Got MSP?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are upping the stakes in the current cloud land grab. By rapidly expanding their portfolio of service offerings they expect to capture larger share of wallet. Their customers are aligned with this approach as they seek out full-service providers able to meet all their technology needs.

A Growing Market

By 2021 MSPs will deliver close to 25% of all technology products and services globally, up from 18% today. This is an impressive business transformation story – thousands of IT resellers and systems integrators (most of them small companies with less than $10M in revenues) have displayed a clear vision and competent leadership in enhancing their organizations’ capabilities and infrastructure to keep revenues growing in this challenging business climate.

The number of MSPs worldwide will grow from 50,000 to 75,000 between 2016-2021, with the total IT products/services they deliver growing from $500 billion to over $1 trillion during the same time.

Their services portfolios, which initially included pure infrastructure services such as storage, security essentials, compute power, web hosting, and application hosting, have now grown to include value add and higher margin services such as disaster recover/business continuity, e-discovery, vulnerability assessment, compliance management, application management, SaaS, and mobile device management among others.

Business Challenges

Despite being in a high growth business, MSPs face tough challenges which require constant attention and fine tuning of their business models. Some of the top challenges are:

  • Differentiating their services from those of other MSPs is a top priority to counter margin erosion and hyper-competition.
  • Absorbing newer technologies, tools, and solutions, packaging them for client consumption, and providing follow up services requires a constant learning and training.
  • Investing in datacenters is yet another critical challenge, which is often detrimental to smaller MSPs.

How Technology Vendors Can Help

Technology solution vendors that are supplying to MSPs can often play a big role in helping MSPs address these challenges. By fully understanding the nature of MSPs operational and business needs, vendors can design their products and programs to enable their MSP customers to win in the market-place.

Key features can be built into products and programs to make them a nuts-to-bolts solution, or packaged to work with other third-party solutions typically used by MSPs. Examples of the types of features that MSPs would like vendors to include in their solutions are:

  • Automation of overall solutions architecture.
  • Automation of customer on-boarding and migration processes.
  • Dynamic and predictive throughput/capability scaling.
  • Performance monitoring and predictive dashboards and controls.
  • Vertical industry-specific sales, marketing, and technical know how.
  • Vertical industry-specific compliance and reporting features.
  • Online university – modular online training videos and certification.

These are some of the insights we have uncovered in our tracking of the worldwide MSP segment. For additional insights and a detailed description of our MSP tracking service and various deliverables click here.

Alternatively, please email John Rezac (jrezac@ami-partners.com) for more details or to schedule a webinar that will walk you through our MSP coverage and insights.

~Deepinder Sahni, SVP

5 SMB Pros and Cons for the Cloud

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life. The feeling of nostalgia for that staple of 1980s television The Facts of Life notwithstanding, the good and the bad can be applied to that ever-expanding network we call the Cloud. At an event hosted by Rackspace, your intrepid blogger was brought up to speed on recent developments and how the company is working toward its corporate goal of being “The preeminent IT services company in the world”.  The cloud is the primary focus of Rackspace and numerous competing companies all over the world. There are challenges to face but also opportunities to seize. Let’s look at the challenges that Rackspace identified with the cloud and then put an SMB focused lens on reasons for subscribing or not subscribing to cloud solutions.

All data equal?
SMBs are putting data on the cloud

Top Challenges

The topics on analyst day covered all facets of the Rackspace portfolio and numerous employees shared their subject matter expertise. Additionally, several customers shared stories about their transformation with Rackspace and how their business has changed over the years. The cloud presents both an opportunity to customers as well a challenge and we’ll see that difference in position can be a matter of perspective. Continue reading “5 SMB Pros and Cons for the Cloud”

MSPs to capture $1.0T in ICT spending by 2021

Large numbers have a certain aura to them. We almost disrespect these figures by using abbreviations. One trillion dollars written out looks like $1,000,000,000,000 and for those wondering, such a sum would weigh approximately 10,000 tons (9,071.85 short tons) when carried around in the largest denomination US currency currently in circulation, the ever popular $100 bill. To have such transportation and storage problems… For the sake of preserving the “0” key, we’ll stick to the $1.0T abbreviation for the rest of this piece, but there is no shortening the drive of MSPs to capture an increasing share of global information and communication technology (ICT) spending across the SMB and Large Enterprise space.

