MSP Chat Episode 05: Navigating the Managed Services Landscape in the Cloud Age
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In this episode of the MSP Chat podcast, hosts Rich, Erick, and guest Antoine Jabara, co-founder and general manager of MSP products at JumpCloud, discuss the cloud age and how MSPs can make the best use of it. The conversation begins with a review of the Kaseya DattoCon event and segues into a focus on Kaseys’s new AI platform – Cooper Bots. Erick then shares strategic success tips for modern MSP service delivery, drawing from his presentation at DattoCon. Other points include a discussion on the implementation of cloud-based systems. Issues that MSPs consolidate identity and device management. They also address the topic of co-managed IT relationships.
And then, one last thing: the rise of emotional support animals in workplaces.
Discussed in this episode:
Rich Freeman: [00:00:00] And three, two, one, blast off! Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the MSP Chat Podcast, your weekly visit with two talking heads talking to you about the services, strategies, success tips you need to make it big in managed services. My name is Rich Freeman, I am Chief Content Officer at Channel Master. The organization responsible for this podcast and I’m joined as I am every week on this show by your other co host Eric Simpson, our chief strategy officer, my friend, my colleague for many years. Eric, how goes it?
Erick Simpson: [00:01:00] Well, uh, I think if I were to encapsulate how I feel right now, Rich, I would say In one word, relieved. Relieved that we are both back at home base after a whirlwind week and you, you know, you know, even before that, right? So, why don’t you, uh, let everybody know what we’ve been up to last week.
Rich Freeman: It’s so funny you talk about the whirlwind because that is the word that, uh, you know, is in my mind as well to describe, uh, this past week. We were both in attendance at… Uh, DattoCon, officially it is now known as Kaseya DattoCon, um, for obvious reasons. Um, giant conference, uh, in Miami took place this week. A total whirlwind start to finish, amazing event. And in fact, folks, welcome to our DattoCon episode, as it turns out, because we’re going to be talking, um, here. Our top story is going to be related to news, um, from Kaseya out of the DattoCon event. Eric’s tip of the week has to do with or derives from a session [00:02:00] that he did at DattoCon. Our interview guest is Antoine Javara. He is the co founder and also in charge of the MSP business at JumpCloud, a cloud management and security vendor. We’ve just got nothing but DattoCon for you and it’s all really great
Erick Simpson: stuff. Awesome. Let’s kick it off,
Rich Freeman: Rich. Let’s do it. Let’s dive right in here with our story of the week. Um, and, uh, I’m going to start in one place and move it into slightly, uh, a different one, Eric. Now, Kaseya announced a number of different things at the show this week that were interesting. I would say the most interesting thing they announced is something that they are calling Cooper Bots. Now, Cooper, um, is Fred Vokola’s dog. Fred Vokola is the CEO of, of Kaseya, um, he has, uh, a dog named Cooper who has become a, uh, sort of mascot and a namesake at Kaseya for a number of different things, including their AI platform. About two years ago, um, Kaseya introduced something that they called [00:03:00] Cooper Intelligence Engine. And essentially it was using artificial intelligence, um, to look across. Uh, the Kaseya product set. If you’re a Kaseya partner, the Cooper Intelligence Engine is looking at how you’re using the Kaseya products you subscribe to. If it sees functionality that you’re not taking advantage of, you’ll get a little, a little message from Cooper saying, hey, here’s something you might get some value from, and they’re always very careful at Kaseya to say this is not clippy, it’s not intrusive, but Just a little way for us to kind of help, uh, nudge you a little bit in the direction of getting more value from what you’re doing. Cooper bots, which they announced this week and which start rolling out any day now, they’ll roll out in, in phases, um, through the end of the year here, this is a very different thing and it really takes their AI story to the next level. So Cooper bots are basically autonomous. AI assistants. Um, uh, it’s bots, plural. There are going to be a whole bunch of different ones. Um, they’re creating ones for their, uh, two RMM systems, their two PSAs, [00:04:00] um, for the Kaseya One partner portal, for backup security, etc. There are going to be a lot of these different little bots and, um, if you authorize this, if you opt in, and we’ll, we’ll get to that in a moment, they can actually do A lot of the really rote simple stuff for you and free up your time, free up technician time for other activities. So in regards to the RMMs, you know, think about password rotations, think about new user onboarding tasks that are relatively simple. If you opt in, Cooper can kind of automate, uh, uh, that for you, make it a whole, uh, lot more productive. Um, so we’ll, we’ll see, are, these things are going to start arriving soon, we’ll see how well they work and how powerful they are. The other piece of the story that’s interesting to me, and I wrote about this in my latest Channel Holic post, which went live just a few hours, uh, ago, is that Kaseya made a point in my interviews with them of explaining why It’s been two years since there’s [00:05:00] been a big AI related announcement there. Why call it ten months after the introduction of CHAP GPT? This is really the first that you’re hearing about something big AI related out of CASEA. They are taking an approach that they described at various times, depending who I was speaking with, as conservative, as cautious. As thoughtful, um, I will paraphrase something that Fred Ricola said to me, um, in my interview with him, which is that AI is a powerful tool, but it is also really capable of effing things up, and they are very concerned about not effing things up for their partners or in any, you know, they don’t want to break laws, they don’t want to create And Security issues, they obviously have a history, they know exactly how painful it can be when you stumble into a security problem, and so they are being very careful about how they move forward, um, with AI, and this reminded me very much of ConnectWise, they too are [00:06:00] really trying to balance speed and taking advantage of AI and using it to empower and enable their partners and not moving too fast at the same time. Both of these very major companies, I think, From my perspective, and I’ll be interested to get yours, Eric, I think they’re navigating the right course here, which is they want to move, but not move too quickly and break things, is basically their story on
Erick Simpson: AI. Yeah, and I think, you know, it’s It’s comforting to know that, you know, they’re taking such care and taking, you know, the perspective of experience, right? They’ve, you know, all of these organizations have had their security issues and have watched us Other organizations and what has happened. And we see startups that are just, you know, a hundred miles an hour down the AI, uh, road and not taking the care and, and, [00:07:00] you know, the quality assurance and the governance oversight and getting into tons and tons of situations that nobody would want to be in. So it’s, like I say, it’s heartening to hear this and it should inspire inspire confidence. In their partners, uh, that even though you know the partner, and this might even be keeping the partners out of trouble, right? Because as everyone Rich is trying to take advantage of ai, we’ve talked, you know, on this program about how we’re using it at Channel mastered and how each of us uses it in different ways, uh, uh, to to kind of get, get things, like you said, the kind of rote, the time consuming, repetitive things like research that we do and. And putting things together, you know, that same approach that allows an organization, uh, you know, to, to have a very careful approach and [00:08:00] allowing the other, the other component of the story, Rich, that is, is really cool is, you know, the partners have to opt in and they have to opt in as to what level they want Thank Uh, the way I understand it, right? So this isn’t something that is just being lit up, like you’re getting the next update and it’s there for you. They’re putting the decision-making power in the hands of their partners themselves and allowing them to understand, uh, all of the ramifications and how it all works, right? Rather than having a platform that automatically now, all of a sudden, like some of the platforms that we use, uh, Rich have AI, you know, the next update, it’s just in there. And it’s like begging for you to use it, right? Uh, so, I think there’s a lot of good. Uh, with this measured approach, and it’s, it’s a mature, uh, vision for handling something that has such power and capability, but can also go sideways so very, very quickly if used [00:09:00] incorrectly.
