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.

New SMB Channel DevOps extends Slack/Autotask

 

Wise minds are always innovating. That’s exactly what’s occurred with long-time SMB Nation member Grace Schroeder (remember the Idea2 CRM?) with her new company Slingr.

Schroder and team have launched a supporting actor application in a category I just made up called SMB channel partner ecosystem extenders. Essentially Slingr found a gap that needed to be filled. In particular this blog concerns Slingr’s integration of Slack to the Autotask professional services automation (PSA) solution.

I spoke with Slingr executive Thomas Beck at a recent cloud computing event in the Seattle area to learn  slingr thoms beckmore. “Essentially Slingr is a low code, high productivity application platform as a service combined with an integration platform as a service capability. Our value proposition is that you can build and integrate apps much more efficiently than starting app development/integration from scratch.” Beck shared. “We’re so efficient that , on average, you save about 80 percent of time on labor and resources when building from a platform basis versus the alternative of building from scratch.”

 

With Thomas Beck (right) from Slingr.

Autotask Integrations with Slack

I asked about Slingr’s new Autotask/Slack integration solution. “We build a lot of apps and integrations for our customers. Sometimes we have ideas or requests from customers like ‘Hey – we wish this was something that did this’ and one of those requests came from a friend in the MSP community who shared a lot of MSPs are using Slack and Autotask.” Beck said. “The basic request was could you make Slack and Autotask work together. We determined it was a broad enough market profile and that exactly what we’ve done: integrate Slack and Autotask.”

Okay. I asked how would I use the Slack/Autotask integration in the day in the life as an MSP? “Think of it this way. If you use Slack, you tend to start living in it; Slack becomes your windows to the world. You stop wanting to get out of Slack and you don’t want to swivel chair to another app to get something done because that’s inefficient and loses productivity.” Beck shared. With the Sling bot for Autotask/Slingr integration, you can do 90% of what you need to do in Autotask by staying inside Slack. All within ten commands. You can open, assign/reassign, check and fetch tickets, etc. all with in Slack.

Get the App and Costs
Download from the Sling.io app store.
Free ten (10) day trail
Costs are $9.99 per user per month

Roadmap
I asked if the Datto acquisition of Autotask has impacted the integration. “No – nothing has been broken.” Beck said. “Everything is still full operational. Based on the success with the Autotask/Slack integration, we expect that we’ll expand into the other PSAs such as ConnectWise. Everything is driven by customer feedback.”

Finally, I asked how MSPs can work with Slingr? “We do have a partner program for MSPs that want to work with clients. Take an two or even ten applications and you can partner with Slingr to build integrations. We can work with the MSPs and clients to be an enabler on digital transformation. All in the cloud; partially in the cloud, etc." Beck stated.

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What is Amazon Web Service? Features explained

Over the years when digital world has taken revolution, Cloud Computing has grown tremendously as a service. Today it is described as one remote service to store, process and manage information. Cloud Computing is management of vast set of information infrastructures. It is management of information tools, systems and architectures.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been a recognized Cloud service provider since 2007. It operates from 16 different host destinations providing exclusive Cloud service to global clients. It features On-demand Cloud, Elastic Cloud Computing, Simple Storage, Internet of things and much more in comprehensive Cloud Computing.

What is AWS and what are its salient features is matter of our discussion. We will elaborate on AWS basics to make Cloud users a slight more aware about AWS.

Cloud Computing

Simple Storage and AWS

Simple storage (S3) through AWS means a highly flexible and always available web storage service. It is a round the clock service to store major sets of information in optimum time. Using S3 gives good flexibility in accessing data to any assigned URL. S3 provides effective access control with resourceful data protection. Robust backup and expiration times are further notable features of S3. It is simple and indeed very convenient to use.

Elastic Cloud Computing and AWS

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a scalable technology that provides cloud computing to multiple virtual computers. Every virtual machine is assigned with an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) containing tools, infrastructure and any web service that is rented to machine’s user. For EC2 provision Amazon applies ‘Pay as you Go’ price model which means on-Demand computing service. EC2 caters and manages virtual machines that are provisioned independently and with frequent modifications. Instead of buying a conventional server during changing or unpredictable workload, EC2 is most preferred.

AWS

Internet of things (IoT) and AWS

Amazon IoT platform offers diverse and adaptive cloud computing, adapted by virtual user to connect their devices with cloud applications. Controlled interaction between devices is possible through AWS platform. IoT at AWS means organized exchange of messages between billions of devices at one time. Fast and effective exchange of trillions of messages is made possible through AWS IoT.