MSP spending capture growth
$1.0T in spending capture… that’s a spicy meatball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are MSPs winning?

There are a host of factors contributing to the rise in MSP spending capture toward the $1.0T plateau. As with any business, Continue reading “MSPs to capture $1.0T in ICT spending by 2021”

Storage in the Cyber Attack Era

Ransomware has returned to the front page in the form of the WannaCry threat sweeping the globe. AMI-Partners has written about cybersecurity before and it is a well known fact that being proactive is the best approach to security. In this blog, AMI will take a look at how a robust storage solution can help a company in the SMB space rebound from an attack.

Pay the butcher’s bill?

The WannaCry ransomware has arrived in 150 or so countries. Blame is still being assigned and solutions are being sought. Experts agree that paying a ransom isn’t the best course of action. There is no guarantee your files will be decrypted. The sting of having been on the receiving end of the malicious attack will be compounded by the fruitlessly spent funds filling the coffers of criminals. However, each firm must respond as they see fit. If the rightful owners and users are locked out of files, retrieving duplicate information from storage can get a business up and running again. Of course, when ransoms aren’t paid, Continue reading “Storage in the Cyber Attack Era”

IBM PartnerWorld 2017

Last week, AMI-Partners attended IBM’s PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino. The trio AMI dispatched to the desert came back with new insights and information on how IBM is working with business partners to deliver solutions to customers of all sizes. On a less technical yet allegorical front, we also heard stories ranging from catching a cow to hitting an olive tree with a stick. Keep reading to the end for those accounts, but for now, a brief recap from our trip with highlights from a few breakout sessions.

Viva Las Vegas!

As we entered the opening general session, the lighting rigs were shining bright, the music (Elvis of course) was deafening, and the stage was set for speakers to address the crowd comprised of IBM business partners (more than 1,300 from 78 countries), IBM-ers from various units, the press, and analysts – some of whom very closely follow the SMB ICT space. IBM Chair, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty shared her vision for the future of cognitive business and how Watson will touch some 1 billion people by the end of this year. General Manager for Global Business Partners Marc Dupaquier shared highlights of the partner network and IBM announced several new initiatives to help promote success across all partners in what it dubs “The Cognitive Era”. Without the efforts of business partners, IBM is limited in getting its solutions to end users. The need to work with, nurture, and educate partners is critical to success, not only for Continue reading “IBM PartnerWorld 2017”

DRaaS for SMBs?

A disaster may be unavoidable. Predicting misfortune isn’t an exact science. However, recovering from such an event can and should be planned well in advance. With the sizable amount of valuable data generated daily, the risk of losing this information becomes a going concern for businesses of all size. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is becoming a viable option for the SMB space. Should it be?

What is DRaaS and is it contagious

DRaaS is a cloud based solution that allows for the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a 3rd party to provide data recovery in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. This enables failover of virtual machines to secure cloud locations. The modern business climate is more likely to be disrupted by a human generated event than a natural one. Malicious attacks, honest user error, upgrade issues and a bad line of code can do just as much damage as a storm. As with most services accessed via the cloud, DRaaS is a pay as you need solution and is configured to operate in the background as it automatically performs backups of critical systems and data.  If your business needs ‘n’ TB of storage, you only need to pay for ‘n’ TB of storage. This flexibility allows SMBs to scale accordingly to match evolving business needs.

Solutions such asbut not limited to Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, Quorum onQ Hybrid Cloud Solution, Zetta Backup and Recovery, and Carbonite Server Backup all offer DRaaS to the SMB market. A careful evaluation of business Continue reading “DRaaS for SMBs?”

2017: An SMB Odyssey

Happy New Year! The start of a new year often brings reflections on the past and forecasts for the future. Resolutions and changes abound but are often discarded before the calendar turns to February. Hopefully you’ve noticed the new layout for our blog and AMI-Partners assures you it will not change back come Groundhog Day.

