Should you go with Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) or with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP)? Making the right choice is critical in business, but determining the best decision for your specific enterprise can be challenging. That’s the case when it comes to contracting services for Microsoft applications – signing up for an EA directly with Microsoft used to be the best choice for large companies for years. Today, there’s an option called CSP (Cloud Service Provider), which represents a contract you can buy from a certified Microsoft partner.

Take a look at the differences between EA and CSP, and why it makes sense to get your licensing through a CSP.

EA vs. CSP – Which One is for You?

Enterprise Agreement is recommended only for large organizations that need to negotiate terms with Microsoft based on volume, include their affiliates in standard Microsoft agreements., and a subscription-based licensing and a fixed price for software for three years.

Cloud Service Provider is a more viable option for companies that are approaching their EA renewal. They should consider CSP if the organization is of a smaller size (less than 300 employees) and needs a CSP partner as an advisor for their implementation projects as well as to provide more personalized support while licensing and managing accounts. It’s also best for enterprises that had difficulties in predicting their annual subscription quantities.

What Can a CSP Partner Provide?

Microsoft has designed the CSP model to allow organizations to have a closer relationship with a certified Microsoft Partner (that acts as a tech advisor.) Microsoft Partners can deliver Online Services to enterprises in a consultative and flexible manner – to support you when there are any issues and questions as well as to own the relationship end-to-end. The CSP Partner is there to help you identify the best Online Services that you should implement for your users, and to ultimately maximize the CSP value for your enterprise.

Which CSP Partner Should You Select?

There are two options you can choose from – CSP Direct Providers and CSP Indirect Resellers.

  • CSP Direct Providers. Operating in a single-tier model, these partners can offer their billing and support infrastructure as well as appropriate sales. They are typically more mature (as a certified and registered partner) and can directly bill their clients. Competent in various technologies, Direct Provider can implement support and solutions on their own.
  • CSP Indirect Resellers. Operating in a two-tier model, Indirect Resellers provide services to their clients by working with a distributor. The distributor offers them tech support, customer service, and billing, while the Partner only focuses on selling solutions.

If your enterprise wants to use Microsoft Online Services in a controlled and predictable manner, where you can assess and adjust your consumption on a monthly basis, then the CSP option will work best for you. An EA agreement requires you to purchase a minimum of 500 licenses (at the same time) and set for three years. You’ll need to pay upfront for the entire year, which can impair your cash flow. On the other hand, CSP licensing is attractive because it’s a month-to-month commitment, which is perfect for industries that have seasonality or businesses in volatile markets. Also, if a company wants to start with a basic plan as it moves to Office 365 or finds it difficult to predict long-term usage requirements, they can increase their licensing level as their users adopt the functionality.

For smaller organizations, a CSP model is the best alternative. Every business has their unique needs to be considered, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for all. Contact us to get help in determining the right option as well as to discuss all of the options you can choose. Managed Solution is proud to be a digital advisor in industries, such as biotech, legal, and healthcare, as well as a Microsoft Gold Partner.


Data is an omnipresent element within every organization. Data comes in from customers, employees, third-parties, or other external sources. It is up to each company to find ways on how to handle rapidly growing data and put it to good use. Smart businesses are already looking into ways how this data can address numerous issues within the organization and outside it, as well as how to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Some challenges arise when it comes to leveraging this information. With the many technological advancements over the past two decades, the amount of information coming in is growing at an almost exponential rate. What's more, most of this data is unstructured.

Structured data is much easier to handle. Businesses use it every day by making use of relational databases or by creating spreadsheets in Excel, to give a couple of examples. When this happens, various patterns emerge and can be easily identified.

The biggest issue in this context, however, is with unstructured data. It can come from numerous sources such as social media, emails, documents, blogs, videos, images, etc., and represent ample opportunities for businesses to grow and optimize their operations.

Unfortunately, however, unstructured data makes it much more difficult to gain any easy or straightforward insight by using conventional systems. What's more, much of the data that's generated nowadays is unstructured, making it vital for businesses to find ways on how to properly leverage it.

Cloud Migration

First things, first. With the overwhelming amount of data coming in on a daily basis, storing it on-site can become quite costly. On the one hand, having this data on-site can result in an over-provision, leading to further unnecessary costs. On the other hand, it can take a lot on onsite real-estate.

