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zynstra septadverYou’ve never had a better opportunity to grow your business!

Driving a new norm in IT, Zynstra Cloud Managed Server Appliances deliver the best in on-premise and the Cloud. Integrated, secure and “as a service”. Your customers’ decide what runs where, we take care of the rest.

Help your customers’ transition from Windows Server 2003 & SBS 2003 to Zynstra’s Cloud Managed Server Appliances and benefit from:

ü  Offer your customers the best of local and Cloud IT

ü  Integrate Office 365, Azure & SPLA solutions

ü  Highly sticky recurring revenue, no capital costs

ü  You control your customer pricing, billing & support

ü  Compelling margins & upsell opportunities

ü  Dramatically increased operational efficiency from deployment to support

Take your business to the next level with Hybrid IT.

 Watch our 90 second video to find out more:

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bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Blake Schwank is no novice when it comes to managed IT services and providing HIPAA Consulting Services to his clients. He’s been the CEO of Colorado Computer Support (CCS) since 2001, and has built one of Colorado’s premier MSP operations.

But if you ask him, Blake will tell you that even though he thought his company and his team were “covering the bases” when it came to their routine HIPAA Risk Assessments, as soon as they started using Network Detective he realized how much more his company could do to protect his clients – as well as his own business.

“When we first purchased the Network Detective HIPAA Compliance module, I figured it would be a quicker and easier way for us to generate the mandatory reports our clients need in order to be in compliance with the sweeping HIPAA regulations,” Blake told me.

“Once we ran our first report, I realized the true value in using this tool was with the evidence it provided to the client. By the time we complete the interviews, they realize we know what we are doing. Once we turn that into a report that references the specific HIPAA requirements, it is no longer just my team trying to convince the client of the need for policies or hardware expenditures. We can point them to the exact rules”

Another significant value was the ability to do internal IT audits of his own team. “The fact of the matter is, nobody’s perfect,” said Blake. “After we collect all the data needed for the analysis, we run a set of draft reports to see if my team has missed a task or a system like Antivirus, or updates have failed. They are easy to identify because the issues that need to be addressed are printed in red. Those are issues we need to resolve internally for the client to ensure they are compliant.”

Blake said that the final reports are proof to the client – and also to any government auditor – that all the required HIPAA policies related to electronic patient information are in place, and are being enforced. And if there are remaining risk issues that are dependent on the client to address, Blake and his team can point that out as well.

“We don’t charge our clients for these reports,” said Blake. “Our business model is to provide our clients with comprehensive services, and our fees cover the services we deliver.”

Blake also pointed out that even though there’s plenty of HIPAA-related information that has to be manually collected to supplement the network data collected by the Network Detective tool, all that information can be entered into the tool in one place, and the real savings is in the generation of the reports.

“It would take us weeks to compile and organize all of the data we collect to generate the reports that come out of Network Detective in minutes,” he said. “And we can easily brand them as our own. We realized our ROI on this tool with the first HIPAA risk assessment we performed.”

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The week that was – September 1, 2014

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Microsoft promises O365 Fast Track won’t eat your lunchmicrosoft logo-100029828-gallery

Microsoft kicked off the week with a promise that the new Fast Track O365 services, which will include free remote “onboarding” and support to some customers starting in early September, won’t cut into partner business. Microsoft also announced plans to provide free email migrations to Office 365 through a special "adoption offer" that starts Sept. 1 and will run until March 31st.

Naturally, Microsoft Partners who make their living charging for those services have expressed concern over the fact that the channel leader is essentially eating their lunch. In response to the outcry, Microsoft says that it will only do email migration work that can be easily automated and done remotely. This includes processes like domain configuration, service provisioning and identity-related tasks. Perhaps we should be inferring that Microsoft channel partners have never heard of remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions and don’t do anything remotely. In any case, Microsoft promises to advise customers who choose the free Fast Track services to work with a partner anyway, especially if they have complicated environments. The company also ensures partners that Sharepoint and Lync will be unaffected by the new fast Track services and so represent areas of opportunity for partners.

