The Number One MDM Practice You Can’t Afford To Get Wrong

Some VARs and MSPs opt to take a hands off approach when it comes to bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile device management (MDM) opportunities. But, savvy resellers recognize three facts: First, your customers are going to use their personal mobile devices at work whether end users have corporate policies and solutions in place or not. And second, by not doing anything, your customers are at a greater risk of a data breach. And, finally, there’s money to be made in mobility.

Brandon Gruttadauria, Senior Technology Solutions Engineer, Ingram Micro

Brandon Gruttadauria, Senior Technology Solutions Engineer, Ingram Micro

While there is a myriad of advice regarding where you should start selling MDM solutions and services, Brandon Gruttadauria, senior technology solutions engineer at Ingram Micro, offers three best practices that should be at the top of your list. (See “MDM services: Three best practices for managed services providers.“)

Without regurgitating Gruttadauria’s words of wisdom, one of his points bears repeating, which is that you should “Avoid an all-or-nothing approach to security.” This is a lesson some VARs and MSPs learn the hard way and here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say one of your customer’s employees resigns or gets terminated, and you’re tasked with ensuring the employee’s personal device is free from all corporate data and apps before the employee walks out the door. The “all or nothing” approach warrants performing a hard reset or similar exercise that accomplishes the customer’s goal with one caveat: It wipes out the employee’s personal data (e.g. photos, videos, music, emails, texts, contacts, apps, etc.) too! Not only does this guarantee that a bad situation (termination) is going to become worse (yelling, tears, law suits), that fact is that it can — and should — have been prevented in the first place. Be sure when you’re researching an MDM solution that you choose one that supports dual persona or secure container technology, which enables the software to distinguish between corporate and personal assets that reside on the same device.

Posted in Business Applications | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Options MSPs Must Consider Before Selling Cloud Services

by SherWeb

36%. That’s how much digital content consumers are expected to store in the cloud by 2016. According to statistics released by Gartner, that’s a big jump from the meager 7% they stored in 2011.  It seems everyone wants to access and share content on mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones.

This is good news for MSPs (managed services providers). But before you start celebrating, let’s take a closer look. Let’s assume you want to tap into the booming market for cloud solutions. Before you draw up your client list, you have to decide what your customers need and how you’ll deliver the goods. Consider these options:

  1. You can build your own cloud package and sell it as an independent.
  2. You can use a white label offering from another cloud provider, such as SherWeb.
  3. Or, you can jump on the bandwagon as a reseller for an industry giant like Amazon or Google.

Can you take the heat?
Building your own cloud is pretty risky, but there are advantages. As an independent cloud provider, you’ll have full control. You’ll choose the technology you want, the level of support you’ll provide and the rates you’ll charge your customers. If all goes well, you can make decent money and eventually hire enough partners to resell your services. But there are other factors to consider.

Can you afford it?
You’ll have to build an impressive infrastructure to position yourself as a cloud provider. This means a lot of money up front to buy the right technology and hire the technical experts who will support your customers. You’ll also have to invest in marketing. How will you reach your customers and develop your brand? And don’t forget the competition. You’ll be up against a lot of well-established providers, like Microsoft and Amazon, who are already turning profits selling their own cloud solutions.

 How long can you wait?
As an independent, you’ll want a quick return on investment (ROI). In most cases, it takes about three years. This is a long time and an absolute eternity in IT. You have no idea what cloud solutions will look like in three years. Can you afford to wait that long?

Try the white label.
Maybe you don’t want to invest in expensive hardware, but you still like the idea of being your own boss. How about selling a white label offering from another cloud provider, such as SherWeb?

There are several good reasons to do this:

1. Build your brand.
2. Set your price.
3. You decide what kind of support you’ll provide.

Many MSPs say this is the best of both worlds. You can build your own cloud services as an independent and still have access to the environment and human resources as a reseller for a market leader. It’s also the most profitable way to sell cloud offerings because you’re not controlled by the margins set by the bigger companies.

Some people still prefer a low-risk solution. In this final choice, you become a reseller for an industry giant such as Amazon or Google. You won’t have to worry about staffing or infrastructure and you’ll be selling well-known products. Here’s the downside:

  1. Your margins could be smaller because they’ll be set by the company.
  2. Competition is stiff. Why should a client call you? There are about 29,000 other resellers out there!

Where will you be in 2015?
Chances are, you’ll choose the option that suits you best. While there are many programs out there, we feel SherWeb has the best Partner Network on the market today.