But by migrating your application and database to the cloud, none of the problems mentioned above will be an issue. With public cloud vendors such as AWS and Microsoft, you can pay as you go, meaning that you will have access to a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability than otherwise. In addition, keep in mind that a cloud provider will become an extension of your IT team once you've made the transition. And let's not forget that storing your data in the cloud also implies less real-estate expense.

Cognitive Computing

Cognitive computing (CC) refers to various technology platforms that make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and signal processing. These platforms also make use of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), reasoning, speech recognition, human-computer interaction, dialog generation, among other such technologies.

CC can analyze unstructured data, interpret it, and generate insights based on all possible decisions using evidential support. These systems can be adaptive, meaning that they can learn as the information changes. They can also be interactive, seamlessly communicating with users as well as other devices and cloud services. And they can be contextual, in that they can understand, identify, and extract various contextual elements, from multiple sources and different sensory inputs such as visual, auditory, gestural, etc.

In short, cognitive computing will help businesses understand and structure disorderly data to put it to good use and get ahead of the competition.


Big data can offer plenty of opportunities for growth and profitability, but it can also pose a severe challenge if not leveraged correctly. For more information on the topic of data management and other related issues, visit our website or contact us directly.


Migrating to the cloud can be an incredibly lucrative endeavor for any business looking to streamline their day-to-day operations and optimize their processes; knowing the first steps for a successful cloud migration is very important. To begin, it is important to note that there are plenty of benefits in the migration to a cloud, but three of them quickly come to mind.

On the one hand, cloud computing helps to lower data storage costs by a significant margin. Also, flexibility and scalability are all but guaranteed, allowing you to scale this storage space whenever you need to. On the other hand, however, moving to the public cloud will enable you to increase your IT team without any extra costs attached. Keep in mind that once you've partnered up with a provider, they will become an extension of your IT department, as they will be the ones managing and maintaining the data center.

Nevertheless, the cloud migration process can quickly become a hassle without the proper knowledge, planning, and execution. Only slightly above a quarter of businesses engaged in cloud migration reported that they were "extremely satisfied" with their overall cloud migration experience. Despite this low percentage and with the proper information, the benefits are well worth the investment.

Below are the first steps for successful and seamless cloud migration.

Choosing the Right Cloud Provider

The selection of your future cloud provider should not be taken lightly. There are plenty to choose from, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. While some may focus on scalability, others offer better-personalized applications management options. Among the most popular choices, you can choose among companies such as Amazon, Microsoft's Azure, Google, IBM, and the list can go on.

When making this decision, don't merely go for the market leader but take a moment to consider whether their services align with your own business goals. Also, take into account the long-term relationship you will have with this provider. It's not a very time or cost-effective strategy to choose one business only to change it later.

The Level of Cloud Integration

There are two ways of migrating your application. On the one side, there's the shallow cloud integration, while on the other, there's the deep cloud integration. 

The shallow cloud integration - It is when you move all on-premise applications to the cloud but conducts minimal changes or none at all, to the servers used to run those applications. The changes that are made are only enough to allow the applications to function within the new environment. It means that you will not use any cloud-based services.

The deep cloud integration - This procedure implies that you modify your application during the migration process to make use of critical cloud capabilities. Among these, there are such capabilities like dynamic load balancing, auto-scaling, serverless computing capabilities, or cloud-specific data stores.

Cloud KPIs

You will also have to establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are metrics about your application or service used to measure how these perform based on your expectations. These KPIs will help you to determine how your cloud migration is doing, showcasing any problems that may exist with your application, as well as when the movement was complete and successful.

Some of these cloud KPIs may refer to the user experience, such as page load time, lag, or session duration. Regarding infrastructure, some KPIs may include disk performance, memory usage, or CPU usage. And as far as business engagement is concerned, there are conversion and engagement rates, as well as cart adds. 


While these are the first steps that you need to consider when migrating to the cloud, other issues may interest you as well. In the end, it all boils down to what your business needs and hopes to achieve from this migration, in the first place. For more information on cloud migration and cloud computing, in general, feel free to visit our website or contact us directly.


Every business owner, director or CTO has countless questions before deciding on whether or not to migrate to a public cloud, as opposed to using the already familiar in-house methods that have been used for years. We have come up with important questions to ask yourself before migrating to a public cloud.

All these questions, curiosities and worries are well-founded because you need to know all the advantages and disadvantages implied by undergoing the switch to a public cloud. It may be a lengthy process, and this is why you should see if it’s worth it, or not. Most of the times it is, and here’s why.

