easily identifiable and often overlooked approach is to work with an IT management platform provider that owns its BDR technology and handles service delivery of the product from top to bottom. Let’s examine a few of the reasons why this particular service is one that MSPs want to be as close to the source as possible.

  1. The MSP can influence product changes – When a managed services provider works with a business partner that has complete ownership over its BDR technology, the MSP can request additional features and functionality that will make them more productive and strengthen their overall offering. If the BDR solution used by an MSP is several touches away from them, they likely won’t have much influence in changes that improve the BDR software’s performance. The MSP could even miss out on the chance to test new product developments before they are implemented. While some might think it risky to be the first to try something new in a product offering, it can actually serve as a competitive advantage. Working directly with the owner of the BDR technology is a great opportunity to bring something to end users before anyone else, thus possibly providing a first-mover advantage.
  2.  MSPs can have an elevated level of trust in their BDR partner – Having that level of involvement in influencing product roadmap and other important aspects of a BDR offering can create a real trust between the MSP and their provider. MSPs strive to earn the trust of their clients. Part of that comes from having trust in the technology partners and vendors that sit behind them as they go to market. Having some skin in the game with regard to impacting product development is a great opportunity for an MSP to deliver BDR solutions to their clients with the utmost confidence.Having some input in the product roadmap and maintaining business interests that align with those of your BDR partner certainly signal a relationship that’s built to last, but what directly impacts your business’ bottom line? How can working with a BDR provider that owns all of its backup technology help grow margins?
  3. Independent platform pricing protects the MSP’s margins– With no middle man markup, the MSP avoids price ceilings that can result when subject to third-party technology. In purchasing a BDR platform subscription from an independent provider, they can protect their margins by increasing gross profitability. Profit is inversely related to cost. The higher the expenditure, the lower your bottom line. Instead of having to pay extra for support once removed, work with a BDR partner that owns its solution, thereby allowing you to cut costs. By the same token, to further increase profitability, look for BDR software and service delivery that helps you maintain financial stability by maximizing revenue.
  4.  Having support closer to the end client raises customer satisfaction – Typically, the closer support is to the end-client, the more efficient the response and issue resolution. In the instance where a BDR platform provider owns and develops its entire BDR solution, any support calls that are taken are handled right then and there. Additionally, expect support staff to manage issues and answer questions in a timelier manner. These technicians will likely be more knowledgeable of the BDR product (and therefore understand its intricacies) if the solution is owned in-house. Increased familiarity with the backup technology and all its ins and outs ensures a higher degree of service delivery because the MSP (and end client, by extension) doesn’t have to wait for a third-party vendor to deduce why the BDR software may be acting in a certain way. The less turnaround time to fulfill a client request, the better the client experience overall.

These latter two points help MSPs create loyal fans, increase client retention and capture more upsell and cross-sell revenue, without incurring the costs of losing business. As a result, independent BDR platforms enable MSPs that are offering business continuity services to be more profitable.

Become a Major BDR Player with Continuity247™

Fully-managed BDR platform, Continuity247, is owned and operated entirely by Continuum, allowing the company to deliver the peace of mind provided by each of the four points outlined above. Continuum is committed to ensuring its partners receive unparalleled support and regularly make refinements and improvements based on partner feedback. With this shared ownership, trust is at the core of its business model. You can always count on Continuum to have your back. Nowhere is this more evident than with the level of BDR service that partners receive from its world-class Network Operations Center (NOC).

For example, with Continuity247™, Continuum’s team of 700 NOC technicians provides partners 24x7x365 backup support. In addition to absorbing time-consuming, labor-intensive responsibilities like testing and monitoring backups so MSPs don’t have to, support staff is intimately familiar with the BDR technology, understands its DNA and is able to more quickly troubleshoot its behavior. To strengthen technical support for Continuity247, Continuum also combines deep product education with regular internal training to reinforce the BDR service delivery on partners’ behalves. Continuum is the final line of support, which means the company can answer any product-related inquiries internally, rather than having to rely on a third-party to respond. Finally, Continuity247 was built with partners’ profit margins in mind. Since they’re not constrained to the pricing of a third-party vendor, partners can yield a higher profit by selling their business continuity services at a much higher rate than what they purchased them for.

Whether you’re thinking about switching providers or just getting into the BDR market for the first time, you have to vet what you are actually getting in a BDR solution vs. just simply the shopping price.