This was promptly followed by news that Huawei will no longer produce Windows Phone devices. Richard Yu, who runs Huawei's consumer business group, told The Wall Street Journal that Windows Phone Devices have been a money pit for Huawei. "We have tried using the Windows Phone OS, but it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone," said Yu. "It wasn't profitable for us. We were losing money for two years on those phones. So for now we've decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold."

AVG releases new O365 service module

AVG logoSpeaking of remote monitoring and management, AVG Technologies has released a new service module for its Managed Workplace tool (formerly Level Platforms Managed Workplace) designed to streamline remote management functions for customers using O365. With the new offering MSPs no longer have to log into and out of different applications to view essential Office 365-related information. According to the company, the new module will enable MSPs to remotely deliver the five most popular management tasks: password resets; tracking mailbox usage; viewing mailbox quotas, policies and memberships; setting alerts for license expiration; and checking up-to-date information on subscriptions, usage and license status.

HP partners with Avaya to deliver UC-as-a-Service

avaya logoAvaya and Hewlett-Packard have partnered up on a five year deal that will allow HP to include Avaya's hosted unified communications and contact center offerings in its HP Helion cloud services suite. Through the partnership more than half of Avaya’s Private Cloud Services group – including elements of its outsourced communications and managed services operations – will join HP's Enterprise Services division. According to Avaya, the partnership will provide the company with the strength and depth to meet sharply rising demand for its cloud-based UC and CC solutions. HP’s presence in 166 countries compared to Avaya’s in 55 is a significant part of the deal, as the deal opens up many new markets for the telecommunications vendor. Avaya and HP partners will be able to resell both UC and CC service offerings delivered as part of the HP Helion platform. HP Enterprise Services will pick up the service delivery for a large part of Avaya's Private Cloud Services unit.

Nutanix raises $140M in funding

nutanix-logo-transparent-hirez300San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix, which develops hyper-converged infrastructure technology, has closed a new round of funding worth $140 million it expects will lead to an IPO – possibly as soon as next year. While the company declined to identify the investors, a report in Reuters, cited an unnamed source that named them as Fidelity Investments and Wellington Management. Nutanix will use the funds to deepen its R&D and Sales teams so it can keep up in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive market. In the last few weeks alone SimpliVity, VMware, Maxta and Overland, who have all made major hyper-converged infrastructure-related announcements recently. According to the company, the new investment brings total funding to about $312 million and gives Nutanix an implied valuation of about $2 billion.

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on24 logo 475756When Laurie Speaks took over Marketing and Communications for Retail Solutions Inc., (RSi) one of the first things she noticed when doing her budgeting was that the demand for travel from sales and marketing was significantly higher than she could support.

Mountain View, Calif.-based RSi tracks point of sale data in real time and provides actionable demand data and predictive analytics for the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods industries and Speaks needed to find a way to deliver the value the organization would get from investing in all those trade shows and conferences focussed on IT for the retail sector without actually spending the money required to attend them all.

The solution she came up with was to use webinars to deliver the messaging and drive sales. The only problem was, as those of us in the IT industry know, webinars need to be done just right or they are a waste of time.

Webinars have become almost ubiquitous in the IT industry. They have become a primary method of disseminating information, training, lead generation and qualification. They are far from perfect though. Many are little more than static, overly lengthy and boring. How do you get people to sit still and pay attention while you pitch them for an hour? Moreover, how do you make your webinar one that people will want to attend instead of the other guy’s?

One company I used to work for ran two such webinars each week, and several more focussed on training. A significant part of the junior sales team’s job was simply to get people to show up. Characterised by unidirectional barrages of rapid fire value messages that would – hopefully – stick and resonate with the prospect, those webinars were in a constant state of revision as we worked to come up with new things that would get people to stay until the end. (“We’ll give you a free gift, but you’ll have to email us a code we’ll give you at the end to collect.”) A lot of follow up was required to make sure we got our message across and determine the quality of the lead before hopefully closing business.

Like I said, far from perfect. If Speaks was going to deliver the value demanded of her she needed to find a way to make her webinars do a lot more than simply give people data. They needed to collect data too. Fortunately for Speaks, webinars have become more sophisticated over the past few years. Current approaches include numerous approaches to maintain engagement and connect directly to third-party applications like Marketo that help capture and use lead qualification data.

