Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis.
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Recent Posts

What a hard Brexit means for IT service providers

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 19, 2017 11:00:00 AM

British Prime Minister Theresa May appears to be trying to have it both ways when it comes to globalization. May signaled earlier this week that Great Britain would be employing a “hard exit” in terms of leaving the European Union (EU). A few days later, however, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, she suggested that despite exiting the European Union Great Britian is still very much a supporter of free trade and globalization.

Naturally, IT service providers are trying to read British tea leaves to figure out on a practical level what this all means to them. In a report published this week, Patrick Heffernan, an industry analyst with Technology Business Research, noted that IT service providers and consultants that want to do business in the United Kingdom will probably need to go to the trouble and expense of setting up offices there. Those expenses, of course, include the payment of local taxes and the need to find, hire, and retain local IT talent in the UK, which is already in short supply.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Time for MSPs to look beyond endpoints

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 17, 2017 10:15:39 AM

A new report from Gartner forecasts that not only will IT spending increase 2.7 percent in 2017, there will be a 4.2 percent increase in spending on IT services worldwide.

The downside from a managed services provider perspective is that Gartner is also forecasting that sales of devices will remain flat in 2017 at $589 billion, which suggests the number of endpoints that need to be managed may not be growing. Most MSPs have maniacally focused on the total number of endpoints they can manage. But the Gartner forecasts strongly suggests that the time for MSPs to look beyond the endpoint has arrived.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Cloud wars will be won or lost in the channel

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 12, 2017 3:08:15 PM

It appears cloud service providers (CSPs) are finally getting serious about steering business to their IT services partners. Microsoft has revealed that starting next month it will eliminate a Pay-As-You-Go licensing option under its Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). Customers looking for those types of cloud service agreements will instead be referred to Microsoft partners that participate in the Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (CSP) program.

Microsoft will benefit from making this change on Feb. 1 because managing contracts of this nature tends to involve smaller customers that Microsoft as a rule prefers not to manage directly. Microsoft partners, on the other hand, get the opportunity to leverage their relationship with Microsoft to work with customers that need more time to mature their application workloads to the point where they consume a consistent amount of cloud resources.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Opportunities for MSPs start to expand in the age of the cloud

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 10, 2017 11:41:11 AM

The age of the cloud is finally starting to have a major impact on how networking and security infrastructure gets deployed and managed.

A recent survey of 700 IT professionals conducted by Cato Networks, a provider of software-defined networking and security technologies, finds that as application workloads shift into the cloud everything from how remote offices are connected to a network to where firewalls are being deployed is changing.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Intel extends management and security reach of vPro processors

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 5, 2017 10:38:17 AM

The vPro processor technology that Intel created to embed management and security functions that reduce the total cost of providing managed services is one of those technology gifts that keeps on giving.

This week Intel unveiled its 7th Generation Intel Core vPro processor, which is already slated in 2017 to find its way into 80 different types of notebooks, 24 different types of desktops, and 24 new 2-in-1 hybrid systems capable of functioning as both a notebook and a tablet.

From a managed service provider perspective, the most compelling new capability of this version of vPro is Intel Manageability Commander, which makes it simpler to discover, diagnose, and remediate remote PC issues by enabling IT staffs to take direct control of the device.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Time to change the cloud computing conversation

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 3, 2017 2:09:13 PM

Going into 2017, it looks like the contest for control over cloud computing deployments will finally come to a head. A new survey of 268 IT professionals conducted by Red Hat finds that well over a third (38 percent) plan to implement private clouds that they manage themselves. Comparitively, 13 percent plan to rely on a managed service to implement a private cloud. Another 3 percent of respondents said they would rely on a public cloud, and 30 percent said they would implement a hybrid cloud strategy. Another 16 percent said they hadn't made up their mind yet.

None of this means that organizations that manage their own clouds or have a hybrid architecture in place won’t end up augmenting those implementations with managed services. But it does show that as cloud computing technologies mature more internal IT organizations have faith in their own ability to manage them.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

2016: The year ransomware brought data protection and IT security together

Posted by Mike Vizard on Dec 29, 2016 11:10:54 AM

Most managed service providers will remember 2016 as the year data protection was tightly coupled with IT security for the first time, thanks to the rise of ransomware. The idea that data protection and IT security should be linked has been around for decades. But, it wasn’t until IT organizations realized that the only effective defense against ransomware is to have access to pristine unencrypted copies of data that data protection became a real element of IT security defense strategies.

The challenge going to in 2017 is figuring out how to augment those defenses at a time when ransomware is on the cusp of becoming even more lethal. Cybercriminals have already figured out how to attach the malware they use to encrypt data to self-propagating worms that have the potential to spread ransomware across hundreds of machines in a few short hours.

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Topics: Ransomware

CompTIA report underscores MSP image problem

Posted by Mike Vizard on Dec 27, 2016 11:32:01 AM

Small-to-medium businesses (SMB), in theory at least, should be consuming most of the IT they use on a daily basis as a service. After all, most SMBs have access to a limited amount of resources. And yet, a new survey of 600 SMBs conducted by CompTIA finds that 61 percent of them don’t rely on a managed service provider (MSP).

What's perhaps even more frustrating is that 38 percent of the respondents who said they don’t rely on MSPs said they had at least considered managed IT services but for reasons surrounding cost, trust, or execution had decided not to employ an MSP. That would leave another quarter (23 percent) of that 61 percent that apparently did not consider MSPs at all.

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Topics: MSP Marketing

Quantifying the high cost of IT downtime

Posted by Mike Vizard on Dec 22, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Managed service providers are often used to augment an IT staff rather than replace it altogether, and that usually means the MSP needs to conform to the processes that the IT organization has created to run their operations. Unfortunately, those processes tend to be manual, which means anytime anything goes wrong the resulting fire drill is all too often chaotic at best.

In fact, a new survey of 152 IT professionals conducted by Everbridge, a provider of an emergency communications application made available as a cloud service, finds that only 11 percent of respondents have automated the process of responding to IT outages and incidents. The survey also finds that the average cost of IT downtime was reported at $8,662 per minute and that it takes on average of 27 minutes to activate and assemble a response team. The survey suggests that means companies are already $232,000 in the hole before their team even begins to work on the problem.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Ransomware is now a $1 billion industry

Posted by Mike Vizard on Dec 20, 2016 10:29:32 AM

A new ransomware report from IBM Security finds that nearly one in two business executives have experienced ransomware attacks in the workplace, and 70 percent of those executives said their company has paid to regain access to encrypted data. In fact, half of those that have paid a ransom paid more than $10,000, with 20 percent admitting they paid more than $40,000.

In addition, the report finds that nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay a ransom to recover data, and 25 percent said that depending upon the data type they would be willing to pay between $20,000 and $50,000 to regain access.

Only 29 percent of small businesses surveyed have experienced ransomware attacks, though, compared to 57 percent of medium-size businesses. But accounting for both business and consumer victims, the FBI now estimates that ransomware is already a $1 billion industry.

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Topics: Ransomware

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