Rich Freeman: Mature is a great word. Um, this is, this is sound judgment that they’re exercising, and you’re exactly right. In fact, the way Uh, Fred Vokola described that opt in process on the Cooper Bots to me as he said, it’s sort of like, you know, you’re in Word and you’re trying to delete a really important document and you say delete and it asks, are you sure? And then maybe it asks again. It’s not even just like click the box and opt in. They are really going, what he said was we’re over communicating to the nth degree. We’re going to make really, really sure that you understand what you’re doing and that you really want to do it. And precisely because, um, if you stumble into it, or if they just enabled it by default, that could really f things up, and they really don’t want to do that. The other quick thing I’ll point out before we move on here is, um, Ranjan Singh, their Chief Product Officer, said something very interesting, um, to me that I thought was really smart, which is just, um, we never want at Caseya to take an approach to AI, That basically says we’re, we’re going to just [00:10:00] look for places to put this. What we want to do is look for problems that need to be solved where we’ve concluded AI is the best solution. But you don’t start with, what do we do with AI? You start with what do our partners need? What are their customers need? And where are the situations where the. The best answer to that is going to be AI, and then we’ll go ahead and use it there. So, again, I think they’re taking a really, um, uh, good approach to this, a mature approach. Um, we’ll watch that evolve. Um, now, you know, Cooper Bots. Eric, we’re talking about… Um, something that potentially can be very useful from a service delivery standpoint, but it’s certainly not the only way to, um, streamline or address service delivery issues. That happens to be the topic that you spoke about at DattoCon this week, and it also is related to your tip of the week.
Erick Simpson: Absolutely, Rich. Great segue, as always. And yes, my session, I, I, uh, moderated a panel. Uh, at Autotask Community Live, [00:11:00] which, you know, was, was, uh, launched, uh, uh, this year again, brought back, and it was a pre day, so I moderated a panel of experts on, uh, you know, the employee, you know, what do we, what can we do? Uh, you know, to, to be more, uh, welcoming and friendly and, and get more out of our existing teams and making hiring decisions better and how do we, you know, train and, and just basically love on the staff that we have in order to, you know, make it a special place. I think that, you know, some of the challenges that we have in this, you know, um, the technology gap that we have, the labor gap, the, you know, whatever you want to call it, resource gap that we have, is not only is it hard to hire new staff, but we’re also churning out staff. So the panel was all about people, which was great. And we had some really [00:12:00] great panelists there. And then I had a session that I delivered directly to the attendees. It was all about today’s modern MSP service delivery challenges, and I was asked to break it down into kind of, you know, the three What, you know, the three challenges and I thought, well, there’s a lot more than three that I would like to talk about. So I kind of broke it down into three different sections. But, you know, in general, the first thing that we, you know, that we understand after, you know, coming out of, uh, you know, post COVID, right. And I know this is a big topic that everybody talks about. It almost seems like it’s getting tired. But it really, you know, the pandemic and what we had to do as an industry. You know, to change, to adapt to the changing needs of businesses, vendors had to adapt, MSPs had to adapt, businesses had to adapt to support these hybrid workforces, to migrate to the cloud [00:13:00] faster, to enforce stronger cyber security and all these things. It has changed the way that MSPs deliver services moving forward, and so some of these new challenges that MSPs face, Rich, include things like staying ahead of these, you know, sometimes you think of it as like constantly changing customer expectations, right? And a lot of it’s being driven by cybersecurity threats and, you know, moving more quickly toward the cloud and the hybrid workforce. So there’s a lot of changing customer expectations. The way we delivered services way different today than we did three years ago. Um, the other things that, that, uh, MSPs are challenged with are maximizing their service efficiency. So how do we get more from, from what we have when it’s so tough to hire More folks, and because the cost of that labor is so great, how do we [00:14:00] get more out of the staff that we have and become more efficient in doing that while maintaining a high level of morale and appreciation for the team? Managing escalating costs. We talk a lot, Rich, about, you know, sprawl, technology sprawl, solution sprawl, vendor sprawl. It seems like. You know, there are so many great services and solutions that are out there for MSPs to choose from, to include into their portfolios and deliver to their clients, but all of that increases the cost of service delivery. So I had a couple of insights on that, which I’ll, I’ll talk about a little bit. How do we manage those escalating costs? Increasing service profits is another challenge of modern MSPs. And I already talked about hiring and retaining skilled personnel. And then the last one that I threw in, Rich, was increasing the value of the organization. Now, in my session, I was [00:15:00] told there were over 300 people in the room. So it was a very, uh, heavily attended pre day event, all of the, um, all of the agenda. We’re all about task community live happened in this big room. And I think I heard it was like 330 people. So it was a large group, a representative group of MSPs. And I asked the attendees, Rich, raise your hands. How many of you are MSP business owners? And I was surprised, you know, I wasn’t counting all the hands, but it looked like the majority to me were owners in that, in that room, in that pre day. And so the, you know, the theme of increasing the value of the organization for a future exit or even growth through acquisition, I think was very appropriate. Um, so I broke down three key service strategies, um, to, you know, address some of those, uh, you know, [00:16:00] efficiency and cost related issues. So the first thing that I, that I recommended was to restructure service dispatch and incident management processes. And just one. Take away from that part of the discussion was stop sending tickets to level one, that level one or tier one cannot solve, cannot close within your SLA, just that one simple, you know, nugget, like why send something to someone they work on it until they have to escalate it out and then someone else has to work on it. So just that one. Uh, efficiently tiering, staffing, and capacity planning for your service desk, the realization, one nugget from that part of the discussion, Rich, was what percentage of your tickets are level one tickets? It’s the majority of tickets. So how are you tiering your staff? Sometimes what [00:17:00] we see, Rich, level two, level three engineers closing level one tickets because the tiering and the structure of the service desk isn’t, Um, aligned with where the work comes in. So shift that. If you have 90 percent of your tickets going to level one, three or 4%, you know, going up to level two, and then the rest going up to level three, you wouldn’t imagine that the majority of your technicians should be in level one. Uh, and then the third one, uh, the third tip