“A lot of our focus is around demand generation and customer engagement,” says Tom Masotto, VP Product Marketing & Business Development for ON24. San Francisco-based ON24 develops and markets webcasting and virtual event and environmentsolutions.

“A lot of organizations are using webinars to identify new opportunities for the company. Typically they use it at the top of the funnel, doing the lead gen but we’ve seen a trend of late in the use of webinars throughout the process, right through to the closing processes.

ON24 captures about 30 different data points, says Masotto. Did someone register? Did they attend? How long were they on for? Did they attend a live presentation or a recorded one? Did they actively participate (respond to polls, ask questions, etc.)? All these elements and many more combine to give a much more reliable measure of attendee engagement than previous presentation models.

According to Speaks, RSi has seen measurable results from using the tool.

When comparing webinar reach in 2013 and 2014 we’ve “seen an uplift in both registration conversion rate and attendee conversion rate. Our current registration conversion rate averages 98.12% and our attendee conversion rate averages 53 percent.” Prior to adopting On24 and integrating it with Marketo those numbers were around 90% registration conversion and closer to 45% attendee conversion.

As noteworthy as those stats are, Speaks says she is most impressed with the engagement results – something that is critical to RSi. “We’ve done a number of different things with our webinars to keep them engaged; to keep them in the environment. We do polling, give points, award prizes. We have an average of keeping them in there for 54 minutes out of a 56-60 minute webinar. Usually people stay as long as the Q&A at least.

There has also been a significant increase in the number of questions being asked by attendees, suggesting more engagement and attention. “That information is a perfect lead-in for our Sales team and really gives them the additional insight on whether or not they have a qualified lead.”

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ibm logoIBM released “The Individual Enterprise — How Mobility Redefines Business,” a new report that provides guidance to businesses on unlocking enterprise mobility potential.

The report, developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value, highlights the importance of analytics-driven mobile strategies in redefining business and how work gets done.

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IDC logoThe International Data Corporation Worldwide Enterprise Videoconferencing and Telepresence Equipment QView showed mixed results for Q2 2014. Though revenue in regions such as North America and Asia/Pacific increased quarter over quarter and decreased year over year, Latin America saw opposite results.

Overall videoconferencing equipment revenue increased 1.8 percent quarter over quarter in Q2 2014, it decreased -9 percent year over year.

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LMI Logo RGBLogMeIn, Inc. announced the availability of a new integration between LogMeIn and Autotask designed to help Managed Service Providers increase efficiency and reduce response time.

The remote management and automation features of LogMeIn Central combined with the workflow features of Autotask allow MSPs to create a workflow that eliminates the need to use multiple interfaces to handle ticketing.

"We believe that today's MSPs and IT service providers have a great opportunity to better service their clients, differentiate their services from the competition, and create new revenue streams by addressing the inherent realities of today's mobile, distributed workforce," said Ted Roller, vice president of channel development at LogMeIn. "By bringing together the best of Central and Autotask – tools trusted and relied upon by today's MSPs – we can help our channel partners continuously improve their ability to monitor systems, automate tasks and better manage devices, both inside and outside of office."

Other benefits of the integration include the ability to configure ticket parameters that map to Autotask and to diagnose and fix computers directly from Autotask. 

 

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Ken's Red Gloves

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ken edwards gloves in actionFolks – I’m always promoting portfolio diversification in the SMB IT Pro Community. My poster child of the month is Ken Edwards, longtime SBSer from Phoenix. With the sad demise of Small Business Server, wise SBSers like Ken are seeking to apply their small business acumen in fields far from technology. The case here is protective red BBQ gloves. I got my pair and started BBQing ASAP! Basically, I was able to manipulate my lamb on the foil on the grill without utensils. I give two unburned thumbs up on these oven mitts. You can help Ken, the community and yourself by purchasing a pair here and have them just in time for your Labor Day BBQ beast feast.

PS – if you really like ‘em, help Ken out by writing a review too!

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dandhjpgD&H Distributing recently announced the addition of four new services for its education resellers. As many of you have read, the well-respected disty has been fostering an in-depth education program for its resellers, as this particular vertical is rapidly-growing.

