SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Kaitlyn Hall, the SMB Nation editorial assistant, is earning a B.A. in Hispanic studies and B.A.C. in public relations from Pacific Lutheran University. She joined the SMB Nation team in June 2014, and enjoys working with the diverse companies in the SMB space.

Open Source is Ready for Business

By Pete Engler


The business climate has changed drastically in the last decade. The volatility of current global economic conditions reinforces the need for business owners to save money wherever possible, including making strategic investments in technology solutions for the 

best ROI (return on investment). Adopting an open source software solution is one way to save businesses a great deal of money.


Open source is software that can be freely used, changed and shared, in modified or unmodified form, by anyone. Its approach to the

Digium logo

 design, development and distribution of software offers practical accessibility to a software's source code. If you’re not familiar with open source terminology, “source code,” written by programmers, is what instructs the computer to perform tasks according to the specified goals. If open source solutions are open or “free” for use, as a reseller, you may be wondering why you should ever recommend it to your customers. While open source is technically “free,” resellers can become integrators who offer customization services, integrations and support services to those using an open source solution. Even with businesses sometimes investing in these additional development and support services, open source is often more cost-effective than a proprietary solution (and for specialized projects, proprietary solutions usually do not offer the flexibility of being customized, without a huge expense - if, at all).


Will your customers consider an open source solution if you present it? It’s true that using open source was not as readily embraced in the past. Businesses were hesitant to use it due to the perceived risks with the stability and security of an “open” platform. Today, open source is viewed as a reliable and affordable alternative to proprietary technology solutions, also championed for its flexibility or customization, as mentioned earlier. In PC World’s eighth annual Future of Open Source Survey (2014)68 percent of businesses surveyed stated that open source helped improve efficiency and lower costs. The same PC World survey showed that open source is considered to be an extremely reliable, high-quality and secure software solution, with 80 percent of businesses acknowledging they chose open source because of its quality, even over proprietary alternatives.


The primary reason for the quality and reliability of open source is the community of contributors. The software is quickly and vigorously tested by its many users (including developers who contribute to the project on a regular basis). While these users are testing the software and reporting any bugs found, the sponsor begins to work on bug fixes to ensure the software continues to be stable after the release.


While the degree of availability of the software’s source code is beneficial for creating a reliable solution, the open code has also caused many businesses to scrutinize the security of open source. However, the greatest security risks are often outside the open source project. Hackers generally do not need the source code to breach a system. The primary reason software can be unsecure is the method or programming of security settings by the administrator. Basic passwords, holes in firewalls and many other settings can leave a system vulnerable. The PC World survey found 72 percent of companies believed open source provides stronger security than proprietary software.


The flexibility of open source software is a unique benefit over proprietary solutions. When building a solution using a toolkit, it can be special purposed for an organization from the ground up. No need to hassle with a proprietary solution that has feature gaps. Open source software, because of its toolkit nature, helps to create new products and services when put in the hands of skilled developers. As mentioned above, open source can be extremely cost-effective and self-developed solutions can significantly cut the proprietary solution cost.


A great example of open source software that has changed an industry is Asterisk, sponsored and maintained by Digium. Asterisk is a communications toolkit that allows developers to build solutions from a simple PBX to a complete call center solution. Asterisk, with its source code made available to anyone, is completely open. It helped change the way organizations approached telecommunications. PBX solution costs, for example, have been cut drastically for businesses due to the many different vendors and integrators building solutions with Asterisk. This has opened up the market for businesses to purchase business phone systems and other telecommunications solutions outside of the once typical proprietary options only offered by a handful of large vendors.


If a business is considering open source software solutions or you are an integrator looking to offer it as a solution to your customers, the decision should be easy. Choose an open source company with flexible support options, such as a free community forum and flexible pay-for-support options. There is no reason that developers of solutions cannot find the answer to any configuration or support issue with adequate sponsor resources. Significant progress has been made by open source companies to ensure their software is the highest quality possible, making the decision to use open source software a cost-effective option for SMBs.


Pete Engler is the channel marketing manager at Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.

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Switch announces integration with Office 365

Office 365 is too key to the business world for forward-looking technology companies to ignore. Switch, a cloud-based business phone system provider, announced yesterday it is now fully integrated with Office 365 and also offers an open version allowing any business in the U.S. to sign up. 

“Any size business that moves to Google Apps and Office 365 understands the value of the cloud,” CEO Craig Walker wrote. “IT departments at enterprises that are making the move really, really understand it. They know that employees need to be productive when they work remotely, whether it’s down the block or on the road, and having on-premise email, calendar and documents doesn’t make sense any more. Cloud adoption is inevitable, not just for productivity suites but for business phones, too.”

Switch was built around the WebRTC framework, which continues to be heralded and updated by Google, Firefox and Microsoft, and now has data centers in Australia, Asia, Europe and the U.S. to keep multi-national customers connected. 

More information is available here on the Switch blog.

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Avnet adds Alert Logic to portfolio

Technology distributor Avnet today it expanded its portfolio of offerings with SaaS solutions from Alert Logic. 

Avnet will provide Alert Logic’s services to VAR, MSP and ISV partners in the U.S. in Canada through Avnet Cloud Solutions. avnet

“Avnet’s new relationship with Alert Logic will bolster the ability of our partners to deliver critical cloud security services that help keep their customers’ data safe and compliant, allowing them to focus on running their businesses,” said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of Avnet’s cloud solutions business in the Americas. “The addition of Alert Logic expands our cloud ecosystem with another important ally toward providing our partners with the strategic guidance, resources and packaged offerings to quickly, securely, and cost-effectively build and grow their customers’ cloud computing platforms.”

More information about solutions from Avnet and Alert Logic is available here.  

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MachNation provides recommendation for IoT security vendors

The Internet of Things continues to lead industry news and innovation in the second half of 2015, and myriad providers and vendors are attuned to IoT’s importance. 

MachNation, an IoT insight services and application development firm, announced today recommendations for five security vendors and 10 requirements for creating a secure solution in “IoT Security Landscape and Vendor Recommendations 2015.”

“MachNation has been providing our customers with industry-leading analysis and strategic support for their IoT initiatives,” said Steve Hilton, co-founder and President, MachNation. “Today, we are thrilled to announce a new publication that provides a list of 5 recommended IoT security vendors and 10 requirements to help public and private sector organizations craft a holistically secure IoT solution. We recommend the IoT security solutions of ARM, Bayshore Networks, Cisco, Intel and Wipro.”

The report, available here, covers the five recommended providers in detail and provides information about 13 other IoT security vendors.

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Trend Micro supports hybrid architectures

Security software provider Trend Micro continues to work to protect small business and enterprise from data vulnerabilities in hybrid cloud infrastructures. trendmicro

“A hybrid strategy helps many companies maximize existing infrastructure investments while successfully migrating to the cloud,” said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president, cloud research, Trend Micro. “Even during an ‘all-in’ migration, there is a transition period where organizations have to manage IT assets across multiple environments. Security that can bridge both is a critical component in keeping corporate data safe and meeting compliance requirements. Our Deep Security platform allows users to pursue a hybrid strategy with confidence.”

Trend Micro’s integrated solution, Trend Micro Deep Security, is designed to enable compliance across workloads, giving organizations the ability to operate securely on-premises and in the cloud.

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Ingram Micro receives recognition in Cloud Partner Program Guide

Ingram Micro announced today it was recognized in The Channel Company’s CRN 2015 Cloud Computing Partner Program Guide for its support and acceleration of partner initiatives in Ingram Micro Cloud Elevate. 

According to Ingram Micro, its free-to.enroll channel program is designed to drive partner channel sales and cloud profitability. 

"It's an honor to receive this recognition for a second straight year, as it further validates our commitment to channel innovation and partner success in the cloud," said Renee Bergeron, Vice President, Global Cloud Computing, Ingram Micro. "Ingram Micro Cloud Elevate provides channel partners with the resources needed to quickly expand their cloud footprint while accelerating business transformation and profitability."

The Cloud Partner Program Guide will be included in the October issue of CRN and is available at

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Digium decodes VoIP for business owners

Voice over Internet Protocol is a key technology for businesses small and large, functioning as one of the most popular methids of communication both in and out of the office, according to Digium's newest infographic. 

The graphic highlights the rise of VoIP throughout myriad verticals and notes top reasons for companies to switch to VoIP, notably lower telecommunication costs and a desire to merge voice and data traffic.

Digium offers resources illustrating the transition to VoIP here for businesses and the professionals that support them. View the full infographic below. All About That VoIP copy

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IBM to acquire Cleversafe

IBM announced this morning it entered into an agreemnet to acquire Cleversafe, Inc., which will strengthen IBMs ability to develop and lead storage and hybrid cloud. IBM logo1

Cleversafe’s portfolio will be integrated into the IBM cloud business unit to provide clients with increased consistency in on-premise, cloud and hybrid cloud solutions. 

"Today a massive digital transformation is underway as organizations increasingly turn to cloud computing for innovative ways to manage more complex business operations and increasing volumes of data in a secure and effective way," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. "Cleversafe, a pioneer in object storage, will add to our efforts to help clients overcome these challenges by extending and strengthening our cloud storage strategy, as well as our portfolio.”

Cleversafe CEO John Morris said the acquisition will expand Cleversafe’s current solutions to better its client service as well.

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StorageCraft enhances UK presence with exhibit

StorageCraft announced this morning the StorageCraft Technology roadshow is set to make a stop at IP Expo Europe later this week to enhance its foothold in the U.K. and throughout Europe.  Storagecraft logo

"StorageCraft is enhancing its strong foothold in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom,” Ellen Marie Hickey, StorageCraft's European marketing director said. “This is an opportunity for IP Expo attendees to learn why information technology professionals trust StorageCraft backup and disaster recovery solutions in more than one million computer systems around the world."

StorageCraft will be available at booth M23 in the ExCel Exhibition Center from Oct. 7-8. 

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Microsoft announces Azure innovation at AzureCon

The intelligent cloud is powering innovation industry-wide and key to advancement of Microsoft Azure. 

Microsoft Corp. announced earlier this week Azure will be available in more places worldwide with new features designed to offer users simplicity and flexibility. microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

“We live in a connected world, and the intelligent cloud is powering it all,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud + Enterprise Division. “As data and devices continue to proliferate, there is vast opportunity for businesses to tap into their data to make their applications more intelligent. Through our offerings across applications, data and IoT, and cloud infrastructure, we are enabling companies to innovate more easily and rapidly, using the tools and platforms they know and love.”

Exciting product news include the availability of the Azure IoT Suite and the expansion of Azure Data Lake. Microsoft Azure services are now available in India, with O365 and Dynamics CRM soon to follow in the coming months. 

More product information and service announcements from AzureCon are available here.

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Webroot expands UK distribution

U.K.-based Distology and threat protection provider Webroot announced today they expanded distribution of Webroot’s products into the UK and Ireland. webroot

“The MSP space in the UK carries huge potential and Webroot has taken a very dynamic and proactive approach to grow its presence in this market,” said Rick Yates, director of sales and marketing at Distology. “Webroot’s lightweight agent, two minute initial system scan time, and minimal impact on end user devices keep downtime to a minimum and service costs low. We look forward to delivering their innovative threat intelligence and Smarter Cybersecurity™ solutions to our extensive partner and MSP network.”

This expansion will allow Webroot to globally further its partner programs and provide MSPs, resellers and system integrators with privacy, performance and protection.

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Jabra expands SPEAK series to simplify collaboration

Jabra announced today availability of Jabra SPEAK 810, a speakerphone solution designed to mitigate traditional difficulties of conference collaboration and eliminate poor sound quality.  Jabra long

"Businesses are becoming more focused on creating working environments and cultures that better enable them to compete,” Holger Reisinger, Head of Business Solutions, Jabra, said. “As a result, office environments are changing and becoming more dynamic, demanding and technology-enabled. New ways of working are adding flexibility to working spaces, practices and hours. Yet productivity must also remain a priority for business success and for this reason so should enabling effective collaboration and concentration.”

Important features include a directional microphone with a 15 foot range; connectivity through USB, Bluetooth and 3.5 mm jack cables; USB charge out for charging mobile devices; and a Kensington lock slot option.