that I gave for a key service strategy improvement was eliminating project and scope creep, uh, scope creep. And see for good. And this is all about establishing the rules of engagement with a client when you have that kickoff meeting, agreeing to the schedule, agreeing to the resources that are going to be participating in the project on, on all sides. The MSP side, their vendor side, the client side, their internal [00:18:00] staff side, maybe their vendors as well, and to establish the rules for change management, and to establish that the outcome of the project should not be based, this might scare a few people, Rich, not be based around the cost or the time frame CEO we can get into that on another podcast, but when you’re talking about delivering an objective that is free from, you know, we’re trying to deliver the project within our budgeted, uh, you know, price and timeframe, but we don’t control everything and things come up, Rich, all the time. And the mistake, uh, in what, where I’ve seen MSPs make in delivering projects is, um, They assume that they have to deliver the project within that timeframe and for that budget. And so they’re not delivering proper change management to the client to say, Hey, this is [00:19:00] something that we have to adjust around something happened. We need more time for this and get them to approve that. Now, if we’re all in sync on the objective, being a business objective or a technology objective, rather than a timeline and a budget, then it’s easier for us to create a relationship with a client where they understand that the most important role that they can play. Rich is to approve change quickly, whether it costs money or not. And so we do, we do phase reviews. So each phase has its objective. We’re trying to hit, again, it’s a technology outcome or a business outcome. We check in with the client and they say, yes, you’ve achieved that objective. We may have three or four change orders, right. To deliver that outcome because of things that we weren’t expecting of, because of no fault of our own. But at the end of the project, let’s say that the project went over, uh, you know, 10 percent on budget. And it went over by two weeks, but we hit every objective that we agreed to along the way, and the [00:20:00] client approved every phase by saying we did meet that objective.So at the end of that project, we meet, we met the objective, and we used change management and communication management. To deliver that outcome. And because we’re doing it that way, we’re managing scope, creep, and seep. We’re getting paid for things that fall outside of the expectation. And the client is also very happy because we are delivering exactly what we said we were delivering. And we were managing that process exactly the way we said we would manage it to overcome things that we can’t predict in the future. And so that’s been a really successful, um, strategy for managing projects that I, that I work with MSPs on. A couple of operational strategies, Rich, this is a long tip of the week here, but we’re going to get some value to our, to our listeners here. Reviewing and updating your service and product portfolio bundles and pricing. Sometimes MSPs just, uh, products and solutions in their stack. [00:21:00] You know, when it’s time to change them out, to meet the changing requirements of today’s clients that they’re serving, right? Or they haven’t, you know, really evaluated the cost of that service. Now you’re giving your, your staff raises, right? And bonuses and things like that over, you know, you’ve got a client that’s on a three year agreement. And in three years, you’re paying your staff a lot more money. Well, are your bundles and pricing aligned with that increased cost when you sell to new clients? So I’m going to think about the second one is truing up legacy client pricing, Rich. I mean, uh, I, I asked a lot of questions during my session and folks were raising their hands. I said, Hey, how many of you have clients that you’ve had for years that are paying less than the client you’re going to sign up next week? A majority of hands went up. So we’ve got to find a way to true up our clients on a regular basis. And then the last tip I gave on the operational side, Rich was. [00:22:00] Firing your C customers. We’ve talked about that before on the show as well. And regularly, again, if you’ve got these legacy clients where your margin, you know, for those folks is, you know, double digits, uh, you know, less than what a new client, uh, can pay you and they are not going to move and they’re not growing and they won’t pay any more, then guess what they’re taxing your existing staff. And giving you a capacity problem. Now, now you have to go out and hire new technicians and engineers because you need to serve these new clients that are paying you more. Well, guess what? Do the math the other way and say, Hey, let me make room for new clients with my existing staff by exiting some of my C customers that are paying me a lot. Last area, Rich, that I gave some tips on is key talent strategies. Really leading your team, right? There’s a difference between managing a team and leading the team. And our job as [00:23:00] leaders in an organization, Rich, is to build other leaders. So empower our teams. You know, reward them, give them incentives, getting, and I had this one, uh, I’m looking at the slide right now, and the original way it was written was, uh, this bullet point was getting your, getting your staff performance reviews right, and I struck out Performance reviews, and I replaced it with coaching, getting your staff coaching, right, have more quarter, more performance reviews more often. And I know that listeners are probably going, Holy cow. What are you talking about? It takes me weeks to get my performance reviews done the way it is right now. Well, guess what? If you look at it as a coaching opportunity, you’re spending less time. I recommend quarterly, uh, performance reviews, kind of it’s coaching, setting, uh, very specific goals every quarter. And working with your staff to help clear the noise out of their way and [00:24:00] allowing them to hit those milestones and to grow within the organization. How many times, Rich, have we heard, uh, employees grumbling, uh, after a performance review, saying things like, well, if they would have just told me, you know, they wanted me to do something different or do it a different way or do this or that, uh, I probably would have got a better, you know, pay increase, right? Or salary bump or whatever it is. You know, a yearly review, it’s too late, right? It’s already in the past. So get in front of it, get your staff coaching right, and then interview your team often. I recommend asking three questions. What is it that the organization is doing that you feel we should stop doing and why? You’ll get plenty of feedback. The second question is, what is the organization not doing that we should be doing and why? And you can have these questions during these, you [00:25:00] know, coaching opportunities or just in, in general. And the third question is kind of a fit question. Sometimes an, uh, uh, an employee, you know, joins the organization and they get put into a role, but they really would like to try something different. So the third question is all about, hey, what, uh, what would you like to be doing here in the organization? Hey, you’re not doing and get some of that feedback. So again, it was a great session, a lot of interaction, a lot of, you know, hand raising and things like that. And it was all about, you know, meeting the needs of today’s modern. MSP Service Delivery Unit. So it encompassed all of these areas.