What have we Built

AWS IoT integrates with other devices for managing larger groups of data. It integrates with devices to build and organize IT infrastructures. For building web applications. AWS IoT effectively integrates with Amazon Dynamo, Amazon Machine Learning, S3 and Kinesis.

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SELL, TRADE-IN OR RECYCLE YOUR USED PRINTER ONLINE

With the arrival of cloud computing and a reduction in the use of paper documents worldwide, the act of printing is becoming increasingly rare in the modern office. Selling a used printer, buying a new one or recycling a used printer for cash are all possible options thanks to PowerSource Online.

Powersorce September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our B2B online platform allows members to buy, sell or recycle their used IT and Telecom equipment, including printers, laptops, servers, phones and other products they no longer need. PowerSource Online brings together thousands of buyers who are seeking new, used and refurbished IT and telecom parts and equipment on a regular basis. By becoming a member, you will be able to advertise your excess equipment, parts or unique services to qualified dealers, resellers and service providers, growing your customer base and increasing your sales prospects. The items you want to sell will be automatically advertised via email to hundreds of members that are constantly seeking to buy used IT equipment and spare parts.

 PowerSource allows users to search for a specific part number, model number, product manufacturer or keyword by typing it in the PowerSource database search bar. In the search results, buyers can immediately see if a product is available from our suppliers. By clicking on the part number or description, a buyer can see the complete product details and supplier information, providing the opportunity for a quick sale.

 PowerSource Online also offers its members the ability to trade used electronics equipment, including printers, laptops and more, for cash by selecting the product they would like to trade. Our database instantly shows the trade-in value, and generates a shipping label that can be used to ship the item directly to the buyer.

 Take advantage of our web-based selling platform to efficiently source or dispose of your hard-to-find, excess, discontinued, obsolete and end-of-life computer parts, printers, systems and more. 

 Take the time to enjoy a Free Tour, and see how PowerSource Online can increase your profits.

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Son – It’s Not Plastics. It’s Security

By: Harry Brelsford


An oft-quoted classic movie scene from “The Graduate” (1967) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Graduate] concerns a successful businessman giving career advice to 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) to go into plastics as a career choice. Fast forward the movie nearly 50-years and the prudent career choice is cloud security. It’s an evergreen that will bring you, the MSP/CSP/partner, great riches and professional satisfaction. Few would disagree in the magnitude of this opportunity.


A study by Symantec, the “Website Security Threat Report” is your key to transforming yourself into a component cloud security professional. As part of our SMB Nation mantra about “starting over,” the introduction of this report is very timely for all of us. Some of us remember watching “The Graduate” and the impact it had on the dialog of the late 1960s and 1970s. So this is a welcome geek reboot.


The paper, which you can download HERE, focuses much of its energy on the Heartbleed bug, which shook the foundation of Internet security. The authors have, quite frankly, selected a reference point we can all relate to as the incident happened within the last two years. But the paper is much more than a Heartbleed news recap. The point is that cyber criminals are busy making their own opportunities for exploitation, theft and disruption. Symantec contends and I concur that cyber criminals have become more professional, sophisticated and aggressive in their tactics to the detriment of businesses and individuals alike.


To manage your expectations as your both read and use this security paper to enhance your skills, understand that is it organized into two major areas:

  • Web Threats. High profile vulnerabilities (Heartbleed, ShellShock and Poodle) are reviewed to level set. Then vital solutions such as SSL and TSL certificates are discussed.
  • eCrime and Malware. This is truly an interesting part of the paper. Prices paid by underground entities for stolen identities, malware and e-crime services are holding steady due to high-levels of demand. Ransomware is getting nastier and increasing in volumes. The paper reports it has grown over 45X since 2013.


To continue this journey and to make yourself both security aware and security competent, download the paper HERE.

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Microsoft’s cloud-computing efforts are paying off as it gains on Amazon

Microsoft

 

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella says, “the enterprise cloud opportunity is massive.”

By: Therese Poletti

Microsoft Corp.’s fiscal second quarter showed that its cloud-computing efforts are paying off with major revenue growth and improved profit margins, offsetting declines in its PC businesses.


Investors cheered Microsoft’s MSFT, -0.23%  results in after-hours trading, with shares rising 3.4%, while shares of Seattle neighbor Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.31%   plunged amid disappointment with holiday season profits . The two companies are proving to be fierce rivals in the arena of public cloud, where Microsoft is gaining momentum with its Azure product line, which saw a 140% year-over-year jump in revenue in constant currency.

microsoft gaining on amazon in cloud 2016 01 28

The software giant did not break out revenue of Azure in particular, only giving the growth rate. Azure is partnered with other cloud-focused products in Microsoft’s “intelligent cloud” business, which reported $6.3 billion in total revenue, up 11% in constant currency.


