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.

MSP eBook: 10 Steps to Build a Killer Office 365 Support Service

Getting technical support has been listed as one of the top 5 challenges small businesses face when they move to the cloud. Although Microsoft offers some assistance to Office 365 end users, the service does not fit this type of companies’ needs. Moreover, costs for a guaranteed, top-level support are high and only a few small businesses want to go that route.

CSP Direct and Indirect partners are not just reselling licenses; they have to offer a full customer experience that includes technical support. Guaranteeing the same level of support as Microsoft or better requires partners to know about:

  • How to set up a first-class technical support service
  • How to choose the right pricing model for your support services
  • Hiring and training employees
  • Managing customer satisfaction

As a VAR, MSP or SI, offering support service is a unique opportunity to improve customer loyalty, free referrals, plus cross-sell and upsell options. Being your customers’ first point of contact for either sales or support matters will keep you aware of your customer needs. As a result, you’ll be able to help them better adopt Office 365 services and come up with complementary solutions.

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Malwarebytes Acquires Saferbytes

Malwarebytes acquires Italian cybersecurity firm to enhance threat detection, removal and remediation across the entire enterprise.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – February 7, 2017Malwarebytes™, the leading advanced malware Malwarebytesprevention and remediation solution, today announced the acquisition of Saferbytes, a security start-up with a proven track record of building advanced technologies with anti-malware, anti-exploit, anti-rootkit, cloud AV, and sandbox capabilities. This acquisition will greatly enhance Malwarebytes’ enterprise remediation offering and threat feeds, in addition to further advancing the company’s market approach and global strategy. 


One of Malwarebytes’ core competencies is the removal of advanced threats from infected endpoints. With the Saferbytes acquisition, Malwarebytes plans to leverage the company’s popularapplication, as well as its sandbox expertise, to enhance existing solutions with new IOC and threat feeds and equip businesses with superior threat intelligence. The acquisition also serves as a continuation of Malwarebytes’ global expansion strategy and market focus on the enterprise.

“We are committed to keeping customers safe from the most dangerous cyber threats through continued advancement of our technologies,” said Marcin Kleczynski, Malwarebytes CEO. “Adding Saferbytes to the Malwarebytes team is a crucial step in enhancing our incident response offering and expanding our global footprint as a company. We have been incredibly impressed with what they have built and look forward to working together to keep businesses safe from cyber threats.”

“The entire Saferbytes team and I are truly excited to be joining forces with the exceptional and highly talented people at Malwarebytes to build advanced threat detection technologies,” said Marco Giuliani, Saferbytes CEO. “I have always envied the team at Malwarebytes for building innovative technologies and developing one of the most popular anti-malware solutions on the market. Since meeting the Malwarebytes executive team for the first time, it was clear to me that we shared the same vision for building technologies to enable our customers to have the best protection available.”

About Saferbytes Deepviz
Saferbytes’ Deepviz is a cloud based, self-learning threat intelligence platform powered by Deepviz Malware Analysis Engine. With Deepviz, users can start from an IP, domain, string, filename, e-mail or anything else they have to quickly rebuild the whole history of a targeted attack and identify malicious domains, similar malware and C&C infrastructure.
Deepviz easily integrates into the existing security workflow. Deepviz for Splunk allows users to enrich Splunk data by adding threat intelligence details to IP addresses, domains and hashes. Analysts can spot suspicious connections, find out what malware is connecting to them and identify malware on the network. The intel gathered by Deepviz will greatly enhance the

Malwarebytes portfolio and holds significant potential for enhancing existing Malwarebytes enterprise solutions.

