Tag Archives: IT

Marketing Mistakes That Every MSP Must Avoid

As more and more businesses are embracing cloud technologies, the need for dependable Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is increasing. And while most service providers are doing a great job at marketing, some of them are lagging behind. In order to become a well-established MSP, it is imperative that you focus on your marketing strengths, but at the same time, avoid mistakes that could potentially bringing you down.

Here are some of the main marketing mistakes MSPs must avoid at all costs:

  1. Using a Poor Website Design

A business website serves as the company’s storefront. Just like a business owner ensures that their brick and mortar store not only looks appealing, but also allows their customers to do business easily, you must build your website, keeping these things in mind. It is surprising how so many MSPs’ websites are so bland. Many providers don’t even bother displaying an image of an actual person, when the MSP business has a lot to do with building relationships alone.

Apart from ensuring that your website looks simple and appealing you must take some additional steps to improve the conversion rate. Important links of whitepapers, brochures, and forms, etc. should be easily available for the visitors. You can also add a live-chat feature if possible. Many are not quite comfortable calling businesses on phone, or writing emails. A chat feature is simple and provides quick answers the visitors may have.

  1. Telling, Not Showing

Don’t tell your leads how your state of the art technology is based on such-and-such proprietary algorithms, or that your systems are backed by some of the best security mechanisms. For instance, if you are an MSP who provides cloud backup services, show them how your cloud backup facility can protect their business if data breaches occur, or how they can save more than 50% or more of their existing IT costs by using your services. Customers are rarely swayed by tech jargon or an MSPs personal accomplishments. Instead, show them how your service can actually benefit them through facts and numbers, and you have piqued their interest.

  1. Using an Inefficient Lead Generation System

A business depends on its customers. However, you always have to start with a prospect, which is converted into a customer over time. To improve this conversion rate, it is important that you have an excellent lead generation system in place. It should cover everything, starting from lead identification, to lead nurturing, and then finally lead conversion. Here a few points to keep in mind:

  • Creating a profile for quality leads: How do you identify the quality leads? Not every person who shows interest in your service is likely to close a deal. Thus, you must maintain a standard profile that you can compare your leads against. If they meet the profile, you can add them to your database of high-quality leads.
  • Nurturing the Leads: Once you have filtered your leads, you can start working on getting them to close. Following up with them is extremely important here. This is how you keep tabs on the entire operation. Make sure you ask the right questions when you contact them. Some examples include: “What kind of features are you looking for in your managed services provider?”, “Is there something we can do to make this work?”

Marketing is extremely important for every MSP. By ensuring you don’t make the same mistakes that most new MSPs are making, you can improve your business considerably.

Controlling your Cloud Data in the Face of Outages

It’s hard to imagine that one quick lightning strike could disrupt the business of several companies across Europe, but this is exactly what happened in the summer of 2011 in Dublin.

After a lightning bolt struck a utility pole, causing an explosion and fire, power supply was cut to several businesses and data centres in the surrounding area. According to Amazon and Microsoft — the two companies whose data centres were worst affected — the bolt disrupted power supply to their massive data centres. While Microsoft was able to kick start its services after a few hours, Amazon’s services weren’t resumed until a good 48 hours later. Amazon’s customers spent several frustrating hours waiting for Amazon to report on the status, as the company struggled to set things right and quickly restore their services.

You might say, this is an old news that happened more than five years ago, but this very instance shows how unplanned disasters can strike at any time. With this in mind, Backup Technology Limited (BTL) believes there are several lessons to be learnt from this and many other data centre outages.

Complete dependency on the service provider’s ability to maintain uninterrupted service is foolhardy, to say the least. Customers signing up for cloud services must ensure that they maintain control over their data by making local backups of their data in addition to riding the cloud for all the benefits that accrue from it. BTL urges its customers to take advantage of its Asigra powered software, a hybrid cloud backup solution that ensures full-proof data availability.

BTL is equipped with local and remote management features, which allow users to seamlessly perform local backups to their private cloud infrastructure or offsite backups to a public cloud. Even more beneficial, they can do so even while they’re away from the office. A web-based management console allows one to control and manage all backups and restores via an Internet connection.

To ensure full business continuity, BTL stresses the importance of performing both local and offsite, cloud backup. If backing up data to the cloud, BTL recommends that customers add disaster recovery and business continuity to their list of services.

Unlike larger cloud customers such as Amazon’s public cloud users, BTL users who backup data locally to their private cloud infrastructure, in addition to a cloud service powered by BTL, will not have to wait endlessly for reports about the restoration of services in the event of an offsite data centre disaster. They can connect their network to the local copy of the data and resume their business activities almost instantaneously.

When handling business data backup plans, smart IT admins look at all their options and will not hesitate to implement local backup AND offsite cloud backup with an MSP to ensure security and business continuity at all times. BTL recognises the ground realities surrounding data management by large third parties. This is why BTL focuses its attention on customer needs and urge its customers to build in an extra resilience and maintain data redundancy.