Our Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is built with the fastest hardware and software available (flash technology-based SSD, Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2, Intel CPUs, RAM and chipsets). We have a 99.999% uptime guarantee with a financially committed SLA.

SherWeb also offers excellent margins and payouts, 24/7/365 technical support and a comprehensive package of marketing and sales tools, including a dedicated Account Manager. Contact your Ingram Micro representative at 1 (800) 705-7057, option 4 for more information about joining our Partner Network!

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Skype for Business, the Exploding UC Market, and You

skypeA lot of MSPs I talk to prefer to steer clear from selling VoIP — either because they tried it in the past and couldn’t make any margins or because they know somebody who did. Keep in mind that this industry has evolved significantly over the past four years and there are a few compelling reasons you should take a second look.

For starters, the VoIP-based unified communications (UC) market is poised for strong growth. According to research from Transparency Market Research, the UC market will grow an average of nearly 16% per year from now to 2018, reaching a market size of nearly $62 billion.

As if that weren’t enough, here’s another reason: One of your biggest vendor partners is about to launch a new product that will make it easier to get in the game. Actually, it’s not so much a new product as it is the combination of two existing products. Here’s what’s happening: About two months ago, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Skype, Gurdeep Pall, announced big changes for Microsoft Lync coming the first half of 2015. Lync, Microsoft’s business UC offering and Skype, Microsoft’s popular consumer offering, are merging into Skype for Business. For additional insights on the rationale behind that decision, I’d encourage you to check out “Will Skype for Business Become the New Killer UC App?” by Vishal Brown, VP of professional services at Yorktel.

In the article, Brown lays out the history leading up to this big announcement, and he makes a compelling case for why this is going to be a game changer. One thing that can’t be emphasized enough is the fact that Microsoft has a huge advantage over many of its competitors with the mere fact that it’s able to bundle its soon-to-be-rebranded Skype for Business with its Office 365 platform at no additional cost.

How often do you begin a sales conversation with, “I’d like to talk to you about a solution that you’re already paying for, but not yet using?”

Posted in Business Applications, Platform | Tagged , , , , , ,

Microsoft Office 365 Key Updates — A Q and A with Josh Condie (Part 1 of 2)

I’ve been hearing some buzz in the channel about recent changes with Microsoft Office 365, so I reached out to Josh Condie, a Microsoft Partner Technology Strategist (TS2 team) at Ingram Micro to find out how this will impact partners. Below is a summary of our interview, or you can click one of the links below to download or stream our entire conversation.

Josh Condie, Microsoft Partner Technology Strategist, Ingram Micro

Josh Condie, Microsoft Partner Technology Strategist, Ingram Micro

Download Podcast or Stream Podcast on iTunes

Q1: I heard there was a big announcement within the past couple of months regarding Office 365 that is pertinent to SMB partners and customers.  Can you give us the details?

Josh Condie: Effective October 1, 2014 we launched “The Business Family,” a new set of subscriptions that includes three levels for new small to midsize business customers. New customers will now choose between Enterprise Subscriptions and New Business Subscriptions. Within each subscription family there are specific subscription options that mirror one another. For example, within the New Business Subscriptions there are the following options:

1. Business Subscription: This includes Office clients such as Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Access.

2. Business Essentials: This includes Office servers such as Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

3. Business Premium: This subscription brings together the first two subscriptions at a price of $12.50 per month per end-user.

If you look at the Enterprise Subscription, it includes a similar patterns with the Pro Plus plan including just clients, E1 includes just servers, and E3 and E4 include a combination of the first two subscription models.

Q2: Can you share some examples of the added flexibility built into these new subscription models?

Josh Condie: We heard complaints and frustrations over the last few years that there wasn’t the ability to mix and match subscription types for the same customer. With the Business Family Subscriptions, we’ve removed those previous restrictions — in the pre- and post-sales processes. Plus, as customers’ needs evolve, the process of upgrading their subscriptions is now very simple and seamless.

Q3: What are a few examples of new capabilities included with Microsoft Office 365?

Josh Condie: A couple of examples of new features that have been added within the last few months include: Office for iOS and Android devices. This enables users to not only open and view Office documents on their iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, but they also can create and edit documents and presentations. Another key new feature is OneDrive for Business. This gives end users a personal space within SharePoint and other apps to share and store their files and other personal content. We used to provide by default 25 GB of personal storage. That changed to 50 GB and made headlines. Last Fall we upped it again to 1 TB and made even bigger headlines. And, just a few weeks ago we announced we’re moving to unlimited personal storage per user in the Office 365 environment.