Saferbytes is based in Perugia, Italy and was founded in July 2012 by Marco Giuliani. The company consists of an innovative team committed to protecting Internet users from all current and future cyber threats. For the near term, Deepviz will retain its current name, supplemented by Malwarebytes branding. Malwarebytes is committed to maintaining the mission of the Deepviz product and its features. Malwarebytes believes this will aid growing awareness for the Malwarebytes brand in areas of rapid growth within Europe, Asia and further countries outside of the United States. Malwarebytes will also integrate many of the proprietary techniques and detections into their flagship products.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Malwarebytes
Malwarebytes is the next-gen cybersecurity company that millions worldwide trust. Malwarebytes proactively protects people and businesses against dangerous threats such as malware, ransomware, and exploits that escape detection by traditional antivirus solutions. The company’s flagship product combines advanced heuristic threat detection with signature-less technologies to detect and stop a cyberattack before damage occurs. More than 10,000 businesses worldwide use, trust, and recommend Malwarebytes. Founded in 2008, the company is headquartered in California, with offices in Europe and Asia, and a global team of threat researchers and security experts. For more information, please visit us at http://www.malwarebytes.com/.

Malwarebytes founder and CEO Marcin Kleczynski started the company to create the best disinfection and protection solutions to combat the world’s most harmful Internet threats. Marcin was recently named “CEO of the Year” in the Global Excellence awards and has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Enterprise Technology list and the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award, adding those to an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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14 Aggravating Challenges MSPs Face Each Day

By Nate Teplow, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Continuum

Business challenges are inevitable, but figuring out how to effectively identify and overcome these obstacles means the difference between scaling profitably and stagnating.

If I were to ask you to name your biggest pain point, you'd probably say “cash flow,” or “lack of time,” or “not enough 14 Aggravating Challenges MSPs Face Each Daybandwidth,” but dig deeper. Is the primary issue that you can't simultaneously generate new business while supporting your existing client base? Does your clunky technology stack eat up valuable staff time and talent? Perhaps you have a talent problem and struggle to hire or retain qualified personnel.

There's no shortage of challenges, but to adequately address each you have to tackle the root cause. To help you paint a clearer picture, we’ve outlined 14 common problems that MSPs face daily. Read on to see if any sound familiar and check out a new tool we created to help you overcome each.

1. Too Many Tickets

As an MSP, you’re in the business of managing tickets. But ticket overload can be a huge drain on productivity and profitability. Finding ways to reduce ticket volume will help your team stay more productive, spend more time with your clients and focus on driving revenue for your business. Make sure the solutions and processes that you’ve implemented are helping to reduce ticket volume, not adding to it.

2. Building in RMM Alerting Conditions

RMM solutions are ideal because they allow you to monitor just about anything when it comes to your client machines. But typically you need to tell the solution what to look for before you start generating meaningful data. This can lead to dozens, if not hundreds, of hours that your team needs to spend setting up and configuring your solution.

3. Maintaining Your RMM Solution

The work is not done after setting up your RMM solution, however. You constantly need to update your alerts and configurations to make sure you’re monitoring the right thresholds and events, which can dramatically impact your business’ profitability. Using solutions that require minimal maintenance and updating will reduce your total cost of ownership and add money to your bottom line.

4. Catching Issues Proactively

Once you know what to look for, RMM solutions deliver. The problem is that you usually have to experience an issue first-hand before you know how to configure your alerting conditions. This can lead to reactive service, rather than proactive service, and oftentimes strains your client relationships.

5. Profitable 24x7 Monitoring

Your clients expect you to monitor their systems 24x7, but this can be very hard to do profitably. Staffing technicians around the clock can be an enormous cost, but not having people available to fix issues at any hour will reduce your ability to provide proactive services. This leaves a very small window for you to operate proactively and profitably.

6. Finding New Skillsets

If you want to compete for new projects and new clients, you need to have the right team and expertise in place to support them. But we all know how difficult it is to find technical talent. Make sure you have access to resources with different areas of expertise so that you have the opportunity to compete for new projects and new clients.

7. Technician Churn

If you’re like most MSPs, at some point you’ve probably lost a technician, scrambled to find a replacement and struggled to provide quality service. When faced with technician churn, the time spent searching for a replacement takes away from time you could be spending on client-facing activities. Again, having access to technical resources will reduce your risk of lost profits if a technician does leave.

