Our physical location is situated between the three points of Tampa, St Petersburg, and Clearwater, but Microsoft 365 and Office 365 know no boundaries. Sarasota and Bradenton are just over the bridge to the south. And Orlando is a few exits away on I-4. But your Microsoft data center – the physical location of your stored documents – might be in Atlanta or at another East Coast facility. Microsoft has over 100 of these data centers worldwide. In addition to this primary copy of your data held in the closest proximity to your location, redundant copies of your data might be stored in separate geographical regions.

​Just like any managed IT services provider, at least over 95% of our work is performed on a remote basis. Our helpdesk professionals might be in Clearwater, but they might also be in Toronto. And our high-level technical engineers (that require no personal contact and don’t need to speak perfect North American English) don’t need to be in Saint Petersburg at all. If a server needs such expertise, then we sometimes rely on a pool of outsourced techs from a reputable partner in the Detroit area.

For the remaining 5% of the time that an on-premises service call is absolutely required, we will send a qualified and vetted technician to your business. But do we keep plenty of trained staff on the payroll and waiting for that fraction of the time that it is critical? No, instead we use WorkMarket’s cloud-based software to find the appropriate skills at the precise time that these tasks are required. This method can not only provide prequalified experts to your door, but we can arrange scheduled or even emergency visits on an as-needed basis. In most cases, this is a cost-saving operation, which can indirectly be passed on to the client. And if the visit is scheduled enough time in advance, then it’s possible that you might see a familiar face and not a different tech each time.

While we are surrounded by prospective business clients within the Tampa Bay region, our reach extends far beyond this area. We currently have clients from Cape Cod to California. But our service environment exists within one interconnected cloud.

My roots are in the construction industry. My maternal grandfather and my father were both home builders of considerable accomplishment. In particular, my grandfather had as many as 15 carpenters working on the payroll. And most of these carpenters did the plumbing, electrical, and painting, too. This was ‘old school’.

But the trend 20-30 years later was for the more successful home builder to hire independent subcontractors, especially for such unique skills as drywall or roofing. Then there were framers, finish and trim subcontractors, landscapers, painters, plumbers, electricians, etc. But the sign on the lawn in front of the new home still displayed the name of the builder with the various subcontractors remaining anonymous. While the subcontractor chose this path of anonymity, they gave up the overall responsibility along with notoriety. That said, they were responsible to their trade and were required to produce consistent workmanship, else they were not hired again.

In real estate 50 years ago, agents worked for a small office and worked alone. Now real estate agencies are mostly franchised, and most agents work as part of team, some split into buyer representatives and perhaps another faction of the team working for the seller. But the agent in charge of it all is the one that gets the notoriety, the monetary rewards, and the upset clients.

In the IT industry, the technician formerly wore every hat just like the early builder and their tradesmen. But now we have printer/copier people, cable specialists, developers, security analysts, web designers, server and network techs, social media experts, website hosts, PowerShell scripters, cloud architects…

But another trend in IT is to subcontract helpdesk and network operations center (NOC) to an independent firm, the Master Managed IT Services Provider (MMSP). While some have disparaged this method, I would argue that this should be the support infrastructure that clients seek when sizing up their next prospective Managed IT Services Provider (MSP). Here’s why:

1.    The client wants the option to pick up the phone and call the IT person in charge.

They might not want to speak to the tech person on night duty, but there is a different phone number for that. Instead, they want to have that one-to-one conversation with someone that they know and trust, someone with whom they’ve established a rapport that is ultimately responsible for the technical duties.

But ultimately, the client has only one ‘throat-to-choke’. And when that client wants to have a conversation with the person who took on the responsibility of maintaining their tech, they do not want a busy signal, be sent to voicemail, or end up with an unintelligible foreign accent on the end of the line.

2.    The Master Managed Services Provider performs under contract.

So does the client, and so does the MSP. Employees can also perform under a contract, but I’ve experienced situations where these types of contracts are practically unenforceable. But the MMSP is bound to the duty of the agreement between them and the MSP. The MSP can dictate the manner in which the independent contractor MMSP performs, which by law and by reputation maintains a steady balance between client expectations and MSP responsibilities.

It’s been debated that the MMSP is the ‘fox in the henhouse’ when considering the mergers and acquisitions happening all over the IT industry. I would argue that the tech(s) are also foxes in the henhouse. With the proper agreement and honor among its participants, a contractual arrangement can keep everyone pleased. Another builder metaphor: When my father was asked for a contract late in his home building career (he never used contracts), he responded to his client by extending his hand and said, “Here is your contract.” It was likely considered a binding contract because there was a meeting of the minds.