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Covertix supports O365 transition

Israel-based Covertix continues to facilitate migration to Office 365 with its SmartCipher technology, the company announced today. 

SmartCipher is designed to provide control, tracking and forensics for internal and external unstructured data files.

"Security concerns are the primary reason that many people are not actively moving to the cloud," said Covertix CEO Yoran Sirkis. "Covertix support for Office 365 eases some of those concerns."We live in a world without boundaries. Protection needs to follow each document, each piece of information because the endpoint no longer exists. It's now everywhere.”

Its technology allows governance of protected information across O365, including email and cloud storage. 

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My Digital Shield announces new leadership

SECaaS provider My Digital Shield announced yesterday it hired channel industry veteran  Stuart Selbst as its vice president of channel sales. In his new position, Selbst will oversee channel sales and marketing, as well as strengthening and furthering MDS’ relationship with partners and the channel. my digital shield

“My Digital Shield’s small business cyber security solution offers such a unique opportunity for channel partners to leverage among their existing customers,” said Selbst. “I look forward to leveraging my expertise across the channel to help MDS better educate the reseller community on its offering and help IT service providers strengthen their services portfolios with the addition of MDS’ small business cyber security platform.”

Selbst has been recognized for his channel expertise with awards from MSP Mentor, The VAR Guy and SMB Nation, included in the SMB Nation SMB Top 150 list from 2011 to 2013.

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Changepoint to unveil business execution management platform

Today’s latest technology is designed to make decisions easier for both businesses and tech professionals.

Changepoint, a portfolio management and professional services automation service provider announced today it will reveal its business execution management solution at a U.S. Gartner symposium Nov. 5. 

"In today's evolving business landscape, CIOs and senior executives need solutions that enable them to make agile and strategic business decisions," said Mark Upson, President of Changepoint. "Changepoint's BEM platform does exactly that, and there is no better place to introduce it than Gartner ITxpo, where the focus is on bringing new insights and tools to a high-level audience of IT and business leaders.”

Changepoint will also showcase the solution at symposiums in Australia and Spain.

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AppRiver to speak at industry conferences, receives high rankings on Penton lists

SaaS provider AppRiver shared two announcements yesterday: Penton awarded the company high positions on lists ranking MSPs and CSPs, and it will share its insights and strategies at Channel Directions Live. appriver logo emailwebsecurityexperts stacked

At the conference, AppRiver will accept its No. 31 ranking on the Talkin’ Cloud 100 list of Penton’s top CSPs and its No. 9 ranking on the MSPmentor 501 Global Edition awards list. 

"Evolving technology trends such as cloud computing, BYOD and sophisticated advanced persistent threats directed toward businesses are driving the adoption and demand of new security solutions," AppRiver channel sales manager Justin Gilbert said. "Not only have we designed our technology to keep businesses productive and information secure, but we're helping resellers become trusted advisors to their clients.”

Gilbert said the awards serve as a testament to  AppRiver’s continued dedication to its partners.

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IBM grows portfolio of cloud business solutions

IBM announced today plans to expand its business solutions capabilities with new industry platforms designed to simplify and accelerate transitions to the cloud. IBM logo1

These industry platforms combine multiple cloud business solutions, and the portfolio includes platforms built for personalized learning, insights and customer experiences. 

“Our portfolio of cloud business solutions is a recognition of the mandate for speed and time to value, along with the requirement of clients to personalize business solutions to their own processes and culture and deploy them via the cloud," said Sanjay Rishi, IBM Global Business Services, Managing Partner, Cloud Consulting Services. “Our new IBM Cloud Business Innovation Center will help us co-create with our clients, addressing their unique needs with tailored solutions, delivered on the cloud for fast results.”

IBM’s portfolio is built to address specific verticals and business functions. More information about available solutions can be found here.

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Webroot and Lynx partner to protect IoT

Webroot and Lynx Software Technologies announced earlier this week the start of a strategic partnership combining security technologies to enable developers to build advanced threat detection and protection into IoT and IIoT devices. 

In the combined solution, components of Webroot’s IoT Security Toolkit are embedded inside the LynxSecure Hypervisor secure virtual space. 

“With constantly changing security threats, we need an IoT security solution that adapts to any environment while taking into account the importance of future-proofing and the need for living protection,” said Dick Williams, Webroot CEO. “As we bring our cloud-based threat intelligence to IoT developers through the Webroot IoT Security Toolkit, we see a very clear alliance with Lynx. By combining our technologies, we’re able to offer a unique solution to protect the connected IoT world from advanced targeted threats.”

The integration of Webroot’s toolkit substantially increases threat awareness, Lynx CEO Gurjot Singh agreed.

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eFolder extends eFolder BDR for Veeam service

eFolder announced yesterday the eFolder BDR for Veeam service has been extended to support cloud-based disaster recovery for Veeam-protected VMware vSphere environments.  efolder

VMware leads the market in virtualization software deployments, according to the IDC, and this addition to eFolder BDR for Veeam service is designed to enable IT channel partners to support and capitalize on this success. 

“eFolder BDR for Veeam is the most comprehensive off-site backup and disaster recovery service for Veeam,” says Ted Hulsy, vice president of marketing at eFolder. “Enhancing the service to support cloud-based disaster recovery of VMware environments, which we know to be the majority of Veeam deployments, gives IT channel partners the opportunity to offer a profitable, end-to-end disaster recovery solution for any virtualized environment.”

The solution can also be used with Microsoft Hyper-V environments, according to eFolder.

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THE 2015 Fall Conference: Online-only option announced today!

SMB Nation is incredibly excited to announce we are now offering a cost-friendly virtual opportunity for you to join the best jam session of the season! THE 2015 Fall Conference is going online to extend the experience to the worldwide community of professionals supporting the SMB market.  smb logo horz rgb

This is your opportunity to learn more about Microsoft's best solutions for SMBs and enterprise from the experts that know them best, all from the comfort of your home or office. We're bringing myriad sessions straight to your computer in a live-streamed or pre-recorded format for just $99. 

Even though you'll miss in-person networking opportunities, you can still join the conversation by live-chatting during the sessions through your twitter account.

The sessions included in the virtual pass are denoted by an asterisk at If you have any questions about virtual attendance or which registration package is best for you, contact Jenny Hallmark at 206.201.2943 ext 102 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Microsoft releases Windows 2016, promising programs designed with Win 10 and O365 in mind

Global technology and software leader Microsoft announced yesterday its next key update to the Microsoft portfolio: The worldwide release of its popular home and business Office suite.  microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

Its pairing with Office 365 and Windows 10 as well as increased built-in security make Office 2016 an exciting solution in both the SMB and enterprise markets . 

This latest update is designed to catch up with other popular business solutions that integrate opportunities for collaboration with co-workers and clients. 

“Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team. “It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.”

Read the full blog from Koenigsbauer here to get insights on enhancements to connectivity and productivity and the details about Office’s most innovative features yet. 

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Unitrends marks five years on Inc. 5000

Spending a fifth year on Inc. Magazine’s annual ranking of the nation's fastest-growing privately-owned companies is certainly something to celebrate.

Unitrends announced today its position at No. 1184 on the exclusive list, with a special nod to its recognition on the Inc. Magazine Honor Roll, which includes organizations recognized on the Inc. 5000 list five or more times.  unitrends logo

"Our ranking on this year's Inc. 5000 list and inclusion in the Inc. 5000 Honoree Club is recognition of an unwavering focus on creating the highest quality data protection solutions that enable companies to recover more than just data," said Kevin Weiss, president and CEO of Unitrends. "Equally as important, it demonstrates that the path to financial success is dependent on constant innovation, world-class, award-winning customer support, and a vision of where this marketplace is headed and how we as a company will lead that change.”

This year has been key in Unitrends’ expansion, with worldwide growth of Unitrends Cloud and the Unitrends Enterprise Backup software. 


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Dell co-designs solution with Cloudera and Syncsort

Dell announced today it worked with Cloudera and Syncsort to co-design a new solution for Hadoop created to streamline the extract, transform and load process for data analysis. dell

The solution’s features work to combat the lack of flexibility and the high cost of traditional tools such as RDBMS and EDW with increased customizability and improved access to insights. 

“Businesses are increasingly requiring quicker, cost effective and richer data insights to drive and accelerate their business results,” said Jim Ganthier, VP and GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell. “Dell and Cloudera continue to jointly bring to market breakthrough big data and analytics solutions that deliver on those needs. Our new solution, which now incorporates Syncsort, will bring the power of big data insights to a whole new set of users who were once unable to justify the costs and complications of previously available commercial solutions.”

The solution is generally available today. 

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Frost & Sullivan awards Webroot for IoT cybersecurity innovation

Webroot announced yesterday it received the 2015 North American Cybersecurity for Robotics & Industrial Control Frost & Sullivan Product Leadership Award, which recognizes Webroot’s IoT cybersecurity and Industrial Internet of Things technologies. 

"We are honored to accept this coveted award, and it serves as strong validation of Webroot's overall IoT security leadership and unique, future-proofing strategy," said John Sirianni, VP of IoT Strategic Partnerships at Webroot. "While existing cybersecurity solutions for embedded devices focus on locking down systems at the time of manufacture—which has been shown to be ineffective against the evolving threat landscape—BrightCloud Threat Intelligence continuously monitors the origin and nature of attacks, and defends vulnerable IIoT devices and systems against ever-evolving exploits."  

Webroot’s technology combines BrghtCloud Threat Intelligence with Webroot’s device micro-agents to protect connected devices against threats including DDoS attacks, malware, ransomware and sensitive data exfiltration.

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Voxox caters to channel partners, offers promotion

Cloud-based rich-communication service Voxox announced earlier this week at the Cloud Partners Conference & Expo it revamped its hosted PBX and SIP trunking solutions under the Voxox Office Brand.  voxox

In this transition, Voxox will double the standard partner commission to 40-50 percent for the first year of hosted PBX and SIP Trunking deals for 12 months or longer. 

"The channel is our primary sales force so we are always thinking of ways to cater to partner needs," said Bryan Hertz, CEO of Voxox. "We saw an opportunity to enhance our hosted PBX and SIP trunking solutions tailoring the latest offering to our channel partners' requests, and we feel that the new Voxox Office suite offers an even better partner and customer experience. We are excited to roll out this offering."

Voxox Office combines both Voxox solutions and third-party products, as Voxox strives to offer the most complete features and solutions. 

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Accenture announces agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas

Cloud services provider Accenture announced Tuesday it entered into an agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas, a cloud advisory and technology services provider specializing in “pure play” technologies including Salesforce and NetSuite. 

“We’ve reached a tipping point in cloud as our clients rapidly adopt cloud solutions,” Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty said. “Accenture’s Cloud First agenda is a game-changer that offers transformational cloud services to help clients move their businesses to the cloud and achieve significant business results more quickly. I look forward to welcoming the talented professionals of Cloud Sherpas to Accenture.”

Combined, the two companies will continue to strengthen a strategic partnership with Salesforce, with thousands of certified professionals combined. 

More information about the acquisition and how it will affect customers and employees is available here.

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SMB Nation Webinar: The Rise of Cloud Vertical-ization

SMB Nation, the events and media company for the SMB channel community, announced this morning it will host “The Rise of Cloud Vertical-ization” from 10-11 a.m. PST Sept. 24. 

The webinar, featuring AppRiver’s Scott Paul, will give MSPs and IT pros an opportunity to learn how they can deliver innovation and create profit.  smb nation webinar topper

As platforms continue to mature, and more organizations are drawn to the financial and management benefits, cloud is spurring interest from industries that have been hesitant, including those most beset with regulation, compliance and privacy: banking and finance, healthcare, and legal firms and companies.

Organizations need help navigating the security and compliance hurdles they face, and cloud service providers are delivering more features, certifications and tools to help them. 

Managed service providers who bring these needs and resources together to create well-defined, compelling packages that are easy to implement are delivering real innovation and value.

Those interested in the webinar can register here.

