The New Standard: KGI’s Managed Services for Splunk

When the KGI team announced our Managed Services for Splunk offering, we made a pretty heady statement: we are launching the new standard for a managed service capability for customers using Splunk.

You’ve probably heard companies claim statements like the new standard. However, in our experience, backing up that claim is a different story. We see the KGI team as defining a new standard for Splunk managed services in three compelling ways.

1. Differentiated Experience and Expertise

The KGI team has worked with the Splunk platform since 2013, and over that time we have delivered over 600 engineering services engagements tied to the Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud platforms. These engagements have covered projects big and small including both commercial companies as well as U.S public sector organizations.

KGI is a Splunk Elite Services Partner and has been twice recognized as Splunk Public Sector Services Partner of the Year. Our engineering services for Splunk are not limited to security and IT operations use cases – we develop business analytics applications on the Splunk platform that perform a variety of functions.

Specific to security – which is Splunk’s #1 use case – the KGI team offers a unique perspective. Since the company’s origins in 2006, we have supported US Federal defense and intelligence activities that demand stringent approaches to cybersecurity. We apply 15+ years of know-how gained by supporting classified networks in everything we do. A traditional commercial-oriented managed service provider simply will not have this perspective. Your Splunk environment should be secure, and we know how to get it there and keep it there.

 

2. The Atlas Platform Combined with Expertise on Demand

In November 2020, KGI launched Atlas, the first platform of its kind purpose-built to help organizations achieve exceptional results from their investments in Splunk. Managing a Splunk environment is table-stakes for a managed services provider – enabling organization’s valued colleagues to achieve great things with Splunk is the new standard.

The Atlas platform works with any Splunk environment, whether it’s Splunk Enterprise running on-prem or Splunk Cloud. Atlas addresses the total ecosystem of capabilities that are needed to gain success with Splunk. This includes functions that do not necessarily exist within Splunk technologies, yet are necessary when operating Splunk at scale.

When it comes to managed services, we don’t stop with Atlas – we complement the platform’s capabilities with our Expertise on Demand (EOD) offering. EOD gives end-users immediate access to Splunk experts to assist them in the creation of comprehensive dashboards and reports. With EOD, there are no more struggles figuring out SPL searches or data correlations. Expert help is as close as a phone call or chat session.

And Atlas helps customers save money – big money – with their Splunk investment. From license optimization to the reduction of Splunk’s “soft” costs, pairing Atlas with EOD ensures that an organization’s investment in Splunk is the best it can be.

 

3. Passionately Focused on Business Value from Splunk: the KGI Delivery Framework

Organizations invest in Splunk to yield business outcomes and expect specific returns on their investments (aka: ROIs).  The KGI Delivery Framework focuses our teams on delivering three ROIs – mission, financial, and human – within every Splunk project that we tackle.

Delivery of technical outcomes should be expected from any managed services provider – and we deliver Splunk technical excellence in everything we do.  Delivery of business results specific to an organization is a key differentiator of KGI’s managed services offering for Splunk. The KGI Delivery Framework is our proprietary delivery methodology, which ensures organizations receive optimal returns on their investments in Splunk. Kinney Group’s managed services offering ensures that business outcomes are every bit as important as technical outcomes.

If organizations cannot achieve business outcomes from the money they’ve invested in Splunk – what’s the point?

 

The Kinney Group Difference

Deep and differentiated experience with Splunk. Leverage of the Atlas platform and EOD for driving customer success. A focus on business outcomes. All three of these attributes of KGI’s Managed Services for Splunk offering are elements of the new standard we’ve created.

In addition to the outstanding capabilities outlined above, we haven’t yet touched on world-class security MDR support, cyber terrain maps for identifying exploitable vulnerabilities, and specific vertical market solutions via Atlas.

The new standard in managed services for Splunk is here. It’s not a tagline, it’s the new journey that customers embark upon as they pursue outstanding results with Splunk.

Want to learn more about Kinney Group’s Managed Services offering? Fill out the form below!

Part 3 – Returns on Investment Enabled with a Forwarder Management Solution

Part 3 – Returns on Investment Enabled with a Forwarder Management Solution

As our VP of Engineering, Sundaresh, explained in Part 2 of our 3-part series, the Splunk Forwarder Management solution from Kinney Group successfully addresses the risks identified if forwarders are not actively managed.

We also believe that the forwarder management solution provides tangible returns on investment in three areas – mission, financial, and human.  We call these the “3 ROIs” that all should be present in any enterprise software investment.

