Friday, December 22, 2017

Network Documentation: Start Somewhere

I can't count how many conversations I've had over the years about how to "get started" with network documentation. The truth is, everyone in this business has already started. That's not the challenge.

The challenge is to create a system that's scalable!

If you think you're at the stage where you don't have a system, that just means you're really at the stage where you need to start taking stock. Where you keep track of domain name registrations? Server IP addresses? Passwords? Client usernames and passwords for Microsoft licenses? Network maps? DNS configurations? etc.

If you have more than a couple of clients, you simply can't keep all that stuff in your head. So where is it?

There are three fundamental approaches to documentation that work:

1) Index where everything is kept

2) Create a tiered storage system

3) Keep everything in one place

No matter what people have tried, #3 is simply impossible. But it's still a legitimate goal because you CAN manage to get MOST documentation in one place. Generally, that place is either going to be a storage area (Server "X" drive, ShareFile, OneDrive, DropBox, JungleDisk, Achor drive, Datto drive, etc.) or a software package (IT Glue, Docusnap, Confluence, OneNote, PassPortal MSP, SharePoint, etc.). Some people even attempt this with their PSA or RMM tools.

If you can get most of your most important documentation in one place, then you just need to know how to access the rest of the documentation as needed. Some might be stored on individual client servers or or storage arrays. Some might be in various tools (e.g., You might store most network-wide information in ITGlue but keep individual PC information in the RMM tool.). Very often, license information is stored at paper documents for older licenses and electronic files for new licenses.

So, as you can see, the three "systems" all come into play. Keep as much as you can in one primary storage system or tool. Then keep other information where it makes the most sense. And that leads to the final element: Index it all or create a system so everyone can know where everything is.

One of the obvious weaknesses of "modern" education is that tests often require students to memorize arcane information. This is obviously a problem because you are rarely in a position in the real world where you cannot access books, tools, libraries, or the Internet. So the skill you need for success in the real world is not to memorize everything: It is to know how to find the information you need.

- - - - -

Now is the time to start building your Network Documentation Library for 2018. Create a ticket in your ticketing system to start gathering information.

Job One: Figure out where you have all this information now.

Write it down. If you haven't made an effort to be organized in the past, the information is probably in a different place for each client. That doesn't matter at this point. Just write down where it is located. At a later stage, we'll scoop it all up and put it where it belongs.

Also . . . start thinking about the information you need to keep and the information you don't need to keep.

Check in next Friday for another post on network documentation.

Feedback welcome.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Register Now: My 9th Annual "State of the Nation" Address for Small Business IT

Karl's 9th Annual Annual "State of the Nation" Address 

Thursday, January 11th
9:00 AM Pacific / 12 Noon Eastern

Register Here:

Mark your calendar now and don't miss this once-a-year podcast. This will be my 9th Annual "State of the Nation" address for small technology providers.

Don't miss this year's webinar.

No cost. Just register and tune in.

Paste that into your calendar so you don't forget!

Topics Include:

  • Highlights (lowlights?) from 2017
  • Windows 10, Server 2016, Azure, . . . and what's next
  • Cloud Services - Report from the Road
  • The Economy
  • Building Your Business for the Long Term
  • Speculations about 2018

2017 was a great year for small business IT. And 2018 looks just as promising. As I look forward to the year ahead, I am committed to helping IT service providers build successful businesses that look to the future of technology and guarantee their success moving forward.

Business can be difficult in a changing environment. And we are certainly in a changing environment! That's always true for technology. But with the Internet of Things, and the adoption of TCP/IP for virtually all new technologies, our world will change at a dizzying pace. You need to make sure that get your share of the new technology money while keeping your share of the established technology.

I am going to focus on the most important things you need to do to build a profitable business - and lock in a very successful 2018!

Tune in to learn more.

Karl's 9th Annual State of the Nation Address for SMB IT
January 11th
9:00 AM Pacific
Webinar Registration:

- - - - -

Note: I have 100 seats. But don't worry!

One of the things I've learned is that there's about a 50% drop-off rate when things are free. If registration reaches 200, I'll buy the extra seats.

Plan to log in early, though, to guarantee your seat.

See you then.

This session will be recorded.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Point Your Clients to this IoT Explanation

One of my other blogs - Consultant or Amateur - is designed to be a place you can point your clients and say, "See. This guy's telling you the same thing I am." It's basically technical advice your client will understand. And it can help you convince them to make the right decisions about technology.

