Eight Reasons Why Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Need Managed IT Services

Managed Networks Chicago

Managed IT services is rapidly becoming one of the hottest solutions in business today because it dramatically improves an organization’s profitability, frees up internal resources, and offers a unique competitive advantage.   Simply put, managed IT services are designed to assist companies in maintaining and supporting their network and IT infrastructure with the assistance of an outsourced managed services provider (MSP).  Types of services may include remote network monitoring, programming and reporting (24/7), firewall monitoring, intrusion detection, preventative tasks, disaster recovery, data backup and help desk support.  There are eight critical reasons why small to midsized businesses (SMBs) need managed IT services now and throughout the life cycle of their business.

Dependence On IT

Almost all businesses have become more dependent on computer technologies in the past few years.  And, it’s a rapidly changing environment.  Every business has become dependent on its IT infrastructure to perform at a high level, while effectively delivering its products or services.  As a result, it has become more difficult to maintain the expertise to properly deploy, manage, and monitor this new technology, especially as a business evolves.

Complexity

The fact that this new technology is new makes it more difficult for the average employee to understand and use effectively.  The level of demand and sophistication from today’s businesses are driving up complexity.  Distinct disciplines or specialties are emerging in a variety of technology related areas such as telephony, desktop, network, application and database support.  The breadth and depth of technology an organization requires immediately places the resources at a small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) at a distinct disadvantage.

Insufficient Solutions

Traditional support options such as a one man IT consultant, or a one or two person in-house IT department cannot effectively handle the occasional network breakdowns that are bound to occur. This is especially true when compared to a team of external resources that  proactively monitor the SMB’s installed technology at all times.

Lack of Process

An IDC study reinforces the notion of lack of process, showing that 78% of all IT downtime is caused by change.  If you could simply eliminate change from the computing environment, you would substantially decrease the risk. Unfortunately, most SMBs lack the procedures, documentation standards, and scope of work, which often results in major disruption and downtime.

Increased Use of Technology

Increasing use of computers, new software and procedures, often leads to increased complaints and loss of productivity. Typically, when network or desktop problems arise and escalate inside a company, the response time of the one man shop or internal staff is quite slow. This dramatically increases employee complaints and lowers productivity.  In many situations employees have to wait in line to receive help.  As a result the downtime and morale will impact the organization’s bottom line as well as their ability to meet their customers’ needs.  By implementing a managed IT services program, the demand on internal IT resources are lessened, and they can now be utilized for other purposes such as directly supporting strategic business objectives rather than becoming bogged down in frequent break/fix issues.

Controlling Costs

During these challenging times, the IT budget is frequently reduced.  In a recent survey of nearly 950 IT managers at companies in North America and Europe; nearly half of the U.S. respondents said they have already cut their IT spending budgets.  Unfortunately, a cut in IT spending doesn’t mean there is a cut in demand for services.  This adds tremendous stress and pressure on internal departments to support the same amount of work with fewer resources.

Technology Erosion

Computer systems must be maintained just like any other systems used within the business. Vehicle fleets, manufacturing equipment, and the physical plant, have all moved to a preventative approach. If a company does not implement this preventative maintenance strategy for its technology components, disaster might be the unpleasant and unprofitable result.

Compliance

Finally, the technology utilized within an organization in most cases must meet specific compliance standards.  For example, a company’s business processes supported by technology may need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxely, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and other requirements. Most companies don’t have the resources to fully understand and comply with all the detailed requirements of these regulations.

All of the above issues are driving the popularity of partnering with a managed IT services firm.  Companies that have made the transition already answered this question.  If deploying, managing and monitoring my IT infrastructure has absolutely nothing to do with the core competency of my business, why wouldn’t I outsource it to an expert?  This is a fairly easy question to answer and these organizations have reaped the rewards of increased profitability and a competitive advantage.

Want a honest assessment of your network? Give us a call at 847 329 8600!

