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.
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Special VIP Invite for SMB Nation Members

ChannelPro SMBFree Pass to the ChannelPro SMB Forum on April 8-9 in Orange County, CA. Limited time offer - you must register this week to reserve your free VIP pass.

We have opened up pre-registration for our Orange County, CA, event and urge you to reserve your spot ASAP. Our 2013 events were maxed out so now is the time to get on the invite list!

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Gron
The articles we have received to get some special vip membership details. So, we can easily invite everyone to create professional... Read More
Friday, 03 August 2018 21:06
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How Much Of Your IT Assessments Should You Reveal To Your Prospects?

Bob Vogel BlueBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

I was listening to a webinar the other day featuring an MSP talking about how he uses IT assessments to win new business.

And an interesting question arose: What if the prospects want to actually see the data that was collected (after all, we’re talking about their networks). And, even trickier – what if they want to show the results of the assessment to a competitor to get a “second opinion” on what was done?

The MSP was Bob Coppedge, CEO of Simplex-IT, and his answer might surprise you:

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Countdown to SMB Nation Tour Stop Number One: Silicon Valley, CA

Ad Layouts - 220 x 150 - ADate: January 31, 2014
Location: Microsoft Silicon Valley
Registration and Info: http://tour.smbnation.com/silicon-valley/
Cost: FREE for first 100 Attendees
Discount Code: DandHTicket2014

Here’s a look at what the Emerging Technology Tour is all about:

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Must-Have Productivity Tools for Startups

By Ari Rabban, Phone.com co-founder and CEO

The start of a new year often is when people decide it’s finally time to start their own business, especially now that the economy is rebounding. A startup’s first year is an exercise in running lean, which includes using tools that wring the most productivity out of each employee.

Fortunately some of those tools are free. Often that’s because the companies behind them want to get users hooked so they’ll eventually upgrade to a paid version. That works great for a startup because those are opportunities not only to minimize overhead, but also to see which tools have the features that work well enough for their organization’s workstyle that they’re worth upgrading when the revenue starts flowing.

Here are six types of tools that startups should consider:

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Mili
A company must have good marketing strategies in order to succeed in this difficult, complicated business world. Also, many compan... Read More
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Tom Martin
Many new businessmen consider that the first year is the most difficult one. They need to get used to the new situation, they have... Read More
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Tedy
If you want productivity, you should hire experienced and dedicated workers to finish their daily tasks on time. Also, some duties... Read More
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How MSPs Can Tackle the Legal Industry

By Casey Morgan, Marketing Content Specialist, StorageCraft

Managed service providers can often make a higher margin for servicing clients in industries with specific needs. The legal industry is not only an industry that’s growing by the minute (legal services generated $240 billion in revenue in 2007 according to the US Census), it’s also one that has very specific requirements and almost no flexibility when it comes to downtime. According to a study by the International Legal Technology Association, around 40 percent of all IT budgets in the legal industry have increased compared to the prior year. A 2010 CompTIA study also noted that six out of ten surveyed law firms expressed interest in managed services. MSPs who know how to handle these clients could be in a position to cash in on business opportunities as budgets and the needs for outsourced IT increase. But there are a few things MSPs might want to think about when it comes to the legal industry.

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This milestone was possible only because the mother company has always thrived to offer high-quality services and top-notch produc... Read More
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Mili
The legal profession is going through a period of rebirth thanks to the information revolution. Because most legal forms can be ac... Read More
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QualysGuard Consultant

vert 2C logo tag csPerform scans accurately, with a low, predictable TCO.

QualysGuard Consultant gives you the industry’s leading cloud-based security and compliance solutions to use in your own vulnerability, configuration, and compliance assessments. With QualysGuard Consultant, you can scan, analyze, track, and report on issues throughout your clients’ networks, devices and web apps – all from a single web console.

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Are You Ready? 10 Tips to Be IT Weather-Ready

By Brian Ferguson, Digium

Companies all over the United States are digging their offices out of the snow and employees are braving subfreezing, and often subzero, temperatures to get to work. Even with these extreme weather conditions in full force, there’s still time for you and your customers to make adjustments and winterize your offices. Winter storms and other year-round weather events cost companies millions of dollars every year in lost productivity due to failed IT infrastructure and bad planning. Here are 10 tips to help ensure that you and your customers are ready:

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Happy New Year from SMB Nation!

New YearThe SMB Nation Team would like to thank you for helping us make 2013 a great year! From Spring 2013 to Fall 2013, you were with us, and we thank you.

We look forward to bringing you an exciting ten-city tour and an SMB Nation Fall show that is more educational than ever in 2014! It’s a new day in the tech industry, and we are committed to staying by your side to offer in-depth training classes on the latest technologies you will use to further your business, as well as that of your clients!

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3 Simple Fixes That Will Have The Greatest Positive Impact On Your Client-Attraction Marketing Campaigns

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

The most frequently asked question I get from IT services firms struggling to get more new clients is this: “What’s the ONE THING I should be doing to market my business?” *Sigh.* The problem with that question is that it presupposes there IS only ONE THING. There isn’t. Fact is, selling IT services is difficult.

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The Fastest Way To Create A New Managed Security Service

Bob Vogel BlueBy Bob Vogel, B2Marketing

IT Security is an issue that impacts literally EVERY business that has a computer. I’m not just talking about virus protection and intrusion prevention and firewalls. Don’t forget about all the chaos that happens when internal people have access to files that they shouldn’t touch, add non-authorized systems to the network, fail to secure systems with passwords, and more.

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Mili
In today's business world, security plays an important role. A businessman considers that it is important to maintain the physical... Read More
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Ten Ways to Access Your Inner Innovator

Alon CohenBy Alon Cohen, EVP/CTO Phone.com

Companies strive on innovation and die due to the lack of it. Steve Jobs, in a rare interview he gave, just after he was kicked from Apple, indicated that Microsoft was a good company but lacked passion. I think that lack of passion to innovate became evident to anyone looking at Microsoft products in the past several years. I hope they will be able to change some of that culture and get back in the game.

Innovation is sometimes defined as taking an invention to the masses, and that inventing requires a spark or a trigger in order to happen. Looking back on things that I have done and things that other people did I was able to identify some basic tools that inspired invention and innovation:

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SMB Nation December Sweepstakes!

It’s a new month and we have another chance for you to win either a FREE Jabra Solemate or a FREE Jabra Revo Wireless.

To enter, please fill out the form here between Dec 1 and Dec 31, 2013! We will announce a winner on January 2, 2014. You can also visit our contests page here to learn more about our monthly sweepstakes.

 

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How To Manage SQL Servers Without A Pricey DBA

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Most IT service providers don’t have an army of seasoned Database Administrators on staff who are qualified to manage the often mission-critical applications running on client SQL Servers.

And, even if you do have an in-house DBA, you certainly wouldn’t want him or her burning valuable billable hours just to pull the reports necessary to determine, in fact, that everything is running just fine, thank you very much.

Enter RapidFire Tools, and their latest innovation: the new SQL Server Assessment Module for Network Detective.

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Mili
The most basic use of a server tends to be for file sharing. They can store important business information centrally like accounti... Read More
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SMB Nation Comes to You in 2014

ETTSMB Nation is pleased to announce the 2014 Emerging Technology Tour, taking place in ten cities across the US and Canada. We understand that it can be hard to secure travel, so we are bringing a content-packed event right to a big city near you.

The Emerging Technology Tour is this year’s premier event for small and medium IT Consultants, VARs, and partners. This one day event is committed to educating you on ways to continue to grow your business, manage clients, and expand your knowledge in the IT Industry by bringing together IT Influencers from across the country to share their insight. Over the past 25 years, we have seen drastic changes in technology from the boom of the internet and “dot coms” to currently being able to work from anywhere. With the changing world today, our ability to innovate and stay educated has become increasingly harder as things are changing every day. Join SMB Nation to educate yourself on emerging technology.