Rich Freeman: Um, and you know, awesome stuff as usual, Eric. And, um, you know, it, listening to it on the podcast is no substitute for being there because you don’t have the opportunity for interaction. Um, you got a pretty close second, um, to [00:26:00] that by listening to MSP chat. And so this is a great reason to keep listening. We’re going to have to move on, um, in just a moment here. But I do want to share one quick observation before we do that kind of struck me as I was, um, listening to this because One of the issues that you set up, you know, one of the problems that you discussed at the beginning there was around hiring and retention, which everyone knows is a huge issue. But a lot of the other issues you were talking about, um, kind of make hiring and retention harder, right? So Um, constantly changing requirements, for example, that can be stressful for the people who are working for you and, and that’s not going to make hiring and retention easier. Um, uh, the need to, to drive efficiency, if you’re, you know, pushing your techs to do more with less kind of a thing, that can make the job harder, can make retention, uh, more difficult. So there, there’s a lot going on for the MSP today that can actually complicate this particular hiring and retention challenge. But then you moved on to the solutions you were talking about, and a lot of them actually work in [00:27:00] favor of making hiring retention a little bit easier, um, to the degree that you’re not, for example, um, sending level two issues to a level one person who doesn’t know how to use them, you’re making that job, you know, easier, more appropriate, less stressful, um, for that, and, and there were some, for that person, and there were various other examples like that, where it’s like, oh, okay, so, We’re both doing something good for the business that also happens to be good for the employees and therefore makes the retention problem less of a problem. And it’s, it’s always nice when those two things happen, uh, simultaneously. And they, they did in a lot of the advice that you were offering there, Eric. So great stuff. Um, now we, uh, we’re gonna have to move on to our spotlight interview segment here, folks. This, uh, as we said, was recorded, um, at DattoCon earlier this week, so when we come back after the break, you’re gonna see Eric and me in a different setting, seated side by side with Antoine Jabbar. He is the co founder of JumpCloud, [00:28:00] also runs, uh, their MSP business over there. I initially invited him to come on the show to talk about a research study Junkod published recently, and we do get into that, but we actually get into a whole bunch of other stuff with him. It’s a really interesting conversation for anyone who still feels like they’re kind of wrapping their brain around the business opportunity for an MSP in cloud computing. It’s all coming your way. After the break, stick around. We’ll be right back. Edmunds. Um, we are here live at DattoCon 2023. We are joined by Antoine Jabbar, uh, who is a co-founder, uh, and also runs the, uh, MSP products at Jump Cl uh, Antoine, thank you so much for Joinings. Pleasure. Um, tell folks a little bit for, for people who are new to you and particularly if they’re new to [00:29:00] JumpCloud, um, what you do and what JumpCloud Antoine Jebara: So I’m, as you mentioned, I’m one of the co founders of JumpCloud and I’m in charge of our global LST business and JumpCloud is a unified identity access and device management platform. It can be used by MSPs to provide seamless access for their clients to different types of resources, passwords, devices, network appliances, and it’s usually used to centralize identities and to one help, which allows. MSPs to efficiently and security manage these identities and connect these identities to the different services that a companies gonna now choose.
Rich Freeman: Um, I learned recently that, um, you were associated with the company. I wrote about a little bit. Um, I was introduced to it by the folks at, uh, Ingram Micro some years back. But, um, my key, you were, you were part of that, uh, but what was, uh, that company about? Yeah, so my key was a password management and MFA company. Uh, specifically catered around managed service [00:30:00] providers. At the time, we, um, had noticed that a lot of MSKs were struggling with password management and the rollout of MFA, and we set out to build a solution that would help them do that. So you can, um, the way that it, what it looked like was, it was a general password manager for end clients to use to log in to different types of applications and cloud services. It was also a password manager for the MSK2s internally, and it was all managed from one multi tenant porno. We had a partner program that enabled MSKs to be successful. Um, a lot of the challenges that we used to see on the MSK side when it comes to password management still persist. Because passwords are still, still an important role in our current, uh, tech stack. We haven’t been able to get rid of them, even though we’re making a lot of progress, uh, to get there, as an industry in general. And this is why I’m very excited to be part of JumpCloud now, because at JumpCloud, we do the end to end. [00:31:00] We can take any client environment of an MSP from a password based world to a free passwordless world, and then layer on top additional layers of security. So that completes the story. And it’s one seamless experience, rather than it being. Uh, a solution that’s made out of point solutions that need to be put together that, which creates like operational issues, increases the cost of management, and reintroduces some security concerns because of the COVID vaccine. Um, I