Do you know if your current BDR provider owns all of their backup technology? If not, you may want to start asking questions regarding their BDR offering to ensure you are getting the most value for your spend. Only after examining solutions under this lens can you accurately compare BDR platforms and make an informed purchasing decision.

Ben Austin is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Continuum’s backup and disaster recovery products. He has experience in high-velocity content marketing and demand generation. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Emerson College and has spent his career researching and writing about the B2B tech industry.

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RapidFire Tools announces upcoming locations for award-winning trainings

RapidFire Tools, Inc. announced shared yesterday it will continue to present trainings for MSPs throughout September, in an effort to help MSPs and IT solution providers profit from network assessment.  

The company will offer “Top Ways to Use IT Assessments to Win New Business and Grow Your Customer Relationships” at the MAX 2015 event Sept. 10 and the upcoming ASCII Group SMB Success Summit Sept. 16. “We continue to focus on educating the MSP community about the revenue potential associated with network assessment throughout the client life-cycle, from prospecting and new client onboarding, through client service and business reviews, and even by delivering new services,” RapidFire Tools CEO Mike Mittel said. “The best way to communicate all these uses is to let solution providers see for themselves how these tools are used and what kind of branded reports they can generate.  RapidFire Tools is honored that so many trade show attendees have recognized the value of these solutions, and have gone back to put our network assessment products successfully into practice.”

Its training session won “Best IT Workshop” at a spring 2015 ASCII Group SMB Success Summit.

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GFI Software Releases ServiceDesk for MSPs

GFI Max recently announced the release of GFI MAX ServiceDesk, a solution designed for MSPs to track and manage customer issues. In particular the ServiceDesk solution will integrate into the GFI MAX RemoteManagement portal and provide a single point of contact for all customers.

Additional features include:

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StorageCraft Expands "Across the Pond" into Ireland

Storagecraft logoStorageCraft is taking its business across the pond with its decision to open a new office and international headquarters in Cork, Ireland.

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ManageEngine Adds Project Management, CMDB to ServiceDesk Plus

Manage Engine logoManageEngine said today that it is now offering the general availability of project management and configuration management database (CMDB) modules in ServiceDesk Plus – MSP, its ITIL-ready help desk software for managed service providers (MSPs). The addition of these two modules give MSP IT administrators and IT managers integrated tools that simplify the creation and tracking of help desk projects and that improve service quality.  

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Robin Robins Launches Video Series on how MSPs Can Gain Additional, Quality Clients

Robin RobinsLate last week we heard from our friend Robin Robins, founder of the Technology Marketing Toolkit, who informed us that she has developed (and is now offering) a new video seminar series to show you how to get more high-quality clients to outsource their IT support to you, without discounting or hard-selling. But Robins warns that you must not hesitate as this new content (geared toward) companies selling outsourced IT support services) will only be available for a limited time.

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Calling All MSPs: How to Accelerate Cloud Adoption, Remotely Manage Key IT Workloads to Expand your Biz

Darrin Swan 2By Darrin Swan, Director, Global Sales and Business Development, Dell Service Provider Program        

Trying to survive on product margins has been a losing proposition for years, but an equally poor business choice is to offer just a portion of the key IT services that customers require. Comprehensive services are the lifeblood of your business, and MSPs have a prime opportunity to differentiate themselves and expand business by taking a holistic approach. The secret to service success is the same as the channel's long-proven value proposition: becoming your customers' trusted IT partner and focusing on their overarching business priorities, not only their technology needs. That's an ongoing challenge for MSPs, especially when it comes to small and medium businesses.

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Kaseya Traverse Launched for Advanced SaaS-Based Biz Service for Various Environments

Kaseya logoKaseya earlier this week announced the general availability of Kaseya Traverse, a solution that is now delivered as SaaS, and provides enterprise-class network performance monitoring, business service management (BSM) and predictive analytics for cloud, on-premise, hybrid, virtualized and distributed environments. The new offering provides a strong complement to Kaseya’s award-winning systems management suite of products, enabling proactive management and monitoring of the entire IT infrastructure.

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StorageCraft Extends 30% Discount Rate Offer for Cloud Services

Storagecraft logoMSPs in the U.S. and Canada now have an extra month to take advantage of a 30-percent discount for using StorageCraft Cloud Services—the company has decided to extend the offer’s deadline to Oct. 31, 2013, due to the tremendous response that it has had from MSPs.

