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.
Astro Brelsford has not set their biography yet

The Ever-Increasing Value of Industry Standard Credentials

01655 US Global Trustmark Banner Ad 220x150By Miles Jobgen, Director of Trustmark Programs for CompTIA

As one of the most recognizable credentials, or “marks,” in North America, the Better Business Bureau logo gives an organization instant credibility and provides a sense of security to current and prospective customers. Its holders have made a commitment to uphold certain standards relating to their transaction processes, professional relationships and community standing. Most of all, a BBB logo instills trust.

Business credentials can be particularly valuable to those in the IT services area, where a solid reputation is often the biggest differentiator when you’re prospecting new clients or developing key industry relationships. The logo or mark of acknowledgement you receive from a respected association can truly improve your company’s standing. Those who receive business credentials must meet certain standards and industry-specific criteria, so the designation can give instant credibility to a holder’s capabilities.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Better Call an MSP Part 4: Telecoms: A Threat or Opportunity for MSPs?

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The fourth installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

In last month’s installment of, “Better Call an MSP,” I discussed how to manage potentially non-profitable clients. This month, I discuss concerns that I have recently been hearing within our industry on how telecommunications companies (or telecoms) are being deemed a threat to solution providers. Frankly, it has been my experience that MSPs do not need to feel threatened by telecoms, and if there is talk that telecoms are set to move into the managed services game, it won’t be for some time. Further, if this shift does gradually happen, there are ways that MSPs and telecoms can work together, rather than against each other. Check out some of the questions I have posed below that may help to ease concerns and generate potential opportunity.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Karl Says: Now is the Time to Work On Your Business

SMBNation Ad 2015 05Author and blogger Karl Palachuk says that right now is a great time to be a technology consultant. The economy may not be on fire, he says, but the recession is definitely over and money is flowing. "There are moments in time when you can FEEL the energy," he says. "Right now you can feel the push and the flow of money into the small business sector. Don't miss out because you did nothing!"

Palachuk is putting on his fourth annual SMB Online Conference June 23-25. The conference focuses on the business processes and procedures you need to be successful going forward. The conference theme is "Time to Thrive." As Palachuk puts it, you survived the last six years: Now it's time to Thrive!

Continue reading
0 Comments

3 Cloud Sales Objections You Must Overcome

Sponsored by Microsoft and Ingram Micro Cloud

It’s more apparent than ever that cloud computing is not only picking up momentum, it’s also a key component driving other industry trends such as mobile computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). With that said, you can’t capitalize on any of these exciting trends if you don’t first learn how to sell cloud.

One of the most important starting points is recognizing the fact that there’s a lot of confusion and wrong information about the cloud that has to be dealt with before you can discuss specific cloud services and costs. CompTIA’s 4th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing sheds light on three specific areas of confusion end users have that IT solution providers (ITSPs) need to uncover and address to win cloud business.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Top Prospecting Options for Resellers: From Customer Referrals To Social Media

digium logoBy Pete Engler

For most small to medium businesses (SMBs) the continuous search for new customers is essential to meet or exceed growth targets. As a reseller, the extent of available prospecting options for your business is often influenced by the size of the organization, and whether there are dedicated resources for lead generation and new customer acquisition. Larger organizations typically have the human capital and the budget to invest in a multitude of avenues for finding new customers. Regardless of company size, one factor is particularly applicable to all organizations. It’s extremely important for any business owner to understand and properly manage customer acquisition costs. For example, it is less expensive to keep existing customers as a means to maintain current or incremental levels of revenue, but acquiring new customers is imperative if you want to achieve significant growth. When it comes to finding prospects (and customers) that are ready and willing to purchase, there are many options available, with varying costs and impact on your customer acquisition cost. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Apps: The Next Generation

attachedapps ad for advertorial 8.25.14“App”. You’re no doubt familiar with the word, but may have wondered about its origin or current meaning. In the early days of the tech era, app was simply an abbreviation of the word “application” and was used to describe typical software programs like word processing, accounting, and graphics suites. But over time the definition evolved, perhaps sparked several years ago by Apple’s popular catchphrase “there’s an app for that”, which they used to describe software written specifically for their smartphones. Fast forward to now, and the word “app” usually refers to small pieces of software that perform specific functions, run on any device anywhere, are bought on a subscription basis, are cloud-enabled, and don’t require long-term license commitments. While there’s an endless supply of apps like this aimed at consumers, there are very few designed for businesses, including SMBs. Our friends at attachedapps are out to change that.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Grabbing the Low Hanging Fruit

As a channel partner, you are probably always on the lookout for anything that will bring you additional revenue, a competitive edge, and enhanced relationships with your customers. If you are taking advantage of the move to cloud computing that’s sweeping the SMB world, you want products that fit into the cloud-based paradigm. The challenge is finding products that are easy to sell, easy to learn, and provide real value to your customers while complimenting what you are already selling. In other words, you are looking for the low-hanging fruit that you know is out there.

Consider this. All companies have contacts that they need to manage. The problem is that most SMB customers don’t want or need the cost and complexity of CRM products, so they wind up using something like Excel to keep track contacts. In fact, Excel and Outlook are the top two products that SMBs say they use to manage their customers. That’s the low hanging fruit you’ve been looking for, and attachedapps is a great solution to help you pick it.