Rich Freeman: would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of my access to you. It is, as we’re recording this a day or two, um, past, uh, JumpCloud announcing an alliance agreement with a company I’m relatively new to called Electric. Um, tell folks a little bit about what you and Electric have agreed to do together and why that’s significant for your, uh, Antoine Jebara: your users and partners. So Electric is one of the more, most sophisticated MSKs currently on the market. They’ve built a solution that has a [00:32:00] SaaS offering aspect to it, where a lot of companies can self serve a lot of the requests that they need on a day to day basis. And the way you can look at it is that Electric is a very sophisticated MST, basically, that’s able to scale tens of thousands of users and hundreds of thousands of users very easily because of the approach that they’ve picked. And so this platform that they’ve built used to rely on different port solutions for device management across different types of operating systems and also had some components around identity and access management. And what Electric, and jumped out, agreed to do was… Consolidate electric staff by having them join our partner program and use JumpCloud as the backbone of their offering. They’re currently building their next generation of solutions that are going to start rolling out hopefully towards the end of this year, that are going to supercharge the way small businesses, small and medium sized businesses look at IT from an identity access device management perspective and from an overall IT [00:33:00] management perspective. So the way that it’s positioned is that it’s giving. SMEs access to enterprise grade security without the overhead, without any of the cost, like the large cost, which is going to help them compete with the bigger players. So we’re very excited about this partnership, and I think that we’re just at the start of what we can do
Erick Simpson: together. Antoine, you’re specifically in charge of MSP products at JunkCloud. What are those products or MSPs? And how do you message the value proposition for MSP borrowers? Yeah, Antoine Jebara: I’m currently in charge of our MSP business, which includes overseeing the products, but also the go to market on break. And as you make the product is at the core for JobTel does, right? Because we’ve grown over the years by, by adopting a product growth model, where you get into the product, you use the product, and then the product convinces you then something that you need to. JumpCloud for MSKs, which is our MSK focused product [00:34:00] offering, is a multi tenant platform that allows MSKs to deploy JumpCloud to multiple clients in parallel and have a single pane of glass to manage all of the deployments of JumpCloud. So when you look at JumpCloud, the core offering, it’s identity, access, and device management in one unified platform. That means features like single sign on, multi factor authentication, password management. Conditional access policies, cloud radius, cloud LDAP, but also device management capabilities across Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. So, imagine all of that in one tenant, but then with an umbrella account over it that allows MSP to manage all of that from one unified experience. That’s what jumped out for MSP. Erick Simpson: That’s a powerful value proposition because, as you know, one of the biggest challenges that MSPs are facing today It is kind of technology sprawl, vendor sprawl, dashboard sprawl. So it sounds like JumpCloud can replace [00:35:00] maybe multiple different technologies or products or even vendor relationships for an MSP, making it easier for them to manage. Deploy and respond to known incidents. Is Antoine Jebara: that right? Absolutely. I mean, the vendors problem is a big issue, right? Because it leads to, it comes, if we look at the reason why we got to here, it has a lot to do with how we’ve transitioned to the cloud, right? When we were on ePrem, we had devices that were the center of the world. You give the user access to their device, to the network services, appliances that they need to have access to, and that was most of it. And then… Cloud services started appearing that were very appealing because they allow for increase in productivity, improvement in security, and they opened new frontiers. They opened new frontiers to business, but the directory as it was at the time was not equipped to give users access to those different types of services. So, a bunch of point solutions got created to try to streamline that. Single sign on, [00:36:00] multi factor authentication, password managers to help manage all of that. And then, the user identity became the center of the stack. It shifted their way to an identity transformation, going from device based identity to a digital identity. And there was, by default, there’s no single source of truth. Every service that you use has its own identity, right? You’re using Salesforce, right? Your identity there. Slack, same thing. Wi Fi, VPN, different identities. Your device, different identities. So it became very, very hard for companies to manage and they started. Reinforcing that cloud by connecting all of the different components together. So if you look at a Nameskis stack today, or at an SMB stack today, it’s a bunch of point solutions and Nebula of point solutions, kind of all connected together. And they’re hard to manage, it’s expensive to own and maintain, and introduces security issues. So as you mentioned, JumpCloud helps with that, because we consolidate a lot of the core requirements, which are identity, access, and device management, [00:37:00] onto one platform. And that allows you to either rebuild your base. With the core JumpCloud components, like introduce it within your stack and have it run your identity access and device management, or it could be used to complement your existing stack because a lot of MSKs, as we know, have relationships with different vendors and are locked into multi year contracts, unfortunately. So even though there’s a desire to move fully to JumpCloud. That move sometimes takes a year or two to happen. So the way JumpCloud works is that you connect it to your stack. And it basically connects to different sources of identity. If you have AD in place, Azure AD in place, Google Workspace for some of your customers, if you have Mac, Windows, Linux devices, 30 different types of SaaS applications, JumpCloud will connect into all of that. And it can condense all of these identities into one identity that’s easily manageable and auditable. And then over time, you can decide to stop using some of these components and replace them with an internal Jack Cloud [00:38:00] component. Or you can, from day one, extend your stack with different capabilities. So, like, you need a password manager, you need them inbate, you need access to Wi Fi or VPN, uh, in a streamlined way. All of that can be done with one identity. And the real beauty of it is the user experience, because that’s what it all boils down to, right? Like, everything that NMSKey does is geared ideally towards what users want. And that’s what this is. Reducing their calls, improving security, and they want IT to get out of the way, which is something that we tend to forget when we work in Metscliq. And the best way to get IT out of the way is to offer a seamless access experience, not only to cloud applications, but to any type of resource that you need. And that’s what JumpCloud delivers on day one of being deployed into a stack.