 

The Theory of Constraints and Cloud Backup

Dr. Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt [1] in his Theory of Constraints [2] stated that the strength of any chain, process or system is determined by its weakest link. Successful systems identify the constraints and effects, the changes necessary to remove them. Small and medium enterprises that are IT constrained must, therefore, make an effort to change their operative methodologies and harness the cloud to strengthen their business operations. Interestingly, a number of cloud based IT services are emerging to support IT constrained organisations.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) options available in the cloud allow SMBs harness expensive infrastructure at nominal costs to exploit available, in-house IT skills. Unlimited instances of servers are made available virtually and cost effectively. SMBs can use this IT infrastructure to build new versions of applications without investing in additional hardware resources. The IT resources can also be used for hosting enterprise websites and reaching out globally to customers leaving the non-core activities of website maintenance, such as traffic monitoring to experts who provide the infrastructure.

IaaS is priced on a pay-as-you-go model and organisations have to pay only for usage of instances of servers and the software environment loaded, in databases or web servers, application development environments or the amount of network traffic in and out of the server during usage.

Software as a Service (SaaS) options in the cloud are attractive to SMBs that do not want to invest money in purchasing software licenses. Software access is provided on demand and deployed over the Internet to the local system. The software runs behind a firewall on a local area network or a personal computer with the SaaS provider holding the license for the software. The pay-as-you-go model is advantageous to the user. The software is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. There is no local server installation required and can be rapidly scaled and eminently reliable. System maintenance and security improvements are the responsibility of the SaaS vendor.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivers a computing platform and a solution stack to the IT constrained organisation. PaaS is an uncomplicated offering of web-based applications and services. The user does not have to worry about the underlying hardware or the complexities of the software being used to deliver the service.

PaaS includes facilities for application design, application development, testing, deploying and hosting of application services for collaboration, web service integration, marshalling, database integration, security, scalability, storage, persistence, state management, application versioning and facilitation of a host of other services. All these solutions are provisioned and delivered via the web using the Internet.

Backup Technology Limited (BTL), based in Leeds, UK, is a globally trusted cloud backup company, which provides simple, automatic, secure, encrypted cloud backup and storage services. Visit www.backup-technology.com

[1] — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliyahu_M._Goldratt

[2] — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_constraints

Why BTL’s Cloud Backup Outperforms the Competition?

People in search of great cloud services are always asking the same questions and expecting to find new answers! There are no new questions. There are only new answers. Let us look at some of the common questions that are asked:

  • How does this new technology advantage me?
  • How is it different from the current technology I use?
  • Where will my data reside?
  • Will my data be secure?
  • How will I have control over my data?
  • What kind of tools will I have for managing my data?

Backup Technology Limited (BTL) has not been asked anything significantly different or new. But, it has a lot of new answers to tough questions that are frequently asked. BTL has created a cloud platform that addresses the most recalcitrant problems of customers and resolves them to their satisfaction! This speaks volumes on how BTL has been taking its mission seriously!

The cloud computing infrastructure proposed by BTL Cloud Backup is exciting. BTL is committed to the task it has undertaken. It has partnered with leading technology vendors to provide customer friendly solutions. The integration and interoperability of the product further delivers a combined solution to frequently encountered customer problems and provides a high level of data protection solutions. The methods of deployment, the virtualisation options, simplification of provisioning, application services, increased availability, reduced environmental impact, and business continuity are some, not all, of the compelling reasons for adopting this great technology from BTL.

BTL’s Cloud Backup is an affordable option. It delivers a number of financial advantages to its users. It brings, in its wake, cost advantages and flexibilities that are rarely enjoyed with other IT innovations. Customers signing up for the platform can replace CAPEX with OPEX as the infrastructure is rented not owned. This results in reduced hardware investment and maintenance costs, reduced capacity needs, reduced technology risks, increased productivity, and improved user experience. Furthermore, BTL’s innovative approach to IT supports green computing and accommodates the globalisation aspirations of enterprises.

BTL’s Cloud Backup is easy to deploy. The software almost configures itself and wizard screens guide the user over the humps and bumps of installing and commissioning the software and initiating the backup. Administrators can create, edit, run backup sets, restore and delete files or view user-activity logs from a central management console anywhere, anytime, using a web-browser-based interface that merely requires input parameters for authentication and authorisation. The easy to use dashboard comes with robust features and functionalities, smart defaults for effective and efficient management of your data. The data itself resides in an encrypted format on secure physical or virtual servers that are systematically and dynamically replicated/mirrored for high availability and disaster recovery.

BTL offers multi-level support to users of their cloud platform. Customer satisfaction is very important for BTL and it has shown its eagerness to help its customers by deploying dedicated service personnel.

Customers, who want to know more about how the service works or how they can optimise on the cloud storage platform, can take advantage of the elaborate knowledge base BTL has developed. Trial versions of the software can be downloaded and tested free of charge for a period of 30 days before any buying decisions need to be made!

