Compudyne Blog

Product Life Cycle | End of Life (EOL) Overview

Product Life Cycle | End of Life (EOL) Overview

End of Life – We know. It sounds scary. Don’t worry, it’s not! The nature of technology is that it is always changing. The technology product life cycle moves fast. Developers are continuously working to streamline, improve and generally make technology work better. Software updates fix bugs and make programs work more efficiently. Yes, sometimes features or functionality are changed or removed, but when a program is updated, it takes a step forward.

As products mature, market demands shift and innovation drives changes in technology development, older programs are replaced by technology that performs better, faster and more efficiently.

This is a typical part of the overall product life cycle – meaning, it happens to every product, eventually. We know that when programs approach their end of life, it presents an opportunity for business owners to think about how they’re currently leveraging technology. EOL situations are also a great time to evaluate new technology options.

So, What is End of Life, Exactly?

EOL refers to the final stages of a product’s serviceable life. As hardware or software products become obsolete, vendors stop providing standard support services. That means technical support and upgrades will no longer be available to customers using that particular piece of technology.

One of the biggest challenges associated with EOL is disposing of the outdated technology. Techopedia explains that “for hardware devices, this means physically disposing old devices and installing newer versions. For software systems, it means ‘weaning’ legacy systems or migrating applications to newer platforms in order to discard or change old systems.”

What happens when the new features of a product update don’t quite fit what a business needs? Or, if functionality a business uses every day isn’t included in newer versions? Oftentimes, a business will decide to forgo an upgrade and keep using their current program. That’s exactly how EOL situations come to light.

If you decide to keep using outdated technology, you may be putting your data and your business at risk. Without continued support, bug fixes and upgrades, products or operating systems may longer be secure – leaving your business vulnerable to cyber security threats. Certain industries may face legal complications if they continue to use obsolete hardware and/or software. Lastly, using outdated technology is risky to productivity and can end up costing your more to maintain (and fix) than simply upgrading in the first place.

Our End of Life Approach

We don’t want you to put your business at risk. That’s why we keep close tabs on the technology our clients are using and recommend staying current with software updates. The Compudyne team makes every effort to stay up-to-date on the technology we offer – that way we’re always ready to help our clients upgrade to the newest and most appropriate technology solution for their business.

When we become aware of an EOL product, we work with our clients to devise a game plan. Depending on the situation, we may:

  • Conduct a gap analysis
  • Conduct a Cloud Assessment Readiness Evaluation
  • Offer Hardware as a Rental service
  • Weigh the options of migration vs. upgrading

Is Your Business Technology at Risk?

Our core partners, Microsoft, VMware, Cisco and HP, work hard to keep their technology up-to-date. New releases present enhancements and opportunities to leverage technology that makes your business run more smoothly.

But keeping up on all the changes in the product life cycle is a challenge. That’s where Compudyne comes in. But we know our clients and we know you like to keep yourself informed. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of which of our core partners’ essential programs are approaching EOL in 2018.

Download the 2018 EOL List

If you have questions or concerns about your technology, please feel free to reach out to your Compudyne sales rep at any time.

New Compudyne Client Portal

The field of technology is perpetually changing and keeping your business running smoothly with the most up-to-date technology is essential to your success. That’s why we conduct our client relationships with a focus on great customer service.

Our goal is to strategically and efficiently manage your business’ IT needs, so you can focus on what you need to – operating your business. Our solutions support your evolving IT needs and help drive success.

After months of hard work internally, we are excited to share a sneak peek of our new Client Portal. We designed the Client Portal with our clients in mind. It is our firm belief that great customer service boils down to open, honest communication with our clients. The Client Portal will provide you with an easy, interactive and more efficient client experience.

The Client Portal contains a number of helpful features. Here are a few of the things that we are most excited about – we hope you’ll like them, too:

 

Security Statistics

Your IT security is important to us. We know how essential it is to stop security issues before they start and we wanted to share more detail with you. The Security Statistics feature shows clients the security services they currently have in place and highlights issues that have been prevented by having these services.

Client Portal Security Services Dashboard Client Portal Security Services Dashboard

You can click into each security service listing to view more details on adware, spyware or viruses that have been prevents in the past 90 days. We want you to be aware of activity on your account and to know that with Compudyne’s Security Services, your company and all your digital assets are protected.