Erick Simpson: Now, you mentioned kind of how… The universe used to be all about these point devices that we had, you know, in [00:39:00] the workplace and we’ve seen an acceleration toward the cloud, I think, you know, uh, influenced by, you know, the pandemic and remote workforce and heightened security and things like that. With this move toward the cloud, what’s your perspective on the opportunity for MSPs to take advantage of it? Because being a, Recovery at NSP myself, I know sometimes we, we have trouble letting go of things that, that we have, you know, direct and complete control of. And now moving toward the cloud, there’s a, there’s risk, but there’s also revenue to be had. So how do you see the evolution that an MSB must go through in order to take advantage of where we’re going and where their customers want to go? The benefits Antoine Jebara: of the cloud are not here. Right. It’s, it would be, a few years ago, [00:40:00] you still had to convince a lot of people that a move from on prem to the cloud was the right thing, but today the broad majority of, uh, stakeholders understand the value of the cloud and have either already flung to the cloud or are in the process of moving to the cloud. Some of them have not yet, but they will be in the coming years. It stops by legacy systems that need to be in place that are hard, uh, to, to offset. So that’s clearly something that small and medium sized businesses want. They want to move to the cloud to take, to, to benefit from all of the innovations that exist and the productivity boost that the cloud gives you in general. As you mentioned, it can be a scary thing for an NSP that has a certain way of operating and has built a successful business, uh, to operating that certain way. And that’s. Risk, in my opinion, can be heavily mitigated by doing it one step at a time. And the way to look at it, in my opinion, is to say, [00:41:00] okay, today, this is all we do.This is how much revenue we generate. This is what our margins look like. This is what our clients are saying when we survey them or ask them. Where do we want to be in two or three years? Ideally, putting aside the stack, our operating model, our geography, the type of clients that we have, et cetera, where do we want to be? Once you have a vision on that, then you look back to the to me, will the cloud help me in that journey? The likely answer is yes. Then when you establish that, it’s that, what do I need to do to get there? Rip and replacing my entire stack is not an option. It’s risky, it’s expensive, the risk is just too huge. So what is the first step that I need to do? And what we advise partners to do in general, is that they need to establish a strong identity and access viability foundation. Because this is where it all sits. As we discussed a few minutes ago, it’s now all about digital identities. We’ve gone through that identity transformation now. So once you have a single source of [00:42:00] truth for identities and a platform that’s open, so you try, in my opinion, to avoid vendor lock, going into a vertically integrated system where you have to use every single component of the platform to be successful. Surely you’re adopting an open philosophy to your cloud directory, to the source of identities. Then attaching things onto it because you can connect your on prem infrastructure. That’s the first step. It’s still functional, but now you’ve connected it to the cloud. And then over time, you do migrations and the way to do migrations or like to upgrade these different systems to a cloud native approach is to identify the low hanging fruit so that your customer is. Who are the clients of mine that really want that transformation, that are willing to go through that migration and learn with me that process of actually migrating them fully to the cloud and benefiting from that opportunity, which is going to allow me to reduce my operational and vendor costs, can allow me to increase my margins, and it’s going to improve [00:43:00] security for everyone. You identify these clients, start with them, and you build your confidence. And you’ll notice that a few months in, we’ll be moving. Guides way faster to the new upgraded way of looking at it.
Erick Simpson: Yeah, I agree with that approach. And I would even go further to say that there will come a point in time as the MSPs, you know, go all in on cloud and begin to evaluate their client relationships. The customers that, you know, aren’t moving in that direction, aren’t strategically seeing the value. We are creating an initial cost to that NSB. So these will be probably the, the customers on the short list to be exited as they, you know, get all of their clients moving in the same direction and allows them to scale much more broadly with the resources that they have at Antoine Jebara: hand. Absolutely. And if you’re doing a good job, even the harder clients to convince would eventually turn around because it’s not just you trying to incest, the industry is trying [00:44:00] to go with it and that direction in general. And I think that as an MST, your North Star is to have exceptional, uh, uh, client experience, an exceptional client experience, but also as a business, you need to increase your revenues, reduce your costs and improve security because security can be a killer to an MSP. And as long as you have that North Star that you’re going towards, then you have conviction on what you’re trying to do. Right. That needs to happen. What do we need to do it? We don’t want to do all of it today because it’s a scary thing. We have a lot to learn, et cetera. How do we plan to have 25 percent of our clients by the end of 2024, uh, in that new world of operation and then go beyond that the week after? That’s the question. It’s very scary to think about it, but once you start doing it, there’s nothing scary about it because you’re taking measured steps and there’s partners to help you, right? That when you think about the vendor ecosystem. I think that the ecosystem has been tainted by a lot of vendors that have not acted as [00:45:00] partners and have acted more as vendors, trying to lock you into multi year deals, very transactional, the value of the partnering program gets you, let’s sell you more licenses at any point in life. But I think that successful RSTs will, are, one of the traits that successful RSTs have is identifying the right companies to partner with, uh, because a good partner will enable you from a technical perspective. Also from a go to market perspective, but they’ll also be here if you’re facing any challenges and will help you make decisions that are usually helpful and give you that confidence. I think that’s also an important thing for partners to have.
Rich Freeman: So, uh, there is almost nothing I love more than a great, uh, research study, uh, and data to pour over and you guys published a good one just a few weeks ago, mid September. Um, you went out to, and it’s worth specifying, you went out to SMBs, but it was, um, SMBs, not so much the MSPs, um, serving those, uh, SMBs, [00:46:00] um, but I want to run through some statistical highlights from it that I thought were interesting and just get your thoughts, so one of the things that you turned up was, um, 77 percent of the people, um, surveyed said that, um, if they could, had A single tool with which to manage, um, uh, that entire cloud experience or basically to do their job, they would do that, but they can’t. And is the issue there what you were talking about before essentially that they’re kind of stuck in this point solution kind of world right now and getting from where they are to that nirvana of a single tool is, is just very, very difficult. Yeah, absolutely. So the companies that have gone through the cloud transformation. We are suffering from a nebula of point solutions because that’s what was available at the time of the transition to the cloud. Newer companies that are digital native, what we’re seeing is that when you start off a business, you’re not an IT expert, right? So you’re going to set up an email solution as a first thing, and then you’re going to [00:47:00] need different components. So you just go search on different social networks or like search engines for specific point solutions, and then you end up in the same. In the same situation, so it’s absolutely that, like a lot of them cannot move because they’re, they think that they cannot move because they’re stuck into a point solution ecosystem that they’ve invested a lot of time and effort in setting up, but they’re also currently investing a lot of time and effort in maintaining. So having that aha moment that showed them, okay, there are platforms that exist that actually help you move to a unified approach. Finding that aha moment is, I think, what’s between every SMB and them moving to a unified platform. Uh,