In my next blog I’ll share Condie’s tips for positioning Office 365 to new customers as well as how to convince customers who are used to the traditional five-to-seven-year software license upgrade cadence to make the switch to Office 365.

Posted in Business Applications, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

WINDOWS 10 and Azure Active Directory! All my customers want it!

First, understand that Azure Active Directory is not feature equivalent to on premise Windows Active Directory.  So one of the big questions we need to get an answer to from the customer is what do they want to do with Azure Active Directory?  Examples include and are not limited to: Do they want to just have a central user account database to authenticate against?  Do they want to be able to push out GPOs to workstations?

One perspective to keep in mind is this, Windows 10 is designed to use Azure Active Directory as a complement to on Windows Active Directory, primarily as a mechanism for organizations to organize and manage mobile devices / remote devices.  For details, see Microsoft’s TechNet information on Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory –

Active Directory blog posts on Azure AD and Windows 10:


David H. Priebe
Technical Solutions Engineer
Ingram Micro Technology Solutions – Microsoft Technologies

Posted in Collaboration and Communication, Infrastructure | Tagged

Static vs. Dynamic Gateways in Azure

This is a great informative ‘re post’ from a Microsoft colleague that I thought was wise to share with our readers…

I often talk about Site-to-Site VPNs in Azure, and every time I do, I talk about the routers that need to be on-premises to connect to the Azure Virtual Network.  We put together the Azure in 5 minute series so if this isn’t making sense, please check out our Azure in 5 minutes series here.  You will want to check out the Hybrid Cloud Setup section and then come back to this discussion.

Now that we are on the same page, there are a number of devices we’ve identified as Known compatible VPN devices that work with Azure; we maintain a list of these devices here.  Below is a screen shot of the top part of this list.  Take note of the 5 columns in the chart, the two right most columns define the “Static Routing” or “Dynamic Routing” for each of the devices listed.


As you can see from my screen shot, some devices only support Static Routing, while other devices can support Static or Dynamic Routing.  While I do not have a “favorite” router (aside from RRAS), I am very partial to the Dynamic Routing devices and I’ll cover the reasons “why” below in the section Why does this matter if I only need one S2S VPN connection?

Azure uses the terms “Static Routing Gateways” & “Dynamic Routing Gateways”, the industry also refers to these as “Policy-based VPNs” (Static) & “Route-based VPNs” (Dynamic).  So what’s the difference between Static and Dynamic Routing?  This article talks about the details, but I will repeat them here because these details are very important.  Here is a screen shot of the Gateway requirements, look in the second column (STATIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY) and third column (DYNAMIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY):


The reason I encourage my partners to leverage a DYNAMIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY device whenever possible is because of the extensibility it offers.  With a STATIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY device, you can only have one Site-to-Site (S2S) VPN connection and Zero Point-to-Site (P2S) VPN connections.  A DYNAMIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY device will give you up to 30 S2S VPN connections and 128 P2S VPN connections.  As a refresher, a S2S VPN connects two networks together, like your on-premises network connecting to the Azure Virtual Network.  A P2S connection connects a Client Device, say a Windows 10 workstation, to the Azure Virtual Network.

Why does this matter if I only need one S2S VPN connection? 

If you use a STATIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY, you only have one S2S VPN connection, but that’s all you need, right?  What if your router loses the connection to the Azure Virtual Network, say your Internet Connection drops or a router fails?  You cannot connect anything else to your Azure Virtual network without reconfiguring the Azure Virtual Network.  This takes time and introduces change into your network for what is hopefully a temporary outage.

If you have a DYNAMIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY device and it loses its connection to the Azure Virtual Network.  Again, if your Internet Connection goes down, you could send everyone to a different network (home or public WiFi) and they could connect via P2S connections back to the Azure Virtual network.  This allows everyone to continue working without any changes to the Azure Virtual Network (assuming you’ve already configured the P2S certificates) and once the S2S is back up, everything is back to normal.

STATIC ROUTING VPN GATEWAY devices have their place, but the reality is that the Industry is moving towards “Route Based VPNs” (Dynamic) because they are more secure and more flexible.

Until next time,



Posted in Infrastructure | Tagged

Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory


Now that Windows 10 has launched there has been questions around how Windows 10 takes advantage of Azure AD. Below is a post from Microsoft’s Gary Henderson for your review:


I’m Gary Henderson, and I’ve been working on bringing Azure AD scenarios to life in Windows 10. Today, I’m going to focus on the ability to sign in to Windows 10 with your Azure AD account.

