Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Dec 23

MSP 501 — 2020 EMEA Survey & Report

By | Managed Services News

Our goal is to examine the MSP market from the EMEA 501ers’ point of view.

The MSP 501 list is a ranking of the world’s finest managed service providers. The 2020 winners speak to the rapidly changing and evolving IT channel landscape we’re witnessing, and the wide, diverse range of business models and specialties our managed service provider (MSP) community serves.

As we move into the next decade, the MSP 501 places greater emphasis on international markets, applicants and channel constituencies. Especially in a year as challenging as this one, we want to recognize the importance of the EMEA market and its partners.

Our goal is to examine the MSP market from the EMEA 501ers’ point of view. We aim to provide insight into the services they offer compared to the global 501. Also, how they price those services, and market signals and shifts specific to the EMEA region.

This report aims to provide a snapshot of the major dynamics at play in the EMEA regions.

Dec 23

Beyond SolarWinds, Russian Hackers Target Austin, Texas

By | Managed Services News

All cities with critical infrastructure should be worried about cyberattacks.

The massive SolarWinds hack has been grabbing headlines for going on two weeks, but it’s not the only recent attack by reported Russian hackers.

State-sponsored malicious hackers reportedly breached the city network of Austin, Texas. The breach appears to date back to mid-October.

Daniel Trauner is director of security at Axonius. He’s been following the Austin attack and believes that all cities with critical infrastructure should be worried about cyberattacks.

According to the Austin-American Statemen, Austin hasn’t confirmed whether its network was attacked by Russian hackers.

Last week, we reported that bad actors inserted malicious code into SolarWinds‘ Orion software updates sent to nearly 18,000 customers. It existed in updates released between March and June of this year.

Axonius' Daniel Trauner

Axonius’ Daniel Trauner

We spoke with Trauner to learn more about the implications of attacks like the one on Austin.

Channel Futures: Does the fact that this was carried out by state-sponsored Russian hackers make this breach unique? If so, why?

Daniel Trauner: Not particularly. A number of major breaches over the last few years involved some level of state-sponsored activity. This does appear to be an infrastructure-focused operation, however, which means that the attackers almost certainly had more specific, complex motivations.

CF: How were these malicious hackers able to pull off this breach?

DT: It’s not entirely clear, though a number of other sources have reported that this breach is not related to the supply-chain attack involving SolarWinds. According to their report, it was also conducted by a different Russian threat actor.

CF: What sort of damage have the Russian hackers caused the city?

DT: The city has seemed to avoid commenting on the impact, though some reports mentioned receiving a message stating that there had been no loss of “personal information.” This isn’t revealing much.

CF: Why should all cities with critical centralized infrastructure be worried about potential cyberattacks?

DT: Unlike your smartphone, most industrial control and related systems won’t regularly bother you to install software updates. The code deployed to these systems is often designed to be updated every few years at best. And in some cases, it may not ever be updated unless there’s an emergency or if the hardware is being replaced, too. While the standards for the development of such software may be higher or designed to maximize safety in the event of failure, no complex software is unhackable. The fact that you may have much older software running on certain infrastructure is a natural weak point.

CF: What actions can cities take to better prevent or at least minimize the damage from cyberattacks?

DT: Understand what infrastructure you have. And ensure that you have up-to-date information about as many properties as you can for these assets. Make sure that if there have been critical software or hardware advisories put out by the manufacturers, that you’re aware of the guidance they’re providing and plan to take action if required. And as with any good security operations practice, ensure you have a centralized logging solution that you actually monitor and alert on. And have a formal/documented incident response procedure for investigating and responding to alerts.

CF: Can MSSPs and other cybersecurity providers help these cities be prepared? If so, how?

DT: In line with the above advice, ensuring that you have a deep understanding of your asset landscape – not only the devices and users in your systems themselves, but their relationship to one another – is often the most difficult part of the process. Past that, strong observability in the form of logging, monitoring and alerting, as well as a formal incident response procedure, will help you react quickly and effectively in the event that something goes wrong.

Record Rise in Ransomware Attacks in Q3

Positive Technologies‘ third quarter cyber threatscape research report showed a massive increase in ransomware attacks, accounting for more than half of all malware attacks.

Cybercriminals increasingly are targeting the health care industry. In particular, attackers have begun …

Dec 23

How the Channel Is Preparing for Brexit

By | Managed Services News

We speak to UK channel partners to see how they are preparing for every Brexit scenario.