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THE 2015 Fall Conference: New sessions added

SMB Nation and O365 Nation are excited to announce myriad new sessions were added to the conference site for THE 2015 Fall Conference, fall2015.smbnation.comsmb logo horz rgb

THE 2015 Fall Conference, coming to Microsoft Redmond Oct. 2-4, is an education and networking opportunity that’s better than going back to school—attendees can earn a major in migrations or clarify the complexities of Office 365 in just three days. 

Sessions include “Lead Generation via Attraction Marketing” and “Lync Sucked! Skype for Business Rocks!,” with industry experts Karl Palachuk, Grant Thompson and more offering presentations throughout the conference. 

The schedule and full list of sessions are available at and, respectively. 

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Intellinote announces integration with key business solutions

Team communication and collaboration platform Intellinote announced yesterday new integrations with business applications including Salesforce, ZenDesk, MailChimp and Dropbox, allowing users to coordinate content and create actionable items within Intellinote

"Users and businesses use a number of different best-in-class business apps and tools,” Intellinote CTO Gene Sohn said. “But switching between them constantly to monitor activity, updates and changes takes up valuable time every day. With these new integrations, users can save time but still be on top of what's important, actionable or just informational - all from inside Intellinote - so they can prioritize responses and optimize effort.”

Intellinote also announced immediate availability of an integration portal that allows app developers integrate their apps with a REST API, Widget API or a Webhook API, which each provide different capabilities to developers based on individual or company needs.

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Sage and Microsoft expand collaboration on SMB solutions

Even the biggest industry names are thinking small. microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

Sage announced today a global agreement with Microsoft to collaborate on product development, including Sage products built on Microsoft platforms and product portfolio integration. 

“We have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Microsoft for many years at a local level, but this new agreement is about taking a step back to look at the bigger picture,” said Alan Laing, EVP, global strategic partnerships and alliances at Sage. “We’re imagining what could be made possible for Small & Medium Businesses if our two organizations worked more closely together on a global scale.We’re really excited about the possibilities – the greatest developer minds working on the very latest platforms to build exciting new solutions for Small & Medium Business in the long-term. That’s what Sage is all about and we’re delighted to share that vision with Microsoft.”

This agreement will extend a relationship between the two companies of more than 20 years to deliver cloud, on-premise and hybrid solutions globally.

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IBM acquires StrongLoop to strengthen app development

Connecting applications to the Internet of Things and web applications in the cloud is an important opportunity for developers, and IBM has stepped in to help with its latest acquisition. IBM logo1

IBM announced yesterday it acquired StrongLoop, Inc., a provider of enterprise Node.js, enabling developers to create apps using APIs.

 “With this acquisition, the industry benefits from Node.js’ formal entry into the mainstream enterprise,” said Juan Carlos Soto, Chief Executive Officer, StrongLoop. “As leaders in the Node.js open community, we plan to further advance open, community-driven innovation coupled with global, enterprise class software and services offerings to grow client value in the API economy.”

IBM said it intends to integrate the Node.js capabilities into its software portfolio.

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Microsoft announces new features for CRM solution

Microsoft Corp. unveiled this Tuesday new capabilities it will release in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, the latest version of its customer engagement solution. 

It enhanced and advanced intelligence, mobility and service, among other areas, with the new enhancements designed to provide a seamless CRM experience. 

“Microsoft’s obsession with customer success is rooted in our ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Dynamics CRM 2016 is designed from the ground up to deliver core capabilities all in a single system to eliminate distractions, to make it easier to get things done, and to dramatically increase productivity so our customers can spend more time serving their customers.”

Microsoft also released earlier this week the Dynamics CRM Release Preview Guide.

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Save the date for IAMCP Seattle Meeting

Seattle Microsoft partners rejoice—the Seattle IAMCP is resuming its monthly meeting schedule beginning this month. 

IAMCP Seattle will meet Thursday, Sept. 17 from 11:30-1 p.m. at Microsoft Civica Offices - Bellevue to recap the Worldwide Partner Conference and discuss partner opportunities. 

“SMB's have traditionally been the backbone of the Microsoft partner ecosystem,” Jeff Shuey, IAMCP Seattle president, said. “The IAMCP is working hard to insure SMB's can stay informed and connected to the Microsoft Partner Network and to meet with potential partners, too.”

Full event details and registration are available at

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LOGICnow launches enhancement to IT service management platform

Technology and platform advancements are changing the way everyone in the industry works, and LOGICnow’s latest update to its IT service management platform is slated to enhance managed service providers’ delivery of service to their clients. 

LOGICnow launched yesterday LOGICcards, an enhancement to MAX RemoteManagement designed to provide MSPs with access to real-time data-driven insights. 

“In essence, LOGICcards embeds a data science capability within every one of our MSP customers, it’s like having an analyst in your business that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to identify improvement opportunities.” said Alistair Forbes, General Manager of LOGICnow. “Like cloud before it, the impact of machine learning for MSPs will be revolutionary and should not be underestimated. This moves beyond the traditional understanding of automation for MSPs to a new generation of business optimization opportunities. The confidence that the operational activity is undergoing continual improvement will free up MSP business owners to understand and address the major challenges they will face in the years to come.”

LOGICcards derives its insights, including trends and predictions, from billions of data points collected from the millions of devices managed by the MSPs using the MAX RemoteManagement platform. 

Machine learning will be part of the coming evolution of managed services provision, Forbes said, and LOGICcards will provide an engine of future growth for MSPs.

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Webroot announces growth throughout Q4 and FY 2015

It’s been a record year for cybersecurity solution provider Webroot, which announced today achievements from its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2015, including double-digit year-over-year revenue growth in Q4.  

"We look back on a record fiscal year, not just financially but also in regard to the market movement toward protecting the Internet of Everything. We launched a number of industry-leading new products and technical innovations, and consumers and businesses alike have been quick to adopt our next-generation endpoint security products. Our BrightCloud Threat Intelligence Platform has been recognized for its behavioral analysis, massive scale and accuracy in detecting the latest URL, IP, file, and application threats," said Dick Williams, Webroot CEO.

In the channel, perhaps the most exciting event of FY2015 was the debut of the new Webfoot Channel Edge Partner Program, now enabling Webfoot to provide specific tools to support its network of partners. 

Webroot also reported it added 5.3 million new home users, more than 1 million business endpoints and 3,100 MSP partners during the fiscal year.

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Novel ideas: Binary Tree contributes to new edition of O365 e-book

Binary Tree announced today it contributed two chapters to the second edition of Office 365 for Exchange Professionals, to be launched at the IT/DEV Connections Technology Conference Sept. 14-17. 

The e-book includes information on Office 365 designed to take O365 users from making the decision to transition to cloud to completing the migration from on-premises servers.

"Writing technical books in an age when technology evolves so quickly is a challenging task,” author Tony Redmond said. “We all have other jobs to do, and we simply could not afford to spend the time necessary to assemble the information contained in Office 365 for Exchange Professionals without the help of additional, experienced authors. We want to be able to publish new editions of the book to keep track of what happens inside Office 365 and that takes a lot of work and effort. Fortunately, we were able to get the necessary support from Binary Tree. We also received some great content for the book, covering the often intricate and difficult subject of how to sort out Active Directory infrastructures to make them compatible with the cloud.”

Binary Tree’s chapters cover tips and techniques for Office 365, as well as the importance and integration of Active Directory. 

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Lenovo announces new SMB series PCs

Small businesses are different—they require scalable and flexible tools and technology tailored to SMBs to best serve their business and customers. 


Lenovo announced today a new portfolio of laptops and desktops  designed to increase efficiency, safeguard business data and support collaboration, including the ThinkPad E and S series desktops. 


“Small business users want to be mobile and secure and seek reliable high performance computing to work on their terms. Laptops for total mobile flexibility with excellent battery life or stylish desktops to meet the rigorous tasks of today’s office and retail environments,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president PC Design and Marketing, Lenovo. “Our latest range of products designed for small businesses deliver on all fronts and offer customers peace of mind with class-leading security features, renowned reliability and performance options giving them the freedom to work how they want.”


ThinkPad E series PCs will be available in November and S series all-in-one and small form factor desktops will be available in select markets in Q4 2015, as will a variety of laptops designed for SMBs.

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ScanSource enhances European management structure

 ScanSource, Inc., a value-added distributor of specialty technology products, announced yesterday it enhanced its management structure for several business units in Europe, in an effort to further support company growth and leverage strengths of its executive leadership.


“We are very excited to be able to build on the successful acquisition of Imago, as it enables us to realign our business and better focus our efforts, so that we can best serve our reseller customers and vendor partners,” said Mike Ferney, president, Worldwide Communications and Services, ScanSource, Inc. “The dedicated leadership, sales, merchandising, and technical support teams in each region underscores our commitment to our partners’ success.”


Additions and changes in its management include the appointment of Ian Vicarage as president of ScanSource Communications, Europe, and the promotion of Maurice Van Rijn to president of ScanSource POS and Barcode, Europe.

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IBM and ARM collaborate to accelerate IoT delivery

IBM announced today the expansion of its Internet of Things platform, IBM IoT Foundation, through its integration with ARM. 

The collaboration is designed to connect ARM meed-enabled devices with analytics services, allowing for better gathering and analysis of device data.

"Deploying IoT technology has to be easy, secure and scalable for it to feel like a natural extension of a company's business," said Krisztian Flautner, General Manager, IoT Business, ARM. "By collaborating with IBM, we will deliver the first unified chip-to-cloud, enterprise-class IoT platform. This will empower companies of any size with a productivity tool that can readily transform how they operate, and the services they can offer."

The integration unifies the ARM and IBM platforms, enabling users to enhance operations, build value and improve engagement. 

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RapidFire Tools announces upcoming locations for award-winning trainings

RapidFire Tools, Inc. announced shared yesterday it will continue to present trainings for MSPs throughout September, in an effort to help MSPs and IT solution providers profit from network assessment.  

The company will offer “Top Ways to Use IT Assessments to Win New Business and Grow Your Customer Relationships” at the MAX 2015 event Sept. 10 and the upcoming ASCII Group SMB Success Summit Sept. 16. “We continue to focus on educating the MSP community about the revenue potential associated with network assessment throughout the client life-cycle, from prospecting and new client onboarding, through client service and business reviews, and even by delivering new services,” RapidFire Tools CEO Mike Mittel said. “The best way to communicate all these uses is to let solution providers see for themselves how these tools are used and what kind of branded reports they can generate.  RapidFire Tools is honored that so many trade show attendees have recognized the value of these solutions, and have gone back to put our network assessment products successfully into practice.”

Its training session won “Best IT Workshop” at a spring 2015 ASCII Group SMB Success Summit.

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Webroot releases IoT toolkit, equips users with protection and threat intelligence

Webroot announced yesterday the release of the Webroot IoT Security Toolkit, which enables Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things solution designers and system integrators to integrate threat intelligence services and cybersecurity device agents. webroot

The IoT Security Toolkit is designed to protect next-gen systems against advanced threats of ever-evolving malware, zero-day exploits and internal vulnerabilities.

"As the world begins to unlock the potential of IoT devices and platforms, cybercriminals are deploying more advanced attacks to hijack critical applications inside edge devices," said John Sirianni, VP of IoT Strategic Partnerships at Webroot. "Because the Webroot IoT Security Toolkit leverages real-time threat intelligence to protect deployed systems against cyberattacks, solution designers and integrators can meet the mandatory requirements for security and safety systems by ensuring that critical devices and systems operate as expected. Together with our strategic partners, we are playing a critical role in developing and deploying devices and systems that are defended against the zero-day and advanced persistent threats of today and tomorrow."

The toolkit includes device agents, BrightCloud Threat Intelligence Services and a secure web gateway.

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StorageCraft offers recovery without a ransom in new pricing structure

Paying for the protection of DRaaS seems futile when the service provider holds data and systems at a ransom after a disaster.

StorageCraft announced yesterday at VMworld a new pricing model for the StorageCraft Cloud Services disaster recovery solution designed to make StorageCraft products more accessible and eliminate the threat of hidden fees. storagecraft

“Data is the life-blood of a business. A business owner with data in a cloud should not be forced to pay a ransom to gain access to his or her data after a disaster. The new, simple pricing model makes StorageCraft Cloud Services as affordable as generic clouds, while offering recovery options that other clouds do not offer,” said Mike Kunz, StorageCraft’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “To put it simply, StorageCraft Cloud Services’ pricing allows users to focus on the recovery -- not on what is affordable to recover or how to pay for a recovery. Other vendors charge high fees at the time of recovery, such as essential CPU, RAM, and bandwidth resources. StorageCraft Cloud Services supports your business’ recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives, including full virtualization.”