To do that, I’ll be covering these details of joining a device to Azure AD:

  • Self-provisioning of corporate owned devices
  • Use existing organizational accounts to sign in
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) to company resources in the cloud
  • Single Sign-on to on-premises resources

Azure AD join sweet spots

The first question customers ask about Azure AD join is “How is this different from domain join?” Domain join gets you the best on-premises experiences on devices capable of domain joining, while Azure AD join is optimized for users that primarily access cloud resources. Azure AD Join is also great if you want to manage devices from the cloud with a MDM instead of with Group Policy and SCCM. (Note: The experience accessing cloud resources from domain joined devices is going to be awesome Windows 10. We’ll have another blog post specifically about this topic soon.)

Let’s take a deeper look at some common deployment scenarios.

Scenario 1: Your apps and resources are largely in the cloud

If you are moving your organization to the cloud and using SaaS apps like Office365 for productivity, you should consider Azure AD Join. Employees can join Windows 10 devices to Azure AD by themselves during the first-run experience or from the System Settings. And signing in to Windows 10 using their Azure AD credentials gets them single sign-on to Office365 and any other applications that use Azure AD for authentication – including the Azure AD Access Panel (at

Scenario 2: Seasonal workers and Students

We’ve learned from our customers in retail and educational institutions that they need a way to manage two types of user identities: Long term employees like faculty and/or corporate staff, and high turn-over identities for students or seasonal workers. For these customers, a mixed model is ideal. They can continue manage long term employee’s on-premises using Windows Server AD (connected to Azure AD). And they can managed their high turn-over identities in the cloud using Azure AD. This lets them take advantage of the scale out and cost benefits of the cloud. Now with Azure AD in Windows 10 these cloud only users will get the same great SSO to their PC’s and Office365 and other cloud resources that had previously only been available to on-premises users.

Scenario 3: Choose your own device for on-premises users

Even where users are provisioned only in your on-premises directory, they get a simplified joining experience for Windows 10 devices that they purchase themselves. And as an admin you can still take advantage of the automatic MDM enrollment and conditional access offered by Azure AD. Users get single sign-on to Azure AD-backed resources and to a wide selection of on-premises resources as well.

For the original post and tutorial on “How to set this up” please visit this link

Posted in Infrastructure | Tagged

Announcing auto-expanding, highly scalable archives for Office 365 email

Today people send and receive more email than ever at work, which is one reason built-in archiving is one of the most popular IT-related features in Office 365. There are millions of Office 365 archives in active use, and the unlimited archive storage offered in our Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 plans continue to provide value to IT admins and end users alike.
As customers began using our recently announced Import Service to import terabytes of data from on-premises systems to Office 365, or to manage high volume mailboxes, we’ve seen a few cases in which a customer reached a threshold that required them to contact Microsoft support and perform manual steps to provision additional space. But no longer.
To accommodate customers who require very, very large archiving storage, we are pleased to announce new auto-expanding, highly scalable archiving. This allows you to take advantage of a truly bottomless archive without needing to call support or perform any manual steps. Through an update to our back-end architecture, we not only enabled auto-expanding archives, but also removed limits on the Recoverable Items store.
This update retains the best-of-breed archiving experience that end users, IT pros and compliance officers love so much. End users continue to access their email data in the same way; IT pros continue to enable archiving for their users with the same user interface and PowerShell commands, and our comprehensive compliance stack—Auditing, Retention, Hold and eDiscovery—works seamlessly with the updated archiving architecture.
We’re excited to deliver a solution that meets the most rigorous requirements of all our customers and industries we serve across the world. We’ll begin to roll out this offering worldwide in the coming weeks.

Posted in Collaboration and Communication | Tagged ,

Conquer Inefficient Business Activities with CRM

Most IT solution providers (ITSPs) can vouch for the fact that a normal work day is synonymous with terms like “fast-paced” and “hectic.” One reason successful channel companies are able to thrive in this type of environment is that they learn to work at a high level of efficiency, which entails among other things eliminating redundant business practices such as entering data into multiple applications.

Dixit Infotech Services is a classic example of an ITSP that recognized — and corrected — areas of its business that were slowing down its performance and eating into its profit margins. P.S. Premjith, Executive Director at Dixit Infotech Services, recently shared with me that “We were using spreadsheets to manage each customer and prospect, and it was becoming very difficult and time-consuming to keep track of everything. In addition to lacking clarity on our new and existing business pipeline, our management team lacked several key data points during sales reviews, including which steps salespeople should be taking next to close a sale.”