But the dynamics between the providers (MSP and MMSP) determine the quality of their relationship, which spills over to the client. To use the builder metaphor again, if (s)he hires a skilled and reputable painter, then the home will be spotless when the home buyer arrives. If the MSP hires the right Master MSP within a proper framework, then the client will be pleased and contribute to a healthy business arrangement.

3.    The MSP with an MMSP solution provides a consistent quality of service.

Some might argue that rapport is lost when helpdesk and NOC are outsourced. On the contrary, a pool of unique technicians from a Master MSP can be assigned to a specific client so that there is a familiar, reliable, and consistent customer experience. More than that, availability and scalability become factors when a client expands or contracts – the MSP can adapt to client size by enlisting more or fewer resources.

For the small business owner considering a new IT firm, they should best consider that the IT firm might be too large or too small. Too large an IT firm means a disconnect between client and provider. Too small a firm could mean a chaotic outcome and service degradation as the IT firm’s clients might grow unexpectedly. But for the IT firm that has a dynamically sized and multiple-skilled human resource pool at their disposal, then growth is scalable while the consistent quality of service is maintained.

4.    SMBs want to do business with SMBs.

If given the choice between Behemoth IT Corporation, Dynamic IT, or Puny & Struggling IT LLC, which would you want as your technology partner? Behemoth IT is represented in today’s IT industry by such giants as All Covered and their parent company, Konica. If you contract with them, will you get the attention to detail that you require? Puny & Struggling IT LLC are trying to grow their staff to meet demand by an initially good reputation, but then one tech jumped ship for a better paying job, another got in a fight with his girlfriend, and yet another tech forgot to back up a client, just before that client was hit with ransomware. An IT firm with a dynamically sized staff can scale to your needs, while still maintaining rapport. The outsourcing of helpdesk and NOC services means that the leader of the IT firm inherently has more time to spend on quality control and sealing that ‘glue’ that holds them invaluable to one another.

5.   A dynamic IT firm can put ‘boots on the ground’ – anywhere at any time.

Any established IT firm will tell you that about 95% of their remediation is performed on a remote basis. The helpdesk and NOC services account for that percentage, but what about the rest? From Wikipedia: “WorkMarket is a New York City-based company that provides an online platform and marketplace for businesses to manage freelancers, contractors, and consultants.” This means that WorkMarket vets the worker in terms of legality, criminality, and certifications. It’s a full-time job, but that’s what they do – find and scrutinize good technicians to qualify them as qualified representatives that would enter your workplace.

In conclusion:

Everything has changed. Again. What worked during former times is not necessarily what works today.

Resolute IT has been 100% cloud-based since 2009. During the prior ten years, we were a small and conventional IT firm on Cape Cod with big servers and big gas bills as we traversed the dunes in a frenzied fashion, putting out technical fires here and there. Today we’re a calm and proactive firm that can provide its services anywhere in the US in a smart, efficient, predictable, and cloud-centric manner.

There has been a paradigm shift to the cloud. It’s been going on for over a decade, but many IT providers and their clients are still mired in dubious beliefs and legacy habits. No, you don’t need a server. No, you don’t need a VPN. No, you don’t need a local IT firm.

One of the most important factors in this dilemma is the protection of your organization’s property – your data. We previously locked down everything within the perimeters of the workplace, but now we use our company desktop and we use personal mobile devices beyond the local area network to access company information as we demand remote work capabilities. Now your data is locked down at the document level.

 Gone are the days of buying software. You never really owned it, but you purchased the right to use that software, that is, until it had to be replaced by a newer version. Now we subscribe to software-as-a-service apps, such as Salesforce, DocuSign, QuickBooks Online, Google Apps (G Suite), and Office 365 (Microsoft 365). Even giants like Adobe (Creative Cloud) and Autodesk (AutoCAD) have embraced the subscription-based model with strong hooks to the cloud. Salesforce has long had integration and Autodesk recently announced  integration  with Office 365.

With the advent of remote tools and AI, most every mundane task is, or will be, automated. The examples are endless here.

Need to get back into your account? No problem, just change the password yourself.

One aspect missing from the lists above would be the mention of teamwork versus individual accomplishment, responsibility, and notoriety. Now those attributes have moved to the team. As a case in point, a milestone metric  released today says that there now 13 million active daily users of Microsoft Teams, which puts Microsoft Teams ahead of Slack’s 10 million. 