“We’re finding the opportunity is not just limited to large-tier resellers in expansive metro areas. There’s a significant market for SMB VARs to gain revenues through regional K-12 installations. As a distribution partner, we provide the guidance and resources that increase the reseller’s ability to capture the sale,” said Larry Staub, director of D&H’s education division.

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continuumContinuum recently announced that it has accelerated its partnership with MaaS360 by Fiberlink because of unprecedented growth in mobile device management.

“While the number of mobile devices per individual is rapidly growing and the need for MDM policies is becoming more and more obvious, a fraction of MSPs is still overlooking possibilities offered by including MDM in their day-to-day business,” said Francois Daumard, VP of Channels at Fiberlink. “But, there is a tremendous need and opportunity, and Continuum and Fiberlink make it very easy to get started. With no minimum devices required, Continuum’s MSPs can easily help their clients manage mobile devices alongside their desktops and servers, under the same single pane of glass, addressing HIPAA compliance, security and control over all devices – including mobile.”

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Ben Gower’s Secret Sauce

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ben gowerWe’re only a month away from our SMB Nation 2014 Fall Conference, and I am happy to say that I was able to catch a few moments with one of this year’s speakers. I met with Ben Gower, Managing Director, Perspicuity (pictured), and I asked him, among other things, what his organization does to succeed.

I’ll start with a little background on Perspicuity. This is a UK-based organization focused on Managed Service Consulting, particularly for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365. I first met Ben at during the Modern Partner Tour, sponsored by Microsoft, Intel and Actiontec, at our Reading, UK tour stop. Read on for my interview:

Harry: So tell me, what was the bookmark for your entry into the computer sector?

Ben: “Haha! I actually come from a farming background in SE England. I started in technology with a major global outsourcing company, and I loved to talk with people, as well as listen, so I quickly moved up the ranks. Then, I went to Xerox in the late 90’s. I did a lot of work in outsourcing on Microsoft contracts.”

Harry: So why choose the Cloud?

Ben: “It’s clear and understandable, and that’s what we built Perspicuity on as well. You know, it makes sense to most IT Pros, and people in general really seem to get it.”

Harry: Great. Let me give you a bit of background about our current situation, and I’ll ask you a question. In the US, we have a very small SMB reseller community, most of whom are coming off the SBS era. This has actually caused an ideological rift between the on-prem SMBs and the Cloud SMBs. Has this been affecting you as well?

Ben: “Not as much. We are very much focused on doing our own thing. Though we were warned about the potential for this conflict, Perspicuity has been just staying focused. To that point, however, we are seeing three types of people: those who love the Cloud, those who are transitioning, but not leading, and those who are staying with their profitable businesses.

Harry: Now, you all have a very interesting business model. Can you tell us, what’s your “Secret Sauce”?

Ben: “Haha, sure. Our secret sauce is that we took time and completely reevaluated what modern Cloud customers want from services. The key change these days is that the IT Pro is moving from the Selling to the Advisory/Educational. So the biggest way to actually gain new revenue is to explain to existing and potential clients the experience they can get. In fact, most cloud customers nowadays are asking, ‘How do I get there?’ more than anything.

Sure, customers will still have concerns about security, but in my view, there are a lot of well-written resources online that you can refer any customers to. Once you’ve told them how to get to a great business tech experience, you work to get them there.

This brings me to another key point, which is that we evaluated the type of staff needed to give the customer that great experience. The truth is that you don’t need a super high level of experience to complete a cloud migration and provide a good experience. The high experience staff should be used for advising. Once the customer is migrated and on our system, we can reach out to them and talk to them about 10 other things we can do to help them. This is not only an interesting model for us, of course, but also for the end-user, who is looking for something new.”

Harry: Yeah, that's very interesting! So let me ask, what’s your employee turnover like, if you are using college upperclassmen, etc.?

Ben: “That’s a good question. In wave one of our program, we had about a 50% turnover after 3 years. Now, we have developed programs to help retain these individuals past the 2-3 year mark, and our turnover is lots lower.”

Harry: Do you provide any kind of Management Consulting?