For the Splunk forwarder management solution, Kinney Group sees the following application of the 3 ROIs:

Mission ROI – all organizations are investing in Splunk to help address identified business and mission objectives.  If the application for Splunk is security, the capabilities provided by Splunk are critical to an organization’s security posture.

Given that forwarders are a critical component for a successful Splunk implementation, there is direct correlation between effective active management of Splunk forwarders and success with Splunk – hence the connection to mission success and a tangible mission ROI.

Financial ROI – all effective management solutions should help drive out costs.  This includes both direct costs and opportunity costs.

On average, there is 4-6 hours of engineering time required annually to properly deploy, configure, patch, update, and manage an ecosystem of Splunk forwarders.  For organizations that have deployed thousands or tens of thousands of forwarders, the engineering costs associated with forward management can add up fast.

The Kinney Group Forwarder Management solution drives out 80-90% of the time needed to manage forwarders using legacy manual- or script-oriented approaches.  This time reduction will drive measurable direct cost savings.

When engineers are freed up from rote tasks associated with software management, this is time that is now freed up to deliver more mission-oriented results from Splunk – said another way, this is the area of opportunity costs.  While opportunity costs can be a challenge to quantify, they remain very real.  Our Forwarder Management solution helps reduce opportunity costs.

Human ROI – managing a distributed ecosystem of Splunk forwarders using manual techniques is painful for engineers.  Having to manage thousands of forwarders with legacy approaches is unpleasant work that most engineers would like to avoid.

Happy engineers produce extraordinary results for the enterprise.  Our forwarder management solution helps reduce the time to execute rote tasks that are tied to forwarder management.  This Human ROI is perhaps the most tangible of all.

Conclusion – with Kinney Group’s Forwarder Management solution, organizations can now be better equipped to address the challenges of Splunk forwarder management and do so in a way that provides real returns on investment.

Let’s get started!  Contact us at (317) 721-0533.

Part 1 – The Splunk Forwarder Management Challenge

Part 1 – The Splunk Forwarder Management Challenge

Splunk Forwarders are critical components for any Splunk environment, both for Splunk Enterprise running on-prem or Splunk Cloud. Forwarders are the critical element in any Splunk architecture for successfully getting data ingested into Splunk.

For customers operating Splunk at scale, the population of forwarders can be in the hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands.  Like any critical piece of enterprise software, Splunk forwarders must be deployed and configured correctly, and must be maintained to ensure operational integrity.

There are three primary risks if Splunk forwarders are not actively maintained:

  1. Forwarder versions are interdependent with versions of Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud – if forwarder versions are not kept up to date, they will not function properly with the Splunk instance(s) that are receiving data.
  2. Forwarders should be secured – just like any other enterprise software application, the forwarder software and underlying OS should be secured and patched to address vulnerabilities. As well, active configuration management of Splunk forwarders is basic hygiene for security.
  3. Forwarders are the first line of defense for preventing unauthorized data being ingested into Splunk – many Splunk deployments prohibit the ingest of PII, PHI, or other sensitive data. Forwarder configurations enable “black-listing,” the ingest of files that contain prohibited data. If the configurations are not managed, prohibited data could be ingested accidentally.

The risks outlined above are driving the need for a comprehensive Splunk forwarder management solution – using a traditional Splunk deployment server isn’t enough.

In Part 2 of our blog post series, Sundaresh Ramanathan, Kinney Group’s VP of Engineering and Splunk Trust alumnus, will explain the technical fundamentals of Kinney Group’s Forwarder Management solution.

Introducing “Jumpstart Service for Splunk”

Jumpstart Service for Splunk - Kinney Group assist with stalled implementations of the Splunk platform

The Kinney Group team began working with the Splunk technology all the way back in 2013. Since that time, we have consistently seen organizations run into challenges as they work to fully activate and adopt the platform.

There is no denying the power of Splunk and the insights the platform can provide to organizations. Whether the use case is security, IT operations, business intelligence, or an industry-specific application, the Splunk platform provides the means to gain incredible operational insights from all kinds of data sources.

Since 2013, our Kinney Group team has delivered well over 400 engineering engagements centered around helping customers with their activation of the Splunk platform. What we have typically seen is that organizations new to Splunk will start off with a specific use case. More often than not, the initial Splunk use case yields results quickly, and organization stakeholders get very excited about the platform and its potential. (And they should.)

But then….

Getting “Stuck” with Splunk

After the initial buzz of success with Splunk wears off, many times the personnel managing and supporting the Splunk platform get pulled in another direction or put on a different project. Consequently, the excitement about the platform wanes. In a word, many Splunk implementations get “stuck” after the initial use or even during execution of the initial application of Splunk.