Rather than continuing to be consumed with paperwork and accepting being unable to forecast revenue as reality, the ITSP investigated CRM solutions that could resolve these issues.

Be sure to check out “Focus on Customers (Not Paperwork) with CRM,” and find out how this ITSP freed up 20% of its time each week, and its management team achieved even higher efficiency gains with Zoho CRM.


Posted in Business Process | Tagged ,

The Evolution of Lead Generation

Man in front of display_shutterstock_47851570

The science of marketing and advertising has evolved over the years.  How brands communicate with their audience has gone from being a one-way conversation to a discussion with the rise of social and digital media.

Social and digital media have evolved in the short time they’ve been with us as well. In recent years, we’ve seen the creation of the term “social selling” which leverages social networks as a lead generation vehicle for businesses seeking paying customers.

If you’re looking to attend our vendor-sponsored Cloud University in the next month at many of our select cities, you’ll notice that the theme for this year is centered on lead generation, specifically for your cloud business.

In today’s blog post, we’ll take a brief dive into lead generation and talk about the themes that govern its activities in the marketing space and how cloud and technology resellers can use these themes to help them make more money and thrive.

Theme #1: Social Media and the Conversation

Social media might appear that it’s all about the B2C space rife with cat photos and memes, but if that’s what you think, then you’re actually missing out on a lot of potential leads. According to social media news site Social Media Today, B2B marketers who use Twitter generate twice as many leads as those who don’t and B2B marketers on average use 6 different social networking tools.

Social media is also where the sale begins, though not necessarily where it ends. Since B2B sales cycles tend to be longer, social networks are great for posting content, getting people to think about their industry, and driving traffic towards native websites. When executed particularly well, one can create a thriving community even around the most technical of topics.

Theme #2: Targeting: Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers

The second theme of next generation lead generation is the art of targeting an audience. In the past, targeting was a lot more of firing and seeing what hits, while modern targeting is aimed more at being able to hit the right audiences the first time. From more contextual search engines to advertising platforms like the ones found on Facebook, you can now find customers in more targeted ways than ever, which means that the audience you want will receive what you want to tell them, and you won’t have to waste your hard-earned ad dollars.

Theme #3: It’s All About the (Big)Ddata

Modern lead generation means being able to track engagement on a granular level and understand where users come on board and where they drop off. Before you also had to purchase data from major companies like Neilsen and make decisions based on intuition. The modern lead generation strategy now means you own your own data and are able to make much more strategic decisions based on fact, which ultimately lead to better overall business.

Join Us at Cloud University!

Are you interested in learning more about how you can increase your sales this year and master the art of lead generation? Join us for Cloud University, a vendor-sponsored one-day free event where you’ll hear from vendor and industry experts about how you can make more money and thrive.

Sign up today, and we’ll see you soon.

Posted in Business Process | Tagged ,

Choose the Best Endpoint Security Solution for You and Your Customers

it_securityThe fact that malware has evolved to the point where it’s now being used to hold systems ransom is just one reason pointing to why IT solution providers are able to realize lucrative recurring revenue protecting clients from today’s cyber threats.

With so many offerings to choose from, it can be difficult to know which endpoint security solution is best for you and your customers. Some VARs and MSPs base their decision on popularity, preferring, for example, a vendor listed among ‘IDC’s Top 5 Corporate Endpoint Security Leaders.’

I recently read “Endpoint Security Solutions Product Comparison” in this month’s issue of Business Solutions magazine. While the article does include a comparison of five specific solutions (AVG Business CloudCare AntiVirus,  Bitdefender Cloud Security for MSP, F-Secure Protection Service For Business, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Business — Endpoint Protection), I found the criteria in the main article to be more helpful.

For example, one of the main differentiators among endpoint security solutions is the platforms they support. “Bitdefender, Symantec, and Webroot support both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, while F-Secure only supports the 32-bit edition,” says Business Solutions Chief Editor Mike Monocello. The point is that if you have customers with unique needs this criteria alone can significantly change which tool you use.

Another important consideration (and one that’s easy to overlook) when selecting an endpoint security solution is whether it integrates with your PSA (professional service automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) tools. The fewer portals you have to open to service each customer, the more efficient you can be. It was with this thought in mind that the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace was developed — an ecosystem of buyers, sellers and solutions (including endpoint security) that enables channel partners to configure, provision and manage cloud technologies more efficiently. One portal to manage all your customers, plus the ability to create one bill for all your services. These are just a few key points to consider when shopping for the best endpoint security solution for you and your customers.




Posted in Security | Tagged ,