Features of StorageCraft Cloud Services include instant virtualization and networking of cloud-based backups, personal control of cloud backups and a self-service Cloud Services portal.

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Sage announces new version of SMB accounting software

SMB solution provider Sage announced today Sage 50 Accounting—U.S. Edition has been updated to include 10 most-requested enhancements for its SMB customers. sage

“The latest version of Sage 50 includes a number of enhancements requested by our customers and designed to make day-to-day tasks such as accounting, payroll and payments even easier for small business owners,” said Connie Certusi, Sage EVP and general manager. “The new iPhone and iPad apps give customers the flexibility to check inventory and create quotes on the go, while the new chat feature allows customers to get help as soon as they need it without having to pick up the phone.”

Other updates include simplified installation, chat support and customizable lists.

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Quick Heal Technologies uncovers malware, releases report

A new type of malware discovered last month is an undetectable threat to email inboxes, and it’s able to work its way around a sandbox gateway appliance.

Quick Heal Technologies announced today its research labs found APT-QH-4AG15 last month, malware designed to infect highly-protected networks. quickheal

“Our global reach allows us to identify advanced persistent threats (APT) such as this one in all corners of the globe, with a goal of catching them just as they emerge and containing them before they spread,” said Sanjay Katkar, CTO, Quick Heal Technologies. “Our initial findings have taught us that even the most advanced sandbox-based appliance protection can be breached. As a result, enterprises need to consider and implement multiple layers of protection to safeguard their networks.”

Sandbox-based gateway appliances rose as an enterprise solution to reduce or mitigate the threat of spear phishing attacks, yet this breach may raise concerns about the reliability of sandbox gateway appliances, Katkar said.

Quick Heal released a report on the threat, available for download here.

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Sennheiser turns seventy, celebrates continued CC&O growth

As nations across the globe remember the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II this week, the industry can celebrate another milestone—Germany-based Sennheiser’s 70th year in the marketplace. sennheiser

Take a listen to audio solution provider Sennheiser, which announced last week the anniversary and discussed its updated portfolio.

Its call center and office segment, launched into the telecommunications space in 2011, is key to the company’s continued growth, according to Sennheiser, with year-over-year sales growth of 103 percent.

“Sennheiser has decades of experience delivering high-end, industry-leading audio products to a roster of complex verticals,” said Bill Whearty, vice president, sales and marketing at CC&O at Sennheiser. “Competitors have difficulty comparing our legacy in the professional audio marketplace, which harks all the way back to 1945. We’re proud to leverage that expertise and engineering prowess in the contact center and office environments, so the business community can benefit from this level of quality technology. As the company celebrates its 70th anniversary, we look forward to observing our fine standards of audio quality, elevating the effectiveness of even the most sophisticated telephony system.”

The company is focused on fostering CC&O growth in the United States, Denmark, Germany, France and Benelux, and estimates increased market shares in the telecommunications and office markets.

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VMware extends unified hybrid cloud platform

The second day of VMworld 2015 brought three key VMware announcements: new solution EVO SDDC, updates to its unified hybrid cloud platform and previews of vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform. vmware

VMware, Inc. announced today new features for its unified hybrid cloud platform, designed to enable customers to create a consistent environment across public and private cloud.

"Digital business transformation is creating new opportunities and new risks across every industry," said Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president and general manager, Software-Defined Data Center Division, VMware. "Applications are the fuel of this digital business transformation. With our One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device™ strategy and our unified hybrid cloud platform, VMware is empowering the next wave of industry leaders to deliver applications with the stability, security and reliability of an enterprise, while allowing organizations to innovate with the agility of a startup."

Within its unified hybrid cloud platform, VMware expanded and added services in VMware vCloud Air and released several new products for the software-defined data center.

Several of the new features and products associated with its unified hybrid cloud platform offering are available now, and the rest will be available later this year. Full pricing and availability can be found here.             

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Cisco-sponsored study reveals second wave of cloud adoption

It’s not over quite yet. Cloud is expected to continue to drive revenue for technology pros in a second wave of cloud adoption, according to findings from a Cisco-sponsored global study. 

Cisco released earlier this week “Don’t Get Left Behind: The Business Benefits of Achieving Greater Cloud Adoption,”an InfoBrief developed by IDC and based on primary market research with executives in 3,400 companies in 17 countries.

“As we talk with customers interested in moving to the second wave of cloud, they are far more focused on private and hybrid cloud—primarily because they realize that private and hybrid offer the security, performance, price, control and data protection organizations are looking for during their expanded efforts,” said Nick Earle, senior vice president, global cloud and managed services sales, Cisco. “This observation, which drove our strategy to build a portfolio of private and hybrid infrastructure and as-a-service solutions, is reflected in the new IDC study, which shows that 44 percent of organizations are either currently using or have plans to implement private cloud and 64 percent of cloud adopters are considering hybrid cloud.”

“Don’t Get Left Behind” includes information on cloud adoption by industry, economic and business outcomes of cloud, and cloud adoption in the countries included in the study.

Read and download the full InfoBrief here.

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Myth busters: Debunking the myths of DaaS and its providers

Attend "Myth busters: Debunking the myths of DaaS and its providers,"  and you'll be able to definitively say, "I ain't afraid of no DaaS."

Companies worldwide have deployed Desktop-as-a-Service, supporting employees with a simple, secure and highly-accessible workspace solution. 

Though it's a simple way to enhance productivity for employees, confusion still surrounds DaaS, especially surrounding what it includes, how it's deployed, and how MSPs, VARS and telecos can add DaaS to their product line as a very profitable part of their business. 

SMB Nation will present "Myth Busters" from 10-11 a.m. Sept. 10 in a live webinar, joined by Scott Markley, nGenx channel sales ngenxexecutive. nGenx continues to be a leader and pioneer in DaaS, and Markley will share his extensive industry experience to bust the biggest myths surrounding DaaS and show you how your business can profitably expand into the cloud.

Learn more about the webinar and register here.

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SECaaS provider MDS takes home honor at ASCII Boston Success Summit

Founded just two years ago, My Digital Shield doesn't take baby steps, but rather leaps and bounds with its Security-as-a-Service solutions for small businesses. my digital shield

MDS announced yesterday it was voted and awarded “Best New Product” at the ASCII Success Summit in Boston, Mass., recognizing the innovation and affordability of MDS’ cybersecurity solution.

“We are honored to have been selected by ASCII Boston attendees as the ‘Best New Product’ award recipient,” said Andrew Bagrin, founder and CEO of My Digital Shield. “We are thrilled to have the ongoing support from our partners and the channel community and are committed to accelerating the continued expansion of MDS’ affordable cyber security solution.”

MDS supports MSPs and SMBs across various industries, including retail, hospitality and professional services.

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IBM extends Blue Box Cloud availability

Private, OpenStack-based clouds received a boost yesterday from IBM, which announced Blue Blox Cloud is now available in global IBM cloud data centers running SoftLayer infrastructure. IBM logo1

Blue Box, a private-cloud-as-a-service solution acquired in June, is now fully integrated into its OpenStack portfolio as an open-source private cloud and demonstrates IBM’s ongoing support of OpenStack.

“I’ve been impressed by the way the IBM and Blue Box engineering teams have collaborated to quickly bring Blue Box Cloud to a worldwide infrastructure platform,” said Jesse Proudman, CTO at Blue Box, an IBM Company. “Today, we’ve taken a big step toward our goal of delivering private clouds to customers anywhere in the world—and we’re offering deployment timelines that are unheard of within traditional private cloud.”

The Blue Box solution is designed to simplify and bring consistency across cloud types, with a focus on combining the benefits of private and public clouds to support private cloud users.

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StorageCraft provides 30 percent discount on ShadowProtect and ShadowProtect SPX products

It’s better than a back-to-school sale on crayons and composition notebooks—disaster recovery and backup solution provider StorageCraft will continue to offer a significant discount on several ShadowProtect solutions in response to ongoing support from users and partners. storagecraft

StorageCraft announced today it is extending a 30 percent discount offer through Sept. 30 to partners and non-partners on virtual licenses, packs and bundles for its ShadowProtect and ShadowProtect SPX software purchased through StorageCraft and its distributor partners.

“The promotion has proved to be popular as IT professionals around the world have taken advantage of the opportunity to protect access to their data and systems with one of the most-trusted backup and disaster recovery solutions on the market,” said Mike Kunz, StorageCraft’s vice president of worldwide sales.

The ShadowProtect family creates backup images of Windows and Linux virtual machines, with recovery available minutes after a disaster, according to StorageCraft.

Those interested in learning more about StorageCraft and its solutions in-person can visit booth 2240 at VMworld Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.

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AvePoint updates Azure-based SaaS platform for O365

AvePoint announced yesterday immediate general availability of a new version of AvePoint Online Services, a 100 percent Azure-based Software-as-a-Service platform for Office 365 designed to simplify the transition to O365 and Azure.

AvePoint Online Services integrates with Azure Active Directory and SQL Azure Data Base, and provides IT pros simplified platform access with tools to scale storage for O365 reporting.

“One of the major benefits of the cloud is simplifying IT operations to focus more on the needs of business users,” said George Petrou, Chief Technical Officer, AvePoint. “With the latest release of AvePoint Online Services, administrators can easily access and scale the tools they need for Office 365 management while boosting user productivity and ensuring organizational governance policies are met through automated service requests and insights available within the SharePoint Online interface.”

More information, including testimonials and the link to a free trial, are available here.

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Microsoft announces first look, features for SharePoint

Sharing is caring, right? After all, we’ve welcomed many business solutions in the past few years allowing us to collaborate with colleagues, clients and customers through services like Microsoft SharePoint.

Microsoft announced yesterday availability of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and a new cloud hybrid search preview for SharePoint Server 2013 and 2016.sharepoint

“One of the more difficult challenges, beyond deploying software, is managing the IT infrastructure to support it,” wrote Bill Baer, SharePoint senior technical product manager. “In many cases, IT investments directly impact the bottom line. SharePoint Server 2016 has been designed to reduce the emphasis on IT and streamline administrative tasks, so IT professionals can concentrate on core competencies and mitigate costs. Tasks that may have taken hours to complete in the past have become simple and efficient processes that allow IT to focus less on day-to-day management and more on innovation.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the Microsoft announcement is a cloud hybrid search preview, which will allow Office 365 and SharePoint users to retrieve information from on-premises and O365 content with a combined search index in Office 365.

The full announcement and links to download the cloud hybrid search and SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview are available here.

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SolarWinds N-able offers IT service management platform for SMB MSPs

SolarWinds N-able, a RMM and service automation software provider, announced yesterday the upcoming release of its IT service management platform for MSPs serving small and midsized businesses.

MSP Manager, available this September, is designed to increase efficiency and profitability for MSPs, with features including centralized customer knowledge management, mobile applications, integrated billing and a customer portal.

“One of the toughest challenges facing small and medium-sized IT service businesses is profitably growing revenues while acquiring new customers,” said JP Jauvin, General Manager, SolarWinds N-able. “Many IT service professionals are either using manual processes or complex software tools to manage the business, but what they really need is a cloud-based IT service management software platform that is simple, affordable and easy to manage.”

Pricing details and partnership information are available from SolarWinds N-able.

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D&H offers VAR programs for Win10

Tech distributor D&H Distributing announced today it’s offering new programs, services and training opportunities to support resellers after the recent release of Windows 10. dandh

Its support for VARs includes Windows 10-oriented webcasts and seminars, a Windows 10 Partner Services marketing template and support from D&H’s Microsoft experts on its Solutions Team.

“We’ve had a Windows 10 upgrade path in place for VARs for some time,” said Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H Distributing. “We’re looking to support our resellers regarding the new operating system, whether that means helping them educate end-users about new features, identifying the more familiar characteristics of the system, or supporting upgrades and greenfield installations. Based on the responses we’ve gotten to our current trainings, there is huge interest in the channel. We want our VARs to be on top of this transition, reengaging with their end-customers to further entrench themselves as trusted IT providers.”

