VDI, RDP, QBR & MSP – What’s that spell? Savings and Security

Image of peter ayedun ceo of trugrid

Today we are going to talk to business owners Peter Ayedun of TruGrid and Alex Farling of Lifecycle Insights and Delaware Micro about the alphabet soup of VDI, RDP, QBR and MSPs.

First let’s start with a little background. Peter, how did TruGrid get its start?

Peter: Oddly enough the birth of TruGrid came about after watching my daughter open and use a brand new iPod without touching a tech manual. My inner nerd knew that as technology evolved, there would be a huge need for intuitive and secure technology. So, it became the mission of the TruGrid to create easy to adopt and easy to use software to support IT Professionals – and MSPs.

TruGrid logo

TruGrid simplifies Access and Device Security for organizations. With TruGrid, organizations can reduce complexity and costs associated with the use of Microsoft RDP and BitLocker Encryption Management, while protecting end-user logins. TruGrid can be implemented in minutes.

Alex, how about you? How did Lifecycle Insights begin?

Alex: While TruGrid grew out of a fascination or realization, Lifecycle Insights grew out of a frustration. I have owned my MSP for over 16 years and always knew we needed faster and more accurate reporting around asset lifecycle management and insights for QBRs on risk assessments and alignment to industry standards for items like security and privacy. We were spending more time building these reports for our Quarterly Business Reviews than delivering and implementing them, which was a huge miss for both sales and customer success.

No more cobbling together warranty look-ups and asset lists from multiple systems. Lifecycle Insights uses existing asset data to quickly produce executive friendly, color coded reports that add value to your QBR.

asset list screenshot from lifecycle insights

So as we look at the alphabet soup, how does TruGrid fit?

Peter: As I mentioned, TruGrid is focused on developing software that make technology easy and secure for MSPs and their clients. And looking at all of those letters, the MSPs are our first clients. Our business is to make their business of IT service and support easy and secure. To that end our Secure RDP enables secure access to Windows RDP and VDI machines. Providing these cloud based services allow for consistent and repeatable implementation secured in the cloud.

Secure RDP image

There are many ways to secure access to Windows computers, including VPN connections, RD Gateway implementations, and various third-party solutions. All of these solutions vary in their effectiveness, cost, and complexity. TruGrid SecureRDP is simple, secure, and cost-effective.

And Alex, Which parts of this alphabet belong to you?

Alex: Lifecycle Insights is also built for the MSP. Specifically it is a tool to help MSPs:

  1. Make QBR prep around asset lifecycle management fast, accurate and easy
  2. Help complete risk assessments for their clients
  3. Become a truly strategic partner with their clients

The Lifecycle Insights assessment tool allows for complete customization so the MSP can: track alignment to a tech stack or to industry standards, adjust rating scales based on individual client needs (well beyond a basic yes/no), and compare assessments over time to show grow in at risk areas. 

Image of sample risk assessment

So Peter, if MSPs are discussing the health and security of technology assets at a QBR, how does TruGrid’s Secure RDP help them become a strategic partner?

Peter: While there are several benefits for MSPs to adopt TruGrid SecureRDP, one reason that fits very nicely with their focus on security is the fact that unsecured RDP is the #1 attack vector for ransomware. The fact is, many employees still needs access to applications hosted on their PCs or datacenter servers and RDP is the fastest way to achieve that. Other available technologies, such as VPN, often have a level of complexity for MSPs and clients alike, and require MFA as a separate add-on. TruGrid nicely ties all these critical security needs in one easy-to-use package.

As a matter of fact, we have found our product provides a great deal of savings to the client.

  • Reduced maintenance costs (as much as 50%)
  • Reduced support labor (by as much as 80%)
  • And finally, a rash of MSP attacks – that have also compromised clients – in the past 12 months have originated from exposed / unsecured RDP ports. MSPs can protect their business and their reputation; and the customer business, by deploying TruGrid SecureRDP and forget about RDP.
cyber security seal

Why customers like TruGrid Secure RDP:

  • Implementation is in minutes
  • Does not require any open firewall ports
  • Does not require a VPN

Includes built-in MFA 

And Alex, how does Lifecycle Insights fit in with this VDI model?

Alex: At my MSP we recently onboarded a client who was moving their company from New York to Delaware around the same time that Windows 7 was being retired.  They were essentially due for a full lifecycle replacement the first day we met them. As part of their renovation of an old factory – 50k sq feet to become their new Delaware factory – we replaced switches, firewall, and wireless with modern cloud managed gear and everything else was moved into a cloud based VDI environment.

Benefits:

  • Proprietary billing application is now in a secure, remote accessible environment.
  • Cost of owning a server converted from CapEX to OpEX 
    • Typically a new server would cost $12,000 right out of the gate.
    • Monthly support and backups can add as much as $18,000 over a 5 year life span.
    • $30,000 amortized out over 60 months… It costs the average client $500/mo just to have a basic server that is managed, secured, and backed up.
    • Windows endpoints can now be converted to thin clients, extending life and reducing maintenance costs.
  • New cloud VDI is standardized, easier to manage and enables secure remote access from anywhere.
  • All-in managed services agreement makes sense and they never have to make a 5 digit server purchase again.

Lifecycle Insights budget forecasting helps MSPs build strategic partnerships with their clients that last beyond the QBR.

lifecycle insights budget forecast sample

In looking at TruGrid’s website, I can see that we have just taken a taste of the alphabet soup of options available. What is a good way for an MSP to help their clients address their needs?

Peter: As Alex mentioned, performing a risk assessment of potential concerns is a great first step. It allows the client to answer focused questions around possible weaknesses in their infrastructure. Lifecycle Insights assessment tool will allow you to customize your questions around the client so that you can focus on their needs and solutions.

trugrid essentials plan

Having a plan of action that covers three (3) fundamental areas of system security is a good starting point. 

  1. Administrative Security Policies
  2. Network Security Policies
  3. Internet Security Policies

Alex: We have actually built an assessment in the platform around TruGrid’s solutions so that MSPs can quickly determine how to best support their clients.

I can see that both of your websites have pricing pages. TruGrid charges by user and Lifecycle Insights by active customers. There are also easy to find ‘contact us’ pages. As both of your companies are clearly growing in the marketplace, what is the best way for MSPs to learn more about your companies?

Peter: In addition to reviewing available information on our website, we have a very responsive CHAT platform where anyone can ask questions and receive a response in about 3 mins – generally between 6AM and 6PM CT. Visitors can also use the CHAT feature on our site to request a phone call or pricing. They can ask any question and we are happy to help.

Alex: We stay active in all of the typical social media channels, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and of course on our website. But if an MSP really wants to chat about their QBR process and how Lifecycle Insights might help them grow, they are welcome to reach out to me by email as well info@lifecycleinsights.io

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