Don’t Make these 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes

Don’t Make These 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes

The cloud has many benefits that countless businesses are taking advantage of today. But this convenience and efficiency doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers. A smooth and smart cloud migration takes preparation. Here are five mistakes to avoid when moving to the cloud:

1. Assuming All Clouds Are Equal

Just as your business brings its a unique set of goals and requirements for moving to the cloud, each cloud provider has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. You can’t assume that a solution working for another business will automatically work for yours. There’s a wide array of providers and cloud services, so you need to choose the best one to fulfill your needs. You will go about the transition differently than the company next door.

Additionally, there are different cloud options, and you need to know which one(s) you want. Does your business need a private, public or hybrid cloud environment? Are you a small or large organization? Do you need IaaS, PaaS or SaaS? Different workloads mean different clouds! It’s definitely worth your business’ time to evaluate the options and make the most informed choice. The decision to move to the cloud isn’t just a yes or no one. It’s all about the “how,” “when,” and “which.”

2. Not Doing Your Homework

Yes, you have to do some work first!

Businesses commonly think that the first step to the cloud is searching outside the organization for a provider, but this skips a crucial personal evaluation.

Instead, you should first look inside your organization to identify your own needs, current environment and spending, usage, and hopes or expectations for the cloud. Only then can you move on and thoroughly research and identify providers that suit your business.

The perfect provider is one that lines up with your needs and goals. To determine this, reach out to multiple providers and be prepared to ask questions. What exact security measures do they have in place? Can they meet your compliance needs? How involved are they? What’s their specialty? The answers to these types of questions are key.

3. Moving Too Fast

It’s okay to start small! In fact, we recommend it.

Faster doesn’t mean better. There’s a difference between proactivity and rushing. In fact, moving too fast will likely result in unpreparedness. Take time to consider what makes the most sense in the cloud and be prepared from the get-go.

You can take a test drive by moving a non-critical application to the cloud that will still make a positive business impact, like a collaborative tool. Once you’re comfortable, confident and more experienced, it’s easy to repeat and eventually you can start taking bigger steps.

This calculated pace allows you to learn more about the cloud as you go, and drives consistent, positive change across your business.

4. Thinking It’s All or Nothing

Just as you don’t have to migrate all at once, you also don’t have to move all functionality to the cloud. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Some applications will make sense in the cloud while others might not be worth it. Always weigh the pros and cons of moving tools and resources into the cloud. Choose whatever makes sense for YOUR organization, and then you can develop the perfect cloud solution.

It’s helpful to prioritize the applications and tools that need to be moved, while considering if the move maintains cost efficiency, usability and security.

5. Not Doing Your Part

The relationship between a business and its cloud provider is an important one. While the provider obviously shoulders the majority of the responsibility, your organization still has to do its part.

You should have an internal team that develops your cloud strategy and ensures you are using the cloud in the best way possible for your business. It’s also important to communicate with your team and educate your employees on why the cloud move is happening. You might initially face resistance, but by demonstrating the benefits of the migration, the team will be more willing to learn about the new cloud services. Involve your employees in each step and keep them informed – this ensures a smooth transition and builds trust.

Additionally, security is up to both parties. The provider will certainly have hefty security measures in place, but you can take steps on your end as well. Make sure your users are creating secure passwords and you have policies in place in regards to personal device usage and data access. Setting these expectations will help keep your information safe.

Take Advantage Of Network Security – An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

In the minutes, hours and days that follow a widespread, widely publicized data breach, most companies scramble, amping up their security measures in an effort to overcompensate for their lack of proactive preparation. A Forrester Research study revealed that more than 45 percent of businesses opt to increase security and audit requirements after an attack occurs. But as our grandmothers always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Basically, Grandma was trying to say that a proactive approach to security—versus a reactive one—helps to ensure that your business is protected without having to learn the hard way.

While a lax data security plan may be the most detrimental of business strategies, a close second is taking a “one and done” approach. In reality, true data and network protection requires constant effort —it’s not a checklist to be completed, filed away and forgotten. System security, as a whole, is a moving target with new threats and vulnerabilities popping every day and from all angles. Which means one security solution may become outdated just as quickly as it was implemented. Without dedicated resources and the training required to implement and monitor advanced security solutions, organizations are basically sitting ducks, putting their corporate assets at greater risk.