Traditionally, an IT company would service a specific geographic area, usually within an hour’s drive of the home base. But as our industry has evolved, so has our reach in regard to whom we would service and where.

With third-party vendors such as WorkMarket, we can dispatch an onsite engineer with the appropriate skills, knowledge, tools, and experience to your location within the same time frame that any local IT firm would.

But even the local IT firm uses remote tools to better service your end-users and their machines. I hear most IT firm owners boast that 95% of their work is performed by remote control or other remote means.

In consideration of these two factors — onsite engineers on-demand; and remote helpdesk (or network operations center) — we can confidently claim that we’re a 100% remote provider. Our only geographic boundary is the United States.

Both our fully-managed Optimum 365 and limited HelpDesk 365 services are available on a national basis.

 

HelpDesk 365 | Annual Remote SupportIn the spirit of Fourth of July sales, we thought this half-price offering might interest you:

As a July special, we’re offering a blend of both training and help desk support at a 50% rate for 3 or more end-users at $174.50 per person over an entire year. Max 9 licenses.

For smaller businesses (normally under five end-users), we offer a limited helpdesk service. Helpdesk 365 is only available during specific hours and incidents are limited to five (5) tickets per user per month, and one should bear in mind that an email message sent to [email protected] initiates a ticket in our system. A chat message sent within the Microsoft Teams support channel is not initially considered a ticket, nor does it create one automatically like an email does, however, a chat message might evolve and eventually attain ticket status.

helpdesk 365 is not a managed services plan. There are no proactive measures, not even monitoring in an ongoing basis, although we will install a remote agent that collects basic system information and alerts us of the most critical events, as well as the agent enables remote control as a reactionary remediation tool.

Regular Price:  $349 per person per year
Sale Price: $349 $174.50 (minimum 3 licenses)

Click here to schedule 1-hour onboarding session 

RIT | Optimum 365 | Managed IT Services | 4 pages | (404 downloads)

microsoft teams live training
Resolute IT has a new branch of business – RIT U

Launch
microsoft teams live trainingThe first course is now offered in triplicate, that is, three identical courses will launch on July 8, 2019. One begins at noon EDT that day, followed by a 2-3pm class, and the last class of the day will happen from 4-5pm. This popularly requested learning topic and buzzing business movement will be Microsoft Teams.

When?
The courses generally run over the last 3 weeks of the month (every month) and take place 3 times per week (Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday). Just choose your preferred time of day for your class or simply go to any class whenever one is held – students have life access to the courses they purchased. We also have a ‘focus week’ about once per month, where we’ll go through all 9 modules over the course of 3 days (3 classes x 3 afternoons).

Description
This course covers an in-depth overview of Microsoft Teams from its roots in Office 365 to general navigation, terminology, and best practices all the way to Connectors, Bots, Apps, and Services. We cover file sharing, conversation types, meeting types, PSTN calling, guest members, and audio/video settings. Finally, you will learn Microsoft Teams administration through the Microsoft 365 portal or with options using Windows PowerShell.

What It’s Like
Each class consists of about 20 minutes of lecture delivered by PowerPoint and Zoom, then about 10 minutes of live demonstration by sharing the desktop screen in Zoom, which is followed by one-half hour of live lab experience in Microsoft Teams. The first half of each class is held using Zoom for desktop sharing by the instructor, but the lab portion of the class is held within Microsoft Teams itself and monitored by the instructor. Each student is given personalized attention, as needed.

Ongoing
Training continues after the course is over – every student who completes the course is given free access to the RIT U | Graduate Team in Microsoft Teams, where follow-up questions are answered by chat at no additional charge. For those requesting additional and ongoing training, we have an annual subscription called HelpDesk 365, which are help desk services provided per individual.

Customized Group Classes
Unique class schedules are available for you and your firm’s special needs, perhaps as a shorter overall course time and with fewer sessions. And if you have an immediate need for training in another Office application than Teams, then we can talk about that, too.

Discounted Group Rates
We have three pricing tiers above the standard retail rate of $249 per single student (less than five in a group); then we have a 5-9 tier at $175; a 10-19 tier at $150 per student; and $125 per student for 20+ in a prepaid group.

$249 – Retail (per single seat under 5 seats)
$175 > 5 seats
$150 > 10 seats
$125 > 20 seats

Push-back Remedy
Outsourced training puts the onus on another party in regard to ‘learning push-back’. Establish organization integrity by reinforcing the firm’s required best practices through the mouthpiece of a live instructor.