Customers who find themselves “stuck” with their Splunk implementations tend to lose enthusiasm for the platform and all that Splunk technology can offer. It really is very common to have this happen. But despite the fact these organizations are stalled in their plans to maximize their Splunk investment, the power and promise of the platform remains!

Here at Kinney Group, we have come up with an answer for how to take customers from “stuck” to “unstuck” with their Splunk implementations.

Announcing Kinney Group’s Jumpstart Service for Splunk

We’re thrilled to announce the “Jumpstart Service for Splunk.” With this service, we have a singular mission aimed at stalled implementations of Splunk—and that is to get Splunk implementations “unstuck” and breathe enthusiasm for Splunk back into the teams that are using the platform.

For less than a thousand bucks, Kinney Group provides a one-day jumpstart service that will get customers moving forward with Splunk. This service can be purchased via a credit card on our website—it’s as easy as that! To get to the Jumpstart Service, simply click here and you will be connected to the Jumpstart homepage.

Get Your Team “Unstuck” with Splunk Implementations

We have tested this service concept with “stuck” Splunk implementations and have experienced tremendous success. Organizations will be amazed at how much they can accomplish in just one day of focused immersion with one of our top-notch Splunk consultants.

Jumpstart Service for Splunk is designed to help companies that are:

  • Evaluating new use cases for Splunk
  • Limited on technical resources
  • Struggling to capture ROI with Splunk
  • Seeking documentation and adoption support
  • Short-staffed or onboarding new Splunk resources

If you are “stuck” or “stalled” with your Splunk implementation, get rolling again with our Jumpstart Service for Splunk—it just might be the best thousand bucks your organization has ever spent!

Kinney Group offers "Jumpstart Service for Splunk" to help organizations struggling with Splunk implementations.

Kinney Group Recognized as Recipient of 2018 Splunk Partner+ Award

Kinney Group Named Splunk’s Public Sector Professional Services Partner of the Year in 2018 for Outstanding Performance in 2017.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – March 1st, 2018 – Kinney Group today announced it has received the Public Sector Professional Services Partner of the Year award for 2018. The solutions-oriented integrator, with a team of professionals having a combined 100+ total years of experience on the Splunk platform, was honored with the award for exceptional performance and commitment to the Splunk® Partner+ Program. The Professional Services Partner of the Year award is a regional Americas award that recognizes a partner who is actively engaged in services implementations and a strong commitment to training and certification of their organization. Learn more about the Splunk Partner+ Program here.

The Splunk Partner+ Awards are designed to recognize members of the Splunk ecosystem for industry-leading business practices and dedication to constant collaboration. Areas of consideration for an award include commitment to customer success, innovative program execution, investment in Splunk capabilities, technology integrations and extensions, and creative sales techniques.

“The Kinney Group team is honored and humbled to again be recognized by Splunk as its Public Sector Services Partner of the year,” said President and CEO Jim Kinney. “Our team is passionate about helping Federal, State, and Local government organizations harness the analytics and machine learning power of the Splunk platform to better serve their constituencies and agency colleagues.”

“We are working every day to build a world class Splunk Services Practice and could not do it without the phenomenal talent of our Splunk engineers,” stated Angela Fruits, Director of Kinney Group’s Splunk Business practice. “As well, we could not achieve our results without the collaborative, top notch folks that we work with within the Splunk Public Sector organizations, and also the great people we work with in customers’ organizations. We really do value being a part of this epic journey alongside the Splunk team and customers, and are looking forward to the great things to come for our collective teams in the future.”

Jim Kinney looks to the future saying, “As we enter 2018, the Kinney Group team will be working even harder to show how the power of Splunk can enable Government digital transformation initiatives. Our full scope of Splunk services – from design/build engineering, to Splunk application development, to education, and to our Expertise-on-Demand offerings – will continue to be key enablers for our Government customers as they seek to tap into the transformative power of Splunk.”

“As a vital partner to Splunk, we applaud Kinney Group for being recognized as the Public Sector Professional Services Partner of the Year,” said Cheryln Chin, vice president of Global Partners, Splunk. “The Splunk Partner+ Awards recognize partners like Kinney Group, who exemplify the core values of the Partner+ Program coupled with a strong commitment to growth, innovation and customer success.”

Winners of the Splunk Partner+ Awards reflect the top-performing partners globally and regionally. All award recipients were selected by a group of the Splunk executives and global partner organization. Read more about the Splunk Partner+ Program.