Ben: “Absolutely. We have SharePoint Devs on staff who are constantly creating new apps for our clients. Also, it’s important to note that when I started out in this industry, we had no Marketing department, the company owners did sales, and everyone else was a techie. Now, I’d say that we are approaching a 50/50 split between Marketing and Technical staff. Our next steps are looking at reselling and customizing packaged products for our clients.

This actually brings me to an interesting point in the Channel today. Most Channel members see that the sole opportunity is Office 365, but it’s not. In fact, that particular portfolio is headed quickly towards maturity, but there are other huge opportunities. Lync Voice comes to mind, and it’s available today.”

Harry: So, how do you get new customers?

Ben: “We do a lot of Lunch and Learns, and Go to Markets with Zynstra and Microsoft. I will admit that, to date, our referral processes aren’t as sophisticated as we’d like them to be, but that’s a major goal for us.

For the SMB Nation Community, I’d suggest that one of the best ways to get new cloud/migration customers is to use their existing list. Just call them and offer new services to existing end users. Depending on the number of clients, this can be very lucrative.”

Harry: Great, and you’re absolutely right. I just have one more major question for you: What tools are you using?

Ben: “The two major solutions are SkyKick and Zynstra, no brainer.”

So there you have it. I want to take time to say a big thank you to Ben for having a great discussion with me! Beyond his work in the IT field, he is a committed husband and father, and he is learning how to kite surf in his spare time. You can listen to Ben Gower speak (and even chat with him) more at our upcoming SMB Nation Fall Conference, September 26-28 in Redmond WA! Registration and agenda information is available at: http://fall2014.smbnation.com.

 

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Canadian telecommunications company TELUS partnered with Vox Mobile and AirWatch to create “MDM Made Easy,” a turn-key mobile device management solution.

MDM Made Easy is a cloud-hosted, quick-to-deploy, feature-rich solution that eliminates the need for on-premise hardware and simplifies the processes for enrolling, configuring, and updating devices with pre-configured user profiles.

"AirWatch, TELUS and Vox Mobile have come together to enable Canadian businesses to drive transformation across their organization through mobile," said John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, AirWatch by VMware. "By leveraging AirWatch's best-in-class platform and TELUS' coast-to-coast network, TELUS MDM Made Easy helps businesses quickly deploy a leading solution that combines connectivity, security, service, simplicity and value."

TELUS business customers receive a complementary basic package for their TELUS devices, and can further customize MDM Made Easy with additional security features such as secure email, application scanning, file sharing, and web browsing.

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viewsonicVisual solution product provider ViewSonic Corp. joined up with NaviSite and NVIDIA to showcase its new VDI client at VMworld.

ViewSonic’s CDE-8451-TL, an 84-inch, 4k, touch screen display, works seamlessly with NaviSite’s cloud-hosted Desktop as a Service that includes NVIDIA GRID technology. NVIDIA GRID technology benefits users by giving them the ability to offload graphics processing from the CPU to the GPU in a virtualized environment.

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Manage EngineIT management company ManageEngine today announced availability of VMware Horizon View monitoring in its application performance monitoring solution, Applications Manager.

VMware Horizon View Monitoring will enable enterprises to view and understand virtual desktop infrastructures running on Horizon View so they can deliver optimal performance to employees that use applications delivered via Horizon View.

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En Pointe logoHey folks, I recently had the chance to interview En Pointe Technologies, a Los Angeles, CA-based IT Solutions Provider. I spoke with Tyler Coppock the company’s Director, Microsoft Cloud Solutions, and we had a great conversation about the trends they are seeing in the IT space.

According to En Pointe, Microsoft has been receiving quite a bit of heat for their issues with the Office 365 support, particularly as it relates to wait time. “Even when our support desk calls Microsoft, we’re on there an hour and a half, two hours wait time, consistently,” said Tyler in our interview. “So this is really a resource thing for Microsoft.”

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mcafeeMcAfee today announced advancements to its Server Security Suites portfolio, including optimized performance and additional management efficiency to improve security in physical, virtualized, and cloud server environments.

Servers are often the target of threats and attacks due to the significant amounts of data stored, which makes securing them a top priority.

