Leave It Up to the Experts

As proven by the closure of typewriter company Smith Corona in the late 1990s and the closure of many a buggy whip company in the 1890s due to railroads, sometimes businesses have to let go of old ideas as well as control. It isn't always easy, but in many cases not ceding control of certain aspects of a business when one is overextended or outmatched by competitors or market shifts can mean the end.

The main benefit that MSPs provide to SMB clients is that if the SMB client sells vintage typewriters or horse-drawn carriages for downtown excursions, they can concentrate on those key strategies and put their horses in play -- they can leave it up to someone else to solve their computer problems.

The same can be true for MSPs who might be geniuses in the IT space and might be dynamos at implementations but may be overextended with client service maintenance as well as keeping up with third-party vendors and partners and watching their own bottom line. As this MSPtv video points out, MSPs can close the gap by relinquishing control of the more automated and tedious and recurring functions, such as back-office processing.

By either bringing in a partner to handle payroll processing or back-office accounting or off-site data storage, an IT firm specializing in, say, website development for typewriting horse vacation packages can focus on that very serious niche.

The bottom line is that by letting go of your control or your apprehensiveness you can regain control later or learn to know the difference between your strengths and operational weaknesses.

Posted by Jabulani Leffall on September 12, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments

DeviceLock CEO: Lock Down Mobile, Cloud Security

One of the biggest trepidations about cloud computing is how secure it will be, which as this blog has opined before, represents an awesome opportunity for MSPs to shore up security offerings in the cloud and in the growing mobile space.

A recent chat with Vincent Schiavo, CEO of DeviceLock, an endpoint IT security firm, revealed as much. Schaivo pointed to an uptick in data breaches this year as a cue to IT pros to think about new ways to service clients who are increasingly on the go, using mobile devices and carrying mission critical data beyond the firewall. Here are some snippets from a recent e-mail exchange:

"Almost all modern-day smartphones or other mobile devices can be configured to automatically synchronize with host end-points like laptops, desktops or servers when docked."

"Many major breaches have actually been the result of inadvertent data leaks caused by non-technical users who simply dock their device -- not knowing that large transfers of unauthorized information are taking place as part of the synchronization routine built-in to their device."

Further he pointed out that tech-savvy hackers no longer have to breach a firewall or break into a network to do damage; they can simply drop malware on devices that will trigger without the user's knowledge during data migration from a mobile device to a PC.

As for the cloud, Schiavo said that even though some enterprises moved all of their applications and data to the cloud, many managers and staff "still access those resources with traditional endpoints like laptops, desktops or servers. So, the threat vector of dockable devices remains the same."

The onus, he opines, is on cloud service providers to put the customers' minds at ease that their data will be safe and secure and "will not 'seep' across to other clients or leak outside of their protected networks."

In this vein, if you're thinking sure this is what's happening and this guy specializes in security for USB and other portable devices so of course he's going to play up danger, then you're right.

However when you look at offerings from N-Able, which is giving away endpoint solutions from Panda Security to its clients, not only is this proof that the threats are real but that the need for security is too.

According to another CEO, N-Able's Gavin Garbutt MSPs are serving only 10 percent of the "adressable SMB market."

Thus, for MSPs data isn't the only thing that can be locked down -- so can new revenue.

Posted by Jabulani Leffall on September 12, 2011 at 11:57 AM0 comments