The Instructor’s Mission
As a veteran of the IT managed services provider focus for the Small to Medium-Sized Business (SMB), Scott Abbotts shows his depth and breadth of experience when helping people learn new technologies with the maturity and respect due to fellow professionals. Our mission is to leave a legacy of empowered, productive workers, and conquered challenges.

Scott Abbotts
Resolute IT | RIT U
https://training.resolute-it.com
[email protected]
(727) 300-4940

The nature and beauty of Microsoft Office 365 is that it is cloud-based. There are no geographic boundaries – you can be anywhere with internet access and be virtually down the hall from your office.

And like the cloud-based service itself, support for Office 365 (or other plans such as Microsoft 365 Business) can happen from anywhere. As long as we have internet access, we can communicate with you and remediate your devices and services without having to spin our wheels – this is quite a ‘green’ business model.

Remote tools are plentiful these days, many of them available for free. As a rule, we try to maintain three different remote methods as three layers of backup for remote remediation. If one isn’t working, then another will. These little remote programs run in the background – or not – sometimes people prefer to start an ad hoc session.

And it isn’t only about remote control. Over the next few years, you’ll see that our primary support method will take its form in Microsoft Teams. Not only can we chat by text through Teams, but we can initiate an impromptu meeting with audio (and video as an option). And during such a meeting, you can share your desktop (circled icon above) on one monitor, two monitors, or you can share an application that you are running on your computer, such as Outlook or your line-of-business application.

With Microsoft Teams, there will be no reason to use a conventional telephone, cellphone, or even email, although both phone and email systems will be around for a long time – Skype for Business, the enterprise telephone system for Unified Communications, is now deprecated as a service and Microsoft Teams will become the default client for its new Intelligent Communications. Look for a not-too-distant announcement from us about Phone System and Calling Plan becoming our new voice solution as an integral piece of our Microsoft 365 tenant.

When seeking Office 365 customer support, you want to find articulate, coherent and effective answers to your problems. Microsoft offers free telephone support; however, US-based English is usually not the first language of the technician. They might (or might not) be technically qualified to resolve your Outlook or OneDrive complaints, but the time and the patience required to resolve your helpdesk ticket sometimes feels like you’re beating your head against a wall. I know; I’ve been there myself.

And ironically, I nearly became one of those technicians. I was hired, went through a 2-month long onboarding process, and started training as a home-based Office 365 Concierge Ambassador, but the only internet access provided at my residence did not meet their security and reliability requirements as part of the employment contract. I’m back in business for myself and, quite frankly, happier to be here again.

Many have complimented me on my communication skills. They know that they’ll be able to hear me speak clearly and without so much technical jargon. They know how tenacious I am when a problem arises, knowing that I’ll see them through to a satisfactory result without frustration.

To put me on ‘retainer’, I have an annual helpdesk service for $250 per person. For companies with 5 or more end-users, then we’ll have to consider a managed services option that includes proactive efforts and cloud-to-cloud backup services in addition to the immediate helpdesk.

To open a ticket, I leave several doors open to convey your message: 

If we haven’t spoken yet, then please either contact us by the form below, email , text , or schedule for a free 15-30 minute meeting to establish ideal goals and to initiate a preliminary plan.

Professional Services | Fix IT Now

Hourly Remediation and Professional Consulting Services:

          • Per request and approved proposal.
          • Same rate for remote and onsite.
            • Minimum 1 hour for remote control.
            • Minimum 4 hours for on-site visit.

Migrate 365 | Move to the Cloud

One Seat – covers all of the following:

          • Documents & Email transfer from on-premises server or other system
          • Automatically discover email environment and configure a migration plan that’s right for you.
          • Identify the impact of migrating your file server to SharePoint Online with Office 365.
          • Perform identity mapping by scanning SharePoint, Active Directory, and Azure Active Directory.
          • Monitor progress and output files into the Logs directory showing the summary and more detailed insights into the scenarios that could be impacted by migration.
          • Data automatically synced before, during and after migration cutover.
          • Full fidelity sync technology ensures no data loss on final data sync post-cutover.
          • Account provisioning and DNS updates take place during Migration Sync.
          • Desktop readiness and remediation:
            • Outlook configured to work with Office 365.
            • Local data moved as required.
            • User’s previous Outlook experience recreated as closely as possible post-migration.
          • Seat defined:
            • For billing purposes, any migrating top-level Public Folder or Mailbox (Individual, Shared, or Resource Room/Equipment) is considered a seat.