New research shows that almost a third of UK IT SMEs haven’t yet considered the impact of Brexit on their businesses.

That’s according to figures supplied by Aldermore bank. While the EU and UK haggle over a post-Brexit trade deal, IT firms have been preoccupied managing with COVID-19. This is despite 38% of these firms’ monthly income coming from customers in the EU.

Channel Preparations

So how is the UK IT channel preparing for Brexit?

A Tech Data spokesperson says that the distributor is preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, among other scenarios.

“Our aim is to support our partners in every way we can through this period,” they said. “We are in regular contact with our reseller customers and vendor partners to keep them updated on any changes. [We want to] ensure that partners feel fully supported by Tech Data as we transition.”

Tech Data’s preparations have focused on four key areas:

  • Anticipated delays to vendor shipments travelling into the UK via mainland Europe.
  • Heightened reseller demand for Tech Data to export products into the EU.
  • Potential price increases on some lines due to import charges.
  • Increased demand from resellers to use Tech Data’s specialist configuration centre, rather than their own facilities, prior to export.

“Brexit will inevitably lead to some delays to the supply chain in the initial stages,” said the spokesperson. “We are doing our best to anticipate the challenges and create contingency plans around stock and order cutoff times, for example.”

Sign up for Channel Futures’ new EMEA newsletter, where we feature news and analysis involving companies based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as those doing business in that region.

The trading arrangements between the UK and the Republic of Ireland currently remain unclear. As such, Tech Data says it anticipates additional paperwork and customs clearance activities. It has put in place a specific contingency plan with its Irish partners to cover for January, initially.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UK’s fourth largest channel player, SCC, believes the ongoing uncertainty “is no good for anybody.” The channel giant is working closely with key partners and proactively monitoring the situation.

“Whatever the outcome from political discussions, SCC is in the fortunate position that its services are primarily delivered by UK-based operations. In most instances little or no services [are] transacted with customers across country or territory borders,” said the spokesperson. “That will remain the case post-Brexit, even where SCC utilises its own support operations based outside of the UK.”

SCC also says the firm is addressing the most urgent issues directly with customers. These include product supply and service delivery, and data protection. It has also carried out an impact assessment and developed flexible response plans with distributors and vendors.

Communication Is Vital

However, for many partners, there will be anxiety about what the future holds. Much of that comes down to a lack of information, according to the Aldermore figures. Thirty percent of small IT firms say there’s a lack of information available on what to do. This, they say, is why they haven’t made any plans.

This is where good communication will be vital, says Graham Charlton, CFO at the UK’s second biggest channel firm, Softcat.

Softcat's Graham Charlton

Softcat’s Graham Charlton

“Resellers, vendors and distributors all have a role to play in adapting to the new trading relationship with the EU. We’ve been working throughout the past 18 months to define our respective roles and bring our complementary skills to bear. We’ll need to remain close throughout the early stages of 2021 to react to tactical challenges quickly. The quality of the collaboration between the channel and vendors has never been more important.”

Between 5% and 10% of Softcat’s income is from overseas trade, much of which comes from the EU. Charlton says adapting to how that will work once a customs border is in place has enabled Softcat to consider how it could broaden our international trade further as well. This is something it has been “looking to do in any case for a few years now.”

“The export and logistics capability we have built to trade into the EU post-Brexit can also be used to …

Dec 23

Selling & Marketing UCaaS for MSP’s Best Practices for Service Providers

By | Managed Services News

As a managed service provider (MSP), the needs of your customers are always changing. Keeping up with new technologies is therefore important for both retaining customers and closing new deals. These days, many enterprises of all sizes are increasingly turning to unified communications (UC) services to improve their efficiency and profitability.

The goal of this e-book is to provide you, the Managed Service Provider, with a blueprint of the best practices to consider when marketing your services. Here, we will cover:
• Identifying Target Audiences
• Branding and Value Propositions
• Creating a Marketing Plan
• Support Services

Don’t stress if any of these topics are unfamiliar to you. By the end of this e-book, you will be ready to embark on a strategy for revenue, reinforcing your position within the MSP landscape.

Brought to you by:


Dec 23

Selling & Marketing UCaaS for MSP’s Best Practices for Service Providers

By | Managed Services News

As a managed service provider (MSP), the needs of your customers are always changing. Keeping up with new technologies is therefore important for both retaining customers and closing new deals. These days, many enterprises of all sizes are increasingly turning to unified communications (UC) services to improve their efficiency and profitability.