“The enterprise cloud opportunity is massive, larger than any market we have ever participated in,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella told analysts.

Amazon and its fast-growing Amazon Web Services business is a formidable opponent in cloud computing, though. AWS reported $2.4 billion in sales for AWS on Thursday, with $687 million in operating income, for a revenue growth rate just shy of 70% — about half of Azure’s reported rise, though Amazon’s number did not use constant currency.

While Azure is growing faster than AWS, it is likely still far behind in terms of overall size. Ahead of Microsoft’s earnings, Raymond James analyst Michael Turits estimated that Microsoft’s Azure business would hit $501 million in revenue in the December quarter.

“It looks like they are slowly but surely gaining share, that’s the key,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said.

Microsoft also fared well with its Office 365 cloud product, a major part of the “intelligent cloud” sector, which saw revenue growth of nearly 70% in constant currency.

 

Read More

 

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Breaking News: I Love Work! Read This True Confession...

Story by Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation - 

Where to begin. Early on, I was the “business kid” in grade school through high school. That continues to today with my continued pursuit for work that marries business and technology. And of how it’s changed from my first Apple II+ with a Hayes 14.4k modem connecting from my college apartment to a centralized VAX computer. Or has it really changed? In this blog, I’ll explore Work 3.0. and point you to some amazing resources.

Full CircleHarry at Work

Above I’m both dating and telling on myself as I’m alluding to time sharing. Imagine the idea of having the heavy lifting occurring in a data center and you could work from anywhere with a thin client? Your applications were hosted and your data was safe. That was timesharing where I started my career in computing. With the emergence of the PC and client/server computing, certainly those days were gone forever. The “local” in Local Area Network (LAN) loosely translates in GeekSpeak to “within these four walls”, and that was the development paradigm of our beloved Small Business Server. It created a generation of commuters who believed in server gods and gurus at work. You thought nothing of driving to work.

But then a back to the future phenomenon emerged at the start of the Great Recessions when the Internet was validated as a secure tool (thanks Salesforce) and IT was used to save money with mobility. Just yesterday I was using a thin client (Google Chrome on a USB stick) working with Salesforce online with my mobile phone held to my left ear, while I listened to a conference call via a headset hooked up to a VoIP desk phone. And all the while working from my home office (I’ve upgraded from my college apartment!).
What does this before-and-after storytelling mean? I’m telling the exact same story. Timesharing is cloud computing. Period.

You’ll Feel Like You Are Talking to Yourself (You Are!)

I’ve thought a lot recently about the nature of modern work. How has technology changed the way we work? Over the years I’ve written blogs about office sharing schemes like Regus locations (remember my week in Istanbul in the Spring of 2014?) to online labor markets (remember our use of WorkMarket in the late 2013/early 2014 timeframe with Windows XP migrations?) to our giving up our office space when our commercial lease expired (see my February 2015 blog). But I had never crystalized my thoughts about modern work into a single missive. And that frustrated me.

Fortunately, I bumped into an amazing report titled “WORK 3.0 – The Next Generation Model for Smarter Business.” I felt like I was talking to myself. Over a dozen pages, remote offices, portfolio careers, and the human cloud revolution are explored. I’ve posted the report HERE so you can download it, read it and motivate on it. Let me know what you think?

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Building a Profitable and Scalable Cloud Business / SMB Nation Webinar

Sign up today! SMB Nation Webinar 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PDT. Friday, Oct 30th

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation and Dan Shapero Founder of CLIKCLOUD Digital Marketing

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, cloud computing is profoundly shifting the way businesses operate. As more SMBs are moving to a cloud-based strategy, new growth opportunities are opening up for channel partners seeking a competitive advantage in the channel.clikCloudlogo2

This session will examine the latest trends impacting SMBs and how they present unique opportunities for channel partners.
Attendees will learn:
● Learn how leveraging Office 365, among other best practices can help build a successful cloud business.
● Gain exclusive IDC research on the latest trends fueling channel success in cloud.
● Explore how leading Cloud Service Providers are capitalizing on Cloud as a “Door Opener”.
● Discover ways to recalibrate your sales compensation to support the Cloud business model.
● Learn about exclusive offers for to help partners implement Microsoft SureStep and Modern Marketing Programs.

Registration Link > https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/46816475679947778

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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 www.crn.com.

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Dell Announces Cloud Computing Solution for Retailers

Dell LogoThis morning, Dell announced their new Cloud Client Computing for Retail solution at the 102nd NRF Convention and Expo in New York. This solution is designed to be an end-to-end offering for retailers.

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