Monthly HelpDesk 365 | Remote IT Services

Your technical support on retainer for reactive IT services.

            • Limited to to five (5) incidents or service tickets per month per end-user
              • non-transferable to other end-users.
            • Service tickets initiated by email to [email protected] or via online scheduling calendar .
            • Remote desktop agent installed for quick support sessions.
            • Response time can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours.
            • Business hours only.
            • Limited monitoring and reporting of critical events.
            • Automated updates and patches
              • No verification.
            • No hardware support.
            • No onsite support, except by pre-paid request apart from this agreement.
            • 7-day free trial!



Annual HelpDesk 365 | Remote IT Services

Your technical support on retainer for reactive IT services.

            • Limited to to five (5) incidents or service tickets per month per end-user
              • non-transferable to other end-users.
            • Service tickets initiated by email to [email protected] or via online scheduling calendar .
            • Remote desktop agent installed for quick support sessions.
            • Response time can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours.
            • Business hours only.
            • Limited monitoring and reporting of critical events.
            • Automated updates and patches
              • No verification.
            • No hardware support.
            • No onsite support, except by pre-paid request apart from this agreement.
            • 7-day free trial!



Optimum 365 | Fully-Managed IT Services

All-inclusive and proactive IT services (per user per month):

          • 24/7 remote included.
          • Vendor liaison and purchasing agent roles.
          • Network documentation.
          • Network health monitoring & reporting.
          • Customer support ticketing portal and knowledge base.
          • Security hardening with best practices.
          • Microsoft 365 Business subscription included!
          • Complete Cloud Backup included.
          • One license for one user and *all* of their devices to enjoy on-demand support throughout the year.
          • Unlimited support incidents (tickets) per month.
          • Covers Windows 10 Pro, MacOS, iOS, Android, all Office 365 plans (software and services), and cloud-to-cloud backup offered by RIT.
          • Support of Line of Business (LOB) applications included.
            • Must have current maintenance or service plan
            • Must have proper & complete licensing for every user
          • Infrastructure ramp-up project required prior to start of agreement.
            • Computers and servers fully updated and running optimally.
            • Printers under service plan.
            • Mobile devices (phones and tablets) updated to recent model and current operating system.
          • Ongoing training & coaching.
          • Servers and network-attached devices not included.

Backup 365 | Cloud-to-Cloud Every 4 Hours

One User License:

          • 1 year of cloud-to-cloud, unlimited backup with lightning-fast search and one-click restore of Office 365 data:
            • SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, and Microsoft Teams.
            • Microsoft Teams conversations, calendar, files, and notebook.
          • Six daily snapshots.
          • Self-service restore.

 

RMM = Remote Monitoring and Management

The RMM software agent runs on desktops, laptops, and servers. While it’s running in the background and invisibly, it collects generic information about your hardware, software, network, updates/patches, security concerns, and user accounts. No confidential data is observed in the process.

Here are the must-haves for any RMM according to the long-standing PSA and RMM vendor, ConnectWise:

  1. Automate any IT process or task
  2. Work on multiple machines at once
  3. Solve issues without interrupting clients
  4. Integrate smoothly into a professional services automation (PSA) tool
  5. Manage everything from one control center

 *I’m using Solarwinds MSP RMM & PSA

Some clients have concerns about possible tech scams, which are valid. There have been too many unsolicited calls from people claiming to represent “Microsoft”, but instead plant malware into your computer and then charge to have them take it out. It’s a big scam and it still happens today.

One key component of the Remote Monitoring and Management solution is remote control software. With a single click, a technician can sit with you virtually to visually examine your problem situation. Other key functions include automated tasks (such as running disk utilities), automatic patching with only approved Microsoft updates, and general network health reporting about your devices and their connectivity.

When the RMM is integrated with a Professional Services and Automation (PSA) tool such as Solarwinds MSP also provides, these tools can powerful insight and capabilities for your IT support team. Sending an email to [email protected] creates a new ticket request to be approved by Resolute IT Support in its ticketing system.

In short, where we’ve been putting out fires as needed (break/fix), we can now be more proactive and take measures to prevent problems that would otherwise be likely for the future (managed services). The RMM agent and its integration with the PSA management module enable us to look at new billing methods that mean a win/win scenario for provider/client.