The goal of this e-book is to provide you, the Managed Service Provider, with a blueprint of the best practices to consider when marketing your services. Here, we will cover:
• Identifying Target Audiences
• Branding and Value Propositions
• Creating a Marketing Plan
• Support Services

Don’t stress if any of these topics are unfamiliar to you. By the end of this e-book, you will be ready to embark on a strategy for revenue, reinforcing your position within the MSP landscape.

Brought to you by:


Dec 23

Contact Center Solutions: What Vendors Aren’t Telling Service Providers

By | Managed Services News

As a service provider, it can be hard to find the right, all-in-one, cloud-native UC/contact center solutions that will give you the edge you need. This 6-Page eBook discusses how service providers can figure out just what they do and don’t need to attract new clients while saving themselves from unnecessary costs. Take a deep dive into contact center solutions and more.

Topics Include:

  • Contact centers, customer experience and UC
  • What Omnichannel is and why is it important
  • What service providers need to support contact centers
  • How to pick the right platform provider

Brought to you by: 

Dec 23

Why Service Providers are Shifting Away from Paying Their Vendors by the Seat

By | Managed Services News

The era of the mobile workforce is upon us. In fact, Google recently put out an estimate that 80% of the global workforce is now performing deskless work every day. Yet the vast majority of Service Providers are paying their vendors on a per seat basis. If history is anything to go by, where disconnects exist, disruption is likely to follow.

Disrupting the value chain, tends to change the profit location not just the profit, and in this case, Service Providers are currently being shortchanged. In Unified Communications as an example, only 4% of those who do work from a desk are on a phone call at any one time. So, Service Providers are asking the question, why am I paying per seat when its rarely used.

In this eBook we will share the insights of this rapidly growing trend whereby Service Providers are taking control of their business model and shifting their vendor model away from a per seat basis, while continuing to charge their customers by the seat, taking the lions share of the profits away from their vendors.

Brought to you by: 


Dec 23

How SpectrumVoIP added 48,000 Unified Communications Customers in 2 Short Years

By | Managed Services News

Spectrum VOIP a Unified Communications Service Provider was struggling with growth along with their current platforms ability to scale. They had found their former platform to be increasingly unreliable, Spectrum began looking for a more reliable platform to better serve their customers. Their old platform had many of the features that they were looking for, but the Spectrum team found themselves constantly battling with the design and architecture of the system. The inability to synchronize their customer data with the platform made usage difficult. This coupled with pricing based on seats rather than sessions made it increasingly difficult for Spectrum to provide its customers with a comprehensive and scalable solution while keeping their customers pricing competitive.

Spectrum no longer has to pay for each additional user, they are able to avoid seats-based monthly recurring charges, making it more economically feasible to add users. In this way, netsapiens’ unique sessions-based pricing model enables service providers like Spectrum to become much more competitive and profitable.

In this case study we discuss the Significant Operational Cost Reduction & Overall Company Growth strategy.

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Dec 23

Tactics for Selling SaaS Backup

By | Managed Services News

Here are three ways every MSP can portray the value of SaaS Backup to their customers.

IT spending has been steadily shifting from traditional on-premises offerings to cloud services over the past five years, and spending continues to grow. A recent report from BetterCloud revealed that it is estimated that 78% of businesses will run almost entirely on SaaS by 2022. While enterprises have adopted SaaS rapidly, the current emphasis on remote working has inspired small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to think differently about digital transformation and accelerate their use of SaaS applications. This presents a significant opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs).

SaaS applications such as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 are popular because they’re easy to use and highly scalable; they standardize employees on the same applications, like Word or Excel; and they are relatively inexpensive. However, SaaS apps don’t deploy and manage themselves. Additionally, SaaS applications require more robust data protection and backup for businesses, just like any other mission-critical app. As trusted advisors, MSPs can strategically and securely guide their clients to use SaaS applications to better their business. This continual shift to SaaS gives MSPs a significant revenue opportunity as clients move to the cloud. To help you take advantage of that opportunity, we’ve compiled three ways every MSP can portray the value of SaaS Backup to their customers.