8. Too Many False Positive Alerts

While RMM solutions are great at notifying you of issues, they can also be great at notifying you of non-issues! RMM solutions typically generate lots of false positives, which means your team has to investigate more issues before determining there isn’t a problem. Reducing false positives will make sure your team is only notified when action needs to be taken, which can dramatically reduce time to resolution and increase the amount of tickets your team is able to manage.

9. Lead Generation

Buying lists and relying on referrals – two common indicators that an MSP is having a hard time generating their own leads. It’s hard to run a business and service your clients, and even harder to find time for marketing as well. Take control of your growth, and make sure your partners provide knowledge, support and materials that help you market and sell your services.

10. Ticket Categorization

Not all tickets are created equal. Some issues need to be resolved immediately, while others require certain expertise or can wait until the weekend. Effectively categorizing and routing your tickets will help your team operate more efficiently and fix issues faster.

11. Level 1 and 2 Client Support

Supporting your clients is part of the MSP job description. But basic support tasks, like password resets or connecting to printers, can be incredibly disruptive to your team’s productivity. Offloading Level 1 and 2 support can free up your team to work on more complex, revenue-driving projects and reduce technician fatigue.

12. Patch Testing and Management

Clients have visibility into patch management, so it’s especially important that you adhere to best practices and monitor what gets deployed. The problem is that it can be incredibly time-intensive to thoroughly test patches to ensure minimal impact on your clients.

13. Maintaining Margins

Managed services can be a volatile business. One minute everything is under control, the next you have four clients calling you at the same time because their systems are down. This makes it incredibly difficult to maintain consistent margins and profitability. Outsourcing some of this support enables you to fix more of your service costs and stabilize your margins. \

14. Calculating Total Cost of Ownership

The cost of your solution(s) is a lot more than the invoice you receive from your vendors. In a services business, you need to understand all of the factors that contribute to the cost of ownership, in particular, the amount of time your team spends using and managing the solution. Make sure you’re looking beyond the sticker price to calculate your service costs.

So Now What…

With the New Year, review your business and identify inefficiencies that you can improve going forward. If any of these common challenges sound familiar, you should take a look at your solution(s), your processes and your strategies to make sure you are maximizing business efficiency and profitability.

Is it time for a change? Our new tool lets you select your worst pain points and tells you what to look for in an RMM solution. Check out the RMM Wish List Generator here!

Nate Teplow is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Continuum, currently managing the company's RMM marketing initiatives. Nate's experience spans inbound marketing, content strategy, marketing communications and B2B lead generation. A proud Miami Hurricane alumni, Nate enjoys staying active, traveling to new places and performing A/B tests.

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Webinars: Do Clients Really Need SaaS Application Backup to Keep Their Data Safe?

SMB Nation Webinar Thursday, December 8th, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO at SMB Nation, and Martin Merrell Senior Sales Engineer at Storagecraft

There are 7 ways you can respond to the question, “Do my clients really need SaaS application backup?” All of which have become famous last words:

  • Since my data is already in the cloud, it is already backed up and safe
  • We have good, highly trained admins and users and very efficient systems
  • If we need something, we just put in a request to the application vendor
  • No one would ever want to hijack my data, we are too small to be a target
  • Our people are careful and would only throw away incorrect or outdated files
  • We comply with all necessary government or agency policies and regulations
  • We can get what we need, when we need it, and in the original format

In this webinar, you will learn exactly why these phrases are famous last words when it comes to keeping SaaS data safe and readily accessible after a disaster, but more importantly, you’ll learn the easy steps you can take to avoid their disastrous consequences.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

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4 ESSENTIALS MSPS FORGET WHEN DISASTER RECOVERY TESTING

Mary McCoy

 

By Mary McCoy, Content Marketing Manager of Continuum Managed Services

 

 

By now, most MSPs recognize that offering backup is table stakes. Your clients can receive this service from any number of your competitors. In order to stand out and increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR), focus on the disaster recovery (DR) aspect of backup and disaster recovery (BDR). Offer your clients DR testing!
To fully capitalize on the advantages of DR testing, keep the following four best practices in mind when adding this service to your IT portfolio. 