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Converged Technology Group Expands MSP Platform with Cloud Services Rebranding

converged-technology-group-logoConverged Technology Group today released and rebranded its next-generation, cloud-based platform, Converged Assist as Assist360o. The platform is designed to provide a significantly more robust suite of efficiency, performance and control-enhancing features.

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AVG's Luke Walling Discusses Dave Sobel Resignation, Future Plans

Luke WallingYesterday, we reported the speculation and chatter regarding the possibility of Dave Sobel’s whereabouts at the ChannelPro SMB Forum in New Jersey earlier this week. This morning, we received a response from AVG regarding the Director of Partner Community’s position and status at the company, which confirmed that he is in fact no longer affiliated with AVG.

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GFI MAX RemoteManagement Gives MSPs Greater Control via Single Screen

GFI LogoGFI MAX said today that it has made available its remote command line, the first function of the new Remote Background Management feature in its GFI MAX RemoteManagement platform for MSPs. The Remote Background Management feature provides a seamless customer experience by allowing MSPs to remotely complete maintenance on their customers’ networks without interrupting their work.

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N-able Report Manager 4.1 Aims to Efficiently Combine Daily MSP Business Practices

n-able logoWe heard from N-able today that the recently acquired RMM has launched Report Manager 4.1, designed to deliver business reporting to N-able MSPs worldwide. Highlighting the new release is a new executive summary report designed to transform and simplify the way MSPs quantify, communicate and visually demonstrate the business and technical value of their services to customers, prospects and other influencers such as line of business owners and board of directors.

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Unitrends Launches Service Provider Program for BDR

538784 10151006214355426 233882944 nUnitrends said today that it is launching a new Service Provider Program, which equips hosting, managed services and cloud providers with the agile infrastructure needed to simply and cost-effectively offer onsite and offsite backup and disaster recovery services to their customers. 

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Survey Says: Current MSP Challenges Include Adapting to Customer Needs, Employee Shortage

GFI MAX revealed today the results of a recent survey, which explored the agility, utilization and profitability of software solutions used by managed services providers (MSPs), as well as the business challenges facing the MSP community.

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents said that demand for managed services has increased over the last year, revealing a growing need for the services that MSPs provide to address their customers’ current and future requirements.

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CA’s Channel Index Reveals SMBs Switching IT Budgets from Reactive to Proactive Projects

Companies are increasingly switching their IT budgets from routine maintenance toward more innovative projects that enable revenue-generating services, according to the CA Technologies Channel Index 2013.

Of the more than 550 partners worldwide who participated in the company’s online survey, it was revealed that, on average, partners spend 34 percent of their time helping customers with innovation projects that enable new revenue-generating services. The conventional wisdom is that 80 percent of a company’s IT budget is typically spent on maintenance and operations, leaving just 20 percent for innovation initiatives.

Two priority areas for IT investment emerged from this research: enterprise mobility and cloud. Enterprise mobility is becoming increasingly more widespread, providing customers and employees with new and convenient ways of accessing enterprise applications. With this comes added complexity to the IT environment and new challenges to manage and keep the IT environment secure.

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IT Channel Vet Amy Luby Joins Mailprotector as Global VP of Sales & Marketing

We heard today from Amy Luby that she has joined Mailprotector as the company’s Global VP of Sales & Marketing. Virtual Connect Technologies, the company behind the Mailprotector brand of email security, management and hosting tools, announced today the hiring of Amy Luby as the company’s Global Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

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Kaseya Partners: Will things get Better, Worse, or Remain the Same?

With Kaseya being the third RMM in the last month to announce its acquisition, obviously, just like the Level Platforms and N-able acquisitions, the RMM’s partners have many questions, concerns and feelings of: “So, what do I do now?”

I spoke to newly hired Kaseya CEO Yogesh Gupta yesterday about this, and he said (in a related blog post) that MSPs need not to worry, and that any concerns they have will be addressed. To learn more about some of these concerns, I chatted with Chris Wiser, (pictured) Founder and CEO, TechSquad IT, a Milwaukee-based MSP who has been a Kaseya partner since 2004.

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New Kaseya CEO Aims to Increase Customer Support, Higher Quality Products, Services

Earlier this week, Kaseya announced that Insight Venture Partners, a private equity investment firm in New York City, had made a significant investment in the RMM for an undisclosed amount of cash. Aside from Kaseya being the third RMM to be acquired in the last month, behind Level Platforms and N-able, the company also announced that its CEO Gerald Blackie, and his co-founders, were stepping down to pursue other opportunities. Yogesh Gupta has been named the new President and CEO of Kaseya, effective immediately.