Continue reading
0 Comments

CompTIA Research Confirms Strong SMB Opportunities for Channel Companies

comptia logoBy Seth Robinson, Senior Director of Technology Analysis for CompTIA

With smaller budgets and fewer resources, efficiency and cost reducing improvements continue to remain top priorities with small and mid-size businesses. Those are two chief reasons SMB organizations put so much focus on implementing new technologies and improving their existing platforms. Of course, finding the right price/benefit balance isn’t easy for the companies that try to do it on their own.

Only 17% of small businesses are truly satisfied with their existing technology platforms and solutions. 55% of them also included new client acquisition among their top priorities and, recognizing that the competitive environment and customer behaviors are radically shifting, understand they need to change. This information, as well as a detailed account of the opportunities in this space can be found in the latest CompTIA Research report: Enabling SMBs with Technology.

Small business owners and managers know that technology can be the great equalizer, giving them the ability to take on much larger competitors without breaking their budgets. That’s true whether implementing a new backup and data recovery solution or moving their servers and all their capabilities to the cloud. The efficiencies and flexibility those systems provide can be a real game changer for any business, regardless of size. Channel partners who can define the specific needs of their clients and match them with the most appropriate technologies will likely enjoy the most success. In the SMB space, the solution providers and agents who can cost-effectively provide those types of solutions can expect their client numbers to swell.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Challenges for winning business - Staying on top of the technology game

digium logoBy Pete Engler, Digium

Technology can make your customers productive, save them money, and help them stay ahead of their competitors. The right technology, introduced to the market at the right time, can also make innovative vendors and manufacturers (and resellers) lots of money. For the last few decades, technology has been innovating and evolving at breakneck speed with some manufacturers constantly trying to come up with the “next” big thing, while others are just trying to keep up. In the consumer market, we see the tech-buying craze in action every time a new smartphone or tablet is released. In the business market, the spending fury is often a bit slower, given the sales process is much harder for new technology, particularly if the price tag is high. Even so, business consumers continue to crave new, better technology. As the business market demands technology advancements (that sometimes contradicts sales cycles), maybe it’s worth asking these two questions: Is all technology sellable? And, what role do resellers play in the innovation-to-market decision process?

Recent comment in this post
Alberta
We have made a decision in which superior paper. I have already been having difficulties to acquire a creating program to achieve ... Read More
Thursday, 23 April 2015 06:05
Continue reading
1 Comment

An easy way to “attach” revenue to every Office 365 customer

There has been a lot of talk about how partners can and should adapt to the rise of cloud-based software, with particular focus on how to replace revenue from sources like on-site server and software installations Harry had a 3-part series on the issue a few months ago, and many other knowledgeable sources have written and spoken about it. In short, the transition to the cloud is happening, and is even picking up speed. This means that partners need to adapt in order to capitalize on the transition. Smart partners are finding new ways to attach revenue to cloud-based software like Office 365. That’s where our friends at attachedapps come in.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Are you storing your business data under your mattress?

levineBy Jonathan Levine

Many of you may have a grandparent or relative who still holds onto Depression-era fears that their money isn’t safe in the bank. Some of them may actually even keep their money under their mattresses or hidden in their freezer. Never mind the FDIC or all the other advances that made banks far more secure—or that a house fire was far more likely than a run on a modern bank.

Anyone who understands modern banking knows that their money is safer within institutions that are dedicated to protecting it. But what all-too-few businesses realize is that there’s a clear analogy between keeping your money under your mattress and storing your data in an on-premises server.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Better Call an MSP Part 3: Managing Potentially Non-Profitable Clients

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The third installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

In last month’s installment of “Better Call an MSP,” I discussed how to hire employees that will be effective and will go the distance long-term. This month, let’s talk about clients that might be costing you money. These clients may be potentially non-profitable to your business because they’re either not on board with your new business model, or they aren’t willing to make suggested technology and business changes that you are recommending, including standardizing on an IT services provider, hardware and set pricing.

Let’s examine a few steps to see if you can both come to a mutual agreement when it comes to these recommended changes.

Continue reading
0 Comments

What Exactly Does “FREE” Mean?

attachedapps animated gif ad March 30 2015Let’s face it, whenever you hear the word “free” a number of questions immediately come to mind, mostly around what exactly “free” means. Is the company offering a limited period of free access but will soon start billing you? Do you have to provide a credit card in order to use the free product? Does it have such limited functionality that it’s hardly useful? Are you going to have to put up with annoying ads? Is the company going to sell your information? These kind of nagging questions are what we’ve come to expect in free product offers from many companies.

Continue reading
0 Comments

SELL YOUR COMPUTER PARTS WITH THE BEST IN THE IT AND TELECOM BUSINESS

PSO banner 220X150Members of the PowerSource online community enjoy unparalleled opportunities to buy and sell all kinds of new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts, including computer parts and related equipment. Our B2B network connects sellers with thousands of buyers worldwide, allowing suppliers and resellers of computer components to greatly expand their sales prospects and develop industry contacts from a single online platform.

PowerSource Online’s advanced selling and sourcing tools give our members a leg up on the competition by allowing them to advertise up to 30 “Seeking to Sell” postings per day. Members can view and respond directly to requests to buy computer parts, telecom equipment and more. Another advantage of PowerSource is the ability for members to customize who sees their inventory. As well, PowerSource members are able to access government contract opportunities in their region that require the purchase or sale of computer parts and telecom equipment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

CompTIA Sets a New Channel-Ready Standard for Cloud Vendors

comptia logoBy Miles Jobgen, Director of Trustmark Programs for CompTIA

 Traditional hardware resellers often beta test their suppliers’ new products and programs before making firm relationship commitments. The vetting process may require some effort and patience, but when a server or software program has performed well over a certain period of time, it gives them enough confidence to roll it out to more customers. While vendor warranties and support services are often tested later on, most solution providers get a feel for the organization based on the quality of the products they deliver.