“Today’s flexible data centers require innovative solutions that shield physical, virtual and cloud environments from stealthy attacks,” said Candace Worley, senior vice president and general manager of endpoint security at McAfee, part of Intel Security. “Our Server Security Suites guard servers, the crown jewels of the data center, with comprehensive protection, simplified security management, improved scalability for large environments and connections into key technologies throughout the data center.”

McAfee’s new server security suites, McAfee Server Security Suite Essentials and McAfee Server Security Advanced, both include McAfee MOVE AV technology, complete blacklisting, and optimized virtualization support capabilities. McAfee Server Security Advanced includes whitelisting and additional, comprehensive server security protection.

Demos of these products will be available at Intel’s VMworld booth, #1721, until August 28.

 

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Office 365: “This is Gold Rush Time!”

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Satya NadellaRecently, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella (pictured), defined the Office 365 opportunity as the new gold rush. It’s a heartfelt and accurate statement. Nearly every day Microsoft is reporting new sales records confirming Office 365’s momentum. Simply stated, this is the real deal and you need to hear that message right here, right now!

Photo credit: Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

So what are the first steps along the long-term Office 365 journey? Consider attending the first independent conference dedicated to Office 365 this fall at Microsoft Redmond. Dubbed “Office 365 Nation,” this is a three-day deep-dive summit into both the technical and business conversations surrounding Office 365. Powered by the well-respected SMB Nation community, this conference offers, in addition to peer interactions, the following 20 impactful content sessions:

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Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

Part 7 of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.

In the previous installment of “Breaking Bad,” I discussed how to make a solid plan for navigating the industry trade show landscape. In this month’s blog, I offer a few tips on how to avoid becoming complacent in your business, by adding a few simple technologies to your services offering—all at a relatively low cost.

Before focusing on the technology aspect, think about your customer base and how you want to approach your clients about trying something new. I’m not suggesting that you approach them immediately and offer the full managed services gamut. However, by adding just one of these technologies and then building upon it, you can get there one step at a time. In addition, you can effectively demonstrate to your clients that you are being proactive about your business model.

Consider these technologies for your portfolio:

1.) Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): While you might currently be working as break/fix, managed services is still trending at an upward pace. In fact, recent studies are predicting a bumper year in 2014 for MSPs. According to MarketsandMarkets,the managed services market will grow by almost 80%, from $142.75 billion in 2013 to $256.05 billion in 2018. This demand is set to translate acrossevery industry vertical. However, even if you are apprehensive about offering a recurring business model, start slowly by first adding an RMM tool. Find one that provides the freedom to scale your business and allows you to invest as little or as much as you want.

Providing some type of remote support is key when a problem should occur; it’s even appropriate if you are running a break/fix model. This way, you can think about issues before they occur, all while keeping employee uptime to a maximum and avoiding downtime. Remember, each time you do something that’s proactive for your business (like adding RMM), you are moving one step closer to a managed services model, whether you intend to or not.

2.) Regular Updates and Patch Management: No solution provider wants, no matter what business model they are offering, a client whose patches are out of date and not secure – this could lead to potential disaster. For instance, think about what happened earlier this month with the Community Health System security breach; nearly 4.5 million patient data records were compromised. While this is a much larger scale than your SMB clients, even if just one of your clients experiences a data breach, it can lead to much larger problems. Most of these breaches and viruses, for example Cryptolocker, ultimately settle by way of weak or out-of-date patches. Patches can protect against these vulnerabilities in which hackers can easily gain access. By keeping track of your clients’ patches and offering updates, you save both yourself and your client time and stress that could lead to a possible data compromise.

3.) Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR): This is a technology that is truly a no-brainer. Even if you only budget for one additional technology, I recommend BDR. It offers low overhead to your client and is not costly for you. I have seen many solution providers who have shifted their business model to managed services simply because they wanted to add BDR. Managed services isn’t something you can actually “touch” and/or “feel,” so many times it can seem a bit more daunting when moving from break/fix--not to mention a harder value proposition sell to your client. But because BDR is an actual device and function that can be demonstrated, it is often the stepping stone that leads to a managed services model. This, coupled with its ROI and up-front cost-effective price point, can be the first move toward putting together an eventual managed services model. And you might even pick up some new clients along the way.