D&H’s Windows 10 resources are available here.

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SaaSMAX announces speakers, topics for ‘Partner Perspectives’ webinar

SaaSMAX announced earlier this week it plans to host the Partner Perspectives August Edition at 10 a.m. PT Aug. 21, a webinar addressing how attendees can build a successful SaaS solution provider practice. saasmax

“The new SaaSMAX Partner Perspectives monthly series is a much needed addition to the Reseller Community via its peer-led forum,” said Clinton Gatewood, webinar host and VP of reseller engagement and matchmaking. “We're bringing together a panel of SaaSMAX Resellers who sell multiple SaaS applications every day and are building up a steady stream of recurring commissions. We had several dozen attendees for our inaugural July webinar, and expect attendance will increase for the August event and each month thereafter.”

Panel discussion topics include client relationships when delivering SaaS applications, managing relationships with SaaS vendors and the impact of selling SaaS on business and employee processes.

Kirk Lesser, president and founder of Renascence IT Consulting, Inc., and Christopher Alghini, principal consultant at Coolhead Teach, join the panel of speakers to share SaaS experiences.

Free registration for the live webinar is available here. SaaSMAX will have a recorded copy of the webinar available at a later time.

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AppRiver named to Inc. 5000 for continued growth

AppRiver announced today Inc. magazine ranked it as No. 4057 in its 34th annual list of the nation’s 5000 fastest-growing private companies. appriver logo emailwebsecurityexperts stacked

This is AppRiver’s ninth year on the list, and it’s one of 19 IT service companies nationwide to be on the list at least nine times.

“The story of this year’s Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership.  In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top,” said Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don’t achieve that kind of success by accident."

AppRiver grew 71 percent during the last three years and currently protects 47,000 businesses worldwide with email messaging and web security.

The full Inc. 5000 list is available here.

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AlienVault closes financing round after record year

Unified Security Management provider AlienVault announced today it closed a $52 million Series E funding round, which brings its total funding raised to $116, with investments from Institutional Venture Partners, Trident Capital and more. alienvault

The funds raised are set to help AlienVault scale its global sales and marketing programs and invest in product innovation for its USM platform and Open Threat Exchange, its open threat intelligence community.

“With today’s rapidly changing threat landscape, technology alone is not enough in the battle against cybercrime.  At AlienVault, we unify the security products, intelligence and community which enable all organizations – regardless of size – to quickly detect and respond to today’s threats,” said Barmak Meftah, president and CEO of AlienVault. “This round of funding will allow us to make the investments needed to rapidly expand our reach into this large market opportunity.”

AlienVault recorded strong progress throughout the last year, with a 75 percent increase in new customer growth and more than 65 percent bookings growth year over year. It was also named to the Visionary quadrant of the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SIEM.

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Platform9 introduces solutions enabling interoperability of OpenStack with VMware

OpenStack-powered Platform9 announced today it created a simplified approach to self-service private clouds for VMware customers through Platform9 Managed OpenStack for VMware vSphere environments. platform9

Platform9 now fully supports VMware vSphere environments through a VMware specific virtual appliance available to integrate OpenStack controller services with vSphere resources.

“Platform9’s mission is to make private clouds easy to deploy and manage for the enterprise. By fully supporting VMware vSphere, we are enabling every VMware customer to instantly derive greater value and infrastructure agility from existing virtualized infrastructure,” said Sirish Raghuram, co-founder and CEO of Platform9. “Customers no longer need to choose between the world’s leading private cloud platform (OpenStack) and the world’s leading virtualization platform (VMware vSphere): Platform9 Managed OpenStack is 100% interoperable with VMware vSphere, allowing customers to integrate OpenStack and vSphere seamlessly. Developers can have self-service provisioning using OpenStack while at the same time, IT Operations manages the underlying infrastructure using vSphere.”

More information, including availability and pricing, are available here.

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Support family of longtime SMB Nation member and contributor Grant Thompson

Grant Thompson, a founding partner at Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based MG Group, announced today to the SMB community he started a GoFundMe campaign to support funeral and burial costs for Edith Grace, Thompson’s newborn niece. gofundme

Edith Grace was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal condition that can result in early death of an infant, according to WebMD. She was born July 31 and died August 12, leaving behind both moments of grief and memories of joy.

Forty supporters helped Thompson meet his initial fundraising goal of $5,000, but every dollar helps to further offset costs to the family. Thompson added he hopes supporters will envelope the family in prayer.

Those wanting to provide the family with financial and spiritual support can visit the “Edith Grace Memorial Fund” here.

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Ingram Micro announces expanded availability of MSFT Advisor to CSP service plan

Channel partners are empowered to take control of Office 365 subscriptions through the Microsoft Advisor to Microsoft Channel Solution Provider service plan, which Ingram Micro announced today is now available in 13 countries worldwide. 

The program allows channel partners to convert O365 Advisor subscriptions to the CSP program through Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace, transferring control from the end-user to the channel partner. ingrammicro

“Ingram Micro remains fully aligned with Microsoft to drive channel sales for Microsoft Cloud Solutions,” said Nimesh Dave, executive vice president, global cloud, Ingram Micro. “As the first tier-2 partner to automate the conversion of Microsoft Office 365 Advisor subscriptions to CSP through a single portal, we are excited to deliver a service plan that accelerates the transition and the adoption of CSP.”

Channel partner control of O365 pricing, billing and support will lead to greater profits and retention for the partner, while providing simplicity and stability to the client, according to Ingram Micro.

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Avnet dedicates AXIOM issue to IoT

An ecosystem is developing around IoT, one of the industry’s most important emerging technologies, and Avnet announced today it released an issue of AXIOM magazine dedicated to IoT hot topics. avnet

Key feature stories provide a wide view of IoT, covering middleware, wearable electronics, cyber security, cloud services and more.

“The connection of machines and everyday objects to the Internet continues to change our world and has become a driver for innovation across so many industry sectors,” said Ed Smith, president, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas. “With this issue, we are providing readers with a comprehensive look at both the challenges and opportunities for implementing IoT from the edge to the enterprise.”

The full issue of AXIOM is available here.

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D&H announces Q1 2016 fiscal results

The first quarter of fiscal year 2016 is now over for D&H Distributing, which announced today an 8 percent growth year-over-year in sales. dandh

D&H attributes part of its strong gains to SMBs and the Windows Server 2003 EOS, with high sales of servers as organizations transition and double-digit growth in PC and desktop sales, led by the small business reseller channel.

“We’ve spent the year equipping our resellers with cutting-edge products and insights on what trends will bring them the greatest profitability. This has led to larger-scale installations, and more sophisticated projects, and expansion into lucrative verticals. We’re thrilled to see the strategy come to fruition,” said Dan Schwab, co-president of D&H Distributing. “It’s the result of months of dedication, wherein D&H pursues a unique roster of new vendor partners and develops effective programs and training venues in conjunction with its long-term manufacturers. We look forward to enhancing that success, and continuing to invest in our customer base over the rest of our fiscal year.”

The local government and education sectors continue to grow as well, with a focus on the K-12 marketplace.

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ServicePoint365 PRO offers CRM, project management for O365

Cloud|AG announced today ServicePoint365 PRO now provides simplified CRM and project management capabilities for its customers using Office 365.

The solution, an Office 365 SharePoint app, leverages the O365, SharePoint Online and Azure platforms to deliver management capabilities from prospect management to partner management.

“After working with hundreds of Office 365 small and medium-sized customers, we found these companies have a need for simplified CRM and project management functionality but are wary of the cost and complexity associated with most of the point solutions.  We decided to include this capability in ServicePoint365 PRO to make an affordable alternative for Office 365 customer to manage customer relationships and projects” said Michael Ganote, vice president of sales at Cloud|AG.

ServicePoint365 PRO is available by monthly or annual subscriptions. More information and services from Cloud|AG and its partners are available here.

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Trend Micro offers Win10 migration protection

Windows 10 continues to generate buzz industrywide, and channel companies are increasingly offering solutions tailored to new challenges and opportunities of the operating system.

Trend Micro announced yesterday the Trend Micro Complete User Prote ction solution is fully supported on Microsoft Windows 10, providing seamless security for businesses migrating to the new OS.

“As businesses begin to assess and plan their Windows 10 migration, it is essential they keep security top-of-mind, otherwise they risk leaving themselves vulnerable to cyberattacks,” said Kevin Simzer, chief marketing officer, Trend Micro. “This transition provides organizations with a unique opportunity to modernize and refresh their endpoint protection and switch to a security provider with proven solutions that continuously deliver outstanding results.”

The solution is available in SaaS and on-premise deployments, and offers advanced capabilities to users of virtual and physical desktops

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Avnet announces alliance milestone with Juniper Networks

Avnet Technology Solutions announced today it celebrated a 10-year business relationship with Juniper Networks that continues to enhance customer connectivity in the EMEA and APAC regions. avnet

For a decade, the companies collaborated to improve IT infrastructure with security, switching and routing solutions in seven countries: Australia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.K.

“Big data and analytics, cloud computing and mobility are driving an exponential increase in connectivity and security demands, and these trends are expected to define the technology industry for the next decade,” said Patrick Zammit, president, Avnet Technology Solutions, Global. “As a result, security and networking presents one of the greatest growth opportunities for our partners. Avnet’s 10-year relationship with Juniper Networks has given our partners a solid foundation in this market. With Juniper Networks, we will continue to look for new opportunities to build upon our mutual success and help our partners address their customers’ business needs related to security and networking as this market evolves.”

Avnet continues to be dedicated to the alliance, holding more than 250 Juniper Networks sales and technical certifications and winning Juniper Networks’ distributor and marketing awards for countries in EMEA and APAC regions.

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Moki offers updated mobile digital experiences with MokiTouch 2

Cloud-based software provider Moki announced today the release of MokiTouch 2, an update to its free application for customer facing devices.

“MokiTouch 2 is the only customer facing device application that allows businesses to manage, track and measure customer interaction with devices,” said Tom Karren, CEO and co-founder of Moki. “As retailers and businesses across the board, large and small, experiment with the use of consumer facing devices in their locations, they quickly recognize the potential and need for analytics tools and comprehensive remote management capabilities. The powerful combination of Insights and Total Control enables businesses to dynamically analyze the results of in-store marketing campaigns through MokiTouch 2 – all from one centralized dashboard – enabling them to adjust their content and strategy accordingly.”

The application can be used to create tailored mobile digital experiences on interactive kiosks, digital signage, video kiosks and other shopping devices.

Its design includes SMB-friendly features, such as the ability to function without special network considerations and in low bandwidth scenarios.

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Jabra releases UCaaS market projections

Two words define the Unified Communications as a Service market in the coming decade: exponential growth.

Jabra unveiled late last week an infographic detailing current and forecasting continued growth of the UCaaS market, valued by Markets and Markets at $13.1 billion in 2014. 

Technavio and Wainhouse Research project compound annual growth of the market at more than 20 percent through 2019, with estimates of the market in 2019 at upwards of $20 billion from Market and Market.

For industry professionals and partners hoping to offer UC solutions or services, WebRTC presents a key opportunity as an up-and-coming aspect of UCaaS projected to welcome 2 billion users by 2019, according to research firm Disruptive Analysis.

The infographic is available here.

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Using an expert system to generate high-quality leads

Harry Brelsford and Patrick Houston will help MSPs, CSPs shorten the sales cycle
SMB Nation Webinar 12-1 p.m. August 13, 2015

Lead generation in the average organization might resemble this: Marketing professionals feed high-quality leads to sales, and sales professionals "sell" into the customer opportunity and close the deal. At the top of the sales process, procuring leads is vital to success.

It’s not always an easy process, as many MSPs and CSPs are not naturally skilled at lead generation. SMB Nation is offering this week's academic webinar, "Using an expert system to generate high-quality leads for MSPs and CSPs," so MSPs and CSPs can discover how to use a newly-launched natural language expert system to acquire leads by lending expertise to answer client questions.