With the cloud, that vetting process is a lot more difficult. What you see isn’t always what you get. While most cloud vendors make significant investments to deliver high quality solutions, there are exceptions to the rule. Though we’d like to believe every supplier’s infrastructure and security procedures are rock-solid, the risks are simply too numerous without some sort of validation.

Continue reading
0 Comments

On WebRTC and Big Fat Pipes and Stickiness

Telecom Reseller SMB Nation AdDouglas Green, Publisher, Telecom Reseller

You would think that owning the big fat pipe, over which everything must flow in the age of cloud, would be the best thing to have. The problem is that Internet service and many other cloud (carrier level provided) services have a vanilla like quality. The pipe provides a commodity service that is hard to make distinguishable. Accordingly, the carriers all share a customer loyalty problem. Fully 25% of their customers depart each year. Each carrier makes these lost customers up with new customers defecting from rivals, but the cost of their acquisition is high. In many cases it takes over a year for a carrier just to recoup the cost of marketing and sales built into each acquisition.

Continue reading
0 Comments

SELL YOUR COMPUTER PARTS WITH THE BEST IN THE IT AND TELECOM BUSINESS

 

PSO banner 220X150Members of the PowerSource online community enjoy unparalleled opportunities to buy and sell all kinds of new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts, including computer parts and related equipment. Our B2B network connects sellers with thousands of buyers worldwide, allowing suppliers and resellers of computer components to greatly expand their sales prospects and develop industry contacts from a single online platform.

PowerSource Online’s advanced selling and sourcing tools give our members a leg up on the competition by allowing them to advertise up to 30 “Seeking to Sell” postings per day. Members can view and respond directly to requests to buy computer parts, telecom equipment and more. Another advantage of PowerSource is the ability for members to customize who sees their inventory. As well, PowerSource members are able to access government contract opportunities in their region that require the purchase or sale of computer parts and telecom equipment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Better Call an MSP Part 2: Hiring Long-Term, Effective Employee Talent

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The second installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

Last month, I opened my blog series for this year, known as “Better Call an MSP,” with a call for content and ideas. We want to hear from you, the members of our MSP community, about some of the more pressing issues facing your business.

In speaking with some of Continuum’s partners at our recent Partner Advisory Council (PAC) meeting, one of the challenges discussed was the hiring process – and more importantly, how to retain and keep solid, long-term employees. Several of the PAC members I spoke with noted that they want to not only become better at hiring, but also want to have a company that’s based on low employee turnover. While it’s true there have been countless books and articles written on this topic on a general level, a point was made that there is a need for more shared best practices and techniques specific to the MSP community. Having personally participated in hiring and recruiting processes that have worked, here are some tips to keep in mind when starting the hiring process to save both time and money – and to ensure that the hire is an appropriate long-term fit.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Tired of Playing Tug of War with Vendors?

attachedapps tugofwarOne of the biggest points of contention between partners and vendors is who actually owns the relationship with the customer. It’s a topic that comes up frequently whenever partners talk about their relationships with vendors. Partners often complain that some of their vendors seem to want to disintermediate them from their customers, thus setting up a bit of a tug of war, with the unfortunate customer caught in the middle. For example, some vendors take the approach that if a customer is using their products, then they have primary responsibility for supporting the customer, regardless of whether or not a partner is involved in the sale. This can take the form of not enabling partners to bill the customer, not enabling partners to provide support, and/or not enabling partners to co-brand the product. While it’s understandable that the vendors want to ensure the best possible experience for the end user, many of them seem to forget the critical role that partners play in the process of selling and supporting the customers. These conflicts will likely only continue to increase as adoption of cloud-based apps continues to rise, since customers are now running software may be hosted by the vendors.

So, which vendors “get it”? One of our favorites is attachedapps. They have built a suite of contact and customer management apps that are designed to easily “attach” to Office 365 or Exchange, and they are taking a strict partner-first approach to selling to SMBs. For instance, they just enabled partners to have a tile in their customers’ dashboards where partners can display their logo, contact information, sales messages, or anything else they want their customers to see every time they access the apps. We haven’t seen that from any vendor! Plus, attachedapps enables partners to bill customers, provide support, and they have a very generous revenue sharing model. They have even designed their apps so that partners can easily add their own services like remote admin, migration and customization. No more tugging!

You should check them out: www.attachedapps.com/partners.

Continue reading
0 Comments

“The right tool for the right job.”

attachedapps 220x150 Feb 12That’s a slogan a popular tool company has been using for over 100 years. It’s also a concept that partners like you should keep in mind when helping your SMB customers. Just because something can get the job done, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to get the job done. A great example of this is managing contacts. When SMBs are asked what software they use to track contacts, you might think a majority of them would name one of the popular CRM products like Salesforce.com, Dynamics CRM, or any one dozens more. Instead, in several surveys conducted by Microsoft over the last 10 years, the #1 answer from SMBs is Microsoft Outlook. The #2 answer is Microsoft Excel. An e-mail client and a spreadsheet. Great tools for their designed purpose, but definitely not the best for managing company contacts, tracking sales or managing customers

Continue reading
0 Comments

Legal Tips (No Tricks) for Emerging IT Businesses

Liutikas Dan55944By Dan Liutikas, Managing Attorney of ITLA and CompTIA’s Chief Legal Officer

Whether starting a brand new cloud services company or managing an intentionally small MSP business, today’s IT professionals can expect an ever-increasing array of issues to stand in the way of their success. The financial challenges alone keep many companies from achieving their goals, and a variety of personnel and regulatory concerns tend to make those objectives even harder to hit. Needless to say, small business owners have a lot to deal with each and every day ─ and legal concerns are often one of the biggest challenges.