4.) File Sync and Share: In the last year, I have seen more gravitation toward this technology. File sync and share offers low overhead and cost and is another way to get your foot in the door to talk with new clients about this hot topic. File sync and share could also be a way to get your business ready to move to the cloud (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet). The reality is that everything is moving into a virtual world, and now with the cloud and other phenomenons such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and smartphones, users want to access their data anywhere, and at any time. With a reliable file sync and share platform, you can offer this (along with BDR) to ensure that your client’s data is safeguarded and accessible at all times.

Complacency can occur at any time within your business. Take time each month to step back and perform a quick re-evaluation. By adding just one of these technologies, you can gain a “double dip” for both yourself and your client—adding a new offering to benefit your clients and possibly obtain new ones. You can also move one step closer to offering a managed services model. It really is a lot easier than you might have thought!

 

Raymond Vrabel is Continuum's Director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives. He manages Continuum's Technical Account Management team which supports over 3,400 partners worldwide. Vrabel has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in managed IT services, disaster recovery and cloud solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @rayvrabel.

 

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storagecraft smallStorageCraft Technology Corporation will be exhibiting at VMworld 2014, where it will preview for the first time its StorageCraft Plug-in for VMware.

StorageCraft will be located in booth no.2531 from Aug. 24-27.  VMworld attendees can pre-register for the StorageCraft demo here, with the first 100 attendees to see the demo receiving a free time-limited StorageCraft ShadowProtect IT Edition subscription.

“Attendees will get a sneak peek at the next addition to the StorageCraft Recover-Ability™ Solution,” said Curt James, StorageCraft vice president of marketing and business development. “The StorageCraft Plug-in for VMware will solidify StorageCraft as one of the best disaster recovery solutions for physical and virtual environments.”

The StorageCraft Plug-in for VMware will allow users to monitor the status of VM backups and start, pause, and resume a backup job. More information is available here.

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Highly Successful TSPs Never Guess

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For many technology solution providers (TSPs), giving clients the best service offering possible is a key focus, and they have the best intentions for how to make that happen. They work hard, log long hours and yet they find themselves in a position to ask, “Where are the profits? What about customer loyalty? Why isn’t it happening?”

Read More Here

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The week that was – August 24, 2014

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Autotask adds sales tool

Autotask logoEast Greenbush, N.Y.-based PSA vendor Autotask unveiled the new Autotask Opportunity Assessment/Sales Process tool – a new element aimed at helping channel partners increase their closure rates with better opportunity and sales process management. The new addition to the Autotask suite provides enhanced visibility into the sales pipeline, right from prospect identification through to deal completion. Additionally, the tool provides key analytics and intelligence. According to Jake Carroll, Autotask’s vice president of strategic account sales, the new solution will take a lot of the guesswork out of the sales process. Through process standardization, sales organizations will be able to gather and apply intelligence that will not only help provide more internal structure and identify opportunities, but also deliver better prospect qualification so sales staff can concentrate their attention and energy on the best prospects. The new tool will be included in the Autotask Ultimate Bundle or can be added on separately.

Bluebeam invests in Marketing support for Partners

Bluebeam-logo-verticalPasadena, Calif.-based Bluebeam Software has been investing in Marketing and Sales resources to help support channel partners pushing its document collaboration tools into highly technical verticals like manufacturing and oil and gas. Bluebeam’s Revu 12.5 competes against the likes of Adobe Acrobat and other PDF creation tools. The company has quadrupled its marketing staff from one to four people, adding much needed bandwidth that will make it possible to provide partners with vertically tailored pitches and promotional materials. The added strength is already making itself apparent on the industry conference circuit, where Bluebeam is now able to raise its profile. Bluebeam attended 60 events by the end of the first quarter, demonstrating its technology, answering questions and recruiting channel partners, equaling the entirety of its 2013 travel schedule. Currently Bluebeam takes in about 40 percent of its revenue through the channel, but says it would like to see that number closer to the 70 percent range.