By engaging in routine behavior, providing advice, MSPs and CSPs can accumulate high-quality customer leads to convert to client. The webinar will also give attendees the tools to capitalize on the customer trend of self-research to can shorten the sales cycle dramatically. This is a community endeavor led by Pat Houston, former editor-in-chief at CNET and now on-board at SMB Nation.

This is not a "how to make a million in your sleep" scheme, but rather a sophisticated business model all industry professionals should devote an hour to learning more about.

Attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Follow this link to register:

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Microsoft recognizes Red Level for O365 and Azure implementation in U.S. heartland

Consulting firm Red Level announced yesterday it won two Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards at WPC for its cloud and SMB services and implementations in the Heartland Area. Red Level Networks Infrastructure Solutions

Red Level is a full-service technology consulting firm that provides enterprise-grade solutions to both the enterprise and SMB markets, with more than 100 certifications from technology companies and multiple gold and silver competencies for cloud, hybrid and in-premise solutions.

“The cloud has received plenty of acclaim and attention in the enterprise landscape. Now, small and mid-sized business decision makers are recognizing the value of moving to the cloud. The cloud is more conducive to meeting their IT and business requirements than ever before,” CEO David King says. “We recognized this need early on, and our cloud practice has grown exponentially as a result.”

The company received “Heartland Area Cloud Partner of the Year” and “Heartland Area SMB Influencer Partner of the Year” from a field of more than 3,200 Microsoft partners.

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Dishing out data: Windows 10 default settings

Each day, companies release new software and solutions designed to protect data from malware and viruses, but this time, the threat’s coming from a source closer to home.

It’s an inside job, led by the operating system and software itself—Windows 10, Microsoft’s most intrusive system to date, is collecting myriad types of personal data on businesses and individuals alike. windows10

Personal data including contacts, meetings, location, and voice are siphoned to Microsoft’s servers and can be sold to third parties through Windows 10’s default settings, which Microsoft suggests are designed to enhance and individualize the user experience.

The settings may do something to personalize the OS, but they seem to be doing more for Microsoft—and its pocketbook— than the end-user hoping to keep private information private.

In descriptions of how the company uses and discloses data in the privacy statement from its Windows 10 pre-release program, Microsoft clarifies data can be disclosed as part of a corporate transaction and to protect Microsoft’s rights and property, among other opportunities for disclosure.

Many Microsoft customers, understandably, are frustrated. Writers like David Auerbach joined consumers in critiquing the defaults, with The Register and TechRepublic covering continued backlash and providing how-to articles for Windows 10 privacy.

End-users aren’t sentenced to an OS lifetime of over-collection of data, though, as the default privacy settings can be changed both during the installation process and after in the ‘Privacy’ tab under the ‘Settings’ program.

Removing the default privacy settings isn’t a one-time, all-or-nothing decision. Users can restore camera and microphone accessibility to certain apps, for example, while restricting others from collecting location history or reading text messages.

Settings can be changed at any time, and each user should regularly check and update privacy settings as he or she installs or removes applications.

It’s up to every user, whether an individual or a business, to not depend on Microsoft to create a personalized experience. Instead, they should take charge of their data and—with a few simple clicks—make Windows 10 their best and most secure OS yet.


Learn more: SMB Nation will provide sessions on Windows 10 at THE Fall Conference 2015. Join us to learn best practices for Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure. Register at

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nGenx launches channel partner program

nGenx announced earlier this week an enhanced partner program for MSPs, which nGenx said will provide partners with an advantage in the desktop-as-a-service and application virtualization space.

The partner program includes a partner platform, one-on-one technology and processes training and eligibility to sell multi-vendor hosted desktop technologies, including Office 365.

“nGenx is ideally positioned to lead the shift from the traditional desktop to the more cost-effective and simple to manage DaaS environment,” said Max Pruger, chief sales officer, nGenx. “More importantly, we’re doing so in a way that is built and designed to benefit MSPs. As a partner-focused organization, we minimize partner conflict while striving to maximize collaboration across our partner ecosystem to drive rapid ROI and success.”

MSPs can sign up for the partner program here.

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D&H 25th annual New England Technology Show offers training in Windows 10, emerging technologies

D&H Distributing will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the New England Technology August 11, with sessions throughout the day covering Windows 10, SMBs and the future of business and IT. dandh

The show will include more than 60 vendor partners, as well as presenters Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Intel, HP and Lenovo. D&H will host refurb and incentives booths, highlighting its refurbishing and rewards programs, respectively.

“The New England Show was the first-ever of our trade shows, which we established both to help our resellers develop business and to thank them for their loyalty,” said Mary Campbell, vice president of marketing at D&H. “We have made good on an enduring tradition delivering the tools our resellers need to be successful, to grow, to acquire new competencies, and to leverage emerging trends. As we move forward with dynamic market launches such as Windows 10, we will continue to support our resellers in their efforts to be more competitive and profitable.”

D&H customers can register for free here.

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SMB TechFest names Vubiq Networks best solution

Vubiq Networks announced today its HaulPass V60 Gigabit Ethernet wireless connectivity system was voted “Best Solution” at SMB TechFest

Haulpass V60 uses the license-free 60 GHz millimeter wave radio band and supports connections to line-of-sight destinations. Consumers can combine multiple systems to span larger distances, such as business headquarters or college campuses.

“Our attendees were very impressed with the HaulPass V60 wireless technology,” said Dave Seibert, SMB TechFest co-founder and CIO of IT Innovators. “The product provides an easy, cost-effective way for companies, network operators, solution providers, and mobile carriers to extend their high-speed networks in situations that would otherwise be impossible or cost prohibitive.”

SMB TechFest showcases new IT technology developments quarterly in California.

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Sharegate update strengthens O365 breach prevention

Data protection is a key concern for businesses operating in cloud, on-premises and hybrid platforms, and just as malware and viruses become more sophisticated, so do solutions designed to protect business’ private communications and data.  Sharegate Management & Migration for SharePoint & Office 365

Sharegate, an Office 365 and SharePoint Management tool, released today a new version of its software, which includes the new Permissions Matrix Report and improved security enforcing features.

"CIOs and IT admins are most preoccupied by the security of their organization's data than anything else, and it's perfectly understandable. Although Office 365 is as secure as it gets in terms of Cloud platforms, Sharegate adds an extra layer of tranquility that's highly needed and welcome," CEO Simon De Baene said. "It's one thing to provide a simple tool to move to Office 365. But once you get there, there's plenty more you need to do, like secure your environment or organize your SharePoint content, and that's exactly what Sharegate brings to the table."

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SMB Nation Webinar: Obstacles to Customer Relationship Management Adoption

Modern customers look to small businesses for personalized, high-quality services that allow the customers to support the local community and businesspeople.smb nation webinar topper

Opportunities for relationship-building set small and midsized businesses apart from enterprises, yet small businesses don’t typically adopt Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. Instead, surveys showed SMBs resort to other methods for tracking and managing contacts, sales opportunities and customer relationships not engineered to act as a dedicated CRM system.

SMB Nation and speaker David Franklin, attachedapps CEO and co-founder, will host a webinar from 10-11 a.m. PT Thursday, August 6 to discuss the relationship between SMBs and CRM and highlight how the strengths of CRM complement small businesses.

The presentation will delve into reasons for non-adoption and the best strategies for partners to suggest CRM solutions to clients to support clients’ ongoing success. CRM solutions and customer relationships are closely tied to industry-leading email platforms and marketing solutions.

This webinar welcomes perspectives from all CRM partners and is product agnostic. Register at

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CharTec introduces Relyenz to simplify security management for MSPs

CharTec launched new division Relyenz today at CompTIA’s ChannelCon Conference, offering a CentralPoint multi-vendor security platform designed to deliver simplified security management to MSPs.

Relyenz will enable partners to provision and monitor endpoint security, password management and disaster recovery protocols in a fully managed environment.

“For years, CharTec members have been asking us if there was a way to manage their security stack just like their disaster recovery solutions from CharTec,” CharTec CEO Alex Rogers said. “That’s why we launched Relyenz. We’ve brought together a strong core of individuals with extensive security background, paired with the best solutions in the industry, to better serve the MSP community.”

This division and platform are part of a continuing partnership between CharTec and Sophos.

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Autotask acquires Soonr, expands offerings

Collaboration and data security are key to the modern office, and Autotask aims to provide both with acquisition of Soonr, a provider of cloud file sharing and collaboration solutions for businesses.

The acquisition, announced earlier this week, will provide Autotask MSP and ITSP clients with access to enterprise-grade file sharing and synchronization solutions designed for end-client efficiency and security.

“Autotask delivers innovative offerings that manage mission-critical business processes for our customers. This acquisition fits perfectly within that objective and represents a significant managed services’ revenue opportunity for all MSPs and ITSPs,” said Mark Cattini, President and CEO of Autotask. “FSS is a fundamental element of business continuity that ITSPs are expected to provide. Soonr provides a HIPAA-compliant, SaaS solution with 99.99 percent uptime that is IT-approved, easy to deploy, and simple to use.”

More information about the acquisition is available here.

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Sage advice from the Sage Summit: Knowledge and opportunities in New Orleans

It’s not just the grocery store around the corner or the one-room bookshop down the street. Small and midsized businesses are the technology firms, daycare centers and manufacturing plants upholding the American and global economies. smallktsage

At “Imagine Now,” the 2015 Sage Summit, small businesses were the stars of the show, and rightfully so—with around 8,000 attendees from 64 countries, it’s the largest conference focused solely on SMBs. The conference was grand in scale, and revealed a new direction for U.K.-based Sage.

As the crowd flooded into the keynote each morning, we were greeted with this statistic: 99 percent of the world’s companies are small and midsized businesses.

The panoramic screen flashed up more statistics: Minority-owned SMBs employ 4.8 million people in the U.S. alone. SMBs produce 14 times more patents than enterprises in the same industries. SMBs are game-changers.

Sage switches direction

Historically, Sage acquired market leaders or second-in-the-market companies with SMB-focused products to draw in more and more customers, becoming an amalgamation of solutions without a clear focus.

In the last six months, Sage transitioned into a new era under a unified brand and comprehensive solutions designed to create consistent customer experiences, said Aimee Ertley, Sage North America director of external communications.

Sage unveiled myriad new products and projects at the conference, including Sage 100c, Sage 300c and Sage Live. Its new solutions are scalable, Sage Payments CEO Paul Bridgewater said, and will provide reliability as it looks to drive customers onto a simplified subscription service.

Partnerships with Microsoft and Salesforce, among others, will drive continued growth of Sage’s solutions and simplify accessibility to tools.

New Orleans, new opportunities

New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the vibrancy of the city continues today. The open container laws and river of drinks make New Orleans a perfect place to network with industry leaders, analysts and journalists from across the globe.

Just like Sage, the city of New Orleans continues to unite for growth and was filled with small businesses, making it the perfect environment to discuss the futures of Sage and small business.

#SageAdvice from keynote speakers

“Maybe it will be better, and maybe it won’t be. But go to bed thinking it will be better.” Colin Powell.

“Status quo just does not cut it anymore.” Sage North America President Jodi Uecker

“Two words: Love. Service. Period.” Deepak Chopra

For more information on the Sage Summit, visit or search #SageSummit and #SageAdvice on social media.

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I did a FUBAR with a “Foo” Email!

By Harry Brelsford, CEO and Founder, SMB Nation

Several thousand of you have received an email from me the past several days with the Subject Line of “foo” and the body text of “foobar” from me. Here is the back story and the benefit.foobar

What started out as a learning exercise inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Online turned into a FUBAR. I created a marketing list. Then I set the list to dynamic instead of static. I clicked Next a few times in the marketing list setup wizard and created a test email with the subject line “foo” and the text “foobar.” Then I clicked Finish and emails started going out via my Outlook client in Office 365. OMG “it” was mailing my entire customer list. I tried to right-click and stop but to no avail. I researched online how to stop a marketing list from mailing but couldn’t find the right answer. So I spent a few Karma dollars I had built up over the years and reached out to Julie Yack, a Microsoft MVP for Dynamics CRM and co-author of the well-received “ The CRM 2013 Field Guide Volume Two: How to CRM like an MVP with Dynamics CRM 2013” found on Amazon here. I purchased this book a few months ago and it’s highly recommend.