Closer view of Endpoint Protection activity

 

Detailed view of recently averted threats Detailed view of recently averted threats

 

Recent Service Work with Details

Our clients are often relieved to remove IT management from their plates when they begin working with Compudyne – but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. We built a Service Ticket Information section into our Client Portal so our clients can dig into the details at their leisure.

Under Recent Service Work, we’ve added a graph that displays the total hours worked and the number of tickets submitted throughout the month. We also included a detailed list of all Service Work and ticket information. And for an extra personal touch, we added pictures of our team so you can put a face to the person working on your tickets.

Recent Service Work graph and detailed notes from the Compudyne team Recent Service Work graph and detailed notes from the Compudyne team

 

Service Tickets

We wanted to provide our clients with an easy way to open service tickets, so we added the Create Service Ticket functionality to the Client Portal dashboard. Click Dashboard and then Services Tickets to open a new ticket.

How to open a Service Ticket How to open a Service Ticket

Once you’ve opened a service ticket and provided us with all the important details, we’ll assign it to an appropriate Compudyne team member for swift resolution.

 

Machine Warranty Information

It’s our job to keep track of your devices, and we don’t want any warranty expirations to take you by surprise. The Machine Warranty Information section of the client portal provides clickable graphs that allow you to dig deeper into your devices.

Interactive graphs provide more detail on the status of your devices Interactive graphs provide more detail on the status of your devices

 

A closer view of device details A closer view of device details

 

Recent Invoices

We don’t want billing or invoicing to be a mystery. In fact, we know an important element of great customer service is openness surrounding billing. In the Recent Invoices section, you’ll find all your recent invoices. You can click into each invoice to view further detail.

Click ‘Actions’ to view more detail on a recent invoice Click ‘Actions’ to view more detail on a recent invoice

 

User and Contacts

Lastly, we wanted to give our clients the ability to manage their active users. If an active user is no longer an employee or should not be included in the agreement, you can adjust their user profile accordingly. From the Dashboard, click Users & Contacts to make any necessary changes.

How to manage Users and Contacts How to manage Users & Contacts

Great Customer Service Begins Here

Creating and launching our Client Portal took a lot of work. We started by talking to our clients about what functionality they need to manage their side of the relationship with Compudyne. We wanted it to be intuitive, easy to use and (most of all) a valuable and useful tool for our clients.

Stay tuned, more information about the Compudyne Client Portal will be coming soon. If you have questions, or would like to learn more, please contact your Compudyne sales representative.

 

Protecting Your Business – Data Security FAQ

As managed IT service providers, we hear a lot of questions and concerns about data security – and rightfully so. Data security is critical to business operations, but many business owners overlook this potentially dangerous facet of their business. What happens if your security is breached? What if disaster strikes and you can’t access important data? How much will it cost your business to be out of service for an hour, half a day, or 24 hours?

If these questions raised red flags, don’t panic. You’re not alone, and Compudyne is here to help. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear regarding business IT security, and some next steps you can take to protect your business.

So, what are we protecting against, exactly? 

Various events can lead to an interruption in your IT environment, from natural disasters to exfiltration of your systems. If your systems are physically damaged and unusable, the offsite backup solution will make you whole again once new hardware is installed. Better yet, use a provider that can spin up your systems offsite, OS and all. Ransomware is perhaps the greatest risk today, even if you have a layered security solution. With this type of threat, it’s generally not IF but WHEN you’re impacted, and one of the best ways to protect against ransomware is by having an offsite backup.

While I’m writing this, we’re seeing another large-scale, global ransomware attack unfold. It cannot be stressed enough that every company should implement and maintain patch management, backups, disaster recovery and incident response procedures to protect from ransomware threats.

When should I test our backup?
Answer: Not when you need it. If you regularly test your backup solution, you’re better than most CIOs that only know there’s a problem when it’s too late. Various solutions can provide soft-testing and reporting on the integrity of your backup, to ensure it will work when you most need it. Better yet, get a monitored solution that kicks off alarms when the job fails. It’s not a set-it and forget-it type of thing.

What does a restore look like?
Depending on the event, a restore can be extremely easy and fast with the right solution. You want to understand what a restore looks like, from file or object restores to bare-metal restores. You want to know that you can restore to multiple and dissimilar hardware. Your solutions provider should be able to walk you through what to expect in a restore and provide assurance that there won’t be surprise costs or unnecessary delays. In fact, that should be written in the agreement, so you know your rights. By the way, a good provider does the restore as a part of the monthly service cost.

