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

Assessing the impact of Windows 10 on MSPs

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 28, 2016 9:56:22 AM

As Microsoft gears up for the second anniversary of Windows 10 next week, managed service providers should plan on seeing a lot more of the latest version of Windows on corporate desktops.

Overall, Microsoft claims to have delivered more than 380 million instances of Windows 10 already. Most of those instances of Windows 10 are running on consumer devices, though. More interesting to MSPs is the fact that Microsoft also claims that 85 percent of the Fortune 500 have been piloting Windows 10. Couple that with an estimated third of the small-to-medium (SMB) market running some form of Windows 10, and it’s clear that starting this fall MSPs should be seeing Windows 10 on more of the endpoints they support.

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Topics: Microsoft Windows

Ransomware driving backup and recovery conversations for MSPs

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 26, 2016 10:14:37 AM

Backup and recovery may not have always been the sexiest of IT topics, but thanks to the rise of ransomware it is now one of the hottest.

The single most effective defense against ransomware is an ability to recover an organization’s data from an unencrypted data source. Otherwise, most organizations wind up paying a fee to recover data that has been encrypted by cybercriminals who typically used social engineering techniques to trick an end user into downloading a file loaded with malware.

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Topics: Ransomware

CompTIA study: MSPs gearing up to add more services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 21, 2016 10:30:05 AM

Managed service providers are ready to expand. A full 59 percent of the 400 U.S.-based MSPs surveyed by CompTIA plan to increase the number of managed services they provide. Managed print services (32 percent), help desks (31 percent), virtual desktops, and database management topped the list as providing the most opportunity to deliver more services to both new and existing customers alike.

Not too long ago, managed service providers (MSPs) came in two forms. There was a small cadre of MSPs that focused exclusively in enterprise accounts. At the other end of the spectrum was an aspiring group of MSPs trying to service small-to-medium (SMB) accounts. The CompTIA survey would suggest that the latter group is finally coming of age.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Changes in attack patterns create demand for managed security services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 19, 2016 10:03:41 AM

While managed security services providers (MSSPs) have been remotely managing firewalls and anti-virus software deployments for years, it’s become clear over the past 12 months that new classes of threats are doing an end run around those core security technologies. For example, ransomware, which is usually downloaded by an end user who has been tricked into thinking a particular email is a legitimate message, is not something a traditional firewall alone can defend against.

Because of the rapidly evolving threat landscape, a new survey of 591 IT and security professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute recommends that IT organizations begin to employ cyber threat monitoring tools that keep track of, among other things, social engineering attacks that are starting to proliferate across various social media networks.

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Topics: IT Security

Microsoft on the frontlines in a battle over privacy in the cloud

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 14, 2016 9:57:35 AM

Speaking at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this week, Microsoft president and lead counsel Brad Smith provided a glimpse into the legal battle Microsoft is conducting against the U.S. government to protect data in the cloud from unreasonable search and seizure.

Smith told attendees that Microsoft has received a large number of subpoenas from the U.S. government demanding access to data in a way that prevents Microsoft from even informing customers this is occurring. Microsoft argues those orders are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which requires the government to inform people when their property is being searched or seized.

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Topics: Cloud Trends

IT service providers start to see financial daylight in the cloud

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 12, 2016 10:19:19 AM

For some time now IT services firms across the channel have been struggling with transitioning their business models to the cloud. While recurring revenue generated via the cloud is more profitable in theory, providers of IT solutions that previously ran on premise now face a host of challenges ranging from how salespeople get compensated to cash flow issues that stem from how they recognize revenue.

The good news is that a new survey of 150 leaders across the IT channel spectrum conducted by Nintex, a provider of workflow automation tools, suggests that many more solution providers are finally making the transition to a cloud-first business model.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

How certification costs are driving investments in IT automation

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 7, 2016 12:00:00 PM

In theory, IT services firms that have more certified engineers on staff are supposed to be able to promote that fact to gain additional business. In reality, most end customers are more interested in successful track records than they are in the number of certifications held by the engineers working on behalf of the IT service provider. The challenge, of course, is that for better or worse the compensation model for IT engineers is frequently wrapped around the number and type of certifications an engineer can acquire.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

IoT projects will require mastering new approaches to IT

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jul 5, 2016 9:41:44 AM

On the one hand, nothing could be simpler that connecting some type of device to the Internet. On the other hand, the prospect of trying to process data being generated by thousands of those devices represents one of the most daunting challenges facing IT organizations today. After all, when it comes tothe Internet of Things (IoT) it’s just not the amount of data that needs to be processed that is an issue. The way that data gets processed and integrated is fundamentally different than the way data currently gets processed inside most traditional data centers.

But the biggest challenge of all is going to be securing IoT environments. In terms of scale, IoT projects represent an instance of distributed computing that is unprecedented inside most organizations. Not only will IT organizations be challenged in terms of building and deploying these applications, a new survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals conducted by 451 Research finds that nearly half the respondents (46 percent) identified security as the biggest IoT impediment they face. The issue, of course, is not just the millions of endpoints that need to be secured, but also all the gateway and networks that all that IoT data winds up being funneled through.

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Topics: IoT

Technology policy becomes mainstream campaign issue

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jun 30, 2016 10:20:58 AM

Regardless of what side of the political aisle anyone hails from, there is some general agreement that more needs to be done by the next President of the United States to make sure the U.S. remains competitive from a technology perspective. The exact details may vary, and there is certainly not going to be much agreement about how to pay for it. But in general, politicians are starting to understand that the future of any country is now directly tied to how technically astute its people are.

For this reason alone, a proposal to make the U.S. more technologically competitive published by the Hillary Clinton campaign this week is worth noting. Clinton, among other things, makes a case for the government to make a variety of STEM investments, including:

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Topics: IT trends

How global IT services firms will react to Brexit

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jun 28, 2016 10:22:36 AM

It’s difficult to say what impact the decision made by voters in Britain to exit the European Union (EU)—otherwise known as Brexit—will ultimately have on IT services firms that operate globally. But if that decision stands, two things are almost certain. Once the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the talent pool available to IT services firms headquartered in the UK will shrink because they'll no longer be able to leverage IT professionals who can freely move between jobs in the European Union. It will also be much harder for UK firms to hold onto those IT professionals because as the English pound weakens the cost of living in Britain is going to be much higher than most other places in the EU.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

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