For IT firms, virtually every operational or client-focused activity exposes some level of risk. Every entrepreneur and manager has to be readily aware of today’s business environment where conflict and litigation has become an accepted norm. Even when you think you have strong relationships with your customers, you may still find that these customers might let attorneys dictate how to approach dispute resolution with you rather than deal with the matters personally. Conflict resolution isn’t what it used to be, even in the SMB space.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Behavior Leads to Technology When Selling UC

Pete Engler PicBy Pete Engler, Channel Marketing Manager, Digium

A colleague recently attended a business technology conference and had a chance to listen to some interesting panel discussions centered on Unified Communications (UC) and the Cloud. Among the topics included were mobility, WebRTC, and various UC deployment strategies.  Of all the new information, insights, and ideas he heard, one statement in particular held his attention. The quote brings to light a basic principle that every technology reseller should understand and practice when it comes to selling UC solutions:  “Technology does not lead to behavior; behavior should lead to technology.”

A survey by Webtorials revealed that 75 percent of enterprises have deployed UC to some degree, with 21 percent indicating they had implemented full deployments. The businesses partially deploying UC are doing so in a trial phase and expect to eventually integrate completely. Regardless of deployment strategy, it’s worthwhile pointing out that the business (as a whole) looks at UC differently from that of an individual employee – there are different behaviors driving the decision to implement the technology. The business is centered on examining the total value of UC in employee collaboration with coworkers and clients, and understanding the costs associated with each feature. Is it really worth the cost to implement all of the UC features?  Whereas, an employee’s behavior, or interest in UC, centers on usability and the ease of specific UC applications to get things done. In other words, what can UC do to make his job easier? The combination of these two behavior types leads to the decision of a company’s need for full UC integration.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Office 365: Regulatory Compliance and eDiscovery

AppRivereDiscovery 2By Nathan Mitchell, AppRiver

Many organizations have a regulatory obligation to retain various types of data and ensure its authenticity and integrity.  So, it’s not a surprise when customers ask us about eDiscovery capabilities within the popular cloud-based communications and collaboration solution. 

Discovery is the term used for the initial phase of litigation where the parties in a dispute are required to provide each other relevant information and records, along with all other evidence related to the case.  You can use eDiscovery in Office 365 to search for content in Exchange Online mailboxes, SharePoint Online sites, or both.  You can even copy the data to a Discovery Mailbox or export it to a PST file. 

Continue reading
0 Comments

BUY & SELL COMPUTERS, IT & TELECOM PARTS & EQUIPMENT WITH POWERSOURCE ONLINE

PSO banner 220X150Are you looking to buy or sell new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts and equipment including computers, laptops, printers, VoIP phones, central office systems, PBX/Key systems or network infrastructure? Whether you are a supplier, reseller, service provider, corporate buyer or self-maintainer, you can benefit from the PowerSource professional community. PowerSource Online helps our members increase sales, build industry relationships and save time and resources with our best-in-class selling and sourcing tools.

Computer parts suppliers and resellers gain a competitive advantage by easily posting their in-stock inventory of new, used and refurbished IT and telecoms parts to reach thousands of buyers. PowerSource members can view and respond directly to buying requests for computers, telecom equipment, IT infrastructure and more.

Continue reading
0 Comments

“The right tool for the right job.”

attachedapps 220x150 Feb 12That’s a slogan a popular tool company has been using for over 100 years. It’s also a concept that partners like you should keep in mind when helping your SMB customers. Just because something can get the job done, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to get the job done. A great example of this is managing contacts. When SMBs are asked what software they use to track contacts, you might think a majority of them would name one of the popular CRM products like Salesforce.com, Dynamics CRM, or any one dozens more. Instead, in several surveys conducted by Microsoft over the last 10 years, the #1 answer from SMBs is Microsoft Outlook. The #2 answer is Microsoft Excel. An e-mail client and a spreadsheet. Great tools for their designed purpose, but definitely not the best for managing company contacts, tracking sales or managing customers.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Webinar: How to make money with attachedapps

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2295831220530158594

Thursday, February 5, 2015 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Dave Waldrop, President and Director, attachedapps, Sylvia Grabner, Customer and Partner Service, attachedapps and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation, Inc.

Come learn how you can easily attach revenue to your Office 365 sales with attachedapps! attachedapps are powerfully simple apps that enable partners to easily add more value and revenue to their Office 365 and Exchange customers. We will be following up on previous webinars and live events by give you an in-depth look at attachedapps, including a live demo, and providing an early look at new features that are going to be launched soon. We will also discuss how other partners are using attachedapps and our plans for evolving the partner program.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Better Call an MSP Part 1: We Want to Hear from YOU, the MSP Partner Community

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The first installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

Throughout last year, in my Breaking Bad blog series, I discussed various tips on how MSPs can break the cycle of various “bad” business habits. We covered everything from getting to know your customers,how to combat business complacency, and how to bring out the best in your employee talent. In keeping with that same theme, I would like to welcome you to this year’s new blog series, “Better Call an MSP”. And, if you’re wondering whether we’re playing off the upcoming “Breaking Bad” AMC spin-off series, “Better Call Saul,” you are correct!