What are my next steps?
Businesses should review the Service-Level-Agreement and the provider’s ability to deliver support for the solution. They should request details on monitoring and alerting, recovery methods and timeframes and compliance for regulated industries. They should know where their data backups are physically located and if they’re encrypted/encapsulated, and what happens to their data backups if the service is terminated. They should understand their compliance requirements and be sure the solution meets/exceeds those requirements.

What can I do to protect my systems today?

  1. Ensure your systems are patched, or let us patch them for you, and please don’t use an unsupported version of XP, Windows 8 or Windows Server 2003.
  2. Back up regularly or let us back up your data and keep a recent backup copy off-site. There are dozens of ways other than ransomware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop, or even an accidental delete. Encrypt your backup and you won’t have to worry about the backup device falling into the wrong hands.
  3. Avoid opening attachments in emails from recipients you don’t know, even if you work in HR or the accounting department and you use attachments a lot.
  4. Contact us today to ensure you are properly prepared and have taken the steps necessary to deploy a layered security approach to meet your IT security needs.

Protecting your data is critical to business operations and backup solutions can be tailored to your specific needs – contact Compudyne today to find the right solution for your business.

Compudyne Ranked Among Top 501 Managed Service Providers by MSPmentor

Compudyne Ranked Among Top 501 Managed Service Providers by MSPmentor

10th Annual MSP 501 Ranking and Study Identifies
World’s Most Progressive MSPs in Information Technology

July 18, 2017: Compudyne ranks among the world’s most progressive 501 Managed Service Providers (MSPs), according to MSPmentor’s 10th-annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings. The top MSP 501 companies ranked this year include organizations from around the world and from diverse technology and business backgrounds. Collectively, they amassed $14.48 billion in total revenue (based on 2016 results), up more than 15 percent from a year earlier.

The complete 2017 MSP 501 list is available at MSPmentor.net. In addition to honoring Compudyne, as a leading provider in this year’s MSP 501 list and study showcases the top ranked MSPs worldwide.

"We are very excited to be ranked as one of the top providers on this exclusive world-wide list in 2017!” said Patrick Gibson, Owner | VP Sales and Marketing, Compudyne. “Our continued rise to the top of this ranking is a testament to our loyal customers, robust solution offerings, and exceptional employees."

“On behalf of MSPmentor, I would like to congratulate Compudyne for its recognition as an MSP 501 honoree," said Aldrin Brown, Editor in Chief, MSPmentor. “The managed service provider market is evolving at a rapid pace and the companies showcased on the 2017 MSP 501 list represent the most agile, flexible and innovative organizations in the industry.”

The 2017 MSP 501 list is based on data collected by MSPmentor and its partner, Clarity Channel Advisors. Data was collected online from Feb. 16 through May 15, 2017. The MSP 501 list recognizes top managed service providers based on metrics including recurring revenue, growth and other factors.

About Penton Technology’s Channel Brands
Penton Technology’s channel brands define emerging IT markets and disrupt established IT markets. They are a division of Informa. The channel brands include: MSPmentor (www.MSPmentor.net), The VAR Guy (www.TheVARguy.com), Talkin’ Cloud (www.TalkinCloud.com), the WHIR (http://www.thewhir.com) and WebHostingTalk (http://webhostingtalk.com).

About Informa
Penton Technology, Think Tank, MSPmentor, The VAR Guy, Talkin’ Cloud, the WHIR, WebHostingTalk, Channel Partners Online, Channel Partners Conference & Expo and Channel Partners Evolution are part of Informa, the international business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events group. Informa serves commercial, professional and academic communities, helping them connect and learn, and creating and providing access to content and intelligence that helps people and businesses work smarter and make better decisions faster.
Informa has over 7,500 colleagues in more than 20 countries and a presence in all major geographies. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Kaitlyn Vasko,
Compudyne
kvasko@compudyne.com

Aldrin Brown,
MSPmentor
Aldrin.Brown@penton.com

How’s Your Backup Strategy?

Every business owner should know and understand the backup strategy that protects critical data that, if lost, could affect their bottom line. Business owners face unique challenges within their specific industries, whether they work in retail or manufacturing, energy or financial services. However, every business faces similar challenges when dealing with data protection and data security. When I discuss backups with a new or prospective client there’s often at least one part of their configuration that is weak enough to impact the integrity of the entire solution.