Network Security

So where do you start? System protection begins with a thorough risk vulnerability assessment—and trust me, there are plenty of vulnerabilities to look for. For example, consider the impact of Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD), with its myriad of points at which employees may unknowingly compromise corporate network security. Or take into account the rising threat and increased variety of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. From organized crime rings to hacktivists to foreign government hacking attempts, the complexities and motives are changing by the day.

By identifying the most vulnerable points within your current system and workflow, you can then start to draft a strategy and analyze potential solutions. Creating a customized security plan, one that’s tailored to addressing those vulnerabilities head-on, is foundational to a solid strategy. Your plan may include simple items, such as creating and implementing a formal BYOD policy. Or you may need more comprehensive protection, enhancing your network and cloud security through a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or bringing in a variety of tactical solutions, such as firewalls, antivirus, OS hardening, intrusion detection and web filtering as applicable. A complete security solution should protect your data and applications from all angles — network, cloud and employee communication—to mitigate any threat to your data.

Part of a successful security plan, however, is allocating enough staff and resources to support that plan. The best-protected systems are those that are constantly managed by a dedicated IT team. If, in your risk assessment efforts, you find that you’re lacking resources to provide ongoing support and monitoring, a Managed Network Security Solution may be the answer.

Our Managed Network Security Solutions provide not only security, but also the team that can support your security mission. We offer 24 x 7 x 365 management and monitoring, going beyond protecting PC desktops with custom, comprehensive real-time protection against attacks, defending and protecting your entire office-computing environment against the latest generation of Internet threats.

Take the first step toward achieving system security and contact a Prime representative today. Remember that ounce of protection? When we’re talking about data security, it’s worth WAY more than a pound of cure.

10 Key Considerations When Picking a Managed Security Services Provider

Once, managed security providers were small companies who offered select few larger companies the option to store their data remotely. Now, that market has grown into a widely utilized industry, where providers navigate security issues, compliance regulations, and the importance of data protection for you.

But with this burgeoning enterprise comes the difficulty of deciding between the many competent players. When choosing the company that will defend the security of your data and manage your ability to access it, it’s important to look closely at several aspects of each provider

Track Record. The ideal MSSP to handle your company’s sensitive data will be able to show a strong history of quality information management over a significant period of time.

  1. Response Time and Analysis. An MSSP must be able to easily determine security threats from false alarms. Your provider should be able to respond immediately after analyzing and interpreting large amounts of network security.
  2. Operation Centers. The best MSSP will have state-of-the-art security operations centers at multiple locations, allowing for cross-monitoring and double-checking compliance with security standards.
  3. Global Awareness. To really be prepared, security experts must be able to monitor threats to data not just domestically, but from around the world. International eyes and ears allow for proactive handling of threats and real-time alerts.
  4. High Level Management. Management personnel in the best MSSPs will often have backgrounds working in military, security, or government: an indicator of success.
  5. Range of Services. Particularly for larger businesses, MSSPs must be able to provide a variety of services, including real-time monitoring, firewall management, intrusion detection systems, virtual private networks, and more.
  6. Security Procedures. Ask for documented standards and policies that are in place, from handling of unusual operations to common threats. Look for an MSSP that offers a variety of notification options for optimal staff awareness.
  7. Third-Party Validation. Whatever these policies and procedures are, make sure that the MSSP has had them validated and certified by a third-party auditor.
  8. Range. For best brand-specific protection, find an MSSP that employs specialists who have certified experience working with a variety of security providers and in a wide range of products.
  9. Reporting. Detailed reporting is essential for a company to truly trust the MSSP. Be sure that the reports are based on information drawn from various platforms, include recommendations, are open about latest threats, and are clear about any security changes that have been made.

Your data is only as secure as the company trusted to protect it. Take your time and consider all aspects of the business and relevant details of your own company before deciding.

 

Network Security

How the Cloud has Matured

 

Cloud is maturing

Cloud computing is definitely the next wave of information technology, and it’s affecting companies, governments and individuals alike. It has taken a while for people to understand the size, scope and potential of cloud technology, and it’s time to stop underestimating it. The cloud has a bright future!

