What is the Modern MSP?

Analytics/ Analysis

In the world of technology there is a constant shift in networking best practices, applications, infrastructure, security, and so much more.  With these constant shifts it is understandable that you the MSP are always working to better your clients needs, and shifting to meet their needs to stay as a trusted business advisor.  With these shifts it is important to stay ahead of the game and be knowledgeable to stay competitive in the ever changing technology landscape.

We are joined by Kyle Yencer who shares his perspective on the modern MSP, what products they should be using and how to keep being a trusted advisor.  


Kyle Yencer



Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford  0:08 

Hey nation nation, Harry, here I am with Kyle Yencer from MicroAge, Kyle, good day to you How you doing?

Kyle Yencer  0:16 

I'm doing well yourself.

Harry Brelsford  0:17 

Yeah, good. Hey, I got to tell you a funny story. And I'm gonna I'm gonna age myself, but I don't care. But in the early 1980s, so I my summer job was on the trans Alaska pipeline grew up in Alaska, and you know, had a little pocket change when I got back to college that fall. So I went down the street on Colorado Boulevard, I went to the University of Denver, and I went to a MicroAge store and bought one of the early Apple, two pluses, 40 character uppercase screen, had to buy the 80 character extender. You know, the, this, that and the other and used visicalc. So I have fond memories of micro age that was back in the day has a say? Quickly, why don't you tell us what Microage is today? Cuz I in our rehearsal, I realize you don't have the geography of the stores?

Kyle Yencer  1:09 

Yeah, absolutely. No, micro age is a a managed service provider and value added reseller, you know, meaning that obviously, we provide managed services for a number of clients coast to coast. But in addition to that, you know, we sell them hardware software, cloud services, we're a incredibly strong force in the Cffice365 and Azure space. And, you know, do quite a bit of business surrounding that, which, you know, sort of cartels into a lot of MSP activities.

Harry Brelsford  1:39 

Yeah. Well, I recently teamed with a couple of well known analysts in the tech space one came from IDC, they're over at the Leading Indicator. Leading Indicators is the company name. And we just came out with the study after extensive interviews with msps. And ours was about the bottom line is we basically were trying to define what is an MSP? Because there's confusion about percentage of revenue, remote management this that, so I'll leave it at that. Then you reached out and said, Hey, you have some thoughts on what is the moderate MSP? Right. And so that was very timely. I'm glad you have carved out a few minutes. So Sir, I'm gonna just hand it over to you talk to me about the modern MSP the gap analysis you alluded to in the rehearsal, and so on.

Kyle Yencer  2:32 

Yeah, absolutely. Um, so, um, you know, realistically, a modern MSP is one that is, you know, position to adopt a lot of the disruptive technology changes that we have out there and potentially shed some of the baggage of, you know, procedures and ways that we've, you know, more or less always done. things from that perspective. I mean, you know, one one big clue on, you know, if if your MSP is, you know, going down the modern route is, are they talking about Intune? You know, we're living Microsoft Intune, that is, you know, we're living in a world and especially over the last, you know, 16 months, where, you know, a lot of traditional processes were broken down, do it due to everything being very onpremise centric, you know, we manage everything on premise, from ad on premise, we remote into the computers, when we're inside the network. And, you know, some organizations hobbled along by getting into VPN, or doing a quick and dirty VDI deployment to get people inside of the, you know, the four walls of the corporate fortress, if you will, but, you know, into, you know, is is a new technology that Microsoft, you know, unveiled a few years back, that is the management of a, you know, device, whether it be a PC, phone, tablet, anywhere, anytime, you know, and some of the traditional incumbent products around this, were, you know, either the MSP RMM software's that were used to perform a lot of these duties. But, you know, we live in a world where there are native technologies within the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system to provide the same some of the similar functions such as software deployment, update deployment, configuration, as well as what is my personal favorite, what is known as zero touch user initiated deployment where you're a new user that comes on to the company, I registered device with autopilot, I ship it to you, you sign in, get a cup of coffee, come back, your software's loaded, your device is configured, you're ready to work and it had zero involvement. You know, obviously oversimplifying things a little bit. But, you know, if your MSP is not, you know, at least talking about into working on the roadmap to it for your organization, I mean, that's kind of clue number one. The other part that kind of goes hand in hand, and that is, how entrenched are they in the m365? platform? I mean, I get it, you know, most people's exchange emails moved up there. But you know, are we still heavily rely on file servers, are they talking about, you know, getting rid of your file servers, moving that content into Teams and SharePoint to promote rich collaboration,as well, as you know, digging deeper into pieces of the in m365 stacks, such as using power automate, to automate some of the tasks we used to do with scheduled tasks, and so on, and so forth. So, you know, deep knowledge much beyond just the basics, and m365 is kind of, you know, a very important cornerstone of this as well. And the Azure AD story to, you know, pivoting the organization working to pivot the organization towards an Azure AD based model, versus a legacy on premise, Active Directory managed model, per se, a couple of other bullet points to is, you know, not necessarily just lifting and shifting what you have into the cloud. That's great, you know, you got rid of the on premise data center aspect of it, but you're taking an old technology, and you're putting it into a new box. So wherever applicable, you know, stop standing up SQL servers, leverage Azure SQL, VDI deployments, windows, virtual desktop, on Azure, you know, leveraging containers for things such as SFTP servers, most businesses use these for EDI transactions or whatnot. But you don't have to have a whole server that you have to patch and you have to manage. And then most importantly, you know, leveraging backup products within within the cloud, per se, and I mentioned Azure a lot, because that's a big driving force behind, you know, where a lot of our, you know, corporate clients end up moving their data into just because some of the rich synergies within 365, and Azure AD, and whatnot. And then, you know, we haven't touched on monitoring, but that's a real biggie that I don't want to get lost in the shuffle. Because in a modern MSP world, you can't have a monitoring solution that you know, requires sitting inside the premise to do the monitoring, you have to have a solution that is capable of monitoring both inside and outside the network. So kind of taking all of these things together. You know, they, your MSP should be talking about these things, as well as roadmapping, and assisting in the transition of these resources and services to the cloud. Because, quite honestly, there's just a smarter way of doing things now.

