Enhancing IT productivity: The secret to fast-tracking MSP success

Fast track to better IT ops, help desk and MSP team productivity

Even when world-class systems are in place and teams are communicating and working toward the same goal, mistakes can happen. In 2019, the Starliner spacecraft missed its rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS), despite having teams and technologies from NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing working together in an environment of cooperation and openness – and Boeing having spent $1.5 billion to get it right.

Complexity can cause serious issues. That’s true for space exploration and the efficient use of software.

So if things can go bad for teams working together, imagine the costly miscommunications that can happen in an environment that’s developed not by partners but by competitors. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of environment most MSPs rely on today since they’ve built their services on solutions that communicate (often poorly) via APIs.

A new e-book from Karl Palachuk, who built and sold two managed service businesses and is the founder and president of the Sacramento SMB IT Professionals Group, explores that the issue of how complexity impacts productivity. The result, he says, “is exactly what you would expect: more complicated, less streamlined, and more prone to problems.”

Benefits and challenges of APIs

We currently work in an era that’s dominated by APIs. While they were designed to enable different applications to work together, exchange information, and automate processes, APIs come a cost for MSPs. Today, Palachuk writes, “what was once a wonderful new strategy had become a ‘build your own Frankenstein’s monster’ construction kit.”

The challenge is that when you’re connecting software from two different companies, a change on either side can cause the functionality to break – and using a third-party connection between the two makes it even more complicated.

Palachuk notes that “tool sprawl” leads to increased costs for training, integration, and maintenance. Each connection adds complexity, documentation, training, and two or more additional connections that have to be maintained – and every connection represents a potential security gap that must be monitored.

The effort that goes into maintaining a complex, interconnected system also represents a direct hit to overall productivity. Every hour spent maintaining your systems is an hour that’s not spent helping end users.

“This reliance on a variety of outdated and poorly connected tools results in higher costs to support the environment, degradation in service delivery, and increased security risks ... But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

But Palachuk cautions that MSPs need not despair – there is a better way for them to build their stack that is less complex, more reliable, and profitable to boot.

Well-integrated solutions offer hope

To overcome the challenges of using two software solutions and one connector – which requires working with different partners who could break the connection or create a vulnerability that could be exploited by cybercriminals.

Integrated security applications, on the other hand, are applications designed to work together from the start because they are built by the same team. This reduces the complexity of delivering benefits of greater efficiency, lower maintenance, increased productivity, and greater security.

“You also achieve lower costs from the start,” adds Palachuk, “since you’re not paying for third-party middleware to make your application stack work together, or the additional administrative time needed to manage additional applications.”

Palachuk points to Acronis Cyber Protect as a great example of how an integrated, automated solution maximizes efficiency by reducing complexity, lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO), and enhancing the overall security. Fewer connection points and smart patching of operating systems and applications, combined with advanced antimalware, real-time protection, and scanning backups for malware ensure seamless data protection and cybersecurity.

“You want to build a great stack,” he notes. “Sometimes that means looking for the ‘best in class’ options, even if they’re from different vendors. Whenever possible, you buy deeply into a single stack in order to increase efficiency, security, and profit. Now, with Acronis Cyber Protect, you have the best of both worlds.”

Final thought

In his new e-book, Palachuk argues that cybersecurity can no longer be considered a bolt-on feature to other services. Technology consultants who have comprehensive solutions will be able to provide unmatched security that enables users to go about their business.

The key for MSPs is to reduce the complexity of their stacks so they can increase efficiency and productivity while controlling their costs for maintenance, documentation, and training.

“A completely integrated stack, built to work seamlessly by design, maximizes overall security while reducing complexity and all the costs that go with it,” he writes. While APIs will be around for a long time, “connections are good. Integration by design is better.”

To see all of Palachuk’s insights and in-depth analysis of how integrated solutions improve productivity, security, and profitability, you can get his e-book: Small Biz Thoughts: The Fast Track to Better IT Ops, Help Desk and MSP Team Productivity.

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Karl Palachuk will be one of the featured speakers at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2020, being held October 19-21. As the world's largest gathering of thought leaders and industry experts focused on cyber protection, this year’s Summit is being offered as a free virtual event.

With recognized IT channel, cybersecurity, and integration experts from around the world, attendees will take away valuable tools and frameworks, peer learnings, and valuable insights for protecting data, systems, and applications.

To see the schedule or to reserve your spot at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit, simple go to acronis.events/summit2020/.