Today’s CIO needs a backup strategy that addresses hybrid cloud environments and distributed storage, and solutions should be carefully assessed as computing requirements evolve. But what about smaller businesses that don’t have a CIO? In these situations, IT-related tasks are often delegated to an employee who already has a primary job. The term “backup” is sometimes used interchangeably with an incorrect solution or feature like cloud storage, RAID or Disaster Recovery, and is often the most under-scrutinized part of a business’s IT environment.

As a sales consultant for a national IT Managed Solutions Provider, I’m proud to say our managed backup services work. Time and time again, our services have proved to be compliant, secure and monitored. We offer high-value/low-cost solutions in two levels: Backup Lite and Backup Pro. Backup Lite is appropriate for most small to medium businesses, and Backup Pro is capable of more robust features.

Getting Started
In an ideal world, every business owner would have a basic understanding of the role backup plays in their business. Although it’s much easier to simply place the ownership on a third party, business owners need to understand the basics like retention, security and your rights under the agreement. This ensures that when (not IF) you need to use your backup, you’ll be prepared for what’s next.

What should be backed up?
A backup solution needs to protect any data that would impact the business if lost. Paperless databases, proprietary information, trade secrets, email, client info, etc. should be kept secure and protected. This data should already be a global share where employees can save items, so managing the backup source is simplified. Various solutions can perform backup jobs on folders or entire machines, so business owners need to understand what the solution is protecting, and what they’re paying for. It’s generally more expensive to protect entire partitions or machines because of the data volume protected and the fact that this type will get you up and running much faster. In a virtualized environment protecting virtual machines (VMs) makes the most sense.

If protecting VMs or partitions is not in the budget, then only the critical data share should be the focus of your file-level backup solution. In the event of total loss, this option will have a longer recovery time. At this option, you’re not backing up the machine’s operating system or settings.

The True Cost of Downtime
There are two things every business owner must know about data backup and recovery:

  1. Recovery-Point-Objective (RPO): How much can you stand to lose? Can you afford to lose 24 hours of data, or just 15 minutes?
  2. Recovery-Time-Objective (RTO): How long can you be down? How much does it cost your business to be out-of-service for 1 hour? How about 24 hours?

The closer your RPO and RTO numbers get to 0 minutes, the more expensive and complex the solution becomes. This is where a Managed Solutions Provider (MSP) can tailor a data backup and recovery solution to your needs and capabilities, where “needs” translates to what lost data would lead to closing the business, and “capabilities” translates to the budget and other connectivity factors at your site.

Understanding the true cost of downtime should affect how you select RPO and RTO. You should have a basic idea of the true cost of an outage in your business to try and prevent loss of revenue. Delta Airlines lost $150 million in income and operational costs from a technology outage in 2016, not to mention other assumed investment losses on Wall Street. The scale may be smaller for your business, but when you consider overhead with labor, indirect emergency costs and lost income, you start to see the value in a tailored backup solution. Wondering what to do next? Check out our Data Security FAQ blog post for additional insight.

No matter where your data resides, there’s an appropriate backup solution that can be tailored to your specific needs – and Compudyne can help you find the right solution.

Contact Compudyne Today to learn more.

Compudyne Named to CRN’s 2017 Solution Provider 500 List

CRN 2017 Solution Provider 500Compudyne announced today that the company has been named to the CRN® 2017 Solution Provider 500 list. The annual list, published by CRN (a brand of The Channel Company), ranks the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue.

The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995.

CRN has also released its 2017 Solution Provider 500: Newcomers list, recognizing 58 companies making their debut in the Solution Provider 500 ranking this year.

“We are very grateful we have been selected to the CRN Solution Provider 500 list, as well as one of the select few providers on the Newcomers list for 2017,” said Patrick Gibson, Principal and VP of Sales and Marketing of Compudyne. “The recognition is a tribute to the dedication of our employees, long term customers, and our core values which we adhere to in all of our business initiatives.”

“CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list spotlights the North American IT channel partner organizations that have earned the highest revenue over the past year, providing a valuable resource to vendors looking for top solution providers to partner with,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on this year’s list represent an incredible, combined revenue of over $318 billion, a sum that attests to their success in staying ahead of rapidly changing market demands. We extend our sincerest congratulations to each of these top-performing solution providers and look forward to their future pursuits and successes.”

The complete 2017 Solution Provider 500 list is now available online.