Continue reading
0 Comments

An easy way to “attach” revenue to every Office 365 customer

 

There has been a lot of talk about how partners can and should adapt to the rise of cloud-based applications, with particular focus on how to replace revenue from sources like on-site server and software installations. Harry had a 3-part series on the issue a few months ago, and many other knowledgeable sources have written and spoken about it. In short, the transition to the cloud is happening, and is even picking up speed. This means that partners need to adapt in order to capitalize on the transition. Smart partners are finding new ways to attach revenue to cloud-based software like Office 365. That’s where our friends at attachedapps come in.

Continue reading
0 Comments

2015 Business Communications Trends

danny-windhamBy Danny Windham

 

A new year brings new projects, new initiatives and new challenges for IT leadership. As new technologies and new deployment models have continued to mature, businesses are becoming more willing (and obligated) to try new things.

It’s helpful to reflect upon and take inventory of the advances that shaped the evolution of your business over the previous year. Perhaps even more crucial is assessing trends of the near future, which will provide leaders and key decision makers within an organization with valuable insights in order to position their business for success.

Over the past several quarters we’ve seen adoption of many new products and services that essentially transfer control of the specific functionality from the IT professionals into the hands of the end users. Bring your own device (BYOD), popular mobile applications such as Evernote, evergreen browsers, and even user-controlled updating of operating systems are all examples of this trend.   This trend is driving a renewed emphasis on user experience. For solutions to thrive in this new environment, they must be flexible, cost effective, and easy to set up. Against this backdrop, here are some IT and communications trends expected to dominate 2015, and influence how you grow and manage your business:

IT Spending Increases

With the increased enthusiasm and confidence from U.S. consumers, improvements in the economy, strength in the U.S. dollar, and an expectation of expanded credit and funding opportunities for businesses, the overall trend for companies this coming year is growth - growth in both infrastructure investment and employee count. Gartner Research forecasts that 2015 will be an even better year than 2014 for IT vendors, with companies spending $3.9 trillion. If this prediction is correct, that translates into a 3.7 percent gain over 2014. In the business world, with growth comes an imperative need to properly allocate funds to deliver the best return on investment. You want to focus spending efforts that support growing and servicing your customer base, while saving pennies in any area you can.

 

Communications Systems in the Cloud

The perception of the cloud has transformed from curiosity to investment, but moving forward, it represents much more than a standalone concept in the IT world. In the area of business phone systems, while sales of on-premises PBX systems have remained at a steady level through recent years, the market for hosted PBX solutions continues to grow as the flexibility and cost savings of this route become common knowledge among SMBs. More and more businesses are switching to cloud-based solutions as a result of the reduced cost and commitment, the decreased IT dependency, scalable growth potential, and the evolving mobile-friendly workforce. Cloud-based services are enabling a fundamental shift in the end user business models, and the entire communications industry is morphing in response to this trend. It’s impacting not only the communications technologies and deployment models, but also the entire value chain of how end users are served.

More Efficient Business Models

The move to the cloud is really about enabling new, more efficient business models, and, in so doing, the inevitable byproducts of that trend will ensue. Selecting the right IT product and service is one thing; now, deciding how to pay for them is an independent decision. This explains why CFOs are realizing the value of using available cash for revenue-generating activities and using OPEX for day-to-day expenses, including communications systems. This trend will continue into 2015, as operational expenses free up capital and require a shorter commitment, which is ideal in an ever-changing tech world. Other impacts of the move to more efficient business models include a reduction of the typical internal IT staff levels, outsourcing of select infrastructure previously deployed on prem, and an improvement in systems’ reliability and scalability as a result of the elastic nature of cloud-based solutions.

 

Device-Friendly Workplace

The concept of a mobile-friendly workforce will play an even larger role in 2015, as today’s employee takes advantage of flexible work options offered by their employer. Previously, when an employee left the office, the best way of getting in touch with him or her was via a home number or cell phone. Companies will continue to embrace BYOD as a way to control cost, improve productivity, and improve employee morale. 2015 will be the era of enhanced BYOD due to hosted mobile apps and softphones enabling more workers to detach physically from the office, while affording them the full benefits of a traditional desktop experience. A computer, a tablet, a laptop, a desk phone and a mobile phone all have unique utility value in the communications world. Why not enable all of them and allow employees to utilize the one that best serves any specific need? If staying in touch with fellow employees and clients can happen from anywhere, with any device, imagine the talent your company will be able to recruit and retain when your business has no geographical or device restrictions. 2015 further highlights this new age and the opportunities it brings for the remote worker.

Sip Trunking:

SIP trunking offers businesses the benefits of converged communications while saving money by significantly reducing international and long distance call costs as well as the need to purchase physical BRIs, PRIs or PSTN lines for voice. According to numbers from The Eastern Management Group, the SIP trunking communication industry is growing by 5 million supported devices, per year. Even while hosted VoIP solutions are gaining momentum, there is still a need for dial-tone delivery to on-site communications systems. Organizations that have legacy equipment in use or that require a premises-based PBX are adopting SIP trunking services. Additionally, the industry will inevitably grow in the coming years. An Infonetics Research report stated that 58 percent of American businesses said they plan to use SIP trunks in 2015, up from 38 percent in 2014.

