Archives For managed IT

Retention and MSP Business

Today I’ll be speaking to resellers (sponsored by Ingram Micro) on the topic of MSP retention. There are many reasons why clients move on – one of the biggest is CONNECTION. Are you in touch with your clients every month?

Join us today at 1 PM ET <<< Click to Grab Your Seat or Get the Replay

I will be covering several strategies to fix this – but one simple strategy is your newsletter. The problem is, our industry has gone digital. It’s easy to put a newsletter out in digital format, blast it to your list, and think, “There, I’ve done it.”  The problem is, open rates on digital newsletters are terrible. Maybe 15%.

Do the math – 100 MSP clients – 15 opened my letter. How many actually read it?  Hmmm.

The hard part is writing it. If you write one, you know – it’s time consuming. So if you’re going to go through the trouble of writing it, here are three things to consider…some of which I will give more detail on today at 1 PM ET.

  • ONE: Print it! That’s right, in the digitalized megatrend age – the printed newsletter’s lifespan is much longer. I started mailing mine out in early 2016 and I can tell you without a doubt, when I talk with my clients, not only do they still have back issues of the letter – they’ve read it!
  • TWO: If you’re going to write – make sure you know your audience! For instance – if you call on small business, don’t kid yourself…they don’t care about Microsoft updates, advancements in storage technology, or even the bits and bytes of ransomware.
  • THREE: Be consistent.  Send it out every month at the same time. Email them ahead to let them know its coming, and package it in something they’ll recognize. I get a newsletter every month from a coaching group I belong to – when their package arrives, it’s clear. It’s the first thing I open!  And I usually read it.

Join me this afternoon and I’ll give you more great ideas on how to win over your clients long-term, and stay connected over the years!

© 2016, David Stelzl

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blockchainBlock Chains, Cyber Currencies, and The Value of Data

Digital Money, my next book, should be out this summer!

If you’ve read Data@Risk, this is the update…for the past seven years resellers have used Data@Risk as a tool to educate business leaders (prospects and clients) on security, moving them to change their strategy. That was 2009.

It’s time for an update….

Money is going digital, but data is even more valuable. Disaster Recovery experts used to say, “People are a company’s most important asset.” While I agree – it’s also true that businesses act as if data is their most important asset. People can leave in mass, and even go on strike, and the company will likely recover. Lose your data, and the bankruptcy rate is high. Especially in the SMB markets.

This book explores security, including:

  • 7 Things your clients need to know about if they want their data to be safe. (Trends they don’t understand – but will be shocked to learn about.)
  • The one mistake every company seems to be making – one that is leading to failure after failure…and what to do about it.
  • Why just about every company must have a managed security program – no matter how small they are, and how to convince them to use yours.
  • Seven mindsets business leaders must adopt, and reinforce in their team members – if they plan to stay in business.
  • What to look for in an IT Services Provider, and why they can’t groom their own internal security experts (unless they are Fortune 500 or bigger). – a perfect introduction to your services! 

Stay tuned!  I’m in the final editing stages, and about to send it off for official editing…

PS. While you’re waiting, check out the Security Sales Mastery Training Program!  It’s online and chances are I can get you a sponsored seat (if you’re a reseller working with one of the major technology distributors!) <<< Click and we’ll get funding for you!

encryptionAre You Protecting Your Clients From Ransomware?

This is likely one of their biggest threats – but if all you do is basic firewall management and backups, this attack won’t be stopped. Ultimately your client should be asking you – how did YOU let this happen.

Not that your client’s will all pay for more intelligent security, but it’s your responsibility to tell them – let them make the financial choice, knowing the risk they are taking.

Zepto is new – it’s dangerous.  It’s a varient of the Locky Ransomware, reportedly responsible for encrypting files at three major US hospitals;  Kentucky Methodist, Chino Valley, and Desert Valley.

This month, researches estimate that this one attack was carried to over 140,000 systems in just a few days. As social engineering evolves, people are tricked more often. Getting an email from your boss or higher level executive demands a response. And when there’s an attachment, it’s hard to call upstairs every time just to make sure it’s real.

This type of attack is gaining momentum – it’s highly profitable. And to date, the only consistent recommendation is to maintain good backups. But restoring dozens or even hundreds of systems could put a business on hold for days or even weeks.

In the case of Locky, one report estimates a group of hackers earning somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 Million in  single month! Software developers building these attacks may be earning up to $100,000/month!  This is big business and it’s not going away.

So What Should You Be Doing?

First, understand that basic firewalls and anti-virus software are not stopping these attacks. So you can continue to say things like, “My clients are too small to pay for more security,” or you can get real with them and let them know they can afford to take the risk. Like buying life insurance or equipping their homes with updated alarms, they may choose not to. As long as you’re making the right recommendations, you’ve done your part.

Second, start looking into “Detection” technologies – security technology that detects. FireEye was early to the market with sandbox technology, but today, there are similar solutions built and priced for almost any size business.

Finally – backups are still your fall back plan. I’m always amazed to see how many small businesses continue to limp along with outdated back up technology…they claim it’s just too expensive to upgrade. If you’ve read, The House & The Cloud – you know why. Without the Impact vs. Likelihood graph sitting in front of them, they don’t understand their risk. Without that, how can they make a decision to spend more? They can’t.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

downgraphIs Managed Services on the Decline?

I’ve Been Predicting This for 2 Years…It’s Here

This week the Wall Street Journal backs up exactly what I’ve been saying. Not that Managed IT, or Managed Services is going away – it’s not.  In fact it will grow. However, it’s the big guys that will profit – Microsoft, Amazon, etc.

