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013: Easing into Managed Services with Allen Hancock

Joe, Jerry, and Sam are joined by Allen Hancock of The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring to discuss Allen's "hybrid" Managed Services model.  Allen offers a "Personal Support" option including unlimited quick phone calls and emails for $25/month per person.

Topics:

- Sam discusses some of the stresses associated with Apple Professional Services (APS) projects; normally as consultants we have flexibility and can work directly with clients to address unforeseen issues; but in the case of APS, due to travel and other agreements, APS gigs must be completed in the allotted timeframe which adds pressure

- Sam updates us on his hiring process; interested consultants in the CT-NY-NJ area should contact @IAMSamValencia

- Jerry reports difficulty with Find My Mac on machines with a static IP address; to be continued

- Jerry brings up the pitfalls of full disk encryption using FileVault 2 on an unattended server; in case of an unexpected or soft restart, the system will boot to the FileVault 2 unlock screen, prompting for the encryption password before the system starts up or any services start; this prevents any kind of remote access via screen sharing or remote login; Apple provides a command line tool (fdesetup authrestart) to perform a one-time restart that bypasses the initial unlock; however, this doesn't help if the machine has lost power or become unresponsive; a KVM-over-IP device can solve that, but typically requires a Java app on the client machine to access the remote machine

- Allen identifies a common problem for consultants: how to track and bill for all those random emails and quick phone calls

- Allen's solution: "Personal Support" @ $25 per month, per person; includes unlimited quick emails or phone calls. He estimates this part of his Support Agreement earns him about $2500/month after 1.5 years, based 100 people who subscribed.

- Clients paying monthly for unlimited quick questions encourages them to call on a whim; this leads to billable work too, since anything over 15 minutes would be a billable consultation

- He also offers a Proactive Monitoring service: collecting $10/month per computer; ($15/month for all the computers in a house) results in more billable work as machines report issues to consultant and consultant notifies client with recommended resolution

- His monitoring service received much more uptake; 350 monitored computers bringing in an additional $3000 a month.

- Had two techs on staff at the time.

Mentions:

- ProSoft Data Rescue

Memorable Lines:

- "Death by a thousand 5-minute emails" – Joe