Integration of Communications Tools

As the integration of real-time communications tools continues to evolve in 2015, businesses will realize tremendous benefit from the ability to better collaborate and streamline business processes. WebRTC is an emerging standard that enables users to make voice and video calls through web browsers without needing to download plugins or implement a media client. As an overall communications category or trend, the concept of WebRTC is certainly gaining ground, but it is merely a development upon the bigger trend of integrating communications features and functions into virtually every aspect of a business.  

From the coffee shop to the conference room, 2015 will be the year of mobility, integration of communications, and user experience. Businesses of all sizes will construct the new mainstream and execute on the groundwork established by new services, new archetypes, and new platforms within the business communications realm.

Danny Windham is the CEO of Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Supporting Office 365

By Nathan Mitchell, AppRiver

As an original Office 365 syndicator and current Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, we at AppRiver have discovered a feature or two about Microsoft’s popular productivity suite. And sometimes those discoveries can create a challenge for our team who supports the product 24 hours a day, every day.

So just how do you support a product that continually evolves?

The simple answer is to evolve with it. Our team spends a lot of time talking with Microsoft, reading articles and other educational guides about new Office 365 features. When those features roll into production, we set time aside to test it. The goal? To stay in front of our customers and anticipate the questions that they might ask.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Cloud Adoption Displaces Confusion

Seth Robinson CropNew CompTIA Research highlights the model’s acceptance and success

By Seth Robinson

Over the past five years, cloud computing has been a somewhat disruptive topic in the IT community. Early on, it was hard getting everyone to agree on a definition, and more recently, others dismissed it as a mere marketing term. At a minimum, the cloud concept has created a lively dialogue right from the point of its inception. In reality, it’s having a significant impact on businesses and transforming their operations. The recent 5th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study from CompTIA confirms those observations and gives us a glimpse of what to expect in 2015.

Continue reading
0 Comments

“Timing is everything”

attachedapps animated file Jan 17 2015How often have you heard that phrase? More importantly, how often has it been immediately relevant to you and your business? Well, if you are selling into the SMB customer segment, it’s very relevant to you…now!

That’s because this is the time of year that a lot of smaller companies conduct an assessment of their business and decide to make improvements. This includes getting better at organizing their information, cutting costs, streamlining operations, and many more aspects of their business that IT partners can help with. In fact, data shows that purchases of new computers and software by SMBs is typically highest in the first 3-4 months of the calendar year.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Buy Me Today. I’m Changing Tomorrow.

By Joe Foos

Buy Me Today. I’m Changing Tomorrow.

Some of you see this message every day and miss the whole marketing ploy that repeats itself every day. Others use it every day in your own business, trying to get a customer to choose you now, instead of taking the risk they’ll choose someone else tomorrow, when they think about it a little more carefully.

As we bid farewell to another calendar year, what are you thinking about doing in 2015?

  • More of the Same. Because I Can’t Try Anything New.
  • Something Radically Different. Because I Can’t Keep Doing What I Have Been.

“If You Can’t, Then You Must”, Tony Robbins

 

There are 50 Shades of Grey Everywhere You Look

Consultants. Resellers. VARs. System Integrators. Managed Service Providers. Cloud Service Providers.

“We started out as technical consultants, but then gained vendor product certifications as well, and a couple of years ago also started offering remote monitoring and help desk services, so we can provide fixed fee managed services, and recently also learned how to help customers move to the cloud.”

But Most Customers Who Make Big Changes Justify Their Decisions In Terms of White Or Black.

“Every IT firm we spoke with offered the same thing, so we chose yours because you offered the lowest price.”

“Every IT firm we spoke with offered the same thing, except your firm was the only one that ….”

In 2003, I learned about SBS. In 2015, none of my customers remember what that stands for, even though they all bought it from me.

Like many of you, I was an early adopter of SBS. In fact, the firm I worked for was the very first to achieve Microsoft Small Business Specialist Certification (SBSC) in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area. Today, the firm I work for recommends Office 365 to almost all SMB clients. In the past eleven years, I have learned a lot about a zillion different technologies and been trained by every major vendor in our industry to understand and explain the value of every major IT solution or service. But I still can’t answer every question that comes up, and I still can’t do everything a potential client might ask me to. The only way I come close, is to offer to coordinate their various needs by pulling together as many engineers, consultants, vendors, and other partners … to meet a client’s comprehensive needs.

Today, Technology Is Much More Complex, And Simpler. At The Same Time.

We used to need a Blackberry Enterprise Server attached to an Exchange Server, combined with special “Crackberries,” only available on a special pager network, to read our emails while away from the office.

Now, we can use almost any mobile device we want to, without spending a king’s ransom on infrastructure, for someone else to figure out whatever collection of hardware and software is needed to make the magic work.

But what if the magic stops working one day? Who do we call, and what can we do about it if there is no clear resolution? Most of our customers don’t want or need the same products and services they wanted and needed in the old days. But why do some customers believe they don’t need IT service providers either? Because someone else defined our value to customers.