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Learn How Crowdfunding is Helping Companies Grow

comptia logoBy Lamar Whitman

Interest in crowdfunding continues to grow as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued proposed regulations to guide companies and investors. While “the JOBS Act”required the SEC to issue final regulations for crowdfunding within 270 days of passage, many suggested that the deadline was ambitious. About nine months after the original deadline, the proposed regulations have been released and actual implementation of this law has taken a large step forward.

Crowdfunding will permit companies to raise up to $1 million during a 12-month period under streamlined SEC reporting requirements. The JOBS Act, enacted in 2012, created a securities law exemption making it easier and less costly for companies to raise funds from a broader group of investors through Internet-funding portals.

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Guest Blog: How to Turn the Tide of Slow UC Adoption

BrianFergusonBy Brian Ferguson

Those of us spending all of our waking hours in theUnified Communications (UC) industry can’t help but get excited about the great things that UC can do for a company. Whether it’s collaboration using screen sharing, audio/video conferencing, instant messaging, mobility tools (including iOS and Android apps), or presence management, it’s hard not to see how UC is changing the way a business communicates, both internally and to their customers. Even with all of these advantages, the overall adoption rate of UC by organizations has been slower than projected. Adoption rates increased by only 2 percent since 2011, to its current rate of 38 percent in 2013, according to InformationWeek’s annual State of Unified Communications report. How can this be?

The survey points out that there are three dominant barriers to UC implementation for most companies:

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BYOD: Not as Easy as Going to the Store and Bringing Mobility Along

By Ali Din, dinCloud

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is hot buzzword in technology circles lately. It’s even gone through a refinement, as more mature IT shops switch to CYOD (Choose Your Own Device). Regardless of the acronym, it’s really is about mobility.

Today’s typical workforce is more mobile (perhaps those at Yahoo and HP are going to be office-based for the foreseeable future) as businesses try to recruit the best, talent regardless of geography. Additionally, customers are requiring businesses to be available around the clock – anytime, anywhere.

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SmartShield Instant Recovery: A Partner’s View

RAN Photo1By Bob Nitrio – Ranvest Associates

I discovered Centurion Technologies SmartShield when I had to replace two aging, malware-plagued computers at a senior living community clubhouse. Although I had an instant recovery product already, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. This client was over two hours away and I needed something to make the new systems bulletproof.

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Using Better Communications to Kill Your Competition

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

You might be operating your IT services business under the mistaken assumption that being more technically-savvy than your competitors is the path to success.

But Bob Coppedge, CEO of Simplex-IT, knows better. Bob founded his IT services business from the ground-up to provide Managed Services. From the get-go, Bob realized that the only way he was going to succeed was to learn how to quickly, and immediately, build rapport and relationships with his new clients.

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Part II: Effective Ways of Protecting against Power Disturbances in Server Rooms

michaelmaielloBy Michael Maiello

In my previous post, I described six types of power disturbances that can trip up your customers’ IT systems. Equipment failure, downtime and software and data corruption can be traced back to a problematic supply of power. In this post, I’ll describe some ways to protect against these power disturbances in server rooms.

1. Transients

When protecting equipment against impulsive transients in the server room, the most valuable method is the use of surge suppression devices, otherwise known as transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSS) or surge protective devices (SPD).

SPDs have been used for many years in small businesses and homes. An SPD device is installed at the energy source and sized to dissipate energy from incoming transients. Subsequent devices are installed at the electrical sub-panel and at the sensitive equipment itself, clamping the voltage to a level that doesn't damage or disturb the equipment.

2. Interruption

To help protect equipment against interruptions, the first step taken should be to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of potential problems via good design and maintenance. The second is to install UPS devices and motor generators, and to take advantage of redundant systems and energy storage. When the power goes out, these alternative forms of power can take over, preventing long-term equipment damage.

3. Sag or Undervoltage

While adding a dedicated circuit for large startup loads is the most effective solution it may not always be practical or cost-effective. Other solutions include alternative power starting sources, which do not load the rest of the electric infrastructure at motor start-up, and a power conditioning device for regulating power such as a line conditioner or UPS.

4. Swell or Overvoltage

Power line conditioners and UPS systems are common solutions for swells. Similar to sags, swells may not be apparent until their results are seen; UPS and/or power conditioning devices that also monitor and log incoming power events will help to measure when, and how often, these events occur.

Overvoltage, which is just a constant swell, can also be remedied with UPS or conditioning equipment. However, the utility power to a facility may need correction as well if the incoming power is constantly in an overvoltage condition.

5. Waveform distortion

For direct current offset, the solution is replacing faulty equipment that is the source of the problem.

Protecting server rooms against harmonic distortion has been made easier over the last decade due to changing technologies and upgraded power supply design. New IT equipment power supplies are designed with power-factor corrected power supplies operating as linear, non-harmonic loads. These power supplies do not produce the waste current of harmonics.

Solutions to interharmonics include filters, UPS systems, and line conditioners.

By moving the load away from the equipment causing the problem, servers can be protected against the harmful effects of notching. If equipment cannot be relocated, UPS devices and filter equipment are also viable solutions.

There are several approaches to controlling noise, which can be combined to achieve the required result. These include:

  • Isolate the load via a UPS
  • Install a grounded, shielded isolation transformer
  • Relocate the load away from the interference source
  • Install noise filters
  • Cable shielding

6. Voltage fluctuations

To resolve voltage fluctuations, removing the offending load, relocating the sensitive equipment, or installing power line conditioning or UPS devices are all possible methods.

It’s important to identify power disturbances and then take the necessary steps to protect servers – not only can it prevent costly downtime, but it will also save businesses from having to replace costly damaged equipment.

Michael Maiello is Senior Vice President, Home and Business Networks for Schneider Electric and has served in this role since 2012.

Michael has been with APC and Schneider Electric for over 20 years. In that time he has held various positions in engineering, engineering management and general management. Prior to being named Senior Vice President of Home and Business Networks, Michael served as Vice President for the Business Power Solutions group and Director of OEM and Special Products. Over the last five years, Michael has lead the Business Power Solutions team, which focuses on single phase power products for the availability of business applications and includes world known brands, such as Smart-UPS® and Symmetra®.

Michael holds both Masters and Bachelor Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Brown University.

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November Bingo: Jabra BIZ 2400 Duo USB

Jabra BIZ 2400 02 1440X1440Heads up! The November Jabra BINGO contest continues with the Jabra BIZ 2400 Duo USB!

So what is it? The Jabra BIZ 2400 Duo USB is a wired headset that can connect to either deskphones or Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. Additional features include:

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Maximize Productivity with Mobile Apps

By Ari Rabban, Phone.com co-founder and CEO

The holiday shopping season traditionally is the time of year when most people give or get a new phone or tablet. So if your company has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, expect an influx of new devices in January. Or maybe your organization is looking at BlackBerry’s uncertainty or iOS 7’s debut as reasons to start the new year with a new platform.

Both changes are ideal opportunities to ensure that employee smartphones and tablets are stocked with apps that maximize productivity and responsiveness to customers. One place to start is by assessing apps that are linked to cloud-based services, which make it easy for employees to access and sync documents from a variety of devices: smartphones and tablets when they’re on the road, PCs in the office and laptops at home.