I just posted a new item there: Setting up an Internet of Things network. It's entitled "IOT - Internet of Things Basics for Small Business."

My advice is to isolate the IoT devices to a separate network segment. I give a very basic diagram and discuss the possibility of adding a firewall to separate the traffic.

But I'm also clear that business owners should contact YOU - their network professional - to help them find the right solution. I don't mention all the options because there are too many. For example, if they have the right firewall already, you can simply create a VLAN.

My goal here is to provide a site you can safely send your clients to, without fear that I'll try to get their business. I don't want their business. I want YOU to keep reading this blog. :-)

Your feedback is always welcome.


Monday, November 27, 2017

2018 Course Schedule Finalized - 5-Week Online Classes for Managed Service Providers

Small Biz ThoughtsWhite Board

Courses Offered 2018

Registration Information

Big Changes for 2018:

Classes repeated at 4 PM. Certain classes will be offered at both 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM Pacific time. We are trying this with some classes in order to see if there's a market for the 4:00 PM offering. Specifically, I'm hoping my friends in Australia will join us live across the international dateline. 

In addition, we are offering repeat classes for some of our most popular classes. For example, the Managed Services in a Month course is offered in January and again in July. So if you miss the first one, you can take the second. In addition, if you register for the first set of classes, you can also take the second at no additional charge.

And, finally, we have added some new classes. Obviously, "Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book" is revised for the new book. And I'm introducing the all-new course, "Service Agreements for SMB Consultants - Applying the Book." And it late October I'll announce a new course on Cloud Services. Stay tuned.

Registration is Open NOW

If you need to spend some money in 2017 . . . education for 2018 is a great way to invest your dollars!

All classes are only $259 per person. Each class is five weeks. All classes are recorded for students and include related reading materials and assignments to help you get the most out of your investment. You don't have to turn in the "homework" of course, but you are encouraged to complete it. If you want feedback from the instructor, it is always available.

Register NowCourse 5W09 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Tuesdays - January 9 - February 6, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W16 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Wednesdays January 31 - February 28, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W07 - Instructor: Rayanne Buchianico
- Five Tuesdays - February 13 - March 13, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

- Five Tuesdays - March 20 - April 17, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W04 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Wednesdays April 4 - May 2, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W08 - Instructors: Karl W. Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk
- Five Tuesdays - April 24 - May 22, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W14 - Instructor: Josh Peterson
- Five Tuesdays - May 29 - June 26, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W12 - Instructor: Rayanne Buchianico
- Five Tuesdays - July 3 - July 31, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W09 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Wednesdays July 18 - August 15, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

NOTE: This course is on five consecutive Wednesdays
Register NowCourse 5W13 - Instructor: Manuel Palachuk
- Five Tuesdays - August 7 - September 4, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W15 - Instructor: Rayanne Buchianico
- Five Tuesdays - September 11 - October 9, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W16 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Wednesdays September 19 - October 17, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W01 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Tuesdays - October 16 - November 13, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W17 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Wednesdays - October 31 - November 28, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

Register NowCourse 5W10 - Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
- Five Tuesdays - November 20 - December 18, 2018
- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific


email [email protected]

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Buncha Friends Got Together for a Sale . . .

Super Good Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale
Hello, everyone.

I am pleased to announce that I've teamed up with a number of great folks to bring you some amazing opportunities on "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" (didn't put that in the subject line because it's guaranteed to get filtered). These bargains are good through Cyber Monday unless otherwise noted.

(P.S., I'm not getting a piece of any of these sales. Just so you know.)

Have fun shopping!
Call That Girl's Outlook Troubleshooting Training for Technicians


Now Only $9.99 !!!
Learn from an Outlook Expert how to troubleshoot, repair and resolve Outlook technical issues. Outlook is a program that contains a lot of data, lots of moving parts and offers 100’s of features which are all guaranteed to break at some point. As well, it’s the program most used with the Office 365 Business Plans. These videos will train you how to properly prepare, repair and learn Outlook in a 360 view.