About the Channel Company
The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

Media Relations contact:

Kaitlyn Vasko
Compudyne
(612) 927-2624
kvasko@compudyne.com

Melanie Turpin
The Channel Company
(508) 416-1195
mturpin@thechannelco.com

IT Managed Services - To be or not to be, that is the question!

It may be a definition by Wikipedia, but it aptly describes IT Managed Services:
“IT Managed Services are the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis management responsibilities and functions and a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. It appears as an alternative to the break/fix or on-demand outsourcing model where the service provider performs on-demand services and bills the customer only for the work done.“ (Wikipedia, 2017).

Under this scenario, the business entity owns the hardware/software and is financially responsible for its upkeep while the Managed Services Provider (MSP) is responsible for the efficient functioning of the network configuration, hardware, cyber security, and applications availability. The key element is that the Managed Services Provider is responsible for the strategic selection of equipment, network configuration, efficient functioning of the system, and contributes significantly to the ability of the Managed System to generate additional profits to the business rather than just being a necessary expense.

According to McKinsey & Company as digitization becomes more integrated into an organization's operations it drives down revenue growth and profits; Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)! This is contrary to what most CEO’s and CIO’s think and requires an understanding based on deep-dive reviews of hundreds of organizations. The importance of understanding this cannot escape the business strategy of any company or you will be leaving money on the table or even more crucial, may in fact be jeopardizing the very existence of your organization.

According to McKinsey & Company research, IT is driving down growth in revenue and earnings before interest and Taxes by 4.5% to 12% across all industries.

“This finding confirms what many executives may already suspect: by reducing economic friction, digitization enables competition that pressures revenue and profit growth. Current levels of digitization have already taken out, on average, up to six points of annual revenue and 4.5 points of growth in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). And there’s more pressure ahead, our research suggests, as digital penetration deepens (Exhibit 2).” (Bughin, 2017)

How this is missed by so many companies is that we are still using the “value of money over time” to calculate ROI and if the NPV says it’s a better investment than other projects, we can enhance the IT System and thereby improve an organizations performance. Lost in this scenario are all the intangible and interwoven variables that are impacted by the IT System resulting in either growth in revenue and EBIT, or declines in revenue growth and EBIT. Based on the research presented by McKinsey and Company, most companies in today’s market are realizing losses due to their IT investments.

The typical scenario is a need to upgrade hardware, software, and cyber security driven by a slowing network or aging equipment or software updates driven by obsolescence; maybe enhance some specific areas where better performance is desired. So we look at the cost of the project over maybe three years and look at our budget to see if we can afford it or how to manage other cost to fit it in the schedule. But the end result is more money invested in the IT system and very little ability to track the ROI. In fact, since the IT isn’t looked at as a way to generate additional revenue growth and EIBT, in most cases it ends up costing the organization more money than they thought it would and worse yet, it’s hidden losses so very hard to document and fix.

This is where companies like Compudyne can provide valuable insight and indispensable professional guidance to ensure the desired outcome is achieved which is always revenue growth and increased profits. A qualified Managed Services Provider like Compudyne can assist their clients in evaluating their digitization in synchronization with the client’s business strategy to achieve the desired outcome of increased revenue and EBIT.

Compudyne works in Partnership with companies like Microsoft, NimbleStorage, Cisco, Veeam, VMware, HP, f5, NVIDIA and many more. Working in partnership means maintaining technical staff certifications on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and strategies for implementation of optimized networks for our clients. Our CIO’s can assist the synchronization of the IT system into a business strategy. The end result is a better IT system and higher revenue growth an EBIT.

McKinsey & Company sums it up as “Improving the ROI of digital investments requires precise targeting along the dimensions where digitization is proceeding. Digital has widely expanded the number of available investment options, and simply spreading the same amount of resources across them is a losing proposition (Bughin, 2017).” Whether you’re upgrading or venturing into a new project, the optimization of your IT system is a very complex business decision and investment for companies to make on their own, and it takes the resources of a company like Compudyne with certified experts in all facets of IT & Business Systems to enhance a business strategy to fully take advantage of your IT investment dollars.
References:
Wikipedia (2017). Managed Services retrieved on 02/10/2017 online from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_services.

Bughin J.; LaBerge L.; Mellbye, A. (2017). The Case for Digital Reinvention retrieved on 02/10/17 online from McKinsey & Company at http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/the-case-for-digital-reinvention?cid=reinventing-eml-alt-mkq-mck-oth-1702.

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