1. Test Everything
Technology alone won't save businesses paralyzed by an IT emergency. DR testing should also engage on the business level, considering continuity of operations and processes along with the validation of actual data availability. How robust is your client's DR plan? Being properly prepared can be as simple as knowing who to call and having an up-to-date contact list. Your DR plan should also avoid ambiguity and set expectations when it comes to designating team and individual roles and responsibilities. Do both you and your clients know what to hold each other accountable for or who to reach out to when something goes wrong?
Pro tip: Your DR plans are not one-size-fits-all, which means your testing should vary across your client base. Each business you serve has different needs. Many organizations have specific compliance and regulatory statutes that they're required to adhere to. You may back up and store some clients' data at a physical location offsite and others' in the cloud. No two clients are alike. When DR testing, processes and procedures should be optimized for each individual client.

2. Test Regularly
How often should you be conducting disaster recovery tests? There is no hard and fast rule, and it really depends on the client in question. That being said, you should run annual DR tests, at the very least. Your clients' disaster readiness depends on every employee's understanding of the current DR plan, which they can ultimately only achieve after familiarization with the DR testing process. And when factoring in employee turnover, testing every year helps acclimate any new hires to the proper procedures and protocol, thereby helping you fine-tune your clients' disaster response. Considering that a company's DR strategy is only as strong as its least prepared employee, you'd think more would advocate frequent DR testing to mitigate risk. According to the 2016 Disaster Recovery as a Service Attitude and Adoption Report, however, 22 percent of respondents test their DR plans less than once a year or in many cases, never test at all. Help them avoid this liability and package regular DR tests into your overall BDR offering.
Sure, testing backups every year should be the standard, but even this may be too conservative in certain circumstances. Let's examine a scenario in which you may want to test more frequently. Perhaps you serve a bank or any other financial services business bound by PCI DSS compliance. To comply with regulatory standards, you may need to test this client's DR plan every three months to ensure your BDR solution meets the necessary requirements. In contrast, a barber shop's DR plan may only need to be tested two to three times per year. Again, when formulating DR plans, always make sure you optimize procedures and processes at the client level.


3. Document Outcomes
Strong DR documentation starts with a client's disaster recovery plan, which should outline everything anyone would need to know in the event of an emergency. This includes contact information, a detailed outline of the steps and procedures that individuals need to follow in order to activate a disaster recovery, expected time frames for recovering data and more.
Only when your response policy is put to the test, can you adequately assess the effectiveness of a DR plan. Maybe certain directions are unclear and create friction across teams. Document any and all outcomes during and after testing. What worked? What didn’t? Where were the failure points? Why did those failures occur? How do you address these in your client's plan? Were any employees or team leads unavailable? In the event that you can't reach these people in the future, who are their backups? Little details like this can mean everything when the clock is ticking and your clients' business continuity is at stake. To help ensure a more seamless DR response, record all results that may be used to improve your clients’ disaster readiness. Then, conduct a post-mortem with all involved, to review lessons learned and areas for improvement.

4. Update DR Plans
Finally, update your clients' DR plans as necessary. This testing is all for naught if you don't do anything with the data you record. It's not enough to simply remember what to do next time around. Recall the conversation around client employee churn. If your client onboards a new hire after your DR test, this employee will only have the existing DR documentation to follow. Rather than repeat the same mistakes in your next round of DR testing, correct now to save your clients later. And remember, disaster readiness is ongoing. Continue to frequently revisit and strengthen your DR plans so that testing runs smoother going forward.

Deliver robust backup data protection services to your clients. Learn how to provide effective business continuity as a service. Download our BDR eBook here!

Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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