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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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October 20, 2020 |

SkyKick Launches Automated Cloud Administration Solution

The vendor’s new SkyKick Cloud Manager product is designed to provide a comprehensive platform for automating administrative tasks that would otherwise require dozens of clicks or deep scripting skills to execute.

SkyKick has launched an all-new solution, named Cloud Manager, that’s designed to provide a comprehensive platform for automating SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS administrative tasks that would otherwise require dozens of clicks or deep scripting skills to execute.

“We’ve made it very simple for any help desk user to complete simple to complex workflows or tasks with a couple clicks of a button,” says SkyKick co-CEO Todd Schwartz, who calls Cloud Manager “one application to command the cloud.”

The system ships with over 400 pre-coded automations that even modestly experienced technicians can use to perform common cloud management chores like resetting a Microsoft 365 password in as little as four or five clicks, instead of the several dozen that might otherwise be required.

A development tool called the Workbench, meanwhile, allows users with Microsoft PowerShell skills to build additional workflows, for specific customers or an entire client base, from scratch, drawing on an expanding library of pre-defined actions that presently contains nearly 6,800 entries. They can then convert those scripts into reusable apps that less skilled employees can run on demand.

“They can take their PowerShell intellectual property or their PowerShell code that’s being done by the senior folks in the organization and now turn it over to any help desk worker within the organization,” Schwartz says.

At present, Cloud Manager comes with “connectors” for Microsoft 365, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Zoom, Slack, Dropbox, QuickBooks, DocuSign, and other popular SaaS products. “We’re going to be adding more all the time,” Schwartz says.

The system also supports cloud infrastructure and solutions hosted in Microsoft Azure and Azure Active Directory. Connectors for Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform will become available too “in the near future,” according to Schwartz.

Significantly, Schwartz emphasizes, Cloud Manager’s Workbench allows engineers with PowerShell skills to create workflows for SaaS applications that require experience with languages like JavaScript and Python instead.

“We’ve abstracted all that out,” Schwartz says. “We literally allow you to take any API of any cloud service or any cloud platform, write simple PowerShell against that, which is very familiar to most managed service providers, and then with one quick button turn that into an application.”

Security features provided with the system include role-based permissions and token-based access to tenants and applications. “That’s huge because you don’t have to remember login credentials,” Schwartz says.

The system also comes with a cross-tenant, cross-application auditing and reporting module, based on Microsoft’s Power BI analytics service, that managers can use to study business performance and share status information and historical data with customers.

“You can kind of slice and dice and get into any number of dimensions around what is going on in your customer base, what your team is doing, who are you doing it for, and how much effort is it taking?” Schwartz says.

Cloud Manager integrates with the ConnectWise Manage PSA solution currently. Support for additional ticketing systems is planned for the future, as are connections to SkyKick’s other two products, SkyKick Migration Suite and SkyKick Cloud Backup. 

Buyers can choose among three plans offering varying levels of functionality and seat counts. Basic plan subscriptions run $199 a month, standard plan licenses cost $499, and pro plan subscriptions go for $999.

Released in the middle of a global pandemic that has accelerated adoption of online solutions, Cloud Manager is designed to address a host of challenges that make managing SaaS and IaaS environments both difficult and expensive, starting with the sheer volume of systems MSPs must support. A typical channel pro with a few thousand end users might be responsible for tens of thousands of application instances, according to Evan Richman, Schwartz’s fellow CEO and co-founder.

“We’re hearing as a conservative estimate that a full-time employee [works] a couple of thousand hours a year now in cloud support even in a fairly small IT service provider,” he says.

Help desk technicians must perform lengthy administrative processes by hand, Richman continues, or wait days for overextended engineers to draft PowerShell scripts for them. Inevitably, companies end up employing a grab bag of techniques to solve the same set of problems. Cloud Manager, according to Schwartz, standardizes those routines around proven best practices. 

“Now you start to get all that work codified in a single application where the whole team’s on the same page, doing things the same way, and doing it in a much more secure and efficient manner,” he says.

The launch of Cloud Manager, following years of development, is a significant milestone on a long-term roadmap that SkyKick has been following since its founding in 2011. Schwartz and Richman, both of whom previously worked in cloud-related product marketing roles at Microsoft, had a vision from the start for what the ascent of cloud computing would mean for managed service providers. 

First, they predicted, MSPs would need help migrating on-premises data into the cloud, a requirement that SkyKick Migration Suite, the company’s initial product, addressed. Cloud Backup followed in 2015 to help channel pros protect cloud-hosted data. The new Cloud Manager is designed to meet the increasingly urgent need to administer steadily more complex cloud environments.

“We’re really excited that we’ve got the product and the market’s in a place where we’re ready to help partners automate all the things they do across cloud, not just migration, not just backup, but basically everything,” Schwartz says.

Augmentt, a SaaS management vendor recently launched by N-able founder Gavin Garbutt, targets the growing need among MSPs for cloud management tools as well.

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