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.

December is Migration Month!

Looking for a year-ender what will give you an edge on annual earnings? Consider migrations in December. There are a couple of important reasons for this.

Use it or lose it. There is a reality with your mid-sized companies on a calendar fiscal year that they need to spend baby spend in December or lose the mula. This is especially true in your government accounts but they tend to be on a non-calendar fiscal year. You get the point – call your fav “M” client today and secure the funds to complete any migrations to Office 365.

Downtime is migration time. When I was a day-to-day consultant, I likened the traditional December holiday season to a quiet time where I could actually get some real work done. From December 15 – early January was also an IT consultants dream to perform technology surgery at client sites. Heed the call to migrate your customers between Thanksgiving and New Years. Happy customer; happy life.

So what are your next steps. Download the “Enterprise PST Migration to Microsoft Office 365“ informative white paper here.

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Cyber Monday Startup

It goes without saying that Cyber Monday, November 28, 2016, has grown dramatically from its modest start 12-years ago. It’s a media mainstay and you are encouraged to track it’s performance on sites like ChannelAdvisor. But that’s not why I’m here with this blog. Rather I want to impart insights into a startup with a twist launching on Cyber Monday. The Portland, OR startup is called Truece and it has a new twist on an old problem. (See below for a special offer for SMB Nation members - editor)

Cyber Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The issue is the divorce and how it plays out. Why share this story? Two reasons. First is that the SMB Nation membership is 95% male in the 45-year old age range. Statistics show that many divorces occur in this age range. And while I’m not suggesting you should run out and get divorced, it’s likely you know someone who is getting divorced and could benefit from the use of Truece (more on that in a moment). The second is that this is a technology startup and as you know – we have used 2016 to profile and embrace startups as the new-new for you to consider as we pivot our technology practices.

Truece is an application that facilitates communication between parents. It’s a way to record conversations and avoid the confusion of “he said, she said” during the heat of battle. Think of it as a way to reduce the impact on kids.

The Cyber Monday launch of Truece can be framed up this way. With the donated time and energy of 20 dedicated professionals, Truece has built a product and laid the groundwork for a company that will truly make a difference. It’s made great progress, but is asking for your help. Whether you’re a parent in a custody situation where Truece could help, or if you know someone who could use some extra support…please sign up as a Truece ambassador. Word of mouth is the best method, and we know you know people.

What do you get for signing up? You’ll be the first to hear about product updates and discounts, and most importantly when Truece will be available for download. If all goes well, Truece should be ready to onboard its first customers in early 2017. Sign-up here.

PS - Special Offer for SMB Nation! Truece has created an exclusive offer that is a 75% discount here.

 

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Helped Needed - Small Business Server (SBS) Licensing

Hey Harry,    

We are an old but always evolving  IT provider...who has been involved with SBS since the NT 3.5 beta version...so I’m pretty sure I know the product..     We need you to drop some (not even that old) knowledge on our friends in Redmond ! J I’m betting I’m not the only old reseller getting hit with this silly scenario.

Many of our small business clients are finally (after being under the radar for 30 years) being subjected to a friendly, Microsoft License Verification Process.     This doesn’t really scare us too much...because we’ve always required compliance from our clients...

however, the Microsoft folks working with us on this process seem entirely baffled by the SBS 2011 licensing model!?   They are saying our client has a short fall....they say the SBS 2011 Std product came with 5 Device CALS, so we are short User CALS..

Here’s one example: (we never use device CALS by the way)

Client has 12 people, we have them buy SBS2011 Std (with 5) , and 7 more user CALS = 12 ...right?

Product Description                                          Product Number  Version and Copies

WinSBCALSte 2011 SNGL OLP NL   UsrCAL           6UA-03863 (7-copies)

WinSBSvrStd 2011 SNGL OLP NL  5Clt                  T72-02925 (1 copy)

Nope, Microsoft license verification guy says that’s 5 device CALS and 7 user...so they are short 5. MS Open sales, blank look. MS Open Lic department’s answer? “MS SBS 2011 was only available in retail, and therefore improperly skewed by techdata/cdw on this agreement” Wha? Is the corporate memory loss?

Can you help a crusty old IT guy?

Thanks,

Jim Denison

Seattle Micro Inc.

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help Jim - please post up to the SMB Nation Facebook page here!

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Webinars: Do Clients Really Need SaaS Application Backup to Keep Their Data Safe?