Rich Freeman: you know, you were talking about passwordless, uh, authentication being the future and, and I, I think pretty universally at this point, people agree that we’re heading towards a passwordless future. Um, from my perspective, perspective as [00:48:00] somebody who’s not immersed in that field, you know, it’s, it feels like we are still relatively early in that journey and yet there were some statistics in the report that surprised me. Look, they might not, might not surprise you, I’ll be curious to see, but in the report, 55 percent of SMBs worldwide, you guys surveyed, 69 percent in the U.I require biometrics for authentication. Um, and I would totally have guessed, um, you know, three years from now, maybe we would see numbers like that for 69 percent of SMBs in the U. S. to be requiring, I guess, to some degree biometrics for authentication now surprised me. What are your thoughts about that statistic in particular? I think that it makes a lot of sense because a lot of the devices that have been shipped over the last five years have, are equipped with biometrics. And the enrollment into the biometric engines on these devices, it’s pretty straightforward. So unlocking your computer with a fingerprint is now very easy. Also [00:49:00] unlocking your password manager or single sign on solution or MFA solution with biometrics is also built in because a lot of the vendors of these tools have adopted these technologies, Touch ID for Mac, Windows Hedo for Windows devices. So I think that that happened way faster than we were expecting it. Now, a lot of that authentication is still backed by a password sometimes, right? You’re unlocking your computer with a biometric, but you still need a password to unlock it after you restart it fully. You’re unlocking your password manager with a biometric, but there’s still an underlying password that’s being injected in the page. And I think that that’s the motion that’s going to take a little bit longer. Uh, to get rid of for you, we’re seeing a lot of progress now with passkeys on the consumer end, for sure, with all major, uh, company, all the major companies and the big vendors, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, they have adopted this technology natively within their stack and are heavily investing in that. And a lot of enterprise [00:50:00] platforms as well including JumpCloud that are at the forefront of that for the enterprises as well. Like moving from a password based word to a password in this world. And it’s easier for us to do because as a single sign-on vendor, that’s an access management vendor, you already have only one password to take care of. So we replace that password with the passwordless approach. Ation, then you’ve effectively able to taste all of the stack, uh, from a highly password based model to ask for Nissan. Can,
Rich Freeman: can you speak just a little bit about your vision for Passwordless and you know, where you’re at now and, and where you’re are going specifically with your product? So I think that the way we’re heading is that password disk has clearly a lot of benefits from a usability perspective and type satisfaction perspective from a security perspective. The benefits are clear and then you can layer on additional layers of security if needed. So you can have a very hardened setup or a very light setup, but for the end users, the experience is seamless. For us, our vision is to, is, is what we call devices as a gateway. When you’re [00:51:00] using a device that’s managed by JumpCloud and you authenticate to that device in a passwordless way or in a password based way, then JumpCloud takes care of the rest after that. JumpCloud will authenticate you into Cloud’s SaaS services through our single sign on integration. It will automatically use our password manager to inject passwords when passwords are still required. And it also drops certificates on the device. That allow you to access Wi Fi, VPN, on premise, uh, NAS, the rest of the things that you need to have access to. So a device is a gateway, where a user doesn’t have to worry about the different methodologies of trying to log in to different things and adding the need to use different passwords and that MFA in this case, but not MFA in this case, and if I’m in this location, then the process changes fully. Like, this unified seamless user experience. Is that the core, like, this is what we have, this is our North Star, when we’re trying to think about what we’re going to build. And our device is the Gateway Vision, is the way to get there. And we’re, [00:52:00] we’ve made a lot of progress this year. If you were to try the JumpCloud platform today, you’d realize that the experience is absolutely seamless for end users. We can tie the device shipment to the user to the point where the user access any type of package. So they get a device out of, they get it out of the wrapper, Jumped Out is already there because we’re an MDM vendor on major platforms. And the user indicates to their Jumped Out credential, with their Jumped Out credentials, which is the only credentials they’re going to need. And then. JumpCloud will fully manage the device, drop all of the certificates and the keys that you need to authenticate to different types of services, and you’re automatically logged into Wi Fi, VPN, SaaS applications, password based applications. The experience is really seamless. And then, when the life of the user, whether the company comes to an end. The and it’s extremely easy for the admin to deactivate the access for value user as not only would it deactivate the device, but also deactivate every single resource that the user [00:53:00] had access to all attack. Erick Simpson: And, you know, there were a couple of statistics in, uh, in your study and in, in the survey itself that kind of jumped out at me and I’ve got ’em here. So one of them was. A little under two thirds of the 63 percent of admins that were polled use Active Directory or Azure Active Directory, but a little under two thirds of them said that they would replace Active Directory or Azure Active Directory if they could. That was kind of surprising to me. How do you read that statistic? That goes back to the vendor locking conversation. Uh, Microsoft’s strategy in general is, is. About the vertical integration, it offers security, productivity, identity, access device arrangement around you within one stack, and the central of Microsoft is to sell you more of the components. So they [00:54:00] build price, like their pricing packaging around that, that can be a source of friction when. What we hear from SMEs is freedom of choice. This is what we want. We want to be able to use Slack over Microsoft Teams. We want to be able to use Google Workspace over Office, or at least for a subset of our users within the organization. We want to use Matt. We want to use iOS devices. Companies today want freedom of choice. They want to use the best tools to help them focus on their mission to be successful. And that, I think, creates friction with the way Microsoft clicks, I think. Where you have to be on Microsoft top to the bottom for it to make sense. And then because of the way Microsoft historically approached software, the complexity of Azure AD, definitely AD and end to end is extremely high. So there’s very high barriers to entry for IT administrators that need to manage all of that. It results in a degraded experience for end users that face different types of issues. [00:55:00] And to go back to the pricing and packaging point, they’re paying a premium to have access to that technology. So I think that this is definitely something that we’re seeing. It’s a trend that is clear. We’re going towards an open approach to identity access device management to be able to pick best in breed solutions. And I think that companies that are focused on enabling SMEs and MSPs as a result to do that are gonna be the ones that virtue. Yeah,
Erick Simpson: that makes a lot of sense. You know, where it’s more about freedom and the ability to choose and not be locked into, you know, kind of a monolithic. Licensing structure. Now that you think about it. So I appreciate that. And that response. All right, Antoine, here’s my second statistic that jumped out at me from the study. And it indicated that 90 percent of the SME respondents said that they currently outsource their IT work to MSPs or are considering outsourcing, [00:56:00] uh, that work to MSPs. But here in the US, only about 42% Uh, SMBs are outsourcing that work and I can look at it from kind of two angles. One says, uh, Haiti’s internal IT departments, uh, are, are ready to relinquish full control. To an MSP, but then I also see the other side that said is holy cow, that seemed like a higher percentage than we probably were tracking from before the pandemic. So, um, are internal IT organizations now trusting MSPs more to do some of that internal work? And what does that bode for MSPs in terms of selling more co managed IT moving forward, do you think? That’s a trend that we’re definitely seeing increase. The pandemic helped with that a lot, right? A lot of businesses had to move from on prem to [00:57:00] the cloud and enable remote workers extremely fast and were not equipped to do so. So they had to onboard RSKs. And a lot of them saw the value of keeping these RSK relationships in place in a co managed setup. But putting this aside, if we go back to the conversation around it being way more complex than it was five, 10 years ago, it’s security threats becoming more and more sophisticated any day, every day. Companies are at a disadvantage by design. More medium sized businesses, and it’s more and more apparent that these companies need the external help and it’s help that’s being requested from the IT managers themselves, within the organizations ’cause they feel that they’re not equipped. Keep these companies product protected. And set them up for the next stage of growth by simplifying the infrastructure that they have in place and making it more scalable. So I think that that increase that we’re seeing is a function of two things. The first one being what we just discussed, the need to leverage external [00:58:00] support with the IT stack, the core IT stack and with security concerned. But the second one is the fact that more and more companies are outsourcing their IT to an MSP. They have to, because… What a lot of SMDs are worried about is the increases in license costs they’re in. They’re worried about increase in staff complexity in general, and they’re also in incre, uh, worried about cybersecurity threats. And these are three things that an MSP can directly support NSNU. So that number went way up over the last 10 years, now more companies than ever before have shown interest or are already working with an MSK. And a subset of that is co managed setups that have either started as co managed or have grown to become co managed over time as the company grew internally, had the need to hire in house people, but wanted to keep the relationship with an MS. So I think that we’ve reached that level of maturity within Spaced and there’s a lot of opportunities for MS keys now [00:59:00] to leverage these co managed relationships. To improve the efficiency of their own business, increase their margins, help security be maintained at a point in time, and just make them more successful as MSPs. Okay.