IDC: SDN reaching market adoption threshold

IDCAccording to new research from IT analysis firm IDC, software-defined networking (SDN) is rapidly approaching an inflection point where it will become mainstream technology. IDC forecasts released last week have the global SDN market – which combines physical network infrastructure, controller and network virtualization software, SDN network security services and SDN-related professional services – growing from $960 million in 2014 to more than $8 billion by 2018. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 89.4 percent! Moreover, while large cloud services providers have been the early adopters, IDC expects its SDN to see similar traction in the enterprise segment. And it’s news that will have the likes of Cisco and VMware salivating as they have already made significant investments in SDN – VMware with its NSX software overlay platform, and Cisco with the Application Centric Infrastructure.

VMware acquires CloudVolumes

VMware logo blk RGB 72dpiSpeaking of VMware, the Palo Alto, CA-based virtualization vendor acquired CloudVolumes, a startup that specializes in delivering virtual applications to desktops. According to a blog post by Kit Colbert, CTO of End-User Computing at VMware, app delivery is often "challenging and cumbersome." CloudVolumes has developed technology which addresses the numerous glitches that crop up by splitting a Windows instance into separate pieces to which apps can be installed with ease and speed. If is delivers as advertised, the CloudVolumes technology – which is applicable in both virtual and physical environments – will make it possible for technicians to add new or upgraded apps on the fly on running desktops obviating the need to schedule a service outage to perform system upgrades. VMware plans to integrate the new technology with its Horizon desktop virtualization platform. The financials of the deal were not but VMware said in a press release that the transaction will not be material to its financial performance. To date CloudVolumes, which was established in 2011, has raised $4.4 million through two funding rounds.

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Email encryption provider DataMotion announced it has partnered with Rain Networks. The DataMotion-Rain Networks partnership will be centered on sales and integration of DataMotion’s encryption solutions for SMBs.

Rain Networks will sell and distribute DataMotion’s encryption offerings through its reseller channel, consisting of VARs, system builders, technology consultants and technical service providers.

“We’re on opposite sides of the country but have had a close relationship with Rain Networks for quite some time. By fortifying and combining efforts under this new partnership, DataMotion greatly increases its visibility in the small business market, making it easier and more cost-efficient for a business to buy and integrate our security solutions,” said Bob Bales, CEO of DataMotion.

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PSO banner 220X150PowerSourceOnline.com is the largest B2B computer, printer, networking and telecom exchange that connects buyers and sellers of IT parts. The online marketplace for buyers and sellers of telecom systems and parts, networking equipment, computers and laptops and other IT equipment is the largest online network for the secondary telecommunication and IT marketplace. Since its creation in 1997, PowerSource remains committed to providing quality sourcing and disposition solutions of hard-to-find, excess, discontinued, obsolete and end-of-life computer parts and systems. With a global member base of over 2000 members consisting of Dealers, Resellers, Brokers and Service Companies, locating computer parts, systems, telecommunication equipment, peripherals, printers and networking equipment has never been easier! In 2010, Telecom Finders joined the PowerSource Online website and community to add telecom parts and equipment to the already expansive IT and computer parts and equipment database.

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Unitrends logoUnitrends announced it has partnered with wholesale technology product distributor Tech Data Corporation to offer Unitrends Disaster Recovery as a Service in Tech Data’s Solutions Store in its TDCloud business unit.

“Our agreement with Tech Data tremendously expands our channel presence by making Unitrends DRaaS available to a vast reseller base,” said Bob Gagnon, Unitrends’ vice president of channel sales. “We are making a best-in-class managed service available for purchase on a subscription basis. And, doing so through Tech Data’s Solutions Store enables us to greatly simplify the ordering process for our IT channel.”

Unitrends DRaaS backup appliance solution guarantees full recovery of IT infrastructures in the cloud within hours of a declared disaster.

 

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SurveyHey folks, Harrybbb here! I am happy to announce that we have opened a short survey on Microsoft Satisfaction! It’s your time to shine and let us know what you think about the current and future direction of the company. We will have 3 questions, plus a comment box.

Want to chime in? Simply fill out the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2QSBBNJ One lucky respondent will win an Ooma device for business!

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