The cloud services most companies are familiar with are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Google Cloud Platform. While these services are the most popular, they may not prove to be the best solutions for your company, depending on the costs you have estimated in your budget and depending on the data you need to migrate to a public cloud.

Microsoft Azure was created for building, testing, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. Similar to this cloud service, the AWS, which is a subsidiary to, provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals and companies on a paid subscription basis.

The cloud platform offered by Google comes complete with more or less the same features, being a suite of cloud computing services that run on the same infrastructure used internally by Google for its end-user products; the most famous examples: Google Search and Youtube.

If you’re not sure yet whether you should migrate your company’s data to a public cloud, you should ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do I want access to a larger talent pool working for my company?

It is the first question you should start with. By switching over to a public cloud, not only will you benefit from 24/7 technical support, but you will also stand to gain from the years of experience which can be had by working with IT resource management companies. These companies experience a more extensive variety of situations that may appear because they encounter more situations on a daily basis than most companies encounter in an entire year.

Also, migrating to a public cloud, you will have access to talented people from all around the world, people you would otherwise have no access to because they live far away on a different part of the globe.

2. How will the knowledge transfer and other business-related activities go after migration?

Smoother, Faster, Better, Stronger. When you have your IT knowledge in one place where it can be accessible for your employees from any corner of the world they are, it’s easier to get things done from both a technical and business standpoint.

Your employees can have all the benefits they would have if they were present at the company’s headquarters, even if they are currently working for one of your clients, in their offices, which could be located on another continent.

Information becomes accessible at a click of a button, without having to go through all the email and phone calls to receive requested materials.

3. Is it a greener approach for my company?

In our modern day society, nothing should be more important than keeping our business as green as possible and limiting our carbon footprint to a minimum. It is what any self-respecting company is currently doing, and migrating to cloud services is at the top of the list when it comes to evolving your company into an environmental-friendly one.

Without having to keep all those servers plugged in and consume way too much energy than your company needs, you’ll be exponentially reducing the mark you leave on the planet, and you can start on having a positive one on the business world.

If you’re interested in learning more about cloud services and how to migrate to a public cloud; be sure to get in touch with us - right here


  • Why rapidly changing technology should be considered for OpX
  • How CFOs & CTOs are finding a common ground on what technology is needed
  • Services, features and options that can be purchased and used as needed on demand
  • The most cost-effective way to manage self-serve technology licensing
  • How to pay only for the IT services needed with pay-as-you-go scaling options
  • How to get up to the minute funding information


New Windows 10 upgrade benefits for Windows Cloud Subscriptions in CSP

By Nic Fillingham as written on

We’re excited to announce that customers with Windows subscriptions via the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs and devices to Windows 10 at no additional cost.
This means customers subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5, can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs and devices to Windows 10 without the need to purchase separate upgrade licenses.
This is an important benefit addition to Windows cloud subscriptions in CSP as it enables customers who have yet to purchase a new Windows 10 device, or who missed out on the free upgrade to Windows 10 campaign, to take advantage of enterprise-grade security, managed by a trusted partner, for the price of coffee and a donut.
In order to take advantage of this new upgrade benefit, tenant admins for customers with Windows cloud subscriptions can log in to the Office 365 Admin center with their Azure Active Directory admin credentials and see options to begin the upgrade on the device they are currently using, share the download link with others in their organization, create installation media or troubleshoot installation.
The Windows 10 upgrade licenses issued as part of this process are perpetual and associated with the device. This means the license will not expire or be revoked if the customer chooses to end their Windows cloud subscription in the CSP program.


The new upgrade benefits are rolling out now and tenant admins with Windows subscriptions in CSP should start to see Windows 10 upgrade options and links in their Office 365 Admin center over the next 48 hours.
We hope these new Windows 10 upgrade benefits will better enable businesses of any size – including those with PCs and devices still on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 – to work with a trusted partner to upgrade to enterprise-grade security and management with flexible, small business pricing from just $7 per user, per month.


500 Users or Less? Significant Changes to Enterprise Agreements Save Big with New, Pay as you Go Microsoft Licensing

You asked for it and Microsoft is answering! Starting July 1, Microsoft customers with 500 seats or less will not have an enterprise agreement model to worry about!

What does this mean for you?