Again, Sommer Figone has done it again. Here is a repost from his posting on the Rapidscale Blog. I could not have stated it better, clearer or as well as he has. Kudos!

The Cloudy Past

Though the true beginning of cloud computing dates back decades, the technology didn’t become a hot topic until about a decade ago. And though it was a hot topic, it wasn’t always discussed with positivity. There were constant arguments about what “cloud computing” truly meant (some of these arguments persist today) and a population who believed it was just another buzzword or fad. Some thought it was interchangeable with Software as a Service, and many were rightfully fearful of cloud data security, which wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today.

But despite the opposition, big companies were making the move. Suddenly, it seemed like everyone was in the cloud: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and many more. Those who rooted for the cloud argued that people might fight the technology now, but in a few years they’d wonder why they waited so long. Cloud computing allowed for greater innovation, bringing us platforms we take for granted today, like Instagram and Dropbox.

But even those who made the move, or considered doing so, were clearly not 100% confident. Many only considered a private cloud solution because it made them feel more secure.

Hang up on old technology

Today’s Trends

Since its beginnings, the cloud has come a long way. There has been an increase in acceptance across the board. Even the CIA is on board. It’s no longer seen as a risky new fad – it’s now simply a standard deployment model. While a few struggle with defining cloud computing, it’s now widely understood to be the delivery of computer resources as a service. According to IBM, 67% of CIOs are actively researching cloud computing technologies and how they might help drive business and operational goals.

Security remains an obstacle to cloud adoption, but largely due to the perception surrounding it. In fact, 94% of cloud adopters say it produces security benefits, and many studies have concluded that cloud computing is as secure as on-premises solutions. While security used to be the biggest barrier, many adopters are now capitalizing on it, as well as on control. But as this confidence grows, cloud providers will still have to focus on the security topic. With BYOD initiatives being largely implemented into organizations today, security obstacles will continue to arise.

Today, focus has switched from private cloud to hybrid cloud, which combines off-site cloud networks with on-site computer hardware. This model allows businesses to receive all the advantages of cloud computing without using up bandwidth and while maintaining a higher level of control. In the past, it was all about a one-size-fits-all offering, but now, businesses have the option to design a customized solution revolving around their specific needs.

Additionally, many now realize the cloud computing does not simply refer to Software as a Service, but also includes other services models like Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service.

The Bright Future

It’s pretty obvious that cloud computing has a bright future. The growth so far has been amazing, and we haven’t even reached the boom yet. Forbes has reported that by 2017, the cloud market could be as big as $235 billion, tripling since 2011. It is predicted that companies of all sizes will achieve new levels of productivity and innovation, and that the cloud computing industry will become a huge source of new jobs. It will also allow us to better address healthcare, education and other social issues. By 2020, there are expected to be 28 billion connected devices – you can bet that those will generate huge amounts of data, and only the cloud will be able to handle and analyze it.

Cloud computing will be a home for small businesses, as there are immense opportunities and advantages for SMBs if they deliver their products and services through the cloud. Their operations will be driven by the technology and they will have a greater potential to experience quick business growth.

Hybrid cloud will continue to be the first choice for organizations moving to the cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50% of large enterprises will adopt a hybrid cloud solution. This will also continue to work as the answer to fears about data security in the cloud, allowing businesses to keep sensitive data in-house while still taking advantage of cost efficiencies and scalability. Security will remain a huge focus of cloud computing, as it will always be important to keep consumer and business data absolutely secure. But as cloud development persists, we will surely see more innovative privacy services.

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Server 2003 Operating System

NCCIC / US-CERT

National Cyber Awareness System:

11/10/2014 07:19 AM EST
Original release date: November 10, 2014

Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system

Overview

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015.[1] After this date, this product will no longer receive:

  • Security patches that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
  • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
  • Software and content updates

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance.[2] As of July 2014, there were 12 million physical servers worldwide still running Windows Server 2003.[3]

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows Server 2003.

Organizations that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements while running Windows Server 2003.

Solution

Computers running the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks of viruses and other security threats. Negative consequences could include loss of confidentiality, integrity, and or availability of data, system resources and business assets.

