Custom Technology Solutions, Inc

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Custom Technology Solutions, Inc - Corporate Blog

Microsoft Office 365 service module offers MSPs the best of both worlds

Life for a managed services provider (MSP) is seldom straightforward.   Support staff in the service center have long had to juggle between screens as they log in and out of numerous applications from different vendors in the course of their day-to-day remote management operations. Over the years advances in technology have created ever more diverse technical environments for them to manage.  Nowadays it’s commonplace for customers to have a mix of traditional on-premise IT along with mobile devices and the latest cloud-based applications. The number of management screens just keeps on multiplying – all the while pushing up the time and costs of administration. The Microsoft® Office 365™ cloud-based collaboration, communications and productivity software platform is a good example.  Its combination of Exchange e-mail, SharePoint online, Lync VoIP and conferencing online, web hosting via SharePoint and the Office Web Apps has proved extremely popular with businesses of all sizes . Indeed Microsoft’s own executives have described it as the fastest growing business in its history . Little surprise, then, that it has also gained a strong channel following with more than 60 percent of top MSPs seeking to wrap their services around one of the market’s current best sellers. Yet managing this along with a multitude of other applications is no picnic.  Our MSP partners have been telling us that they would like a more convenient way to administer hybrid physical and online environments so that they can add value for customers with the Office 365 cloud platform.  In view of the large numbers of MSPs using Office 365, developing a solution to help our customers support and obtain recurring revenue streams from supporting Office 365 with ease and simplicity has been a priority. The Microsoft Office 365 service module for AVG Managed Workplace®, just released, goes some way towards addressing this issue. It allows our channel partners to provide management services such as user password resets and mailbox policies – which Microsoft typically will not do – via a single screen through AVG Managed Workplace. In fact the module allows MSPs to remotely perform five of the most popular management tasks. Apart from the two already mentioned you can also set license expiration alerts, receive service down notifications and managing users without using Windows PowerShell®. Other administrative tasks can be accessed without any additional logins. Allowing administrators to view all the essential information they need about cloud-based and on-premise applications together within the same screen in this way gives IT services providers the best of both worlds.  In so doing it neatly solves problem of multiple logins for partners and helps them to run their operations more efficiently. Our simplification of Office 365 management for services providers is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our channel partners.  We will continue to add modules to AVG Managed Workplace that allow IT service providers reap productivity benefits and deliver long-term value to their customers. In summary, the Office 365 service module represents a first step in developing easy ways to manage cloud data within AVG Managed Workplace – something that appears destined to become commonplace as more everyday objects and devices are IP-connected to form the Internet of Things. It also further enhances the wide range of productivity benefits already available to MSPs who use AVG Managed Workplace to remotely manage the IT of their entire customer-base through the same, single pane of glass.

How to enable verbose logging for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 Essentials

[This post comes to us courtesy of Swapnil Rane and Rituraj Choudhary from Global Business Support] This post explains how to increase the logging level for the individual components of Server Essentials role for troubleshooting purposes. In order to accomplish this, we need to modify the Logging.config file. This file can be located at C:Program FilesWindows ServerBin on a Windows Server 2012 Essentials machine. On a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials this file is present at C:WindowsSystem32Essentials . Make sure to save a backup copy of the file before modifying it. You need to change the ownership of Logging.config file and give the user adequate permissions to save any modifications to it. You may use the following commands on an elevated Command Prompt to make modifications to the file: For Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: takeown /f C:WindowsSystem32EssentialsLogging.config icacls C:WindowsSystem32EssentialsLogging.config /grant administrators:F icacls C:WindowsSystem32EssentialsLogging.config /setowner “NT ServiceTrustedInstaller” notepad C:WindowsSystem32EssentialsLogging.config For Windows Server 2012 Essentials: takeown /f “C:Program FilesWindows ServerBinLogging.config” icacls “C:Program FilesWindows ServerBinLogging.config” /grant administrators:F icacls “C:Program FilesWindows ServerBinLogging.config” /setowner “NT ServiceTrustedInstaller” notepad “C:Program FilesWindows ServerBinLogging.config” The file Logging.config is now ready for editing. Search for the string level= and replace the string next to level= to All if it is set otherwise. For example: Change it as: Changing the level to All enables verbose logging. There are other values that the level can be set to, but mostly verbose logging is preferred, and can be achieved as mentioned above. When the issue is reproduced subsequently, the logs at C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows ServerLogs folder should now contain verbose information. Note : You may use the same procedure to enable verbose logging on the Essentials clients.

AVG forges partnership with MSP Alliance

Back in April I spoke about the importance of partnerships as a key part of our strategy this year. We also want to focus on increasing the number of networking opportunities for myself and other key members of the SMB global team with top industry influencers.  To meet this goal we are working on a busy program of appointments over the coming weeks including meetings with key partners, media, industry organisations and analysts. One new partnership that I have not mentioned before is with the MSP Alliance , one of the largest and most influential professional bodies for the managed services provider (MSP) community. The MSP Alliance has 25,000 member companies and regularly holds prestigious industry events for them including the MSP World Conference and an international series of networking dinners for senior level MSP executives. We are especially excited to be involved with the MSP Alliance executive networking dinners in the US, UK and Australia which dovetail neatly with our own MSP networking program. The dinners will enable us to meet senior professionals from the cloud and managed services industry in a relaxed social environment to find out ways we can collaborate to further the adoption of managed services and cloud. MSPs are at the cutting edge in safeguarding their customers’ data and security and will be attending these dinners to learn more about best security practices in today’s cloud environment. In summary the MSPAlliance networking dinners are free for MSPs to attend and will address: Public vs. private cloud strategies Helping customers understand the limitations of public cloud Ways in which MSPs can secure customer data Blended or hybrid cloud strategies that address 100% of customer needs Partnership possibilities and business development Networking and peer-to-peer collaboration   We will be holding two MSP Networking Dinner events in the UK: 11 September 2014 – London click here for venue and registration information 16 September 2014 – Birmingham click here for venue and registration information There will also be three similar events in Australia in late November/early December 2014. Registration links for these are not yet available but, in the meantime, you can obtain further information by emailing .   Finally, AVG is sponsoring this year’s MSPWorld™ Conference taking place at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Hotel from 15-17 th October, 2014. A key highlight for us there is on Thursday, 16 th October 2014 when there will be a special invitation-only Networking Dinner where senior level MSP executives in North America will gather to meet with us and share their ideas on how to further the adoption of cloud and managed services to the business consumer. The partnership with MSP Alliance and the other engagements will ensure senior SMB executives enjoy some top quality face time with partners and prospects in the run up to the Cloud Summit. They are also a tangible demonstration of our continued commitment to finding new ways to engage with senior MSP leaders. I am very much looking forward to all of our MSP events. Our MSP Alliance partnership in particular provides an excellent platform for us to meet with some of the most influential industry leaders from the managed services provider and cloud professional community. It is a chance to discuss topical industry issues with them as well as share our knowledge and expertise about ways to further reduce their costs, introduce greater efficiencies and fuel business growth. I do hope to see some of you there.