No more three year commitments. Pay only for what you actually use on a per user, per month basis. Yes that means you can have 50 users running on exchange online only and 150 users running with a fully loaded version of Office 365.
Buying Microsoft Products through a trusted Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) gives you access to pricing up to 20% off what you'll find in the Microsoft portal and gives you unlimited access to support services and deployment services that only 1st Tier CSP's can provide you through their Microsoft Partnership.
Microsoft is currently running "jump start" incentives to help businesses move to the cloud and get secure, mobile and compliant as soon as possible. This includes big discounts and even FREE deployments on certain solutions for qualifying customers!

Customers with 500 seats or more?

Enterprise Agreements might not make sense for you anymore either. Microsoft's MPSA and CSP programs give you more options than ever to see which licensing purchase method makes the most sense for your ever changing business.


Tell us a little bit about your current plan and we'll figure out what you could be saving by switching to Pay as You Go Pricing and taking advantage of current Microsoft incentives.


Annual Report names Managed Solution in top 100 Cloud Computing Companies

September 9, 2015, SAN DIEGO - Talkin’ Cloud’s 5th Annual Report names Managed Solution in top 100 of the World’s Top Cloud Computing Companies in the IT Channel.

The Talkin’ Cloud 100 list is based on data from Talkin’ Cloud’s online survey, conducted January through May 2015 and recognizes top cloud service providers based on such metrics as annual cloud services revenue growth (both in actual dollars and in percentage growth rates), and input from Penton Technology’s Channel editors.

Managed Solution, a highly honored and tenured managed services company and pioneer in managed, utility-based cloud computing, along with 99 other CSPs generated more than $30 billion in cloud services revenues in 2014, up nearly 29 percent over what they reported the previous year.

As a technology company that empowers business, we are extremely honored to be recognized by Talkin’ Cloud for our efforts in creating viable business outcomes for our customers with the latest available cloud-architected solutions, said Sean Ferrel, CEO Managed Solution. “We will continue to invest in our customers by putting our time and resources into being the premiere source for business-based cloud solutions that support our clients productivity and bottom line.”

“On behalf of Penton and Talkin’ Cloud, I would like to congratulate Managed Solution for its recognition as a Talkin’ Cloud 100 honoree,” said Nicole Henderson, Editor in Chief, Talkin’ Cloud. “The industry is changing at a rapid pace and the Talkin’ Cloud 100 companies consistently demonstrate an agility and flexibility that sets them apart. They do so with innovation, via strategic partnerships, and through their commitment to providing superior customer experiences.”

Talkin’ Cloud, produced by Penton, is the go-to resource for CSPs, VARs and MSPs profiting from cloud computing. Talkin’ Cloud features news, research, Channel Expert Hour Webcasts, FastChat videos and more. It is the first online media destination for channel partners working in the cloud.

In addition to honoring Managed Solution, this year’s Talkin’ Cloud 100 report profiles:

  • Cloud Services Providers: CSPs offer SaaS (software as a service), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and/or PaaS (platform as a service) to partners/customers.
  • Cloud Services Brokerages: CSBs, or cloud brokers, recommend and resell multiple cloud services to customers, and often integrate those services.
  • Cloud Services Aggregators: CSAs, or cloud aggregators, typically offer a portal that allows VARs and MSPs to source multiple third-party cloud services for customers.
  • MSPs (Managed Service Providers) with cloud services expertise: MSPs proactively monitor and manage customers’ on-premises and cloud-based systems.
  • VARs (value-added resellers) with cloud services expertise: VARs offer a range of IT consulting, deployment, integration and management services to customers.


About Managed Solution

Managed Solution is the premier provider of outsourced IT support and managed services for small to large size businesses. Founded in 2002, the company quickly grew into a market leader and is recognized as one of the fastest growing IT Companies in Southern California. Managed Solution continues to deliver award-winning services paired with leading business technologies to assist clients in running their business efficiently.

About Penton’s channel brands

Penton’s channel brands (, define emerging IT markets and disrupt established IT markets. The brands’ channel-centric online communities include MSPmentor (, The VAR Guy (, Talkin’ Cloud ( and the WHIR (

About Penton

Penton drives performance for more than eighteen million professionals each and every day. They rely on us to deliver: Insights, information, data & workflow tools to inform critical business decisions; networking & community to engage them with industry peers & partners; and marketing services to advance their business performance & deliver ROI.

Penton is a growth company with a track-record of strong performance and success and is backed by its co-owners: MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP.

For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit

Managed Solution Press Contact:
Tina Rountree, VP of Sales & Marketing
Penton Press Contacts:
Nicole Henderson, Editor in Chief, Talkin’ Cloud

Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.