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

Growing IT security fatigue bodes well for MSSPs

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 14, 2017 2:23:35 PM

The size of the opportunity for managed security service providers (MSSPs) has always been constrained by one dominant factor. Far too many IT organizations believe they can adequately defend their organizations despite all evidence to the contrary.

But, a new report from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), which counts more than 140,000 security and IT professionals among its members, suggests large amounts of “security fatigue” are starting to take a toll on internal IT organizations.

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Topics: Cyber Security

Vendor reliance on indirect channels increases

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 9, 2017 11:00:00 AM

A new report issued by the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) finds that 62 percent of the vendors surveyed expect the amount of business being generated via indirect channels to increase in 2017. The bad news is only 13 percent of those vendors rely 100 percent on channel partners to sell their products.

Most vendors profess a lot of love for their channel partners. But the terms of that endearment is generally limited by concerns those channel partners might not be as faithful to them as they would like. That insecurity often results in vendors investing in various forms of direct sales efforts that almost invariably lead to some form of conflict with their channel partners.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Turbulent times ahead for providers of managed GRC services

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 7, 2017 11:19:32 AM

They say it’s truly an ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good. As far as managed service providers (MSPs) are concerned, that’s pretty much been the case for the past eight years when it comes to anything to do with governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). Many MSPs have been able to considerably shore up their bottom line by offering a wide variety of managed GRC services. Now the Trump administration via an executive order is signaling its intention to either not enforce or altogether abandon key provisions of the Dodd-Frank act, which enshrined many of the regulations that created the need for managed GRC services in the first place.

The Dodd-Frank act is, of course, only one piece of the GRC puzzle. The Trump administration has made it clear that just about every Federal regulation is now subject to review.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

MSPs need to look far beyond immigration issues

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 2, 2017 2:57:23 PM

Any conversation involving U.S. immigration inevitably comes around to the merits of an H-1B visa program under which a fixed number of highly-skilled IT workers are permitted to move to the U.S. For years now allegations concerning abuses of this program have been rife, and the Trump administration has promised to review the program.

Many managed service providers in the U.S. have complained that rivals based in, for example, India were abusing the program to bring skilled workers to the U.S. that they would then pay at a much lower rate to create an unfair competitive advantage. It’s been alleged that many of those workers were housed in low-cost rental apartments and paid salaries commensurate with what they might expect to make in their native countries.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

MSPs finally appear to be gaining some pricing leverage

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 31, 2017 9:48:22 AM

Value is one of those things that’s usually in the eye of the customer who beholds it. Managed service providers have long complained that competition over pricing for their services has been so fierce it’s difficult to turn a profit.

But a recent survey of more than 900 MSPs conducted by Kaseya suggests that MSPs that experienced the most growth in the past year increased prices for their services. Specifically, the survey finds that half the MSPs that saw revenue increases of 10 percent or more last year found ways to increase pricing for their services despite the level of competition they face.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Rise of multi-cloud computing plays to MSP strengths

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 26, 2017 3:37:08 PM

The rise of public cloud computing has transformed the way most IT organizations view investments in data centers, but it turns out providers of public cloud services are not the only major beneficiaries of that shift.

A new report from 451 Research finds that as of the third quarter of 2016 the datacenter colocation and wholesale market was on track to generate $28.9 billion in annualized revenue. The research firm is predicting the datacenter colocation and wholesale market will top $48 billion by 2021.

That level of growth suggests that while IT organizations may not be investing in building new data centers as much as they once did, they are not moving all their application workloads into the public cloud. Instead, they appear to be applying the IT infrastructure lesson taught by public cloud providers in a way that allows them to maintain more control of the IT environment while benefiting from higher levels of service.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

MSPs should look to gateways at the network edge for big opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 24, 2017 11:10:57 AM

Hope may spring eternal, but when it comes to IT security it seems organizations are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. A new survey of 593 IT and security professionals conducted by The Ponemon Institute on behalf of IBM and Arxan Technologies, a provider of tools for securing mobile data, finds that just 20 percent of the applications deployed in an Internet of Things (IoT) environment have been tested for vulnerabilities. In comparison, 29 percent of mobile applications have been tested.

Obviously, security creates significant new opportunities for managed service providers. But many of those MSPs are about to discover that IoT and mobile applications are instances of distributed computing deployed at levels of unprecedented scale. Connecting millions of endpoints directly to a data center simply isn’t feasible. The amount of data that would wind up being transferred across wide area network (WANs) would be too large to manage, not to mention prohibitively expensive to transfer.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

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

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