Rich Freeman: Uh, Antoine, really, really interesting, uh, conversation. I so thank you for, uh, taking some time away from DattoCon and joining us, joining our audience. Um, for folks out there who would like to get in touch with you, learn more about JumpCloud, where would you suggest they go? So I’d start on JumpCloud’s website, jumpcloud.com, but also feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, if you’d like to discuss anything that was covered today, or want to dive more into JumpCloud, I’ll connect you to the right people within our organization, or my email is antoine at jumpcloud. com.
Rich Freeman: All right, um, fantastic. Thanks again very much. Folks, we’re going to take a break. We’ll be right back. Quite [01:00:00] impressive. And the thing, there were a lot of things I loved about the conversation, but one particular thing that I really appreciated Um, was when he was talking about the journey into the cloud as being a gradual one. And this, this, you know, they, they built this idea right into the JumpCloud product. It dovetails with their product strategy for a reason. But the idea that just leaping all the way in isn’t necessarily a Uh, an easy or a smart thing for someone to do and kind of stepping your way in, um, can be more successful and, um, you know, as he’s kind of discussing the way the JumpCloud product actually can enable that, I was thinking, boy, that’s, it’s both a smart strategy for getting into the cloud and a smart strategy for JumpCloud to, uh, to enable that. So, I, just a very interesting conversation. Um, I, I can’t recall if we said this on the air or off the air, but we both agree we need to have Antoine back on the show at some point in the future, and we will definitely do that. [01:01:00] Now that leaves us with time, um, for just one last thing, folks, here, and Um, I gotta set this up just a little bit. This is not the first podcast Eric and I have, uh, done together, the MSP chat show. When I was at, uh, Channel Pro once upon a time, he and I co hosted a program called the Channel Pro Five Minute Roundup, and we had sort of this running theme, um, going on that show where we would talk about stories in the news about service animals on airplanes, um, for example, and the, the sort of scams people would try to, A lot of people pulled to get their, you know, their service, dog or cat or ostrich or something weird on the plane with them. And it came to mind when I saw this in the news, it kind of went viral, so it, I’m guessing a lot of people in the audience saw this, too. Has to do with Wally, the emotional support alligator. Um, Eric there is such a thing as an emotional support alligator. Now it turns out Wally, um, Wally and his owner showed up at the um Philadelphia Phillies ballpark, [01:02:00] To go into the clubhouse, no less, and talk to the players, and, and hang out, and, uh, gosh, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a policy at the stadium there against animals, including very much alligators, coming in, they were not allowed to come in, but as I, um, uh, read about this, I discovered it. While he’s not just some random emotional support alligator, Eric, like some random, you know, support ostrich on a, a Delta flight somewhere, he’s actually a, a kind of a mini celebrity in Philadelphia, people know him, people love him, um, and therefore, it was not all that surprising, he was invited, the, um, Wally and Wally’s Human companion were actually invited by the ball players to come in and hang out with them a little bit because everybody in Philadelphia, I gather, loves Wally, the support alligator. This is what made it surprising that he didn’t get in. So this, it, it puts a different twist, Eric, on a story that, uh, a category that we’ve explored many times, uh, before in our podcasting
Erick Simpson: history. [01:03:00] And, uh, I’ll, I’ll predict Rich, that, uh. This won’t be the last time that we cover an emotional support animal story on the show. Gotta love Wally Gator. Uh, you know, that’s, uh, that’s a new one. Uh, so it’s, uh, it’s very unique. And the twist on the story again is not trying to get them on a plane, but, and, but they were invited by the team to show up and they still couldn’t. Couldn’t get that VIP pass for Wally.
Rich Freeman: Not trying to sneak him on a plane. They were just trying to get him into a party he’d been invited to. So, uh, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to make it up to him and to the disappointed players who didn’t get to meet him in person. Uh, folks, that is all the time we’ve got for you this week on the MSP Chat Podcast. We’re going to be back with you next week with a whole additional new episode for you. Please join us for that. You know what, we, we make this podcast available to people on video and audio. The video version is available on YouTube. Um, and, uh, you can download the [01:04:00] audio version wherever it is you get your other audio podcasts. Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify, look us up. You’re gonna find us, uh, in all those different venues when you find us. In addition to subscribing, please rate and review so that other folks like you can find the show too. It really does help, and I’m sure they would appreciate it. I know we would as well. This show is produced by the great Russ Johns. He’s also a member of the Channelmaster team and available to help you with your podcast. You can learn more about Russ and the work he does at russjohns. com. Dot com. You can learn more about channel mastered and, uh, all the great stuff we do with our [email protected] mastered.com. We encourage you to look that up. Again, thank you for joining us. We’re gonna be back with you next week. Until then, folks, thank you for joining us. And remember, you can’t spell channel without MSP.[01:05:00]