Your business might be extremely healthy right now – but health is not always easy to measure. Are you measuring the right things? And if you do have to transition over time, how long will it take?

Big Cloud Providers Are Taking Over

“As more businesses move to the cloud, managed services firms say they’re being forced to change the way they do business”…your competition is “worried about competing [not with you, but]… with Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and other big cloud firms,” according to a new report released last week…WSJ

Your clients and prospects, as they get more comfortable with cloud technology, and see larger firms, like Johnson & Johnson, moving their entire operation to the cloud, are starting to go directly to the larger cloud providers – as reported by CompTia this past week.

So while the market is expected to grow about 12.5% annually, you can expect margins to shrink by about 50%!   How healthy will your bottom line be if that happens?

It’s time to start thinking about your value proposition, and the next paradigm shift for resellers…basic IT Managed Services may be coming to an end as your core offering.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

 

graph - downAre Your MSP Clients Staying?

The Average Stay is 5 Years According to Those Deep Into the MSP Offerings

So how do you keep clients longer, or avoid having even shorter retention. If you could stop just 5% of your clients from leaving – increasing their lifetime value by one of more years, you would see an immediate uptick in profitability.

Do the math…client retention is perhaps one of the fastest ways to increase your income.

Yesterday, my partners over at Ingram Micro sponsored a live online training where I was to present 4 things you should be doing to increase retention.  Unfortunately we had some technical difficulties and will be rescheduling.  In the mean time, here are a few things to consider…

Welcoming Your New Clients.  This is perhaps the weak point in any annuity business. You spend months on selling, sign them up, and then set them up. The assumption is, they need your services, and as long as you perform, they’ll stay. That’s not the case. Chances are they signed up because they had pressing issues. 3 or 4 years after fixing those issues, they’ll forget.

Your welcome kit should be special, and it should be lasting. It might include posters, booklets, and more. Hard-copy materials that they refer to regularly to get the help they need.  Consider issues like; getting most out of your technology, maintaining performance on systems, and tips to keep data secure.

Staying In Touch.  Do you send them a newsletter? If you don’t, you should.  But don’t write about Microsoft and Dell.  They don’t care. Give them information they can use. I posted on this topic a few days ago – it might be worth going back to review.

Start with an Assessment. You might think this lengthens the sales process. It doesn’t. Not only does it speed up approval, it increases retention. Show them they have major holes, and keep them up to date on who’s attacking what. Suddenly they need you long term.

Provide vCISO/CIO services. Today’s CIO is responsible for helping their companies stay on track with technology. As the Digitalization Megatrend takes shape, every company needs this function, however, small businesses can not afford to hire qualified CIOs.  On the Security side, the same is true.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

Digital Money

June 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

bitcoinAre You Following Cyber Currency Trends?

Not only is money becoming more digital – data is becoming more valuable. This is the topic of my new book, Digital Money, due out this summer! 

If you’ve wondered why my blog has been inconsistent this quarter – it’s because I’m heads down at my local Starbucks, writing this book. Fintech, bitcoin, data mining,…their all hot topics. In fact several organizations including banking associations and a recent CPA association have asked me to speak at their fall conferences this year – so the book has to be ready.

This is good news if you’re selling security or MSSP services. Why? Because people want more information.  As Matthew Dixon writes in his most recent book, The Challenger Customer, stop selling your product, and start helping people navigate through their real needs.  Help them come to consensus internally on how to solve their problems, and you’ll be the one helping them implement the solution.

It starts with the value of their data, followed by a discovery of just how vulnerable they are to – Operator error, ransomware, hackers, nation state attacks, and other threats against application availability and data theft or misuse.

©2016, David Stelzl

PS. Find out how to tackle this market if you sell technology, MSP, or MSSP services...Four of the worlds biggest technology distributors are offering sponsored training through my Security Sale Mastery Program – see if you qualify for a free seat….  (CLICK TO LEARN MORE).

 

 

fbicomputerDo you sell managed services?

Can You Protect Your Client’s From Ransomware?

The fact is, ransomware is doubling year over year, and this year looks to be a high growth year for this gnarly beast. Last month things changed when Hollywood Hospital forked over $17,000 in bitcoin to the perpetrator. It would seem that they had no choice. But look what’s happening…

It Used to be That Ransomware was Targeting the Small Businesses

Today, LA Times reports two more hospitals hit this past Friday.  “Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino and Desert Valley Hospital of Victorville, both part of Prime Healthcare Services Inc., had their computer system compromised on Friday by a cyber attack,” according to the article.$1 HC Book Ad

Fred Ortega, a spokesman for Prime Healthcare, acknowledged the attack saying, “Nothing was paid and no patient or employee data was compromised.” And according to this report, neither hospital has paid.  However, ransomware is not designed to compromise data – instead it just locks out the doctors. Can these hospitals recover?  We won’t know for at least a few weeks… but my guess is, they won’t get their data back. And even though the FBI does not recommend paying, they probably need their date back. It’s fine for the FBI to say, “Don’t Pay!”, But the FBI doesn’t have a problem…

MSP and Security Sales are NOT About Your Product

MSP and Security Sales are about protecting your clients from unexpected events. The fact is, most of your prospects think they are okay. But when ransomware hits it will hurt. It’s time to educate business leaders on what’s happening out there. While the story is probably not news to them anymore, the likelihood that they will be hit is.  That’s your edge. If you can show them why it is likely, and help them measure their preparedness, you might have an opportunity. My guess is, you will.

© 2016, David Stelzl