  • Discuss the need for data protection: There’s a common misconception among SaaS users that backup isn’t necessary for their data because it exists in the cloud. However, SaaS applications are just as vulnerable to data loss as on-premises apps. You should also educate your SMB clients on the shared responsibility model, which explains what their SaaS provider will cover and what the businesses are responsible for themselves. Having this knowledge will help SMBs understand and value the need for SaaS backup.
  • Outline the impact and cost of downtime: Downtime can negatively affect your clients’ productivity and compromise their ability to access essential business documents. Even a small incident can cost a business dearly, including productivity loss and reputation damage. In fact, Datto’s Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report revealed that MSPs surveyed reported that the average downtime cost per incident has increased by 94% from 2019 and a staggering 486% from 2018. You can use statistics to help sell business owners on the need for a backup solution for those who may be more numbers-oriented. You can also share real-life examples of SaaS data loss and downtime with clients as cautionary tales.
  • Reveal the opportunity for cost savings: With Datto SaaS Protection, if you no longer need a Microsoft license, you don’t have to pay for it to keep the data. Instead, data is backed up to enable clients to safely access data from past Microsoft licenses. Explain to your prospect or client that using this feature is an easy way to save SaaS license costs should employees leave the company. The investment in SaaS backup can serve as both insurance for user data and a cost savings tool in the future.

MSPs vary in their approach to selling SaaS Protection. While some sell a la carte, the vast majority of successful MSPs include SaaS in some form of a security bundle for Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. Another option is to bundle backup with other Microsoft 365 services. If you already provide Microsoft 365 administration and management to clients, adding backup as a line item or only as a part of the service can be a relatively easy sell. Ultimately, you need to price and offer services based on what’s best for your business.

No matter what stage of growth your business is in, SaaS backup should be an essential part of your service portfolio. The move to the cloud has been accelerated in recent months as organizations become more mobile and the need for collaboration tools increases. If you want to protect your brand’s reputation, build more profitability and do the right thing for your clients, visit our website to learn more about Datto SaaS Protection.

Erin Stephan is Senior Product Marketing Manager, Datto.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Dec 23

MSP 501 Profile: Xamin on COVID-19 Challenges and Strategic Partnerships

By | Managed Services News

President and CEO Jonathan Smith on how the pandemic actually presented opportunities and chances for growth.

Company Name: Xamin
Company MSP 501 Rank: 263
President and CEO: Jonathan Smith
Headquartered: Chicago

Primary Services:

  • Infrastructure
  • Security
  • Data protection
  • Cloud

Twitter: @XaminInc

MSP 501 winner Xamin is no stranger to pivoting, even pre-pandemic. President and CEO Jonathan Smith, a company owner for 20 years, has more than a few insights on the matter. One in particular stands out. 

“The one thing you have to learn as you build and grow a business is that you will spend a large amount of time and effort thinking about the well-being of your company and your employees.”

According to Smith, this should be priority number one.

Xamin's Jonathan Smith

Xamin’s Jonathan Smith

We sat down with him to chat about pivoting during a pandemic, mergers, and choosing the right strategic partnerships.

Channel Futures: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?

Jonathan Smith: At Xamin, we work with a number of vendors (Cisco, Dell, HP, VMware, etc.) and usually purchase products through distribution. Then, we’ll work with their vendor teams through distribution. In our experience, we’ve really enjoyed working with their distribution teams. We’ve been so impressed with the level of customer service we typically receive. In fact, our vendor teams have been really responsive, attentive and dedicated to partnering with our team and learning how we can best work together.

However, vendors often treat small and medium businesses (SMBs) as a “training opportunity” for newer representatives at their company. This can mean a fair amount of turnover, and your account reps can be continually swapped out for new reps. As an SMB, it’s nice to get in a groove with your account rep at the vendor. However, there can be a brief lull in customer service when a new rep is assigned to your team. We’ve actually been pretty lucky though, and are usually assigned a rep who’s very responsive and helpful to our relationship with the vendor. 

CF: What new opportunities and challenges came with the global COVID-19 pandemic?

JS: As an IT company, the pandemic actually presented us with an opportunity. As shelter-in-place orders went into effect across the country, companies needed help as they quickly deployed their work-from-home strategies. Additionally, executives were looking to implement new, secure solutions to equip their employees with the tools to work from home. Initially, we were busier than usual. While most of our customers had a remote strategy, they needed help scaling up their remote solutions to work for a much larger portion of their employees. But we knew the initial spike in business wouldn’t …