Harry Brelsford  7:49 

Yeah, a couple of thoughts. One is I want to touch on one additional topic, and then maybe I'll just offer up some thoughts. But right now, I mean, I'm literally about to drop a piece for a well known telecom unified communications client, about hybrid work. And this morning, I was just researching, and I'm trying to, you know, add, add some real content value here. So I went looked at a CBS News poll that came out last month. And if you took there were three responses, want to work back in the office want to work at home alone, or hybrid? And if you took the hybrid and remote work, and then add up to 57%, so where I go on to say, the majority of you know, that we used to new know how work worked. But what I'm contending is working is now changing. Right? Work works differently. Now. Any thoughts on hybrid work from home? what's what's your position on that? For the modern MSP?

Kyle Yencer  8:56 

You know, for the modern MSP, that also brings a whole slew of additional challenges in there is, now you're supporting users on a network that you have control over. And it might even be questionable whether the person who owns the network has control over it. I mean, somebody can work from a coffee shop, you know, literally people can work from almost anywhere. So there is, you know, there there at one point was a, okay, I checked the monitoring the networks healthy, we know we don't have a network problem. Well, you know, we recently, there was a call recently that I not sure how I came across the notes, or whatever, but they kept denoting that the person was, you know, had one bar of WiFi on their laptop. And they're like, you need to move closer to the AP. This is, you know, something an MSP, probably wouldn't have been taught about two years ago, like, Hey, can you move your computer closer to your access point at home. So there are elements of support at the, you know, level one level that are, you know, more or less new challenges and that's all largely in the form of helping support users with, you know, their home or traveling network, if you will.

Harry Brelsford  10:05 

Yeah. And then just a final observation is byte stump speech, I've been doing some some talking about this for Well, about almost two years. But you're hitting on and you're headed in the right direction. So I did a piece called the Pocket MBA. And the idea of being for MSPs, a two year MBA program, quite quite frankly, doesn't make sense. And I'm, I'm a lifelong learner. I'm pro education. But hard. These guys aren't going to Wall Street. Okay, bottom line, but you can do a little mini MBA or what I wrote out with a Pocket MBA. And the point is, is to be in your, you're hitting on it. More of a business advisor, a little bit of an overused term, but now more than ever. So I don't know if you want to bring this plane in for landing with that thought, now that I told you I concur. I mean, are you doing webinars business training? Are you helping MSPs think that way? Your staff?

Kyle Yencer  11:06 

Oh, absolutely. I mean, we, we have a pretty good monthly webinar, where, you know, we roll through a number of these modern topics, you know, I would say, the one last month, centered all around him m365 security, I mean, you know, in the wake of incidents, such as colonial pipeline, and you know, the large food, you know, large food organization is slipping my mind, breaches come out more and more and more and more, and even if you don't have any premium licensing within your in m365 tenant, which by that I mean, you know, something to get you Intune and Azure AD premium, there's still basic security measures you can take. So, you know, we recently hit a webinar where we outline like, here's what you can do, if you have the regular licenses, here's what you can do if you have premium licenses. And these are all security aspects you should be doing, I think the month leading up to that, before that was a team's governance. We've also done two webinars this year on Azure ad as well as your Active Directory Domain Services, what those mean for your organization. And I even want to say that, we came out the gate swinging in 2021, saying it's 2021 it's time to get rid of ad. So kind of, you know, going down through that, but yeah, we have a very good monthly webinar out there, aimed at a lot of these aimed at a lot of these topics, just to you know, get the thought process going be a good business advisor, advisor, assisting and shepherding organizations through these transitions.

Harry Brelsford  12:40 

All right, Kyle. Well, sure appreciate your time, my friend and I you've added clearly more value than I did. I appreciate it, my friend.

Kyle Yencer  12:51 

Thank you. I like that Pocket MBA thing. I'm gonna, you know, look into that a little bit more.

Harry Brelsford  12:57 

Alrighty. Okay. Thank you. Thank you very much for having