SMB Nation Webinar Thursday, December 8th, 2016 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO at SMB Nation, and Martin Merrell Senior Sales Engineer at Storagecraft

There are 7 ways you can respond to the question, “Do my clients really need SaaS application backup?” All of which have become famous last words:

  • Since my data is already in the cloud, it is already backed up and safe
  • We have good, highly trained admins and users and very efficient systems
  • If we need something, we just put in a request to the application vendor
  • No one would ever want to hijack my data, we are too small to be a target
  • Our people are careful and would only throw away incorrect or outdated files
  • We comply with all necessary government or agency policies and regulations
  • We can get what we need, when we need it, and in the original format

In this webinar, you will learn exactly why these phrases are famous last words when it comes to keeping SaaS data safe and readily accessible after a disaster, but more importantly, you’ll learn the easy steps you can take to avoid their disastrous consequences.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

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4 ESSENTIALS MSPS FORGET WHEN DISASTER RECOVERY TESTING

Mary McCoy

 

By Mary McCoy, Content Marketing Manager of Continuum Managed Services

 

 

By now, most MSPs recognize that offering backup is table stakes. Your clients can receive this service from any number of your competitors. In order to stand out and increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR), focus on the disaster recovery (DR) aspect of backup and disaster recovery (BDR). Offer your clients DR testing!
To fully capitalize on the advantages of DR testing, keep the following four best practices in mind when adding this service to your IT portfolio. 


1. Test Everything
Technology alone won't save businesses paralyzed by an IT emergency. DR testing should also engage on the business level, considering continuity of operations and processes along with the validation of actual data availability. How robust is your client's DR plan? Being properly prepared can be as simple as knowing who to call and having an up-to-date contact list. Your DR plan should also avoid ambiguity and set expectations when it comes to designating team and individual roles and responsibilities. Do both you and your clients know what to hold each other accountable for or who to reach out to when something goes wrong?
Pro tip: Your DR plans are not one-size-fits-all, which means your testing should vary across your client base. Each business you serve has different needs. Many organizations have specific compliance and regulatory statutes that they're required to adhere to. You may back up and store some clients' data at a physical location offsite and others' in the cloud. No two clients are alike. When DR testing, processes and procedures should be optimized for each individual client.

2. Test Regularly
How often should you be conducting disaster recovery tests? There is no hard and fast rule, and it really depends on the client in question. That being said, you should run annual DR tests, at the very least. Your clients' disaster readiness depends on every employee's understanding of the current DR plan, which they can ultimately only achieve after familiarization with the DR testing process. And when factoring in employee turnover, testing every year helps acclimate any new hires to the proper procedures and protocol, thereby helping you fine-tune your clients' disaster response. Considering that a company's DR strategy is only as strong as its least prepared employee, you'd think more would advocate frequent DR testing to mitigate risk. According to the 2016 Disaster Recovery as a Service Attitude and Adoption Report, however, 22 percent of respondents test their DR plans less than once a year or in many cases, never test at all. Help them avoid this liability and package regular DR tests into your overall BDR offering.
Sure, testing backups every year should be the standard, but even this may be too conservative in certain circumstances. Let's examine a scenario in which you may want to test more frequently. Perhaps you serve a bank or any other financial services business bound by PCI DSS compliance. To comply with regulatory standards, you may need to test this client's DR plan every three months to ensure your BDR solution meets the necessary requirements. In contrast, a barber shop's DR plan may only need to be tested two to three times per year. Again, when formulating DR plans, always make sure you optimize procedures and processes at the client level.


3. Document Outcomes
Strong DR documentation starts with a client's disaster recovery plan, which should outline everything anyone would need to know in the event of an emergency. This includes contact information, a detailed outline of the steps and procedures that individuals need to follow in order to activate a disaster recovery, expected time frames for recovering data and more.
Only when your response policy is put to the test, can you adequately assess the effectiveness of a DR plan. Maybe certain directions are unclear and create friction across teams. Document any and all outcomes during and after testing. What worked? What didn’t? Where were the failure points? Why did those failures occur? How do you address these in your client's plan? Were any employees or team leads unavailable? In the event that you can't reach these people in the future, who are their backups? Little details like this can mean everything when the clock is ticking and your clients' business continuity is at stake. To help ensure a more seamless DR response, record all results that may be used to improve your clients’ disaster readiness. Then, conduct a post-mortem with all involved, to review lessons learned and areas for improvement.

4. Update DR Plans
Finally, update your clients' DR plans as necessary. This testing is all for naught if you don't do anything with the data you record. It's not enough to simply remember what to do next time around. Recall the conversation around client employee churn. If your client onboards a new hire after your DR test, this employee will only have the existing DR documentation to follow. Rather than repeat the same mistakes in your next round of DR testing, correct now to save your clients later. And remember, disaster readiness is ongoing. Continue to frequently revisit and strengthen your DR plans so that testing runs smoother going forward.

Deliver robust backup data protection services to your clients. Learn how to provide effective business continuity as a service. Download our BDR eBook here!

Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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