Keep on Writin’…

Moving forward, we will do our best to post regular updates, to keep the writing style as informal and conversational as the subject matter permits, and to offer more in the way of knowledge sharing as we strive to enhance our reputation as a leader in the SMB ICT space. Our work helps leading organizations to better understand the small and medium business landscape. We believe this Continue reading “2017: An SMB Odyssey”

Layered Security Solutions

Earlier this week, AMI-Partners joined a call hosted by Trend Micro Inc. that discussed the firm’s collective capabilities in security, covered in three categories titled Hybrid Cloud Security, Network Defense, and User Protection. With security threats becoming more sophisticated, targeted, and frequent, having a layered security solution can prove beneficial in the SMB space. Yearly subscription prices per user range from $38 – $62 for this layered approach to security, which does not put it out of reach for the SMB market. These security solutions (Standard and Advanced packages) are available for both on-premise and hosted delivery.

Competition & Worldwide Spending

Trend Micro, a global security software company that develops products for servers and the cloud computing environment for consumers, governments, and the SMB market, competes in a crowded field with such well know names like McAfee, Microsoft, and Symantec. With an eye toward increased market share and profitability, the company is working to provide business customers with multiple solutions for cybersecurity. The firm is ranked as the top worldwide content security provider for small business (4 years running) by Canalys and claims to block 250M threats each day.

According to AMI’s Global Forecast Model, total worldwide SMB security spending Continue reading “Layered Security Solutions”

SMBs at risk of a Distributed Denial of Service attack?

Last week, Dyn, a cloud-based interest performance management company, was the target of a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks interrupted service on more than 80 popular websites including CNN, The New York Times, Twitter, Electronic Arts, Airbnb, PayPal, Visa, Slack, Yammer, and Pixlr. The variety of the aforementioned sites illustrates the central role a traffic manager can play in the critical infrastructure of the internet. The company released a statement concerning the attack. The SMB market is vulnerable to such attacks, although on a smaller scale to the Dyn attack, and it pays to safeguard against such incidents.

 What is a DDos?

A DDoS is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. In the case of Dyn, the attacks were coordinated via numerous Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices such as cameras, routers, and even baby monitors. They were infected with malware that allowed for the IoT devices to be controlled remotely and send millions of malicious requests to Dyn. An analogy would be to the single toll booth that needs to collect fares from every car in several queues, converging from all lanes at the same time. The system becomes inundated and traffic grinds to a halt. A DDoS attack can be targeted at a small business that relies heavily (perhaps solely) on web traffic to generate revenue. If customers cannot reach a website due to heavy traffic, they cannot engage in commerce and a business loses out on revenue.

SMB Security spending (US)

 According to AMI’s Global Forecast Model, total security spending by the SMB market in the US is heavily directed toward Continue reading “SMBs at risk of a Distributed Denial of Service attack?”

Cyber Security: Ignorance isn’t Bliss

Last week, AMI-Partners attended Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular in NYC. On hand were over 80 vendors offering digital solutions ranging from long range WiFi innovations to temperature controlled coffee mugs. One vendor that we visited was Bitdefender, an internet security software company. This got us thinking about how security breaches are impacting the small and medium business (SMB) market in 2016 and beyond. We’ll use our Global Forecast Model for predictions, but for now, some details on Bitdefender and cyber security.

Bitdefender was in attendance to promote its 2017 product line. This release includes a cloud and machine learning algorithm, which offers ransomware protection across Windows, Android, and Mac platforms. It also introduces Wi-Fi Security Advisor, which assesses the security of networks that users connect to on the go, such as those in coffee shops and airports, and reports on any vulnerability. The BYOD trend has increased the risk of information getting into the wrong hands without malicious user intent. An additional feature from Bitdefender is called Snap Photo (Windows and Android only) that uses a mobile device’s camera to take and send pictures to a central user account to aid in the recovery of a stolen device. Ransomware protection is a clear and present concern for businesses of all sizes.

Ransomware is a particularly dangerous type of malware that encrypts and/or locks digital files and demands a ransom to release them. The files that perform these devious tasks infiltrate a system in three primary ways: Continue reading “Cyber Security: Ignorance isn’t Bliss”