About Kinney Group’s Splunk Practice:

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#7FA9AE” class=”” size=”16″]Splunk Award[/perfectpullquote]The Kinney Group team has over 100 years of collective experience with Splunk and is the deepest bench of Splunk expertise in North America. Our team of Splunk professionals provide a comprehensive Splunk customer experience across multiple Splunk disciplines including Splunk Enterprise, Splunk Enterprise Security (ES), IT Services Intelligence (ITSI) and custom use cases in the areas of compliance, IoT, and machine learning. Kinney Group highlights include:

  • Top 3 Global Splunk Professional Services Practice
  • Splunk Elite Partner
  • Splunk Public Sector Services Partner of the Year for 2015 and 2017
  • Experience with 300+ projects delivered nationwide and overseas
  • Application development expertise for the Splunk platform

Visit www.kinneygroup.com/contact-us or call us at (317) 991-9070.

For more information, please contact:
Jake Davis
Kinney Group, Inc.
317-721-0500
marketing@kinneygroup.com

Finance and Analytics Manager Named as TechPoint Tech25 Class of 2017 Honoree

Greg Slisz, Finance & Analytics Manager, Named to the Prestigious TechPoint 2017 Tech25 Class for His Work Managing a Roadmap to Rockstar Financials and for Leading Community Development for the Near Westside Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 15, 2017) — Greg Slisz is now a TechPoint 2017 Tech25 honoree. This achievement is on the heels of Kinney Group’s resident Finance & Analytics Manager kicking butt as Commissioner for the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in July 2017. Greg was nominated by the company’s executive leadership and joins the 2017 Tech25 list of winners with individuals from Salesforce, Rook Security, NCAA, Perq, High Alpha, and Appirio, just to name a few. TechPoint.org deployed the full story here on their website.

TechPoint, the growth initiative for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, is recognizing Indiana’s tech builders with the announcement of the second annual Tech 25 Class of 2017. This listing a prestigious selection of twenty-five individuals who are critical and exceptional performers helping to grow our community’s tech and tech-enabled companies, but who — not being the CEO or other top executives — don’t get celebrated publicly as often as they deserve.

Greg Slisz
Greg Slisz, Finance and Analytics Manager, and TechPoint Tech25 Class of 2017 Honoree

Tech 25 winners represent a wide range of roles within tech companies, such as software developers, financial analysts, marketing directors and product managers. Executives could only nominate one team member for the Tech 25 Class of 2017, and a total of 58 Indiana technology companies participated in the nomination process this year. Judges spent more than a combined 75 hours selecting winners.

Fun fact: VP of People Operations Amy Oviedo was a 2016 Tech25 award honoree representing Kinney Group, meaning the organization has back-to-back winners!

The nomination: read how Greg was honored in the Tech25 Class of 2017

His colleagues call him “the Michael Jordan of Excel”. Sure, in real life he stands at 6’8”. He loves basketball, frequents pick-up games at the downtown Indy YMCA, and can dunk on the court. But, beyond that he is a business athlete and good human. This individual is brilliant at Finance, loves helping businesses understand the ROI of technology, and he volunteers time to community development in Indy by tapping into his passion for basketball. His name is Greg Slisz, the Finance & Analytics Manager at Kinney Group, Inc. (KGI), and he deserves 2017 TechPoint Tech25 recognition for the following reasons.

After earning a B.A. in Economics from Wabash College in 2010, Greg springboarded his career through the Indy-based Orr Fellowship Program, which seeks to retain top Indiana talent by placing recent college grads into a multi-year rotational program. As a lover of tech, Greg was at ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud) for 3 years serving in Revenue and Financial Analyst roles. Then, in 2015, loving technology and the opportunity in the industry, Greg took a role at Cloud Solutions Integrator Kinney Group in Indianapolis.

The most notable Professional Contribution in his time at Kinney Group, Greg exhibited legendary performance in steadily preparing and delivering financials for a successful $6 million dollar Series A investment raise in March 2015. “If it weren’t for Greg’s dedication to fine detail while managing a roadmap for ensuring rockstar financials, it would have been impossible for me to properly pitch the organization to investors.” Said Sarah Nelms, Chief Operating Officer and now Board Member of Kinney Group. “I had full trust in his reporting and his work ethic, which made my job fun. Greg’s work directly impacted Kinney Group’s ability for focused growth in 2017 and beyond.”

What is on the horizon for Greg next at Kinney Group? He happens to be an artist at bridging business ROI and technology investment to an organization. The output is this: Greg is actively forecasting data center and cloud costs, both for physical and software-defined resources. This skillset will help customers measure IT infrastructure scenarios for today and tomorrow, whether that is current usage, predicting remaining capacity, or quantifying savings from reclaiming overused resources. This approach adds tons of value to organizations leveraging cloud IT.

