No Contract Managed IT Services: A Trusted MSP Relationship with No Limits

No Contract Managed IT Services: A Trusted MSP Relationship with No Limits

Most IT Managed Service Providers (MSP) have standard contracts with an annual commit for their services. At the face of it, this makes sense. The cost for an MSP to spin up to support a customer is often significant. The traditional MSP then needs to recoup that cost over the duration of the contract.

We have a different take on life. To us, entering into a Managed IT Service contract arrangement isn’t about “risk mitigation.”  It’s about partnership.  We look for the classic win/win. We provide a service that enables our clients to succeed, and they pay us a reasonable fee for that service. When we engage with a client, we do it without a tethered agreement. If the arrangement is not a right fit for either party, we prefer to part ways gracefully without disruption to the business. We always view our engagements as an opportunity for future business. 

It is worth noting our services aren’t a fit for every client. There is a maturity that is required when entering into an MSP relationship. Approaching this relationship keeping this in mind, is critical for the success of the client as well as the IT Managed Service Provider. Our advice to anyone looking at entering into an MSP relationship is to measure twice, cut once.  Fully vet the agreement to avoid getting trapped into a bad situation. Make sure that the MSP isn’t just looking to do the basics and not looking to be a partner of the business. Often times, Managed IT Service Providers look at cost reduction instead of the value that an Advanced MSP can offer. 

How can you have a partnership when one organization is chained to the other? This is the price of the limitation of a tethered relationship.   

Your IT Managed Service Provider(MSP) should have the confidence and experience to offer a no contract, no limits, trusted partner relationship.  And they should be adding value to your existing MSP agreement by adding benefits.  Since our first Managed IT Service offering was introduced years ago, we have added features and capabilities every year. 

The biggest area of need for most organizations is IT security since it has become practically impossible for organizations to keep up with using existing staff resources and tools.  Over the years, ZAG added regular internal and external security vulnerability scans, a security awareness training program, and implemented policies and processes that protect against spear phishing, password hacking, administrator permission vulnerabilities, and many more security risks.

Your IT Managed Service Provider(MSP) should earn your trust and deliver more value every day. 

No Tethered Contracts.  No Limits. 

Learn more about the Managed Service Plans available from ZAG.

Cryptomining: The Latest Plague

Cryptomining: The Latest Plague

In early 2017, the average business was subjected to ransomware every 40 seconds. These malicious programs encrypt your files and demand a ransom payment in cryptocurrencies to restore them. It seems like everyone was talking about it due to the massive publicity it received thanks to some big-name corporations that fell victim to it: pharmaceutical giant Merck, Los Angeles-based hospital system Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, as well as leading aerospace innovator Boeing, just to name a few. All in all, it’s not surprising that profits paid to the ransomware creators are in the billions.

By December 2017, ransomware only represented approximately 10 percent of infections. The question becomes “why?” – and the answer is relatively simple: these criminals are smart. In 2018 a new attack has risen to popularity, which goes by the moniker ‘Cryptomining’. In a nutshell, cryptomining is the stealthy, unauthorized use of system resources to mine cryptocurrencies for an attacker.

With ransomware, you’ll know something is wrong – your system will lock up and there will be a lovely red screen staring back at you demanding money in the form of Bitcoin. Over the course of time, many businesses did their due diligence to develop extensive backup systems and disaster recovery environments which significantly reduced the effectiveness of ransomware. Businesses trended towards no longer needing to pay the ransom in the event of an infection. However, this required one important condition – the ability to detect it. Malicious cryptominers don’t give you that luxury.

Cryptomining doesn’t need to strong-arm your business into paying a hefty fee. Instead of all systems in an environment being unusable until a ransom is paid, cryptomining continuously generates money for hackers with the end users being none the wiser. The only thing you as the end user might notice is a slight loss in system performance but is often not noticeable.

These attacks are only a few examples of the multitudes of attacks that plague businesses daily, but what steps can you take to protect yourself from being next? Even with proper network security appliances, best-practice security policies, user education, and even ad-blockers, antivirus solutions are often overlooked as a last line of defense.

Properly maintained antivirus solutions require a lot of time and diligence to keep up with the ever-changing catalog of variants being developed to prevent detection. The number of unique cryptominer variants was approximately 142,000 as of June. Consumer-grade “set and forget” antivirus solutions often go weeks, months, or even years without proper upkeep. Cyber-crooks don’t wait for you to catch up. Monitoring platforms, managed antivirus solutions that can provide constant signature and engine upgrades, along with a team dedicated to quickly extinguishing any potential threat can do leaps and bounds in ensuring your business safely stays ahead of the curve.

Why Citrix Cloud

Why Citrix Cloud

The typical on-prem Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop deployment involves the installation and configuration of Delivery Controllers, StoreFront Server, SQL Database, License server and NetScaler Gateway. This is a complex setup involving high upfront cost for labor, hardware, software with overall maintenance and support. Many IT firms are hesitant to do an in-place upgrade of existing Citrix version to the latest version due to risk of downtime, high professional services cost and end user impact. As a result, many of them are still running older version of Citrix.

Also, in IT, there is never a shortage of business demands, but often in short supply are budget, necessary infrastructure, available headcount and the specialized skills to meet those requirements. If your business is like most; due to resource constraints factors; you will have to determine between what needs to be done and what IT can really accomplish is a constant battle. Adding more technology isn’t always the answer but selecting the RIGHT technology is.

This is where Citrix Cloud based SaaS services comes to the rescue. It is fast, simple, flexible and a secure way to deploy virtual apps and desktops.

It is fast because Citrix management technologies are delivered as Cloud Services so there is less to integrate and install. For example, all the control plane components like Delivery Controllers, StoreFront, SQL Database, License and NetScaler Gateway services are hosted in Citrix Cloud. Apps/Desktops can be configured and published within hours because the services are already integrated.

It is simple because Citrix manages all the control plane components, from routine updates to version upgrades. As a result, you will always be on the current version of Citrix technology without the hassle and expense of upgrading on-premises version. The only components you need to maintain are the Cloud Connector servers in your Datacenter where the resources/VDAs are located.

It is flexible because deployment of apps, desktop and data workloads are supported on any cloud or infrastructure. You can select the model/architecture that works best for you – viz on-premises, private cloud, public or hybrid)

And finally, it’s highly secure because the Apps and desktops and the corresponding data are completely under your control located in your Datacenter or the cloud of your choice.

With Citrix Cloud, you get the added benefit of enabling Disaster Recovery and business continuity options. Citrix Cloud can manage resources from multiple locations, thus making it easier to create and maintain primary and secondary availability sites.

To conclude, compared to traditional Citrix deployment models, Citrix Cloud based subscription allows you to simplify IT, reduce capital expenses & staffing and increase productivity. It provides the added value of convenience, reliability and speed. You can learn more about Citrix Cloud at www.citrix.com/cloud

ZAG is experienced in Citrix Cloud deployment and can assist you in finding the solution that best meets your business needs. Our mission is to “enable our clients to succeed”. To know more about ZAG Technical Services and the services we offer go to https://www.zagtech.com/