In the face of simplicity, there is very real complexity. That’s where value comes into play. If you understand how a vendor’s 99.9% uptime guarantee or 24x7 support personnel could still cause havoc for a customer without a contingency plan, you can deliver greater value beyond simply getting paid to migrate the last few remaining servers to the cloud. But nobody will know how much more you can do for them, if your idea of focused marketing stops at getting listed in Microsoft Pinpoint.

The Most Important New Years’ Resolution. Defining Yourself. With Your Own Words.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. If we all just keep telling the world that we “also do what you’ve heard others tell you they do, but better”, we’ll never define ourselves. IT providers who didn’t know how to automate email migration yesterday, will learn how to do so tomorrow. Those who define themselves by comparing themselves to others, will always define themselves that way. Here are the most common ways we define ourselves.

  • We Won An Award
  • We Won More Awards.
  • We Care More.
  • We Know More
  • We Answer The Phone Faster.
  • We Arrive To Your Office Sooner.
  • We Are Bigger.
  • We Are Smaller.
  • We Are Closer.
  • We Are Global.
  • We Cost Less.
  • We Are Free.

 

For Me, It’s All About Teamwork. Everyone Working Together To Help Customers Improve Everything.

Over the past eleven years, I went from one really good place, to another really good place. But they are different, because they define themselves with their own terminology. Customers understand the difference. I decided to make a change because I wanted something different. I helped my first company transition into a better version of itself over the course of eleven years. But then, I saw I could do even more in my new company. It took years to come to this conclusion, but it only took an instant to make the actual change when I viewed things from a different perspective.

In both cases, the key is teamwork. Collaboration. Togetherness. Regardless of whether you are a single independent consultant or a member of a larger company with dozens of people, you achieve more when you work together with others in a complementary manner. Most SMB Nation members are small independent consultants that don’t spend enough time thinking about ways to become true business partners. Instead of competing against each other, strengthen yourselves against the global commoditization of IT services by forming closer working relationships amongst yourselves. Spend more time on this activity than on anything else. Some of you already do this with industry associations, mentor groups, and referral networks. You realize that every challenge you face is probably something someone else has already overcome. The rest of you are still frequently having to lift heavier and heavier loads on your own. Customers value you more, if they know you are not alone.

Larger IT consulting firms are always struggling to hire experienced professionals that can hit the ground running. Your independent business might actually benefit most from joining a larger company. You could still spend time on the most rewarding part of your business in front of customers and technology, while having a fully staffed back office handle the work you end up doing yourself at night or on weekends.

However you choose to work more closely with others in our industry:

                Figure It Out Now: Do Something Radically Different

Before You Get Distracted By The Next Interruption: More Of The Same

 

Define Yourself Today. So You Don’t Have To Change Again Tomorrow.

 

Joe Foos is the Director of SMB Sales & Marketing at ZAG Technical Services in San Jose, CA. You can learn more about his new firm at www.itconsultingsiliconvalley.com

Joe used to work at Lanlogic in Livermore, CA until November 2014. You can learn more at www.bayareaitconsulting.com

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

The Easiest Way to Office 365

SkyKick Jan 2015Project Automation Built for IT Providers

Moving a business to Office 365 is no small task. IT providers need a more holistic approach to move their customers to Office 365. So we created a new category of migration software called Migration Project Automation - designed to help IT providers manage all the details of a project from sales to Outlook setup. The result? Reduced time and risk. A seamless migration project. Happy customers.

Designed for Scale

SkyKick helps thousands of partners move their customers to Office 365. The technology is designed to address the wide variety of migration scenarios that exist across the SMB (1-250 employee) and Enterprise (250+ employee) landscapes. We understand that every one of your customer’s email environments is unique, and projects can be complex and risky. That’s why our products are built to help you manage migrations with ease.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Happy Holidays from SMB Nation!

holiday 2014The SMB Nation Team would like to wish all of our community members a very warm, safe and happy Holiday Season!

No matter what you celebrate, we hope that you are able to celebrate with friends and family and have a bright rest of 2014! Thank you all for helping us to make this a landmark year for SMB Nation!

We look forward to working with you all again in 2015!

Continue reading
0 Comments

Breaking Bad Part 11: Lessons from 2014; Who’s Ready for 2015?

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The final installment of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.

Throughout this past year, I’ve discussed many topics in this blog series which I hope you’ve found helpful--getting to know your customers, employee satisfaction, combating business complacency and achieving a healthy work/life balance. As we say goodbye to 2014, I’d like to take a look back and review some lessons that I hope you’ve learned, as well as look ahead to 2015.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Cloud Adoption Displaces Confusion

New CompTIA Research highlights the model’s acceptance and success

Seth Robinson CropBy Seth Robinson

Over the past five years, cloud computing has been a somewhat disruptive topic in the IT community. Early on, it was hard getting everyone to agree on a definition, and more recently, others dismissed it as a mere marketing term. At a minimum, the cloud concept has created a lively dialogue right from the point of its inception. In reality, it’s having a significant impact on businesses and transforming their operations. The recent 5th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study from CompTIA confirms those observations and gives us a glimpse of what to expect in 2015.

That research breaks cloud computing into two groups: those using cloud for their own business operations — end-users — and channel firms that include cloud offerings in their portfolios. In both segments, some cloud confusion remains. By definition, all users should be consuming either public or private cloud resources (or both). However, 28 percent of cloud end users in the study didn’t select either option, leaving some question as to how familiar they really are with their existing cloud infrastructure. On the channel side, nearly every firm says they have cloud offerings, but the top challenge in moving forward is selecting the best business model, a foundational step.