The Microsoft “Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ” page offers additional details.[2]

Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based services. There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows Server 2003 to a currently supported operating system or SaaS (software as a service) / IaaS (infrastructure as a service) products and services.[4,5] US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

References

Revision History

  • November 10, 2014: Initial Release

 

Our partnership with Rapidscale allows you to never have to worry about these types of announcements ever again.

CloudApps is the next generation application purchasing and licensing management platform for business. CloudApps connects businesses with the applications they want while eliminating licensing management and application upgrades. With CloudApps, the application purchasing process is automated from per user or per business purchasing to application approval workflow delivered on one bill.

Check out more at http://www.primetelecommunications.com/infrastructure-service/.

Mindfulness , Adaptive Leadership and The Cloud

Attending the recent Cloud Partners Conference here in Chicago was truly amazing. I had some observations that I think the Channel – specifically, my clients who are managing technology would appreciate.

First thing that I noticed, sitting around the Advisory Board meeting was that a lot of us have shaved heads. This brought me into the realm of thinking about Buddhist monks. This led me to thinking about “mindfulness”. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware about what is happening within ourselves and to pay full attention to what is happening around us, non-judgmentally. It is the attention that emerges from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment.

As I listened to the opening remarks, about the transformation that our business model is going through with virtualization and companies that are “born in the cloud”, I began to look at my business and how it has transformed over the past twenty years.  Mindfulness of what is happening within- and in this case, within my company.  How will we make the transition? What skills do we need to acquire? What talent do we need to attract?

Leadership has to be adaptive. It has to grow in response to challenges and opportunities.  Adaptive leadership has to be dynamic- it requires focus and activity to result in a changed environment. As a leader, I have to have a sense of where we are at and adapt to these challenges in our channel environment.

As I met with the vendors, I had a renewed openness to find out what they were offering. Along with my staff, we went through the Expo hall and asked basic questions- “What do you do? Who is your target client? How can we work together?”  Afterwards, we met and reviewed the meetings we had with different providers.  This wasn’t a technical exercise- trying to solve problems with whatever is at hand.  Being adaptive, we need to create an environment that promotes a framework for healthy conversations about our strengths and weaknesses. Which vendors will be part of our offering is a dynamic question. It will change as will our evaluation of ourselves, our developing strengths and the new challenges of the cloud.

Cybercrooks target SMBs with new types of attacks

Network World – As money and corporate information have morphed from hard currency and blueprints to digital files, small and midsized businesses have become the new banks to rob. In fact, bank robberies across the U.S. have plummeted from 9,400 in 1991 to just 3,870 last year. As Doug Johnson of the American Bankers Association puts it: “As more and more transactions become electronic, more bank crimes become electronic.”

Look at it from the criminals’ perspective: why risk getting arrested breaking into an engineering company or, worse, shot sticking up a bank when you can sit in an ergonomic office chair with an espresso on your desk and music in the background while plundering small companies thousands of miles away?

To read the full article click here!

For videos on security, visit our libray by clicking here!

 

Prime is Coming out of the (Phone) Closet- Cloud Computing, Cloud Phones, Cloud Business Management

We went to a seminar this past week. We followed up with some pretty intensive vendor training from our partners- and there will be more on their offerings in the coming weeks. We learned a lot- and would love to share it with you.

Here are some reasons to give serious consideration to cloud-based business services.

BYOD

The “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement is rapidly altering the business landscape. Employees want to use the power and convenience of their smartphones to access data, sales reports, and other tools to enhance efficiency. Likewise, enterprises appreciate what improved productivity generated by the BYOD movement can do for the bottom line.

Immunity From Disaster

Another major benefit of the cloud is disaster management. Cloud-based communications systems include automatic redundancy. Voice, data, and all digital information are typically routed to multiple data centers. The days of a business losing business hour-by-hour when its phone system goes down is a thing of the past. Fires, super storms, equipment failures, and even cyber-attacks are no match for the built-in redundancy of IP-based telecommunications.