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Webinar: In The Wild – Harry’s Migration Partner Workshop Online! Prizes…

harry and jay biking 2 Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST

Presented by: Jay Weiss, Computer HMO, Brook Ilges, SMB Nation and Harry Brelsford, SMB Nation

Attend our exam cram primer to discover how to pass the Master Certified Migration Expert exam from SMB Nation and XPmigrations.com. In this packed 60-minute session, you will: Learn about the Windows XP and Server 2003 (all editions including Small Business Server 2003) opportunity: The April 8, 2014 end-of-support deadline. Top Reasons to migrate including security, obsolescence/ageism, performance, improved applications. Overcome migration objections such cost, ”good enough,” application compatibility, compliance issues Observe the tools you need to successfully complete a small- and medium-business (SMB) migration for both the desktop (Windows XP) and server (Server 2003): Assessment tool Migration transfer programs Security solutions And more…

Introduction complimentary technology attaches such as UC and other IT infrastructure additions Discover how to capitalize on the disruption caused by a migration to get sticky with new and existing SMB clients and promote the need migrate now. Find out how to add over $36,000 to your individual income in the next 12-months completing Windows XP migrations as an ancillary offering to your MSP and consulting practice. (This number exceeds $50,000 when you consider the attach rate). Discover the important roles of distributors, OEMs, ISVs and Microsoft itself as you provide expert migration services. Prepare to pass the demanding certification exam to earn the MCME title! This exam cram session is delivered by SMB Nation’s Harry Brelsford, a 17-time SMB author and career geek! PROUDLY SPONSORED BY LENOVO!

NOTE: This is a Microsoft MCC event with prizes including one (1) copy of Office 2013 Pro and one (1) copy of Windows 8 for our drawing PLUS discount cards for the Microsoft Store for the first 25-five attendees.

Register Here

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Part I: Six Types of Power Disturbances That Can Trip Up Your Customers’ IT Systems

michaelmaielloBy Michael Maiello

Today’s technologically pervasive world demands power that is free from disturbance. Yet, despite the growth of smart grids and more sophisticated technology, power problems can still plague businesses. Just consider what an outage of a day or two would cost your customers; even an hour can take a significant toll for some businesses.

Still, many service providers don’t completely understand all the various types of power disturbances that can threaten customers’ server rooms. While protecting against major events like hurricanes and floods is certainly important, there are many other, far more subtle ways in which power disturbances can wreak havoc on a business. Here are six of them:

1. Transients

Potentially the most damaging of all disturbances, transients fall into two subcategories: impulsive and oscillatory. Impulsive transients are the most common type of power surge or spike. These types of events can be categorized further by the speed at which they occur (fast, medium, and slow), ranging from very fast events measuring 5 nanoseconds (ns) rise time from steady state to peak, or short-term measuring less than 50 ns. Impulsive transients are caused by events like lightning, switching of inductive loads, utility fault clearing, and like issues – and often result in corrupt data and damaged equipment.

Oscillatory transients is a sudden change in the steady-state of a signal’s voltage or current (or both) at both the positive and negative signal limits – in other words, the power signal swells and shrinks rapidly. These transients often happen when a load, such as a motor or capacitor, is suddenly turned off. When oscillatory transients appear, they can be quite disruptive to electronic equipment.

2. Interruption

An interruption is the complete loss of supply voltage or load current, with the following duration ranges:

  • Instantaneous: .5 to 30 cycles
  • Momentary: 30 cycles to 2 seconds
  • Temporary: 2 seconds to 2 minutes
  • Sustained: more than 2 minutes (sustained).

The causes of interruptions can vary, but are usually the result of some type of electrical supply grid damage, such as lightning strikes, animals, trees, vehicle accidents, destructive weather, equipment failure, or a basic circuit breaker tripping. While the utility infrastructure is designed to automatically compensate for many of these problems, it is not infallible. One common example of an interruption is when all electronic devices and lights go out in a house for a short period of time and then comes back in a few minutes. While this interruption is inconvenient in a home, a similar power loss in a business setting can be costly, as data can become corrupt or be lost entirely during the interruption.

3. Sag or Undervoltage

Usually caused by system faults or the switching on of loads with heavy startup currents, a sag is a reduction of AC voltage at a given frequency lasting for .5 cycles to a minute. This is akin to the drop in water pressure when multiple faucets in a single home are turned on. Sags can cause significant equipment damage over time.

Often referred to as a “brownout” (albeit incorrectly so), undervoltages are the results of long-term power consistency problems that create sags in the short term. Undervoltages can lead to the failure of non-linear loads such as computer power supplies.

4. Swell or Overvoltage

The opposite of a sag is a swell, caused by an increase in AC voltage lasting .5 cycles to one minute. Like sags, the damaging effects of swells – which include degradation of electrical contacts and semiconductor damage – usually go unnoticed for extended periods of time. However, immediate, more noticeable results are the flickering of lights and data errors.

Similar to undervoltages, overvoltages are the result of long term problems that create temporary power swells. Overvoltage conditions can create high current draw and cause equipment to overheat and become stressed.

5. Waveform distortion

A waveform distortion is any power quality variation affecting the wave shape of the voltage or current. There are five primary types of waveform distortion: direct current offset, harmonic distortion, interharmonics, notching and noise. To varying degrees, they can all cause damage or disruption to IT equipment.

6. Voltage fluctuations

A voltage fluctuation is a series of small, random changes in voltage caused by any load exhibiting significant current variations. A common symptom is the flickering of incandescent lamps.

Of course there are ways to protect against each of these types of power disturbances, often by using UPS systems, backup generators, surge protectors, power line conditioners conditioning, proper grounding and more. In my next blog post, I’ll explore some ways you can help customers protect against these common power disturbances.

Michael Maiello is Senior Vice President, Home and Business Networks for Schneider Electric and has served in this role since 2012.

Michael has been with APC and Schneider Electric for over 20 years. In that time he has held various positions in engineering, engineering management and general management. Prior to being named Senior Vice President of Home and Business Networks, Michael served as Vice President for the Business Power Solutions group and Director of OEM and Special Products. Over the last five years, Michael has lead the Business Power Solutions team, which focuses on single phase power products for the availability of business applications and includes world known brands, such as Smart-UPS® and Symmetra®.

Michael holds both Masters and Bachelor Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Brown University.

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Introducing the Jabra SMB Alliance Offers

jabraminiA Unified Communications solution is only as good as the audio end-point used. With Jabra you get the ultimate UC experience.

In today’s turbo-charged business environment, it isn’t the big that crush the small – it’s the fast that defeat the slow. So giving your team tools that allow them to make better decisions faster is smart. SMB’s that can collaborate iterate and execute faster than their larger competitors are the ones that not only survive but thrive in this new future of smart, nimble work.

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Webinar: SaaS or Pass – Cloud Opportunity Overview

Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:00 - 11:00 AM PST/1-2 PM EST

Presented by: Donovan Deakin, Product Manager, FiberCloud and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation

As we are nearing the end of 2013, we’ve seen tremendous continued growth in all areas of the Cloud. This webinar will review how far the SMB market has come for customers, partners and suppliers and how you can become part of this growth next year. As a special bonus, we’ll also be providing a special CompTIA Trends in Cloud Computing report for all webinar attendees.

Register Here

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November Bingo: Jabra Pro 920

Pro920The next drawing for our November BINGO contest is the Jabra Pro 920!

So what is it? The Jabra Pro 920 is a wireless headset that is compatible with most of the major deskphone brands. Additional features include:

  • Supports DECT 1.9 Standard Wireless Technology.
  • Comes with Jabra Control Center for device management.
  • Allows for a 325ft/120m talk range.
  • Supports up to 4 headsets per base.

If you’re playing Jabra BINGO with us this month, mark off the Jabra Pro 920 on your card. Remember, the Jabra Pro 920 space can be in any row or column!

Here’s a list of our called items so far:

  • Jabra DRIVE
  • Jabra Pro 920
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Can SMBs Afford the Cloud?

The Cloud Can Provide A Great Solution For Many Companies, But Are Small and Medium Sized Business Priced Out of the Cloud?

By Corbin Bridge

The cloud is the talk of the tech town these days and it seems companies in all industries are experimenting with some form of cloud computing service. As cloud-mania continues to unfold, we must step back and ask if this exciting technology provides a level playing field. Large corporations are able to spend massive amounts on R&D to develop in-house cloud systems. If in-house is not possible, they are able to work with a cloud supplier to meet their needs. But what about SMBs without large capital reserves and who are unable to develop this technology in house? Are they priced out of the cloud?

