Creativity & Play – Work, Fun & Familiarity

When was the last time you had fun at work?  There is a trend for creating fun in the workplace.  I am fortunate to work in an environment where this culture exists.  We have a video game room and lunch catered twice per week.  But is it the fun that matters or is it the relationships formed whilst enjoying the food and activities?  I would maintain that just like when we were younger or when we are in the presence of our closest friends, we take more risks in terms of creativity.

Check out this TED Talk on Creativity & Play by Tim Brown

Do They Trust You?

Trust is a fickle thing.  Properly used however it can be a powerful ally.  In the IT business it can even be critical.  Building trust among your clients can be one of your biggest advantages over your competition.  Airbnb created an entire business around trust.  Watch this TED talk on how Airbnb designs for trust.

What is Our “Net Effect” on Ourselves and Society?

This is a very interesting TED talk by Tristan Harris.  He starts out talking about the topic of how better tech could actually help cut down on the distractions we face in our ever-connected society.  He then segues into  measuring the value of our time using distraction as a cost against the value of what we are doing.

So how do we measure our own “Net Good Times”?  How do we measure our “Net Effect on Society”?  We are either creating a positive impact on ourselves or we are creating a positive impact on the world.  How do we set goals in these terms?  What if we instead of focusing on technical features, revenue goals and other common measurements, we thought of the “human goals”.  How to we improve ourselves and how to we improve society?

Design thinker, philosopher, entrepreneur
Tristan Harris helps the technology industry more consciously and ethically shape the human spirit and human potential.

Are You Innovating or Improving?

innovateWhat is the difference between true innovation and just improvement?  I was listening to a podcast the other day and they were talking about libraries.  Libraries have been forced to change or become obsolete.  Why?  Because information has changed, no longer is the majority of information available in print form.  Therefore libraries must change to suit the new mediums.  If we think of libraries in terms of only books they will increasingly become irrelevant.  By completely changing our ideas about libraries and integrating other media types the library can evolve to meet its true purpose of being a source of knowledge for all types of purposes.  But can we call this innovation or is it simply improvement?

Innovation is not evolution it is revolution.  Evolution is the iterations that come after innovation.  Revolution is a complete change from the existing norms.

Sometimes we think that we just need a better tool or “widget”.  Henry Ford is credited with the quote, “If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  This embodies the difference between innovation and improvement.  If our frame of reference is horses, we ask for a bigger, stronger, faster horse.  Innovation is solving a problem in a way no one has ever thought of before.  This is why true innovation is rarely accomplished by consensus or public opinion but is rather the brainchild of an individual.

To innovate we must step back, out of our normal frame of reference, and do something different.  It is only from this perspective that we can innovate rather than just improve.

How Much Does a Breach Cost?

Data-Breach-Risk-Host-ReportThe cost of a data breach can cripple any size business.  Being an MSP means taking on some of the risk for the client.  Knowing what data is at risk is the first step to finding out the level of risk.  Once you know what data exists and how much data there is you can assign a dollar value to that data if it were to be compromised.

So what constitutes “at-risk” data?  There are the obvious answers:

  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Drivers License Numbers
  • Bank Account Information

There can be others like patient ID numbers or business specific sensitive data.

What types of businesses have “at-risk” data.  The short answer, almost all businesses have sensitive data that could be valuable to would be hackers.  If they take credit cards, process payroll or are in the medical or legal verticals, they have data that needs to be monitored.

The new MAX Risk Intelligence platform allows you to assess and monitor important data.  In combination with the MAX Remote Management platform, you can schedule daily, weekly or monthly scans to see if data has been added, modified or moved.  One of the most powerful features is the ability to actually show the potential liability, in dollars, your client has in the case of a breach.  The tool also helps you to maintain PCI compliance by running scheduled PCI specific scans and providing reports detailing endpoint specific details.

So what is the cost of a data breach?  Industry standards put the cost of a breach at $200 per piece of data.  That means even a small business with 30 employees taking 20 or 30 credit card payments per day could generate $156,000 in liability in a single month.

Protect your clients by keeping them informed of their risks while helping them with compliance.  Find out more using the link below.



Why Advertise Break/Fix – Growing Your MSP Incrementally – Part 3

Monochrome iconA recent comment showed up on LinkedIn that I thought I would take a bit further.  The observation was that there was a statistic that an MSP doing lead generation noticed that they got 2-4 times more leads from break/fix marketing than from marketing with MSP messaging.  I think this is highly informative and explainable.

When do you seek out a plumber?  An electrician?  When you need work done.  Most of us (me included according to my wife), only seek out services when we need them and sometimes only in extreme circumstances.  The same is true of IT services, especially in the micro/mini-SMB space.  The other problem here is that, as the top end of the SMB space is starting to mature in terms of the MSP model, the lower end of the space can hardly spell MSP.  They don’t know what it is and they don’t understand why they need it.  Some would say that the lower end of the SMB space is not worth going after.  My opinion is that there is a lot of potential for the small to mid-size MSP who can standardize across a large group of small SMB’s.

They key is not to abandon the strict MSP model but to use break/fix work as a marketing tool rather than part of your solution.  Use break/fix interactions to start a conversation about keeping their IT systems running with less downtime and a more predictable (and often lower) expense.  Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, even if that single step is managed AV.

“The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

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