Julie deftly directed me to a settings area and I canceled the workflow for the test email. However, by then over 10,000 emails had queued and I couldn’t stop the motion. So many of you received my test email.

Interestingly, my response rate from YOU the reader was off the chart. Typically when I send out a newsletter, I receive only a few direct replies. With the foo email, I have received hundreds from replies ranging from LOL to “foo on you” to have your been hacked (a legitimate question). Another benefit is that I and receiving hundreds of bounces in the form of NDR replies. That means the email address is no longer valid. So I can use the report for the marketing list to then deactivate contacts that are invalid. Cool!

Seems to me my lemons turned into lemonade. Maybe I should send out more FUBAR mistakes as a marketing tactic! Lemme know.

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Windows 10 and Windows Willy

By Harry Brelsford, SMB Nation Founder and CEO

How do you efficiently communicate yesterday’s Windows 10 launch to a readership that’s probably overwhelmed with Win10 talk nonstop? I’m not going to try and compete with the hamster wheel news cycle! Rather, I’ll provide you my analysis wrapped into appropriate context. And I’ll weave in the insights of Windows Willy!

All things considered, Windows 10 is the release everyone needs. OEMs need to sell devices. MSPs and partners need a reason for being in the eyes of the client. Microsoft needs a hit. I’d offer Windows 10 delivers in spades and if for no other reason than it’s not Windows 8. Haters gotta hate right?

There are some fantastic resources to get your Windows 10 speeds and feeds. Start with Windows 10 Update and search from there. Ranging from a Start button (are you happy now?) to Cortana (voice navigation), this “every other operating system release” from Microsoft will outperform. Analysts have rated MSFT a buy based on this and other factors (Office 365, Azure, cost-cutting) forecasting the stock will top $60/share near term. I’m impressed Windows 10 shipped today as I originally pegged it as a late summer release. This release timing allows the early adopters to play with it during the dawg days of summer and get serious in September after Labor Day.

windowswillyReaders will remember that, last month (June 2015), we conducted a five-city “Windows 10 preview tour” that offered a combination of roadmap and technical content plus a focus group. We were heavily oversubscribed with seating limited to 50 attendees and in one case the wait list exceeding 92! What we discovered was that the hunger for Windows 10 exceeded any other workshop offering we’ve had since the start of the Great Recession and the heyday of Small Business Server (SBS). While Microsoft received high marks for the Windows 10 product itself, the tour produced contentious conversations concerning how Microsoft treats its partners. Oddly this wasn’t necessarily Windows 10 specific but the pop therapy was worth the price of admission alone LOL for the disgruntled MSPs and partners.

Geekspeaking – I’ve been running Windows 10 Preview since its first day of release (October 1, 2014), and I wrote a blog comparing it to Windows 95 (even bigger than Windows XP). I’ve run it on four different machines and have launched, cried and had fisticuffs along the way. It’s all part of being a member of the Windows 10 family. Tonight, over adult beverages as I hold my own mid-night pizza launch party, I intend to download and install the real Windows 10 release on my four processor desktop! I’ll blog soon on that experience and what, if any, changes have occurred in my eyes since the preview edition(s). I plan to deploy Windows 10 in production within the next 30 days.

Where to get:

Figure: Download Windows 10 now from your Action Pack subscription!


Windows Willy

Back in late August 1995, I participated in the mid-night pizza party at the local Computer City for the Windows 95 launch. I was in NYC when the Windows 8 launch in late October, 2012 just minutes before Hurricane Sandy hit! I kinda felt like I was on one of the last flights out to Seattle. This time, the Windows 10 party motion is countless small gatherings at Microsoft stores. I stopped by the Seattle Microsoft store to “be there,” as you can see in the pic. And that’s where I met Windows Willy. He had driven several hours from eastern Washington to make a day of it, celebrating the Windows 10 launch. I met him at his third stop (he went to another Microsoft store first followed by a trip to the Microsoft Redmond campus). In this video, Windows Willy shares his insights into Windows 10 here.

PS – You can attend a Windows 10 event (which will continue for several days) near you by perusing this list.

PPS – Windows 10 is a pillar of our 13th annual conference held October 2-4 at Microsoft Redmond. BE THERE!!!!

PPPS – This is Clippy talking about Windows 10 with Jimmy Fallon on late night TV. Too funny! Here:

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SFF PCs provide compact, cost-friendly option for SMBs

dandhThe traditional desktop—complete with a tower computer and at least one monitor—isn’t a smart solution for modern SMBs. Instead, small form factor PCs provide the scalability, efficiency and size best suited to businesses low on capital or cubicle space.

D&H Distributing announced today an increase in its SFF offerings, including PCs from Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo in its portfolio.

“Small form factor computers have a great deal to offer a small business, or any industry requiring an easily re-configured environment, yet where users are still looking to leverage full-power, permanent desktops in their workplaces,” said Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H Distributing. “These units offer the best of both worlds, with rapid processing and a low-profile, space-saving design, often with a lesser footprint than even a tablet device. It affords the user a certain amount of portability similar to a mobile device. For the cost, and combined with other savings in space and energy, SFF models present a tremendous value.”

SFF PCs make use of much of the same technology as full-size computers, including Intel Core processors and solid state drives. Just as small businesses gain more strength and prestige worldwide, ‘small’ may be the future of the desktop computer.

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#SageSummit update: Conference opens with celebrity keynote, product previews

Small and medium businesses comprise 99 percent of businesses worldwide and continue to lead the workforce in hiring and innovation.

The “Imagine Now” Sage Summit began by highlighting the strengths of small businesses as media, customers and partners joined Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, General Colin Powell and spiritual thought leader Deepak Chopra (right) at the first keynote address.

“The real strength of this country rests not in Wall Street, but resides in the small businesses,” Powell said.

Despite interesting conversation from the three about everything from office satisfaction to increasing dependency on technology, the most important announcement for current and prospective customers was the introduction of three new products: Sage Live, Sage 100c and Sage 300c.

The most innovative of the three, Sage Live, capitalizes on the company’s partnership with Salesforce. The real-time accounting service is accessible on all connected devices and built on the Salesforce1 cloud platform.

The newest products from Sage address and complement the blurring of business and consumer solutions and experiences, Kelly said.

Follow @khalltweets or the hashtags #SageSummit and #SageAdvice for updates throughout the conference from media and attendees.

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SMB Nation Webinar: Lync, Skype and Skype for Business

What’s the difference and why should we care?

The portfolio of options for business communication solutions is bursting at the seams, yet it often feels more difficult than ever to find the solution that’s best suited for each business.

Microsoft’s rebranding of Lync and introduction of Skype for Business affected the entire community of users and Microsoft partners as business and personal communication tools mixed and integrated.

This shift has created a new ecosystem filled with both dangers and opportunities.

Join SMB Nation and Greg Plum from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 30 to learn how Skype for Business is changing the way businesses communicate and how it can lead to business growth.

For more details and registration, click here. This webinar is sponsored by Globanet.

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Dell releases SonicWALL series designed for SMBs and enterprises

Dell releases SonicWALL series designed for SMBs

Wireless networks are necessary for almost all businesses both at the small business and enterprise level, yet securing networks that include myriad systems and users can be costly and dangerous to data if not properly selected or maintained.

Dell announced today availability of its SonicWALL TZ Wireless Firewall Series, wireless network security solutions designed to deliver 802.11ac wireless performance and security for at a low cost.

"Attacks against all networks – including wireless networks – are becoming more sophisticated, and require a solution that ensures the highest level of security without compromising performance or bandwidth. We observed a 100 percent increase in the use of HTTPS traffic to obfuscate content,” said Patrick Sweeney, Dell Security executive director. “Whether that is wired or wireless traffic, it’s a problem for security. Dell SonicWALL TZ wireless firewalls support the latest high-speed 802.11ac wireless standard, as well as the ability to inspect encrypted traffic, helping to ensure ultra-secure connectivity. Our TZ wireless firewalls also provide a multi-layered approach to security that leverages our industry-leading deep packet inspection, application intelligence, control and visualization, as well as central management technology to provide an easy-to-deploy, high performing solution for both SMBs and large, distributed enterprises."

The TZ wireless firewalls can be combined with other solutions to scale to different environments.

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AppRiver Q2 Global Security Report highlights continued malicious activity

appriver logo emailwebsecurityexperts stackedKeep your friends close, and your enemies closer. For North American companies and individuals, this old statement came true in Q2 with more than 50 percent of spam messages originating in North America.

Appriver released results yesterday from the Q2 Global Security Report, a summary and analysis of spam and malware. AppRiver quarantined 4.7 billion spam messages between April and June 2015, and blocked 165 million messages containing attachments with viruses.

“It is more important than ever for companies to educate their staff on the seriousness of the breach problem, because hackers don’t announce themselves, but rather they attempt to work in darkness to minimize detection ultimately maximizing the size and scope of their breach,” said Fred Touchette, senior security analyst, AppRiver.

The full report, available here, details current malware trends, discusses Q2 breaches and reminds all who use email of the importance of effective security measures.

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Digium Switchvox Cloud 6.0 provides lower cost option to SMBs

Competitors hoping to entice both small business and enterprise customers need to offer fair, scalable pricing with high-quality solutions, and VoIP provider Digium realized this with Switchvox Cloud 6.0.

Digium, Inc. announced yesterday the release of cloud-based UC service Switchvox Cloud 6.0, which now offers a metered pricing structure for organizations with low usage patterns that want the features and opportunities of a business-class phone service.

"Switchvox Cloud's new, lower cost, metered offering starts at $12.99 per user, per month, reducing the barrier to entry for customers looking to migrate to cloud communications," said Channing Hinkle, product manager for Switchvox Cloud.  "Companies with variable call volumes, due to seasonality or other events, can save money by paying for only the minutes they use.  It's the perfect complement to our current Switchvox Cloud unlimited minutes offering for users with more consistent call volumes."

Important features of version 6.0 include updated call control and call visibility widgets, options for integration with CRM tools such as Salesforce and enhanced administrative tools.

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Trend Micro Deep Security Available on Azure Marketplace

Security solution provider Trend Micro Incorporated announced yesterday availability of cloud and data center platform Trend Micro Deep Security on the Azure Marketplace.

The solution is designed to extend security provided by Microsoft Azure and help organizations meet their shared security-enhanced responsibilities.

“We are pleased that Trend Micro Deep Security is now available on the Azure Marketplace,” said Nicole Herskowitz, senior director of Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure. “By making Trend Micro Deep Security available on our cloud platform, Trend Micro is providing automated cloud security for Azure workloads to customers around the world.”

Deep Security meets PCI and HIPAA requirements and defends against malware and network attacks.

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D&H to deliver XYZprinting 3D printers to SMBs, education sector

3D printer manufacturer XYZprinting announced today it partnered with D&H Distributing to expand distribution of its 3D printers and products.

Its printers are the most affordable worldwide, according to XYZprinting, as it strives to open the door to 3D accessibility for SMBs and the K-12 and higher education sectors.

“XYZprinting offers a wide variety of 3D printers to satisfy different customer needs at a competitive pricepoints. We’re thrilled to provide their industry-leading, accessible and affordable 3D printers to our rapidly expanding list of customers,” said Rob Eby, vice president of purchasing at D&H. “As 3D printing continues to drive demand in the marketplace, especially in the education sector, we look forward to working with XYZprinting to increase consumer accessibility to these sought-after solutions.”  

The XYZprinting 3D printers start at $399, and users can build everything from phone and music player cases to children’s toys.

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SBS leader by day, MLSP affiliate by night: Longtime SMB Nation member offers MyLeadSystem Pro to support channel community

Using social media for virtual networking and relationship-building is a modern key to success in any industry, and especially essential to MSPs and other members of the channel community that may not always meet their clients face-to-face as often as they'd like.scott in seattle

Social media should brand company leaders, rather than just the company as a whole, Microsoft SBS leader and SMB Nation member Scott Cayouette said. Executives should take advantage of platforms from Facebook fan pages to video blogs that give them a direct opportunity to create connections with current and potential customers. Twitter and LinkedIn, too, continue to be an important part of networking strategies.