BTL utilises 256-bit AES security and multiple data centres located on two continents to ensure data protection and availability. BTL offers IT service providers a secure data solution combined with a robust partner program, the efficiencies of full web-based account management, and an industry leading technical support team. Visit www.backup-technology.com

 

Employee Termination and The Role of IT in Preserving Sensitive Data

Employee termination — whether voluntarily or involuntarily — happens everyday in all industries. Managing the termination plan is one of the great challenges for businesses. HR plays a significant role in termination. IT is not considered as concerning department; for that reason, termination procedure creates many problems. In order to keep terminations in an organised and smooth way, some of the effective practises are described here:

Basic Actions
It is necessary to plan the terminations at initial stage. HR should perform its duty in collaboration with IT as these two departments are equally important. If a wrong termination date is given to IT and they terminate the access on the given date, it will complicate matters. Consequently, the employee might not be allowed to use data or get into office as IT might have disabled the employee’s access.

In most of cases, IT departments are given particular guidelines and they follow certain procedures for terminated employees. Though the nature of tasks depend on the given guidelines, some basic tasks are performed to deny the access of terminated employees. These are as follows:
1. Restrict access to the building;
2. Inactivate the remote access;
3. Cancel networking, data and computer access;
4. Ensure that all employer’s equipment are returned;
5. Protect critical information available on all devices;

Tasks numbered 1 to 4 (above) are performed across all industries regularly. However, protecting critical information is difficult when the majority of employees use multiple devices. Salespersons keep data on various devices, such as Smartphone, tablet and laptop. Data across different devices contain confidential details concerning the company and clients, and therefore, it is obligatory for IT department to protect the information.

Preserving Data
Sensitive information, logs and records must be protected by IT in case a terminated employee lodges a complaint or files a case against the company. Sometimes disgruntled employees delete their emails, customer records or project files. To cope with such matters, data retention strategies are applied before termination date.

What does IT department do with the sensitive data of company that store on personal device of an employee? Preserving data is not simple due to proliferation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and smartphones. On legal basis, the company has the authority to keep or delete such data, without damaging or disabling the devices. In this regard, remote wipe applications are really helpful that keep the information of company in safe hands.

In multinational and large companies, employees share a great number of accounts within a department. Though there are some benefits of using shared accounts, they create innumerable issues and they should be avoided.

Conclusion
Some terminated employees (perhaps most involuntarily terminated) might try to steal critical data from their former companies. In order to manage termination of employees procedure smoothly, planning is necessary at IT level and HR department. IT manager must have comprehensive knowledge of employees’ termination process and responsibilities of IT department. To accomplish this task effectively, IT manager should arrange a meeting with all stakeholders. It is favourable to get termination notification in advance; however, it is not always possible. To deal with with situation, it is good to have planning for uncertain worst case scenario situations.

Ukraine IT outsourcing industry at risk from crisis

The crisis in Ukraine has recently escalated to what William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary, has called “Europe’s biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century”. This announcement came after Russian troops moved across the border to occupy several military bases on Ukrainian soil. The Western powers, including the USA and major partners in the EU, have jumped to express their support for the new Ukrainian government, and have strongly criticised the aggression shown by Russia. In response to the occupation by Russian troops, Russia has been threatened with economic and political actions with the aim of isolating it from the international community. Despite mobilisation of troops by Russia, military intervention does seem unlikely, although not impossible.

As the crisis gradually unfolds, it is becoming easier to see how Ukraine will be affected. One area which may suffer is the country’s IT outsourcing industry, which has a value of roughly 1 bn per annum. For several years now Ukraine has been a technology hub, although relatively unknown to Western Europe, with its first ventures into IT taking place under the former USSR. Over the years this has been built into a skilledworkforce, with 30,000 students graduating in IT related subjects each year, and a good infrastructure across the country, for example broadband speeds are similar to the UK’s.

The billion pound industry is helped by several incentives, such as low corporation tax for IT companies, lower wage demands by the Ukrainian workforce and several organisations, such as the Ukrainian HI-Tech Initiative setup with the purpose of promoting Ukrainian IT interests.As well as a high number of IT graduates, Ukraine already has a large skilled workforce, with 25,000 specialised IT workers and 1,000 outsourcing companies.

Ukraine has recently announced that conscription has been initiated, presumably in preparation for a conflict with Russia. This could pose a very real problem for the IT workforce in Ukraine, as many of the employees are the type of person that would be conscripted (young male adults). However unlikely, if a conflict between the Ukraine and Russia did break out, it could have a detrimental effect on the IT outsourcing industry.

What is certain is the longer this crisis goes on, the longer Ukraine will suffer as a whole. As military action is not preferred, the main weapons available to the West are diplomatic and economic sanctions against Russia. However, any economic action will surely affect the IT industry in some form. Hopefully, the IT industry will be able to withstand whatever comes as a result of this crisis, one way or another.

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