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Transform a VAR Business to the Managed Services Model

Nancy Hammervik

A successful IT industry entrepreneur once told me the transformation from a traditional reseller to a managed services provider is a lot like changing the tires on a car while it’s rolling down the highway at full speed. It can be a harrowing experience, requiring a substantial amount of planning and a flexible skill-set to keep it all in balance – one bad move and it all could come crashing down. While that might seem like an over-the-top dramatization, each part of this process brings certain risk to the individuals and entities involved.

Of course, the payoff realized from a managed services conversion is significantly greater than the gratification received from changing a tire. The recurring revenue opportunities afforded an MSP will help improve its financial footing and give the management team more flexibility to expand its support programs as well as its technology portfolio.

    

But before providers can enjoy any of those benefits, they have to successfully transition many of their business processes, including some critical parts of their operations. Nearly half of all companies with more than $50 million in annual sales indicate that they have undergone a major business transformation, significantly shifting their revenue mix and product and services portfolios, within the last two years. The survey results from the 2012 CompTIA Trends in Managed Services Study show that more than half (59 percent) of all channel organizations have also undergone a moderate level of transformation during that time period, with another 24 percent categorizing their changes as “high.”

Sales and support changes are at the top of that list. Despite the assurances of some experts, the skills required to sell a single point product or service are significantly different than those needed to secure long-term, recurring contracts. Likewise, the support team must be properly equipped and trained to provide the proactive care prescribed in managed services agreements. As most MSPs quickly discover, a successful transition often requires significant changes in their processes as well as their personnel.

Unfortunately, some sales and support teams simply can’t or won’t adapt to the change. In many respects, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison. Managed services require a greater collaborative effort from the providers’ sales and support personnel – it’s not a one-and-done proposition. MSPs must have skilled professionals on their team; those who can effectively communicate and generate ideas with their co-workers and business partners. Every prospective MSP should carefully consider whether their team members have the required qualities, or if they can find the people who do, before making the leap.

Of course, skills are just one of the hurdles to making a successful conversion to a recurring services model. Another significant obstacle new MSPs face is how to revise their sales incentives to address the organization’s strategic business shift. Almost 60 percent of managed services organizations pay their sales teams a commission based on periodic, recurring payments, while another 30 percent compensate them with a percentage of the total contract. The rest use a mix of both incentive programs, offering intermittent enticements to keep employees focused on improving customer satisfaction over the long-term and strengthening renewal opportunities.  

Managed services compensation plans may require frequent modifications, especially during the transition phase if the company is making a more gradual shift to recurring revenue. MSPs should pay close attention to employee feedback and continually look for signs of dissatisfaction during the transformation. When companies are too slow to spot significant problems, such as higher-than-expected rates of attrition or significant issues with morale, it may be too late to make the proper adjustments.         

While developing the most effective sales teams and compelling compensation plans are critical to managed services success, those are just two of the many challenges faced by prospective providers. Every company is bound to experience its own unique problems and opportunities during the conversion, and the answers to overcoming the obstacles often come from peers and industry experts. That’s one key reason so many have joined the CompTIA Managed Services Community. It gives members a forum to network with those dealing with similar issues and allows them to share and discuss best practice opportunities. When combined with CompTIA Channel Training sessions, it gives prospective managed services providers the resources and peer network they need to make a successful business model transition.

Click here to learn more about and get involved with the CompTIA Managed Services Community. Check back here to get highlights from the 2013 CompTIA Trends in Managed Services Study, coming soon.

Nancy Hammervik is senior vice president of industry relations at CompTIA.

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Guest Post: BYOD: Not as Easy as Going to the Store and Bringing Mobility Along

ali dinBy Ali Din, Marketing Consultant, dinCloud

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is hot buzzword in technology circles lately. It’s even gone through a refinement, as more mature IT shops switch to CYOD (Choose Your Own Device). Regardless of the acronym, it’s really is about mobility.

Today’s typical workforce is more mobile (perhaps those at Yahoo and HP are going to be office-based for the foreseeable future) as businesses try to recruit the best, talent regardless of geography. Additionally, customers are requiring businesses to be available around the clock – anytime, anywhere.

But, mobility isn’t as easy as simply buying a “mobile” device. Make sure you have a plan to enable the highest level of productivity and balancing security (and compliance, if appropriate).

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Perceptions: The Aging PC Effect

q3 2013 perceptions teaserchartExposing Financial Impact for SMBs

By Anurag Agrawal, CEO, Techaisle

Small businesses are a good indicator to measure the pulse of economy in any country as they constitute more than 98 percent of businesses within that country. They are intricately linked to large businesses, government departments and educational institutions as both suppliers and customers. A large percentage of consumers also rely on small businesses for products and services that they consume within their households. Information Technology plays an important role in daily operations of small businesses across all departmental functions including sales, marketing, operations, finance and customer support.

As seen in the chart above, based on Techaisle’s Global SMB Surveys, 2013, Reducing operating costs and Improving employee productivity are among the top business priorities of small businesses and they are turning towards IT more than ever to achieve their business priorities.

Read more on page 12 of the Q3 2013 SMB Nation Magazine Issue here.

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November Bingo: Jabra DRIVE

jabra drive 1440x810 01We’re kicking off our November Jabra BINGO contest with the Jabra DRIVE!

So what is it? The Jabra DRIVE is a Bluetooth-enabled car speakerphone that allows users to connect to two different devices. This enables the user to both talk on and answer the phone safely (one touch), or listen to music via an Omni-directional speaker. Additional features include:

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Taking the “fluff” out of IT assessments

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

With all of the slick marketing that vendors throw at you, trying to impress with fancy ads and high-budget videos, it’s refreshing to hear “real-life” service providers talking shop about the tools they use.

That’s why I like going to different industry events and yakking with the guys in the trenches, working hard to do right by their clients while making a good living for themselves.

Dan Schneck is one of those guys, and he recently spoke for five minutes about how he uses IT assessments in his business, and even shows off the actual reports he generated to win a new client. Click here to watch.

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It’s Not Really All Doom and Gloom

laura schaferBy Laura Schafer, Director of Product Marketing, StorageCraft

Why the term “End of Life” still has a silver lining

There are few terms that stop people cold quite as much as the phrase End of Life. No matter what the context, the subject is very ominous. Even in most discussions that I have about software end of life here at StorageCraft, the subject brings on some squeamishness and a lot of squirm ing. We even give it an acronym—E.O.L.—to make sure we don’t have to think about its darker context.

Read the rest of this article in the Q3 2013 Issue of the SMBNation Magazine.

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Webinar: HOUR OF CODE: Salesforce 101 for MSPs

Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:00 - 11:00 AM PST

Presented by: Harry Brelsford and Pete Keane

Join this lively HOUR OF CODE session where Harry and others demonstrate basic functionality of Salesforce and challenge MSPs to think about using a real CRM solution as a PSA substitute. It’s all part of the HOUR OF CODE initiative to make the world a better place (learn more about this at code.org). Why Salesforce? It’s the only thing Harry can program in. It’s that simple. Please participate in this HOUR OF CODE event. And the timing couldn’t be better as DreamForce is right around the corner in SF.

Register here

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BYOD Bandwidth Issues: How to Problem-Solve with Backups

Ron FaithBy Ron Faith, CEO, Datacastle

With BYOD driving transition in the enterprise, many IT pros are currently asking themselves, “How will this affect my ability to run an effective and secure network?” That is the obvious question, but another dilemma lurking in the background is how IT is going to backup and protect the data on these devices across already strained networks. And the situation only gets worse if those devices are used in a remote office where connection speeds can be slow or intermittent.