Technicians should buy these videos to:

  • Advance their technical knowledge with Outlook, Exchange and supporting Office 365
  • Stop losing unbillable time trying to resolve issues you are not familiar with
  • Raise your rates and offer Outlook as a premium service
  • Have a marketing advantage over your competitors because you can promote Outlook as a service your company offers

$20 Off Pro Membership
Are you tired of trying to figure out HIPAA on your own? Sick of the confusion and frustration?

You need! The Internet's ONLY HIPAA resource built by MSPs, for MSPs.

As a member, you'll learn how HIPAA impacts your business; How to properly address HIPAA internally; How to help your clients who need HIPAA compliant IT services; How to build a profitable Compliance-as-a-Service offering and much more.

Act now to get $20 off our Professional Membership for as long as you're a member by using coupon code BFRIDAY2018! Invest in yourself and your business in 2018 by learning how to specialize in this lucrative niche.

The Fast & Easy Way to Get New IT Services Customers on Facebook

$47 (Regular price $497)
Facebook for MSP's. Have you tried and failed at running Facebook ads? Learn how to setup Facebook the right way so you can run profitable Facebook ads to get new leads and grow your MSP business. 

You'll find generic Facebook ad courses for $997 and higher. This course, developed by ChannelPro Network and is specifically designed with the MSP in mind. You'll get step-by-step instructions how to get everything setup, how to choose the right ads for your offer, how to retarget, and much more.
Computer Business Breakthrough

Computer Business Breakthrough is an online training program specifically designed for IT consultants and computer business owners...taught by two of your peers, Matthew Rodela and Lisa Hendrickson.

In the training we teach you how to escape the grinding break/fix mindset of cheap clients and feast/famine finances so you can focus on becoming a truly sought-after expert in your field.

Join the community of like-minded technology consultants and complete an online course comprising of 49 training videos, helpful interviews, downloadable resources, and bonus content.

Act now to get over 50% off!
Tech Site Builder

40% off the annual plan (first year only)
Tech Site Builder is a hosted website builder that allows you to quickly and easily build a clean, professional, and effective website for your IT business.

With TSB we walk you thorugh building your website using our secure website builder platform with video tutorials and walk-throughs. Key benefits include: built-in SEO, mobile optimized design, page builder, custom form builder, and much more!

Tech Site Builder was developed for computer business owners, by a computer business owner, to help you attract and convert more clients through your website. 

From now through Cyber Monday get 40% off the first year of the annual payment plan.
Have Fun!

-- KarlP


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Buy One Give One - Giving That Makes a Real Difference in the World

B1G1: Buy One Give One

For every sale we make at SMB Books, we will donate seven days worth of clean drinking water to families in Cambodia.

November 2017

Effective immediately, Small Biz Thoughts is proud to announce that we have partnered with B1G1 (Buy One Give One) to provide ongoing support to a worthwhile charity.

For every sale we make at SMB Books, we will donate seven days worth of clean drinking water to families in Cambodia. See our "giving story" on B1G1.

Here's how is works: The cost of providing these services is very small by U.S. economic standards. As a result, a small amount of money given in U.S. dollars can make a huge impact in poor economies. Our regular contributions are amplified significantly.

The Project We Fund:

Access to safe drinking water is the foundation for the issues of health, education, food, and livelihood. This water is provided via the means of a Bio-Sand Water Filter that lasts up to two decades or more and is able to provide for an entire family. A Bio-Sand Filter (BSF) is a point-of-use water treatment system adapted from traditional slow sand filters. Cambodia has over 9,000,000 cases of diarrhoeal disease, costing the nation $448 million a year. One of the easiest ways to combat poverty and disease is to provide access to clean water sources.

In U.S. dollars, is cost just over one cent to provide clean drinking water for a family for one day. So it literally costs less than one dime per week. By giving money for each sale we make, our small contributions make a huge difference in Cambodia.

In addition to the Buy-One-Give-One donations, we have pledged to make regular monthly donations. Imagine giving one hundred dollars and having a massive impact! That's what happens with individual contributions through B1G1.

Visit our "giving story" on B1G1. Look into the details. And if you can make an additional contribution, even a small amount can make a big difference. Or look around and find another charity that you can support.

Who Can YOU Support with B1G1?

Imagine improving your company's marketing by choosing one or more charities -- in the U.S. or anywhere in the world -- and pledging to support them through your business.

This kind of giving is very easy and makes a huge difference.

I am grateful to Greg Lipschitz from Summit Internet in Australia for introducing me to B1G1.