The New Normal

It’s no surprise that 2020-2021 was a whirlwind of change.   For Slingshot’s allies, we want to share some advance news of more to come…

M365 Pricing Changes
Microsoft has announced that they’re going to raise prices on several Microsoft 365 offerings:
•    Microsoft 365 Business Basic (from $5 to $6 each)
•    Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from $20 to $22)
•    Office 365 E1 (from $8 to $10)
•    Office 365 E3 (from $20 to $23)
•    Office 365 E5 (from $35 to $38)
•    Microsoft 365 E3 (from $32 to $36)
Additionally, Microsoft plans to end their special discounts that let us get our clients annual 365 rates with only monthly commitments.

This is a lot all at once, and we and other Microsoft partners are pushing back in hopes that Microsoft will back off by the end of the year, but since this is the first M365 increase in its 10 years of existence, we may just need to brace and budget ahead.  FYI that non-profits will still get their same donations & discounts, but the rest of us will see these changes start March 1st.  Stay tuned…

New IT Requirements Coming
Iran state hacker imageHacking isn’t just for criminals anymore.  These days, other countries are regularly hacking US businesses, hospitals, and even governments!  As a result, it looks like 2022 will bring new federal/state regulations and insurance requirements for how organizations need to handle their IT responsibly.

These requirements will most likely affect Slingshot’s clients, so we’ve joined the newly formed National Society of IT Service Providers to help guide and shape the coming IT standards.  Businesses will be on the hook to do the right thing to protect the personal information of their staff and clients.  And that responsibility will be transitive to those business’s IT teams, which may find their caretaking/security measures at odds with frugal accountants and busy staff.  That strain isn’t new (for good IT teams), but now the weight of new legal and insurance consequences will be behind it.

Slingshot Alacarte EOL
A front door lock doesn’t help if the side window is left open, and a new thermostat does little good with a decade old furnace filter.  Every business needs to cover multiple IT bases to keep safe and moving forward.  That means web & email protection, antivirus & systems monitoring, update & change management, appropriate user access & training, and multiple kinds of backups.  And these need IT professionals to properly setup, monitor and manage these protection layers on an ongoing basis.  Covering all of these bases is what Slingshot’s Pro-Managed package is about.

So 2022 will also mark the end of Slingshot’s legacy “alacarte” managed services.  We’ve been transitioning away from these since 2017, and recently discontinued them for new clients.  For our legacy alacarte clients using only some of our managed services (and a few clients who are only partially Pro-Managed), we’ll need to get you fully Pro-Managed to move forward, and will be reaching out soon to plan that.

For our fully Pro-Managed clients, great news!  We’ve got your bases covered, and just keep improving our coverage, which brings us to…

Good news!  SecurityAware:
Comic: In this corner, we have firewalls, encryption, antivirus software, etc. And in THIS corner, we have Dave!!With all the technology layers, it’s easy to forget the human factor!  That’s why we’ve built a suite of training and tools to prevent and catch various common security mistakes that anyone can make.

SecurityAware is Slingshot’s newest proactive managed service, featuring dark web scanning for compromised user credentials, firewall probing for external vulnerabilities, server scanning for unencrypted sensitive information, and staff security training and follow-up testing.  We’ve already rolled out some of this to our Pro-Managed clients, and will be reaching out to coordinate further implementation over the coming months.

Thank you!
Like David-vs-Goliath, we love helping the small guy overcome great odds.  Small business isn’t easy (especially lately), but we absolutely love being able to share our talents to help them move forward boldly.  If you know a business who could use our help, feel free to share this.  And if you need a hand with anything (IT or not), please let us know — we love to help however we can!

Thankful for you, and wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!