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Email is BIG Data

sonian-logo-cubeWith email data growing at a rate of 400,000 terabytes a year, email is clearly BIG Data. Because business is being conducted in email (conversations, contracts, commitments), saving and searching these materials is coming increasingly important. These communications are crucial to running a modern business, and central when trying to solve a problem, resolve a conflict or find an answer. In an age where 60% of US companies will become involved in litigation in a given year, and where 33% of all US companies were involved in more than 20 lawsuits in 2012, getting a handle on information governance is nothing short of critical.

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7 Things Your SMB Customers Need to Know About End of Support for Windows XP

Cindy BatesBy Cindy Bates, Vice President of US SMB&D at Microsoft

The world looked a lot different when Windows XP was first introduced in 2001 than it does today. Since then, major technology advancements, such as cloud computing and virtualization, have given rise to better collaboration tools, greater mobility and flexibility to work from any location, and improved PC security and management. Now small businesses can leverage the same powerful technologies as large enterprises, at an affordable cost.

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Are you making these 14 Channel Marketing Mistakes?

Jay McBainBy Jay McBain, Co-Founder, ChannelEyes

It doesn’t come as a surprise to Channel Professionals that things are changing faster than ever across the partner ecosystem.  A perfect storm of new technologies, transforming business models, rapidly evolving competition, consumerization and economic forces have fundamentally changed the traditional supplier/partner relationship.

Not only are things moving much faster, the relationships have become significantly more complex.  10 years ago, a solid email, phone, advertising and events strategy was all that was needed to communicate effectively to partners and customers.  Today we have more than 30 marketing vehicles in play, and the level of noise and clutter is, at times, out of control.

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How the Channel Can Help Solve the Most Pressing SMB Challenges

Lord Gordon bioBy Gordon Lord, Director of Distribution and Channel Marketing, Schneider Electric IT

Small businesses are often expected to have similar capabilities as larger companies, but with far fewer resources at their disposal. While all IT managers have their unique set of challenges, small-to-medium sized business (SMB) IT organizations frequently face a distinct set of difficulties, such as limited space, small staffs and limited budgets.

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CloudSpeak: How to Add Billable Project Revenue to Cloud Sales

Grant ThompsonBy GrantThompson, Managing Partner/Solutions Architect, MG Technology Group

Part Three of a Four-Part Series offering guidance, hope and solutions for MSPs and VARs who are struggling to make money in the cloud.

In the last part of this series (go to: http://www.smbnation.com/magazine to download the Q2 2013 issue),I discussed positioning cloud services, bundling and adding your own intellectual property (IP) to cloud solutions. In this issue I will be covering adding billable hours revenue to cloud sales.

There are some really obvious things in this category–migrations for example.

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Compliance in the Cloud: What you Need to Know about the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act

Danielle Sheer newBy Danielle Sheer, VP and General Counsel, Carbonite; and Alan Guichard, Northeastern University School of Law

In this month’s edition of “Compliance in the Cloud” we take a look at the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act and the downstream compliance requirements on cloud service providers. The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, focused on reforming the financial services industry, in part by removing regulations that prevented the merger of banks, stock brokerage companies and insurance companies.  As a result of permitting these types of mergers, however, financial institutions have access to an incredible amount of personal information.

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Jabra’s Unified Communications for the SMB Webinar Series

jabraminiAt Jabra, we hosts monthly webinars on subjects that matter to all of us – past webinars have covered the megatrends shaping the SMB market, the move to the cloud, and how devices deliver the total product experience in an increasingly software-centric world. We have a different guest host every month and believe that conversations and insight are more impactful than endless slides. Join us as we talk to industry experts, thought leaders, and others to better understand what's coming and what we – those of us who work with SMB's every day – need to do now to stay on top. To view past webinars visit us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Make it Your Nature to Nurture

Sonian Ad - SMB NationYou already know the hardest part of business is finding, acquiring and pleasing customers; and of course, without them, there is no business. These relationships are typically built and grow over time and tending to them requires that you contact customers when you don’t have something to sell. The art of becoming a trusted advisor means that you establish a relationship where you inform customers without being self-serving - make an honest effort to pass along value for value’s sake.

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How To Beat The IT Service “Goliaths” When You Are A “David”

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Many readers of this newsletter are owners or employees of very small IT service organizations, just like AF Technical Resources, a five-person shop based out of Milwaukee, WI.

Scott Granicki, the company’s owner, will tell you that being small has its advantages – most particularly being nimble, fast-to-respond, and being able to operate with much lower overhead than the larger IT shops he successfully competes against every day.

Click here now and you’ll hear Scott reveal how his little company is able – in his own words – “to cast a huge shadow and win business over the big IT firms.”

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No Time? Try “Instant Recovery”

JesseHBy Jesse Hebisen, Centurion Technologies

We have all been there; no matter how many times we tell them - DO NOT CLICK the link in the email, they still do it. Now the client is upset and you have to spend time to clean the computer and get them up and running again. Even worse, in the course of fixing the problem, the client may lose valuable data or emails saved before the attack.

But what if there was a different way to approach this age old problem? What if you could not only immediately erase the malicious code, but also make sure the client’s data stayed secure? When the client calls, what if all you had to do was tell them “Restart your computer”?

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D&H to Offer Live Webcast on iSCSI Storage Tomorrow Afternoon

 

DH-80px round 95thD&H Distributing is inviting its VAR partners to attend its latest Solutions Lab webcast, “iSCSI Storage: More Value Than Meets The Eye.”  This educational session will be conducted via www.dandh.com tomorrow from 2:00 pm to 3:00 p.m. ET.  The session, whih will include a live Q&A after the presentation., is presented at no charge for D&H customers, and will available to both US and Canadian resellers.

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Top Four Ways to Optimize and Manage Remote IT Sites

Paul AyersBy Paul Ayers, Offer Manager, Networking Solutions,  Schneider Electric

If you’re centrally managing your customers’ data centers and server rooms, it’s increasingly likely that you’re responsible for more than one site. In many cases, it may be more like 5, 50 or even 500 sites being managed centrally without dedicated IT staff at each one.

In these cases, technology must do most of the heavy lifting. Here are four tested ways that can help you to manage your customers’ sites more effectively with a centralized IT management model.

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Webinar: Essential Windows 8.1 Primer for Partners: New Technical Features

We’re right here in the trenches with you. Attend this essential webinar with Windows 8.1 experts to discover the new features partners must know to serve SMB clients now. Over one dozen new features will be discussed and we’ll even tie-in the Windows 8.1 integrations with the newly released Windows Server 2013 R2. If you “tracked” with us in leading the Windows 8 conversation in early March 2012 through our extensive use testing the past 18+ months, you won’t want to miss this important and timely webinar. This is sure to be one of the largest webinar audiences of the year – don’t miss out!

Expert panelists include:

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Upgrading to a new machine: not just XP migrations

zinstall advertphoto"I’m going to replace my old system with a new one with Windows 8.
Can you move all of my stuff (programs, files and settings) to the new machine?"


If you get this kind of inquiries from your customers, take a look further.


Whenever users buy a new PC, or even upgrade an existing one, they need to transfer their files, settings, and most importantly applications to new computers, without reinstalls and without losing any of the data.

This is especially timely nowadays: XP "end-of-life" is going to even further increase the movement from old to new systems.


Frank Miles of Redwood, CA, was not even aware that this can be done when he learned about Zinstall. Now, Frank reports that he is finally able to answer “yes” when customers ask him the question above, and even more than that – both consumers and SMBs are willing to pay quite a bit to save the pain and cost of reinstalling everything from scratch.


You can check out the product in this video or on the product page.


Zinstall products allow to turn the migration demand into hard cash.


We have now opened a new program, which grants an affordable license exclusively to PC Technicians.


Plus, first 100 SMB Nation members who sign for this Partner Program get a free NFR license of WinWin Zinstall’s flagship migration product.


In order to claim the above, fill in the SMB Nation Partner Program Form.

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BYOD: Who’s *Really* in Control?