With his roles as a managing partner at IPW Networks and MyLeadSystem Pro affiliate, Scott is invested in helping company leaders to do just what he suggests and build a strong social media presence.

“The more people get to see what you look like, the more they feel like they get to know you,” Scott said. “It solves that age old issue: Who are they, and what are they like? By the time they meet you, they feel like they know you.”

MyLeadSystem Pro, a social media affiliate platform providing strategies and trainings to help affiliates and their clients create a well-branded multi-platform social media approach, also offers opportunities for additional income from lead and referral generation. Though it began in 2008 as a network marketing resource, it has transformed into a platform designed to help small businesses of all kinds.

MLSP also provides tools for customer relationship management, tied closely today with companies’ and company leaders’ social media presence and execution.

Through his participation in this platform and others, Scott continues to act as the trusted adviser he’s always strived to be for his clients and peers. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn, Twitter, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more.

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Virtual channel chief consulting firm GetChanneled launches

Navigating the channel and its opportunities can be like boating on the open sea—simple and intuitive for those with extensive experience, but tumultuous and dangerous for those trying it for the first time.

GetChanneled, a virtual channel chief consulting firm, opened and began accepting clients today as its co-founders, SMB channel veterans Brian Sherman and Ted Roller, strive to help technology organizations succeed in the channel.

“Whether a Fortune 500 company or an emerging vendor, building a successful channel program can be a challenging prospect,” Roller, GetChanneled virtual channel chief, said. “Our team simplifies the process, helping developers and tech organizations develop a strategy, design a go to market plan, then follow through on implementation. GetChanneled will identify the best options for each prospective vendor, from their sales and marketing plans to public relations and industry alliance needs.”

GetChanneled begins with an evaluation of clients' capabilities and needs in the channel, and works with the organizations through development and execution of a channel program.

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Dell and CloudRunner collaboration enables MSPs to deliver cloud services to SMBs

Simplicity and predictability are key to SMBs and the MSPs serving them, and a new partnership offers additional opportunities for MSPs to simplify delivery of cloud services.

Dell announced today expansion of its IT-as-a-service offerings for MSPs through a collaboration with CloudRunner, Inc. providing MSPs with a simple, turnkey platform to mass deploy applications on virtual desktops for SMB customers.

“SMBs want easy-to-use technology they can consume and pay for through a predictable, pay-as-you-go monthly model. With CloudRunner, Dell partners achieve this goal by delivering a complete, turnkey platform that automates commodity IT services delivered in a click-together experience for SMB IT needs,” said Darrin Swan, director of worldwide sales and business development, Dell Service Provider Program. “Dell is committed to helping our MSP partners drive additional recurring revenue by ensuring their position as trusted technical advisors to their SMB customers.”

CloudRunner from Dell delivers cloud services via a pay-for-value-as-consumed method through a platform designed to accelerate cloud adoption and improve accessibility.

Interested MSPs can find out more about the Dell-CloudRunner partnership and the benefits of the platform here.

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SkyKick recognized as one of Washington’s best companies to work for

Technology and the channel have deep roots in Washington state, with home to technology giants Amazon and Microsoft and IT cloud solutions leaders including SkyKick and BitTitan.

SkyKick announced today the Seattle Business magazine recognized it as one of Washington’s 100 best companies to work for, an honor based on confidential employee surveys analyzing factors including corporate culture, benefits and employee development.

“This recognition comes at a moment of pivotal growth for SkyKick,” said Evan Richman, founder and co-CEO at SkyKick. “With recent additional funding, we’re expanding our teams to support the global demand for our latest products by investing in our most valuable asset, our employees. This award reflects our commitment to provide a positive workspace and shared mission, helping ensure we continue to offer leading cloud services to our highly valued channel partners.”

SkyKick continues to grow, recently launching a new category of cloud management products and securing $10 million in strategic financing in June.

“SkyKick is one of those rare companies that can manage explosive growth while keeping their employees motivated and excited to come to work every day,” said Michael Romoser, associate publisher of Seattle Business.

“The Top 100” PDF from Seattle Business is available here.

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RapidFire Tools MSP survey reveals profitability of HIPAA Compliance Module

Healthcare clients have high security concerns as they work to maintain HIPAA compliance and protect patients’ privacy, creating an opportunity for MSPs to step in and provide support.  rapidfire tools

RapidFire Tools Inc. announced results of a survey of its MSP customers selling to the healthcare marketplace that allowed it to gauge the success and profitability of the Network Detective HIPAA Compliance Module.

The survey revealed use of the module by respondents frequently led to opportunities to begin new projects and capture sales with clients striving to maintain compliance and avoid fines.

“Assessment is even more critical in the healthcare marketplace, where a facility is vulnerable to business-jeopardizing fees—potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars—if they have not conducted a mandated Risk Assessment to document their compliance,” said Mike Mittel, CEO and president of RapidFire Tools. “We are delighted that our MSPs have been able to rely on our HIPAA Compliance tool in the field, turning those compliance review sessions into concrete revenue-building opportunities. It’s something MSPs can utilize right now to grow their businesses.”

Interested MSPs can learn more about RapidFire Tools’ network assessment modules here or at its presentation at the SMB Tech Fest July 23-24 in Charlotte, N.C.

RapidFire Tools is scheduled to inform MSPs and dealers about network assessment at events this year including the upcoming SMB Tech Fest event on July 23 - 24 in Charlotte, N.C.

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Oracle releases HCM Cloud updates, supports HR best practices

Today’s leading SMBs need to find and retain the best talent, depending on modern and digital human resources strategies to engage with their

Oracle announced today enhancements and new features in the Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud, released as part of Oracle Applications Cloud Release 10.

“To take advantage of all the changes that digital technologies enable in the workforce, organizations need to be able to quickly, easily, and cost-effectively take advantage of modern HR best practices,” said Chris Leone, Senior Vice President, Applications Development, Oracle. “The latest release of Oracle HCM Cloud is specifically designed to help global organizations embrace modern HR and includes a number of exciting new innovations, particularly in the work-life space, that will help our customers drive positive business outcomes across the enterprise.”

Updated capabilities include analytics, workforce optimization, performance management and position management.

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Readz launches mobile marketing platform to simplify style and boost readership

Online content creation may not be rocket science, but it can quickly become difficult and costly for SMBs lacking experience and time.

Readz introduced yesterday Readz 2.0, an online content-creation platform that enables marketers to deploy interactive, well-designed sites and web documents for both browsers and mobile devices.

“Less than 25 percent of today’s B2B web traffic is driven from mobile devices, and an even smaller percentage of that generates revenue. This is primarily because most web content is static and requires time-consuming downloads that users don’t want to deal with,” CEO Bart De Pelsmaeker said. “Readz helps clients create interactive stories and experiences that draw customers and prospects into the content and engages them in ways that were not possible before.”

The platform is hosted entirely online and allows users to adjust settings and style through a simple web interface.

Pricing for the Readz 2.0 platform starts at $90 per month.

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Teradici announces Azure availability of Pervasive Computing Platform

It’s a week of new Microsoft compatibility during the annual Microsoft WPC, which brings together Microsoft partners and users from all four corners of the globe.

PcoIP developer Teradici announced today availability of the Teradici Pervasive Computing Platform on Microsoft Azure, enabling Microsoft partners to build and deliver virtual workspaces and vertical applications on Azure via Teradici’s extensible platform.

This announcement follows what seems to be the theme for WPC—transitioning to the cloud, and quickly. The platform, based in the cloud, is designed to neutralize cloud security concerns and provide easy access to fast, high-performance development.

“Microsoft is one of the world’s leading cloud providers and hosts a vast ecosystem of innovative partners who are building unique end-user computing solutions on its open, flexible and scalable cloud infrastructure,” Teradici CEO Dan Cordingley said. “With the Teradici Pervasive Computing Platform, Microsoft partners can unlock the full potential of Azure to deliver enhanced workspaces and applications that are accessible anywhere, on any device.”

More information on the Teradici Pervasive Computing Platform is available here.

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By extending automation to Microsoft Azure, Odin offers a lift to aspiring cloud services providers

By Patrick Houston, SMB Nation editor-in-chief

Channel partners can take another step up the ladder to recurring revenue and services. This time, the rung comes courtesy of Odin, the formerly named Parallels services provider business. Odin WPC

It announced at the 2015 Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference that its automated provisioning platform for Office 365 and Exchange will now also enable its partners to provision, bill, and support Microsoft’s Azure services.

In so doing, it says it becomes one the first companies to support Azure services automation through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) program. Now, it’s possible for its partners to “auto-magically” offer an end-to-end suite of Microsoft services, also including Enterprise Mobility Suite and hundreds of other complementary Odin-enabled services.

Odin’s new service underscores the increasing significance of automated deployment and management — and integration, too, as businesses choose a mix of best-of-breed applications and platforms for their mission-critical processes.

The transition may have only just begun, but we’re seeing a growing number channel partners embracing integrated cloud services as their next evolutionary step, especially as SMBs transition to Microsoft’s Office 365 in droves and now that they have no other choice, since Microsoft officially ends support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14.

In a pre-announcement briefing, Odin VP Alex Danyluk told us cloud-services automation is quickly becoming a do-or-die proposition. No doubt. Managed service providers face the same pressures as middlemen everywhere -- unrelenting pressure to deliver services faster and more cost-effectively.

In its announcement, Odin said its partners have already delivered more than 1.7 million Office 365 and Exchange business class email seats.

  • Highlights of Odin Service Automation for Azure in CSP include:
  • Unified and automated provisioning, billing and customer management across services
  • A plug-and-play CSP module that eliminates coding, integration and service update complexity
  • Bundled Azure services with many other Microsoft offerings, including Office 365
  • Ability to automate and build value-added hybrid applications
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0 Comments report reveals Microsoft Mobile Cloud opportunities and challenges

Accepting cloud technology seems to still be up in the air for Microsoft partners and their customers, according to results from a report released today, “Transitioning to the Mobile Cloud: Microsoft Office 365 Opportunities and Challenges for Microsoft Ecosystem Partners.”

Office 365 continues to gain momentum, found, yet no service offered by the partners included in the report was expected to contribute more than 25 percent of overall revenue.

“We are at a tipping point as an industry. There is no doubt that businesses are moving to Microsoft Office 365, but on-premises is certainly not going away,” CEO Yaacov Cohen said. “Although the mobile-first, cloud-first era is still in its infancy, now is the time for partners to craft services and solutions to ease their customers’ migration concerns while driving immediate business agility and CAPEX savings. As the market matures, partners will face multiple opportunities to gain critical new skillsets and build a recurring cloud-based revenue stream.”

Email is leading the cloud charge, but lingering security and migration concerns are preventing gains in cloud use businesswide.

More than 190 Microsoft partners participated in development of the report, available in full here.

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Pinpoint perfection for Microsoft Pinpoint: Join Nurture Marketing at WPC for ‘Winning with words’

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is less than three days away, and presenters and attendees alike are gearing up for the annual event.

This year, Nurture Marketing will provide a standout session on the newly redesigned Microsoft Pinpoint platform, “Winning with words—how to capture customers online and convert them with Pinpoint,” at 3:30 p.m. July 13 in N310H.

Presenter Eric Rabinowitz, Nurture Marketing CEO, will share search ranking criteria and tips for maximum long-term lead capture. Attendees will also hear from Jeff Goldstein, Queue Associates World Wide managing director, who will explain how Pinpoint affected his organization.

Nurture Marketing President Erik Frantzen said Pinpoint performed well in FY2015, giving out more than 94,000 leads, and is projected to provide more leads year-over-year in FY2016.

"We believe more and more traffic will start going to pintpoint than ever before, so it’s important for partners to understand what keywords it’s built upon to improve search," Frantzen said.

Nurture Marketing publishes articles and speaks at conferences nationwide on Pinpoint best practices. It also offers Pinpoint Perfection, a service for businesses of all sizes providing clients with keyword development, content writing and profile monitoring from a dedicated Nurture Marketing team.

For more information about Nurture Marketing’s Pinpoint Perfection service, visit the Nurture Marketing site. WPC session details are available here.

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