The 10 Coolest Managed Services Offerings Of 2015

Cloud, Security And Analytics Driving Innovation

The cloud continues to be the focal point for cutting-edge managed services, with many MSPs and solution providers looking for ways to differentiate their Microsoft Azure and Office 365 businesses and move more end users into cloud and digital technologies.

Other MSPs have focused on enhancing security through cyber threat monitoring or behavior analytics, or trying to help end users be more efficient through application modernization, robotic automation or unified communications intelligence.

Vendors have also gotten into the game by offering MSPs largely automated Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance reports as well as automated analytics for critical device issues. Read on to learn about the coolest managed services offerings in 2015.

10. LogicCards

LogicNow unveiled new machine learning capabilities for managed service providers in September designed to deliver automated analytics insights tailored to their businesses.

The Durham, N.C.-based vendor said its analytics offering will transform the way IT departments interact with their daily dashboards by supplementing core capabilities with real-time community intelligence derived from LogicNow's more than 10,000 MSP users. This is meant to enable MSPs to detect and predict critical issues such as device failure, business opportunity and security threats.

Through a variety of push notifications, LogicCards deliver access to descriptive, predictive, prescriptive and automated analytics directly to any device, so that businesses can run more efficiently, securely and intelligently, LogicNow said. LogicCards also reflect the areas of interest of individual MSPs, the company said.

9. RapidFire Tools PCI Compliance Module

RapidFire Tools launched a module in June that generates reports needed by retailers that accept credit and debit card payments.

The Atlanta-based vendor said its software tool automatically analyzes, organizes and forms the data to produce Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance reports, with some of the information collected by specialized data-scanning tools and the rest by MSPs themselves.

With the tool, MSPs can evaluate merchants' compliance according to PCI security requirements, remediate PCI-related security vulnerabilities, and generate documents that demonstrate compliance with PCI data security statutes, according to RapidFire Tools. Services can be offered on a project basis or through a long-term service agreement, through which assessments are conducted on a recurring basis.

8. NetWatcher Security-as-a-Service Offering

NetWatcher in October launched a cyber threat monitoring service tailored to the needs of small and midsized businesses (SMBs).

The Reston, Va.-based managed security service provider said its security-as-a-service solution will serve as a virtual information security officer and help SMBs achieve regulatory compliance more easily. The NetWatcher product provides continuous monitoring to defend against the risks associated with weak passwords, unsecure assets, unsafe employee behavior and outdated software, the company said.

NetWatcher said it will provide an additional layer of protection so that SMBs can focus on running their businesses. The company says it has the first threat monitoring service designed specifically to address the needs of SMBs.

7. Sienna Group Managed Cloud Service For Behavior Analytics

Sienna Group introduced the first cloud-based managed services offerings on the Interset platform in September to better detect and predict threats to sensitive, mission-critical data.

The Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider said the managed services model will enable end users to protect their data at a fraction of the cost associated with hiring and training talent in-house. Sienna Group can also leverage its knowledge of the health-care, financial, government, retail and technology verticals to provide a better understanding of data risks, according to the company.

The company said it can also generate metadata on what health-care firms or government agencies should expect to see about when and how data is accessed.

6. Cosentry Managed Office 365 And Azure Services

Cosentry became a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider member when it began offering Managed Office 365 Services in November, allowing the solution provider to dig deeper into the tactical aspects of migration, deployment and upgrades without having to purchase add-ons.

The Omaha, Neb.-based company's managed Office 365 services include synchronization with on-premise Exchange, consulting around unique requirements, migration and deployment, configuration and monitoring, and real-time troubleshooting.

The solution provider -- No. 409 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500 -- in April extended its managed cloud services to Microsoft Azure, with a focus on utilizing Azure for SQL testing and development, backup and disaster recovery.

5. CDW Managed Services On Microsoft Azure

CDW said it has extended its 15 years of expertise in hosted and remote managed services to the hybrid cloud to better support customers with their end-to-end infrastructure needs.

The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company, No. 6 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, added in May a suite of Azure-related managed services around SQL databases installed on a virtual machine, managed storage on guest operating systems, and backup and restore.

The company said it will additionally support Azure-specific capabilities around virtual machine and operating system management; networking and connectivity and service level agreements; and around-the-clock operations. All of CDW's Azure implementations feature monitoring and management, monthly billing and case-based ticketing and escalation.

4. GreenPages Transformation Services Group

GreenPages Technology Solutions has put together a practice to make it easier for their customers to adopt cloud and digital technologies.

The Kittery, Maine-based company, No. 159 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, launched a new business practice in April designed to help accelerate customers' transition to cloud-based platforms and innovative technology. GreenPages is hiring five to 10 dedicated sales and technical staff members to handle initial demand and will ramp up as growth accelerates.

The division of GreenPages was launched with a $1 million investment, and is being led by Jim Lampert, who joined the company as a consultant in July 2014. It will run beside the company's systems integrator and cloud services businesses.

3. SmartPoint Managed Services For Skype

Shortly after Microsoft unveiled Skype for Business, Carousel Industries launched a complete managed services package for the unified communications ecosystem.

In March, the Exeter, R.I.-based company, No. 64 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, introduced a solution that helps clients identify incorrect network settings and utilization, access Skype voice and video analytics, and view multitenant performance trends and reports. It also allows end users to receive important notifications on network events impacting Skype, the company said, and gain insight into conferencing sessions and issues.

The managed service covers every aspect of the communications environment, Carousel said, including instant messaging, voice, video and Web conferencing, and can deliver intelligence, diagnostics and monitoring of the entire unified communications infrastructure.

2. Ciber Momentum

Ciber unveiled a tool in August that it said can save businesses massive amounts of time by automatically reconfiguring applications for a cloud-like environment.

The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company, No. 37 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, said Ciber Momentum can cut the time spent on app modernization by 60 percent by automating 80 percent to 85 percent of the machine-to-machine code needed to operate in the cloud.

Momentum can automatically translate code from legacy languages such as COBOL, JSP, XML or Java to the cloud-enabled .NET framework, leaving only complex business logic to be done manually. Momentum can fully convert apps from legacy to modern languages in six to eight weeks, according to Ciber.

1. SyntBots

Syntel is leveraging automation and analytics to help businesses reduce costs and downtime and get more insight into their operations.

The Troy, Mich.-based company, No. 36 on the CRN 2015 SP 500, said its robotic automation platform -- by eliminating repetitive manual processes -- can lower business operation costs for end users by 30 percent and downtime by roughly 70 percent. The SyntBots platform, rolled out in February, can be applied to a range of uses, from application uploads to unit testing and end-to-end monitoring.

SyntBots has gained the most traction within the banking and financial verticals, with the company using automation to build use cases and intellectual property around what the insurance carrier of the future would look like.