Ari RabbanBy Ari Rabban, Co-Founder and CEO, Phone.com

“Bring your own device” (BYOD) isn’t a new trend, but that doesn’t mean SMBs–or large enterprises, for that matter–have worked out all of the kinks. Part of the challenge has to do with how the change in ownership affects control over apps and the device itself.

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Calling All MSPs: How to Accelerate Cloud Adoption, Remotely Manage Key IT Workloads to Expand your Biz

Darrin Swan 2By Darrin Swan, Director, Global Sales and Business Development, Dell Service Provider Program        

Trying to survive on product margins has been a losing proposition for years, but an equally poor business choice is to offer just a portion of the key IT services that customers require. Comprehensive services are the lifeblood of your business, and MSPs have a prime opportunity to differentiate themselves and expand business by taking a holistic approach. The secret to service success is the same as the channel's long-proven value proposition: becoming your customers' trusted IT partner and focusing on their overarching business priorities, not only their technology needs. That's an ongoing challenge for MSPs, especially when it comes to small and medium businesses.

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Get the Most Out of Your Vendor Relationships

comptia logo smallBy Nancy Hammervik

The IT channel is so much more than a product and service pipeline. It’s a collective system of professional relationships, technical expertise, and customer support and service capabilities. Despite the addition of cloud and managed services, the channel continues to be a value chain that connects consumers, providers and vendors. Today, the IT industry is focused less on discussions around specific products and services and more on creating positive business outcomes. Perhaps that’s why it’s become more important than ever to build and maintain productive partner relationships.

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One MSP Shows and Tells All – His Secret To Success

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

One of the things I love about the IT industry is the true sense of camaraderie that exists among this great community.

It doesn’t much matter what part of the country I visit -- or what trade show, event or association I attend – the story is always the same: almost everyone in this industry willing to share information, knowledge, and experiences.

One of many such examples of this is Jim Turner, President of Hilltop Consultants. Click here now to hear Jim share some powerful advice about managing internal QA of your services, best ways to audit T&M clients, and how to win new business 100% of the time.

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Great article Bob. Network Detective has been a great tool for us. It is part of the reason why Hilltop is a leading MSP serving... Read More
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The last Three feet: Why Devices Matter in a Software Centric World

jabramini“It has always seemed to me the real art in this business is not so much moving information or guidance or policy five or 10,000 miles. That is an electronic problem…

…The real art is to move it the last three feet in
face to face conversation.”


— Edward R. Murrow, ABC TV’s “Issues and Answers,” August 4, 1963

It’s interesting that no matter what field of study or industry you dig into, you see this same sentiment expressed. Big ideas always make great press, but success always comes down to deployment, implementation & user adoption – the last three feet. This is where big ideas either persuade listeners to decide to get on board or they get ignored, and all the big plans and ideas come apart. As you probably know, Jabra is a big believer in the last three feet – that’s where we live and that’s where our customers live, too.

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Why UC is the Secret Tool for Building and Maintaining Your Brand

Brian Ferguson DigiumBy Brian Ferguson, Product Marketing Manager, Digium

Having a well-known and reputable brand is vital to a company’s overall success, today. Companies are increasingly dedicating more dollars to building and maintaining their brand, and it usually comes out of their marketing budget. Larger brands are shelling out millions of dollars to support brand building; but, for SMBs, an Unified Communications (UC) phone system is often an overlooked – and affordable – tool to help not only build their brand, but compete with the big guys.

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Citrix Cloud Driving New Solution Category: Mobility Delivery Infrastructure

anurag 2By Anurag Agrawal, CEO, Techaisle

Steve Daheb, Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix, says, “Citrix is a cloud solutions company that enables mobile workstyles.”This philosophy’s execution is anchored to its three product pillars: 1/ XenDesktop, 2/ Netscaler, and 3/ XenMobile. It has committed itself to an ambitious definition of enterprise mobility, with a framework spanning nine components; customers can use Citrix technologies to create an integrated, single vendor solution covering all nine areas, or can opt to plug competing products into any of the nine areas – an approach that Citrix has labeled “any-ness.”

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Speed matters for SMBs

jabraminiSpeed is your most effective weapon – and greater mobility means faster results.

In today’s turbo-charged business environment, it isn’t the big that crush the small – it’s the fast that defeat the slow. So giving your team tools that allow them to make better decisions faster is smart. SMB’s that can collaborate, iterate and execute faster than their bigger dinosaurs are the ones that not only survive but thrive in this new future of smart, nimble work.

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Matt's Sunday Soup Recipe:

An easy, flavorful addition to any Sunday football gathering which makes for a quick workweek lunch. Add favorite crackers or bread and enjoy! I use a large 12 quart pot, but the recipe can be halved for a 6 qt.

Ingredients:
1 - 2 lb. cooked chicken diced into small pieces (for best results pull off bones from rotisserie chicken from Costco/Safeway, etc… otherwise use chicken breasts sautéed in skillet)
1 large red onion (or 2 small onions)
1 ½ -2 lb. of carrots
1 clump of celery
2 sweet peppers (e.g. one red, one yellow) Fat from ½ to 1 pound of cooked bacon
1 bottle of beer (the skunkier the better; Guinness or IPA work well)
3 – 32 oz. packages of low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil

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How to Strengthen Customer Relationships and Increase Profits

JesseHJesse Hebisen, Centurion Technologies

You work hard to acquire and retain your clients. Every day they rely on you for one thing – keeping their computers and networks working. But we all know that when the malicious email comes with “the link”, THEY WILL CLICK ON IT.   The client’s computer is down, productivity is halted and remediation is paramount. Your client is unhappy and you have to switch gears to focus on their problem.

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Webinar: Assured Outcome: Double Your Profit in 2014 with this ONE STEP!

Peer-Group-Ad-690x90Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Josh Peterson, Bering McKinley and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

Join this webinar to learn the one secret used by the big MSPs to consistently crush the little IT guys: Peer Group Membership!

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Guest Blog: Do you Know Who Controls Your Data?

Ari RabbanBy Ari Rabban, Co-founder and CEO, Phone.com

Would you pay $33,000 for a used Dell PowerEdge R410 blade server? What if it were the one that made WikiLeaks a household name?

That’s what someone paid on eBay, where Bahnhof, Wikileaks’ hosting provider, put the server up for sale. The auction is a cautionary tale for any SMB that outsources its telecom or IT to a cloud provider.

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The Value of Centurion Technologies: A Partner’s View

RAN Photo1By Bob Nitrio – Ranvest Associates

I discovered Centurion Technologies and SmartShield when I had to replace two aging, malware-plagued computers at a senior living community clubhouse. Although I had an instant recovery product already, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. This client was over two hours away and I needed something to make the new systems bulletproof.

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Jabra introduces updates to their WIN Partner Program!

jabraminiJabra introduces updates to their WIN Partner Program!

As an authorized Jabra WIN partner you receive access to:

  • Deal registration
  • Business Development Funds
  • Training resources via Ecademy, Jabra's e-learning portal
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Pre & post-sales support
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Get Instant ROI on The “Swiss Army Knife” of IT Service Tools!

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

If you talk to Dan Johnson, president of Denver-based MSP Machine Logic IT, he’ll tell you that Network Detective is his “Swiss Army Knife.”

“We use it on every single new prospective MSP engagement ... we use it for paid Network Assessments … we use it as part of our PCI and HIPAA audits … and we use it as part of our MSP quarterly review process,” he said.

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Top Tips on Navigating HIPAA Revisions (and Other Regulatory Measures)

Danielle Sheer headshotBy Danielle Sheer, Vice President and General Counsel, Carbonite Inc.

HIPAA, SSAE 16, ISAE 3402 (formerly SAS70), SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, DIACAP and FISMA, ITAR, FIPS 140-2, CSA, and the MPAA... This sounds like the equipment list for man’s mission to Mars?