Those that had embraced VoIP phones and cloud-based computing on the East Coast prior to Superstorm Sandy were often able to continue operations when others with traditional systems were down for days.

Business Management “To Go”

For business managers and executives, cloud-based operations allow them to, in fact, be “two places at once.” One can head out to an impromptu but vital sales call without worrying about what will be missed while you’re gone. The advantages of a fully integrated system go well beyond the mere ability to stay in touch via smartphones. Full, seamless integration of all company operations is possible in the cloud, and it can be done securely.

OfficeSuite is one such platform that can integrate your office phones, mobile devices, and data networks into a single system. Over 100,000 business professionals nationwide already enjoy the ease and efficiency of cloud-based communications and business management. Companies like Broadview Networks has already helped many clients to realize productivity gains through OfficeSuite’s business phone systems.

No longer want to be tethered to your office phone? Move your operations to the cloud and you will feel liberated as you can conduct essential business from anywhere at any time – and on any device.

Scalability

Phones that work over the Internet can be set up without the need for telephone installers at your premises. Better yet, as soon as you add staff or new locations, the system is readily scalable. Grow as you need to without having to spend precious capital for new equipment. As you grow, simply add new licenses for your new employees and set them up on the system in minutes.

The number of businesses around the world that will be using Internet-based phone systems is expected to double in 2013, to over 100 million. There’s a reason for this communications revolution, so see how your productivity can soar with cloud phones and cloud-based business management.

Nearly half of organizations using managed services have cut their annual IT expenses by 25 percent

Nearly half  (46 percent) of organizations using managed services have cut their annual IT expenses by 25 percent or more, according to a new study published Tuesday by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry.

The CompTIA study, “Trends in Managed Services,” also reveals that among current users of managed services, 13 percent have slashed annual IT expenditures by 50 percent or more.

“This is compelling evidence that managed services, even when implemented on a small scale, can deliver significant cost savings, freeing up cash for other business needs,” said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “More importantly, these savings are accomplished without impacting the availability and reliability of the technology solutions the company relies on to conduct business.”

Indeed, the CompTIA study reveals that 89 percent of current managed services users are very satisfied or mostly satisfied with their experience. Performance and uptime, agreeable contract terms, a secure environment, and the flexibility to easily and quickly add new services all contribute to customers’ satisfaction, the study found.

Another critical factor is good communication between the customer and their managed services provider . Among companies that are highly satisfied with managed services, three-quarters say their MSP provides regular activity reports on all of the steps they take with the customer’s IT environment, including documenting any problems averted to keep the customer up and running.

“This shows return on investment and fuels accountability, which builds loyalty and raises satisfaction among customers,” April noted. “From the MSP’s perspective, these are opportunities to make recommendations on new services to add to keep pace with business growth. Customers are engaged even though they’re not managing their own IT.”

While costs savings are the top factor in deciding to turn to managed services, more than half of respondents in the CompTIA survey said a major reason they are contracting with an MSP is to free up their internal IT staffs to work on projects that fall into the business’ core competencies – in other words, revenue-generating activities.

Looking ahead, 62 percent of end users surveyed said they plan to increase their IT spend on managed services over the next two years, with the balance opting to remain at current levels. Among the IT needs that companies intend to move to managed services in the next 12 months are:

·         security, such as firewalls and antivirus, cited by 38 percent of customers

·         website hosting, 36 percent

·         network administration and maintenance, 34 percent

·         help desk and IT support, 31 percent

The managed services model also has been successful as a revenue generator for the IT channel. Fifteen percent  of channel partners offering managed services reaped more than 75 percent of their revenue from these contractual services last year. Nearly half said that managed services accounted for between 50 percent and 75 percent of sales during the last 12 months.

“Growth expectations are not overly aggressive, perhaps reflecting the tepid economy,” April said. “Still, a quarter of respondents project growth of more than 10 percent and a full two-thirds expect modest growth. None of the sample predicted any level of decline in MSP business in the coming year.”

CompTIA’s “Trends in Managed Services” study is based on separate online surveys of 400 IT and business professionals in the United States involved in IT decision making and 364 IT channel firms in the U.S. Both surveys were conducted in June 2011.