Regarding Greg’s Community Involvement: there will be 200 basketball teams playing in the 2017 Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament (called the “Gus Macker River West Classic” this year), which could draw up to $25,000 for the community and invaluable exposure to the Near Westside. And, leading the charge is Greg, serving as the Program Manager for the charity tournament, which will be held on July 29th and 30th this month on West Michigan Street. Greg got involved because Kinney Group’s non-profit, Near West 21, realized the event would bring positive attention to the area. He has been a true off-court All-Star for Indianapolis and the Near West Side and is posed for a successful event. This “Michael Jordan of Excel” just might be making a story for himself and we think a great start is 2017 TechPoint Tech25 recognition.

Disk is Dead: Forward Thinking Themes for Building Next Generation Federal Data Centers

“As I grew up working in the restaurant business, I learned at an early age that if you delight the customer with an unexpected experience, great things can happen,” opines Jim Kinney, President and CEO of Kinney Group. Kinney founded Kinney Group, Inc. (KGI) with midwestern sensibility and a vision for high-touch customer care and contemporary approaches for data center solutions. The company designs and builds modern data center solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), and civilian agencies. “I founded the company on a simple premise: to take advanced techniques and technologies found in contemporary commercial data centers on the coasts, and bring those innovations to DoD and IC agencies while also addressing their unique requirements for security and systems accreditation,” explains Kinney. Working for some of the most demanding government programs and organizations, KGI creates custom solutions in its practice areas of next-generation data center technologies, process automation, and IT operations analytics.

Use of emerging platforms such as all-flash storage arrays is a great example of how contemporary thinking can dramatically improve service levels and security, while at the same time significantly drive down overall costs.

“With the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, IT funding for DoD and IC agencies is under downward pressure. Though mission tempo has not subsided and mission systems are no less complex, these agencies are under increasing pressure to reduce both operational and capital expenditure costs. We passionately believe that these agencies can leverage contemporary approaches to reduce costs, while at the same time providing better service levels to their stakeholders,” explains Kinney. “Use of emerging platforms such as all-flash storage arrays is a great example of how contemporary thinking can dramatically improve service levels and security, while at the same time significantly drive down overall costs.”

Deriving from Wayne Gretzky’s theory of “skating to where the puck will be,” the company’s strategic focus is on emerging technologies that will aid Federal data center operators in creating more agile and secure capabilities, while also driving down costs. “Our mission is to help DoD and IC programs skate towards where the puck is going to be. A great example of this strategy is our early work with Pure Storage, as the company is now recognized as the leader in the growing all-flash storage array market segment. We began our journey with Pure in 2011 before they even released their first product,” explains Kinney.

With one of our DoD customers we used automation to reduce the manpower for deploying a complex system from over 80 hours of manual effort to just 6 minutes[/perfectpullquote] “At that time, we really believed in the emerging potential of solid state storage, and fell in love with Pure’s simple value proposition of building a secure storage platform that provides the performance of flash storage at a cost less than traditional disk.” The result of this prescient thinking has enabled KGI to build high-performance VDI and private cloud solutions that have been accredited on secure networks and are supporting critical missions today.

128GB NAND memory chip

128GBs of MLC NAND flash. Fingerprint in size. Mammoth in storage.

“We focus on trying to make things simple. By leveraging next-gen data center technologies, automation, and analytics, we can enable even the most junior personnel with the ability to effectively deploy and sustain complex mission systems. As an example, with one of our DoD customers we used automation to reduce the manpower for deploying a complex system from over 80 hours of manual effort to just 6 minutes,” explains Kinney. Kinney Group designed, built, secured, and accredited a private cloud capability that is in production today that uses this automated capability. The company believes that literally any DoD community or activity could leverage this design to quickly bring a private cloud capability to their agency. “One of the key things that we have been able to do is harden and accredit advanced platforms that enable private cloud capabilities to work on secure networks such as SIPRNet and JWICS,” elucidates Kinney. “We have done so in a fashion that creates a reference design that any defense or intelligence agency can leverage and quickly be able to implement a private cloud capability.”

With the commitment of delivering “the unexpected experience,” Kinney Group continues to leverage next-generation technologies and use proven engineering practices combined with agile development principles, to create customized, cost-effective solutions for the next generation of Federal data centers.”

Kinney Group was recognized as one of the “Twenty Most Promising Defense Technology Solution Providers” for 2014 by CIO Review Magazine, which is the source for enterprise solutions information. This essay was published in CIO Review Magazine: Defense Technology Special in January 2015.