(Pictured): Yogesh Gupta, Kaseya's new President and CEO.

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Continuum Doubles NOC Capacity with Move to 24/7 Facility in Mumbai, India

As many of our readers have observed, we have spoken with Continuum a few times in the last couple of months regarding the changes and expansions the RMM is undergoing. Today, the company announced another one of its initiatives, this time regarding its Network Operations Center (NOC).

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AVG Purchases Level Platforms to Enhance its Cloud-Based Services Model

This morning, we heard another big news announcement, having just recovered from the announcement that SolarWinds acquired N-able last month: AVG Technologies said today that it plans to purchase (subject to closing) the business of LPI Level Platforms.

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Study: Password Security, Access Still Biggest MSP Security Threat

PASSPORTAL today announced the results of their comprehensive MSP Password Security Study and released a major update to its password management solution designed for MSPs.

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eFolder/Mezeo Partnership Allows MSPs to Offer Biz-Class Cloud File Syncing

At the Autotask Community Live event this week, eFolder and Mezeo announced a partnership to bring cloud file sync services to MSPs throughout North America. The combined solution will be sold and supported by eFolder and will offer MSPs, solution providers, and VARs a business-class, secure, and channel-ready cloud file sync service that meets the needs of the small and medium business market. Generally available to eFolder partners in calendar Q3, the eFolder Cloud File Sync service will be sold on a simple, per-user per-month basis and allow partners to make attractive monthly recurring revenue and profit margins.

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BrightGauge 3.0 to Offer Advanced Analytics, Aggregated Data Reporting

BrightGauge Software said that it has released BrightGauge 3.0, the company’s latest update to its web-based business analytics and customer-reporting platform for MSPs. The new release provides enhanced customization of data metrics and more robust reporting features that now enable MSPs to measure and visualize their own business performance across their entire client base.

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Continuum State of the Union: We are Stronger than Ever, and Completely MSP-Focused

At this point, about 18 months later, you would have been living in a cave if you are involved in the SMB channel and had not heard that Zenith Infotech’s managed services business unit was spun off as a separate entity known as Continuum. Based in Boston, the company, in which VC firm Summit Partners has made a sizable investment, Continuum (formerly known as Zenith RMM), operates as a strong U.S.-based company that is continually focused on its MSPs and helping them to better their lives—both professionally and personally.

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ManageEngine Launches Privileged Password Management Software for MSPs

ManageEngine today launched the immediate beta availability of the MSP edition of its privileged password management software Password Manager Pro

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Continuum’s Marketing Advantage Program will Help MSPs Populate, Nurture Sales Leads

In response to high partner demand for a complete lead generation solution, Continuum introduced today Marketing Advantage, a fully integrated, turnkey marketing program. Developed using input from hundreds of MSPs and research into how and why SMBs buy IT services, the program goes beyond traditional approaches to offer a highly systematic process that addresses the unique marketing requirements of MSPs. Designed as a set-and-forget system, Marketing Advantage requires minimal investment in time and resources with everything implemented and completely customized to the MSP’s brand identity. 

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Best Buy, Target Cease Geek Squad Test Deal

It was announced this morning that Best Buy and target have reportedly ended their test partnership, which placed Best Buy’s Geek Squad staff at 29 Target stores in Denver and Minneapolis, as reported by the Minneapolis Star. 

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CA’s ARCserve MSP Program Now Available with 3.0 Release

Long Island, NY’s CA Technologies has made available the third major release of its MSP icensing program for CA ARCserve. With a further simplified licensing structure, new partner enablement resources and an expanded technology portfolio, the CA ARCserve MSP program empowers partners to quickly and cost-efficiently deliver effective, profitable data protection services.

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Kaseya’s New Software Tools Aim to Increase MSP Productivity, Custom Reporting

Kaseya has released a new set of software tools delivering enhanced functionality, performance and usability to increase productivity for corporate IT professionals and MSPs. With this latest release comes a new, consolidated network discovery, enhanced policy management for continuous compliance, and personalized custom reporting to time-strapped IT administrators.

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MSP’s Mobility Practice Designed to Help Make their Web Sites More Mobile-Friendly

Earlier this week, ThinkSIS said that it launched a new mobility practice to help businesses and other organizations make their websites more mobile-friendly. With an increasing emphasis being placed on mobility in today's business environment, SIS is now able to design, implement, and manage secure mobile solutions for multiple platforms, including smart phones and tablets.

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