Guess again. These are just a few of the federal regulations the government has enacted to ensure the privacy, security, and integrity of stored information, in the cloud or otherwise. With the proliferation of these data security standards, it is becoming increasingly important for vendors such as cloud backup providers to be diligent about their compliance with these regulations, both to respond to demand from customers, and because there’s an obvious market advantage in offering solutions that support customer compliance.

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Webinar: Data Preservation is Business Preservation!

Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Steve Martin, Vice President of Marketing, Sonian and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

Businesses rely on data more and more - that's not news. Many businesses have suffered considerable losses as a result of not having properly preserved their data - and that doesn't mean backups. A secure, persistent, affordable repository of every email ever sent or received is within the grasp of every business.

Register Here.

Bonus! One Attendee will receive a FREE Jabra Revo Wireless!

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Finding an Entry Point to the Big Data Space

hammervikBy Nancy Hammervik, Senior VP, Industry Relations, CompTIA

Most of us can agree that while holding the key to important data is valuable, ultimately what really counts is what you do with that data. Big Data – defined as the volume, velocity and variety of data that exceeds an organization’s storage or capacity – can be considered both an opportunity and a challenge for IT solution providers.

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Email is Intellectual Property!

sonian-logo-cubeEmail is the lifeblood of modern business, and within it, courses the conversations and contracts that constitute intellectual property.  By some estimates, as much as 90% of the intellectual property of an enterprise moves, at one time or another, through email.  Preserving intellectual property is the proverbial ‘no brainer’ – this information is the culmination of many hours of effort and represents potential competitive advantage.

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BlackBerry, BlackBerry, Where Art Thou BlackBerry?

 KAI3873 low crop1By Debi Bush, CEO, CMIT Solutions of Denver

Never would I have envisioned using a BlackBerry phone! Years ago I remember seeing an executive for a big regional bank using her BlackBerry phone and was perplexed as to why she liked it so much. She even liked the part of deleting an email on her BB phone while the email would remain on the server in her Outlook. I cringed upon hearing that for the duplication of effort, creating more work and therefore decreased efficiency?

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Webinar: The Ultimate Disaster Recovery Checklist

HarryB HeadshotThursday, September 12, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Dave Minns, Senior Systems Engineer and Architect, Storage Guardian and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

Everybody wants to get disaster recovery right, but planning for a disaster is a complex process. Partners undertaking DR plans for customers often don't know where to start. That's not unusual, but it is a problem. This Webcast, however, offers solutions.

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The Cloud vs. Premises PBX War: Is Prem Dead?

Brian Ferguson DigiumBy Brian Ferguson, Product Marketing Manager, Digium

By now you obviously are aware that “Cloud” is a buzzword that has made its way into every corner of the tech industry, including telephony. Hosted PBX deployments are all the rage. The perception in the market is that everyone is running to vendors as fast as possible and putting their Unified Communications (UC) phone systems in the cloud. So does that mean that the premises-based PBX model is dead? Assuming the demise of the on-site PBX may be a reach.

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Top Four Ways Technology can Legitimize your Start-Up

yanivBy Yaniv Masjedi, Vice President of Marketing, Nextiva

You’re an early stage entrepreneur (read: no employees yet), and you want to go up against a big, established company in the same bid for new business. The problem? You’re worried that potential customers may not perceive your company as credible since it is still so small. If this is you, you’re probably now wondering: Do I have a chance?

Yes, you do. Here are four ways to legitimize your company in the eyes of potential customers.

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Don’t forget to assess YOUR OWN network!

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

If you want to really understand the value of performing regular IT assessments for your clients, try doing an assessment on your own network – you might be really surprised at what you find.

Sean Tindall is the Chief Technical Officer at Bulletproof Infotech in Calgary, and he knows what I’m talking about.

“We follow an internal scheduled security audit for ourselves the same way we do with all of our customers,” he said. “We started doing this regularly after doing a routine security audit on our own network with Network Detective. Our review included an external vulnerability scan which found SNMP enabled on the LAN port of one of our firewalls.”

At first, Sean didn’t believe what he was seeing from Network Detective’s External Vulnerabilities Detail report.

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And the winner is…

Congratulations to Matthew Peteshel of CSG Services on winning the SMB Nation August Sweepstakes!

Matthew will receive a Jabra Revo Wireless!

Do you want to win a Jabra Solemate or Revo Wireless? Participate in this month's Tweetstakes! Tweet using the hashtag #JabraSMBN between now and Sept 30 to enter! 

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What happens when your security vendor - is no longer a security vendor?

McAfee-Postini-SMB-Nation-3-220x150Cloud application providers are great at making small businesses more productive. Services such as Google Apps are at the forefront of cloud application delivery — providing access to apps from anywhere your customers happen to be. But if your customers are stuck relying on a provider like Google Apps for email security, you may want to ask — what happens when your security vendor is no longer a security vendor? Google’s announcement to end-of-life Postini and migrate customers to Google Apps, for example, leaves many solution providers wondering if it’s time to evaluate an alternative approach.

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SMB Nation September Tweetstakes

jabra solemate 1440x810 01Tweet using the hashtag #JabraSMBN this month, and we will draw one winner to receive either a Jabra Solemate or Revo Wireless!

Tweets must come in between 9/1/2013 and 9/31/2013 to qualify! 

Learn more at our Contests Page! 

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Jabra Headsets Interoperate with Cisco Jabber for a New User Experience

jabraminiJabra now offers integrated call control with the latest version of Cisco Jabber 9.2 for Windows in both traditional and virtual desktop environments. This unique feature has the potential to enhance the user experience for the more than 200,000 customers that have implemented a Cisco Unified Communications solution.

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Webinar: SMB Nation 3Q Updates: Peer Groups, XP Migrations, Class-action Settlement

HarryB HeadshotThursday, August 29, 2013, 10-11am PDT

Presented by: Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc. 

Join us for our quarterly briefing with business decision makers, partners, analysts and others as we survey the “State of the Nation” for 3Q 2013. Topics will include:

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How to Strengthen Customer Relationships and Increase Profits

centuion adBy Jesse Hebisen, Centurion Technologies

You work hard to acquire and retain your clients.  Every day they rely on you for one thing – keeping their computers and networks working.  But we all know that when the malicious email comes with “the link”, THEY WILL CLICK ON IT.   The client’s computer is down, productivity is halted and remediation is paramount.  Your client is unhappy and you have to switch gears to focus on their problem.

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When’s the last time you looked in the mirror?

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

I remember back in the days when I was the first Chief Marketing Officer at Autotask, doing some market research into the IT service community, I uncovered the “dirty little secret” that everyone knew, but nobody talked about:

Most IT solution providers were out there preaching the strategic importance of technology to their clients, installing the latest and best hardware and software solutions, but they were still running their own businesses with spreadsheets, whiteboards and handwritten invoices.

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Postini End of Life: Can You Rely on Google for Email Security?

McAfee-Postini-080813-220x150Let’s assume you’re an IT professional. A major part of your job is to make sure the technology you adopt and deploy to your workforce enables productivity and does not compromise the integrity of your company’s information. Experience tells you to trust a security vendor for this, but what if your security vendor is no longer a security vendor?

In the case of Postini, all customers of this email security service are now being transitioned into the larger portfolio of Google Apps for Business. The problem is, some of the features customers were used to, along with the features that truly lead the industry in email protection, simply aren’t available within Google Apps.

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Webinar: Overcome Active Directory’s Four Most-Challenging Activities with New Tips and Tools

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Tim Sedlack, Senior Product Manager, Dell and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

This webcast reviews tips and tools to overcome Active Directory’s four-most challenging tasks: delegation of control, security & auditing, Group Policy management and backup & recovery. Attendees will learn how to:

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Even I also attended this webinar session . It went really well I thoroughly understand the concept behind this webinar. Actually ... Read More
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CloudBerry Lab™ Introduces Managed Backup with Advanced Remote Management

cloudberrylabIn the CloudBerry Managed Backup new version Managed Service Providers are enabled to get full control over their customers’ backup jobs through the web based control panel. Advanced remote management allows creating and modifying backup plans configuration on the user computer remotely. Service providers can specify plan name and backup source, create filters for specific types of files and folders, configure backup schedule as well as specify compression and encryption options on the user computer being offsite.

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SMB Nation Sweepstakes for August: Jabra Solemate or Revo Wireless!

SMB Nation is pleased to announce the start of our Jabra giveaway for the month of August. Between Aug 1 and 11:59 pm PDT on August 31, we will be collecting entries via our contest form.

Participants may select one of two preferred prizes. The Jabra Solemate is a compact, portable speaker system that can connect to your laptop, smartphone, and any other Bluetooth-enabled devices.  The Jabra Revo is a set of wireless headphones with Dolby Digital sound quality and high durability.

Simply fill out the form here to be entered into the contest. A winner will be drawn on 1 Sept, 2013!

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The Last American Cowboys (and Cowgirls)

cowboysimageA Photo Essay on Seattle’s Local IT Shops, and the men and women behind them.

Earlier this year, our very own Harrybbb visited 11 local IT Shops to speak and connect with owners. Many of these folks are long-time community members, but there are a few new faces in there as well.

Check out Harry's photo essay in the Q2 2013 smbNATION Magazine here.

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How BYOD Increases Employee Productivity an Extra 37 Minutes Per Week (per Employee)

AER Color dark 0024By Ari Rabban, Co-Founder and CEO, Phone.com

BYOD has quickly become one of the biggest buzzwords in business today. It’s also an opportunity for SMBs to spend less time using some other four-letter words, such as when they’re scrambling to recover after a disaster.

Part of the reason why so many enterprises–including SMBs–now have “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies is because they’re a way to leverage hardware that they otherwise couldn’t afford to buy for all employees. Another reason is increased productivity: an extra 37 minutes per week per employee, according to a recent Cisco study. For an employee making the median wage, that works out to an additional $350 in annual value – more than enough to cover a device subsidy for employers that choose to offer one.

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Webinar: Postini End of Life? Win an iPad Mini!

Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Catherine Hwang, Senior Product Marketing Manager, McAfee and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

There's going to be no more "Postini" in 2013 so make other plans.

Two Postini products are being discontinued, Postini Service Provider Edition (SPE) and Google Message Filtering (GMF), both inbound-only services.

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CompTIA ChannelCon Offers Attendees Chance to Earn Executive Certificates

comptia logo smallBy Kate Hunt

Opportunities for information technology (IT) industry leaders to expand their proficiency in emerging technologies and business operations are available at the end of this month at CompTIA ChannelCon – the IT channel’s premier annual partnering and training event.

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Guest Blog: Top Five Data Recovery Tips for SMBs

Chris.Bross.Headshot smallBy Chris Bross, Strategic Technology Alliance Manager, DriveSavers Data Recovery

As a small business owner, you have a million projects on your mind at any given moment, often leaving your data recovery plan at the bottom of the to-do list. In fact, a recent study by Symantec found that 57% of SMBs have no disaster recovery plan. Yet, SMBs experience an average of six outages a year, with the top reasons being cyberattacks, power failures, and natural disasters.

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New Business Is Everyone’s Business

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2Marketing

Just because you’re reading a newsletter called “GeekSpeak” doesn’t excuse you from being responsible and accountable for selling.

In the last service company that I ran, we had a saying: “New business is everyone’s business.” Yes, as the CEO, I brought in most of the new clients. But everyone on my staff knew that they were also company ambassadors, and that I expected them to always be “pitching” our company to people who they knew and met.

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Looking for a Postini Alternative?

McAfee-Postini-080813-220x150Google’s announcement to end-of-life Postini and migrate customers to Google Apps leaves many wondering if it’s time to evaluate an alternative approach. Leaders in this space know there are many threat vectors and security vulnerabilities to protect against with an email security solution. Take a second to consider these key functions of email security, and find out why thousands of solution providers are migrating their Postini customers to McAfee:

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Get the Most out of Unified Communications with Jabra

jabraminiWithout quality headsets, users can’t experience the full functionality – they’re only getting part of the solution. But by thinking about voice early in the process, and completing the Unified Communications (UC) solution with Jabra hands-free audio solutions, everyone gets the full story.

A successful Unified Communications process takes you through the four phases below:

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Webinar: Harness the Speed and Security of the Cloud!

ChipThursday, August 8, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Chip Bieler, Sales Manager, GFI MAX and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

Forget everything you know about Backup. The Backup game has changed! Join this webinar with SMB Nation and GFI MAX to hear about the next big thing...an exciting new product launch for MSPs. This new software from GFI MAX will help you grow your revenues and tie customers into your business. Fully brandable, quick to install, lightning fast to run and largely self-serve for your customers. So, if you want to start delivering great service and grow your MSP then join this exclusive webinar with SMB Nation and GFI MAX to learn how!

What you will learn:

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Do You Make More (or Less) than Your Peers?

SMB Nation Reveals Results of Its 7th Annual Salary Survey

RangeOfCompBy Anurag Agrawal, CEO, Techaisle

SMB Nation’s 2013 Channel Partner Salary survey reveals that the average salary of channel partner employee is US$101,062 which is up 9 percent from 2012 when it was US$92,544. Analysis of the salary ranges shows that the highest percentages of employees fall within the US$71,000 – US$100,000 gross salary range. In fact, slightly less than one-third get a salary within that range.

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White Paper Highlight: The Small and Mid-sized Business Opportunity

rapidfire wpOur very own Harrybbb recently wrote a white paper for our colleagues at RapidFire Tools, which outlines the top five reasons that SMBs should be using IT Assessments.

In particular, the white paper includes tips on how to use the RapidFire Network Detective to foster better lead generation and customer audits, as well as better onboarding practices.

This white paper is currently available for download at the site here

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From Financial Analyst to Royal Highness: An In-Depth Discussion with Melanie Gass, AKA “The Microsoft Princess”

By Regina Ciardiello, Editor, SMB Nation

Melanie Gass magazineMelanie Gass (pictured) is a successful entrepreneur living in South Orange, NJ, who owns Manhattan-based consulting firm CenterPoint Solution. As some might think, she might live in a castle, or even “a deluxe apartment in the sky,” due to her designation as the “Microsoft Princess.”

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Top 10 Best SMB Smoothies “Chris’ Picks”

By Chris Bangs, SMB Nation

There are two good reasons to make a healthy recipe smoothie: 1) They taste great; and 2) They are filled with lots of fruit that have health benefits for your body.  Here’s a sample of popular smoothie recipes that can be a positive addition to your daily diet.

Orange Julius Smoothie “Chris’ Fave” – This is a delicious drink made with orange juice, milk, and vanilla extract. The Orange Julius franchise is responsible for creating this popular smoothie, and if you can find an Orange Julius location in your town, you’ll be in for a real treat. (Chris likes a raw egg in his, but watch out, that can get you sick.)

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Modern Data Preservation – Get Beyond Backup

Sonian DP Blog ImageAt Sonian, we’re fond of saying “backups are for recovery, archives for discovery”.  No one questions the wisdom of performing regular backups, that need has been obvious in IT for some time: accidental deletion, disk or server failures, large scale disaster recovery… While backups meet an obvious need, they don’t enable sophisticated search.  Most backup tools may let you search on a file name or a file owner, they won’t search 500 different email attachments looking for keywords, or enable a single search across multiple databases.  Backups are great when you know what you’re looking for, and not much help when you don’t. 

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Jabra Sweepstakes for August is Open!

jabraminiSMB Nation is pleased to announce the start of our Jabra giveaway for the month of August. Between now and 11:59 pm PDT on August 31, we will be collecting entries via our contest form.

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