Continue reading
0 Comments

SELL, TRADE-IN OR RECYCLE YOUR USED PRINTER ONLINE

PSO banner 220X150With the arrival of cloud computing and a reduction in the use of paper documents worldwide, the act of printing is becoming increasingly rare in the modern office. Selling a used printer, buying a new one or recycling a used printer for cash are all possible options thanks to PowerSource Online.

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

Continue reading
0 Comments

How to make BIG even BIGGER

One copy every second. That’s how much Office 365 is being sold worldwide according to Microsoft. It is the fastest selling product in Microsoft’s history. Even better, over 75% of all of those installations are being done by partners. That’s what we call a BIG opportunity. However, there’s an even BIGGER opportunity, and it is associated with doing what partners do best: adding value to the products that they sell or recommend.

Continue reading
0 Comments

The “S” Word Explored – Office 365 Webinar

 

WEBINAR TIMELet’s face it. You can’t get away from this conversation. It’s the “S” word: SECURITY and is consistently a leading objection to the use of Office 365. Time to hit this one head-on and call out the elephant in the room. This educational webinar, generously underwritten by Trend Micro, will arm you with the facts concerning security in an Office 365 world. New research will be presented (points to external resources). And you’ll discover threat management approaches along the way. Plus a wee bit of humor to liven things up (Q: What do you do if the Internet goes down? A: Go fishing!)

Details:

Continue reading
0 Comments

SELL YOUR COMPUTER PARTS WITH THE BEST IN THE IT AND TELECOM BUSINESS

PSO banner 220X150Members of the PowerSource online community enjoy unparalleled opportunities to buy and sell all kinds of new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts, including computer parts and related equipment. Our B2B network connects sellers with thousands of buyers worldwide, allowing suppliers and resellers of computer components to greatly expand their sales prospects and develop industry contacts from a single online platform.

PowerSource Online’s advanced selling and sourcing tools give our members a leg up on the competition by allowing them to advertise up to 30 “Seeking to Sell” postings per day. Members can view and respond directly to requests to buy computer parts, telecom equipment and more. Another advantage of PowerSource is the ability for members to customize who sees their inventory. As well, PowerSource members are able to access government contract opportunities in their region that require the purchase or sale of computer parts and telecom equipment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Breaking Bad Part 10: Do I Need to Prep Now for the Internet of Things?

 

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

Part 10 of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.

By now, you have likely heard of a term known as “The Internet of Things,” or “IoT.” Much like the terms “cloud” and “managed services” before it, the Internet of Things is poised to create new business opportunities for both current IT companies and start-ups. While it seems like IT executives are split 50/50 on whether IoT is a fact, or simply just hype, CompTIA recently published a research brief stating that IoT could be filled with new opportunities.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Why Working with an Office 365 Master Reseller Makes Sense

appriver-logo-emailwebsecurityexperts stacked2012All Mountain Technologies (AMT) recently signed on to resell AppRiver’s Office 365 to help maximize their customers’ technology investments.

“About half of the time, customers want to learn more about Office 365 and the ways it can increase business productivity and enhance bottom line,” explains Jonathan Zapp, director of sales and marketing at AMT. “The rest of the time, we recommend Office 365 to clients who use outdated services or hardware that’s reaching end of life.”

But it’s not just about the convenience of Office 365 and scalability of the service, says Zapp.  It’s about the customer – and reseller - experience.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Year-End Strategies For You and Your Clients

By Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

bob vogel augustThere are some basic things that both you and your clients can do that could have significant advantages for both of you.

For your larger clients that have IT budgets that they must “use or lose” this is a great time to help them use it. You know their environments, and what would be a really good asset for them to acquire now, while you have their attention and they have the money.

For your smaller clients that are doing well, they might be in a position where they will want to accelerate their spending in order to reduce their taxable profits this year. Here are two ways you can help them out:

First, as in the case with the larger clients, having them purchase some assets that you know they are going to need is a good way for the smaller client to bump up their expenses this year. As long as the individual items are under a certain limit they don’t need to be capitalized (have your client’s accountant give them the specific guidance because the rules do vary).

Continue reading
0 Comments

Weekly Webinar: Why Base Hitters Outperform Home Run Hitters – MSP Secret #5

HarryB HeadshotThursday, December 11, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8312087267104390402

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

With the end of the year here, it’s time to get strategic for 2015. Learn how top MSPs aren’t “A” students, but just consistently show up and suit up. In this 60-min webinar, Harry Brelsford shares another MSP secret that insures you will be consistently and predictably profitable. It’s a not about home runs and doubling your MSP revenues overnight. It’s about deploying this one reliable method that guarantees quarter-over-quarter double-digit growth regardless of your geography. And that’s all we’re going to say here. You simply have to attend this webinar to learn MSP Secret #5. One lucky US attendee will qualify to win one OOMA commercial phone system valued at over $250! If you only attend one more webinar this year – this is the one to ensure continued (make that greater) success in 2015.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Writing: The Achilles Heel of MSPs, And What To Do About It

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Most MSPs and IT service providers I know struggle with writing. For some reason, writing simply is not a core competency for most people who chose technical careers. And conversely, many great writers I know are luddites, and don’t know a mouse wheel from a cartwheel.

While this is certainly a generalization, it’s a documented fact that creative and analytical thinking are driven by different parts of the brain, and they are not often equally dominant in most people. It’s the classic “left-brain, right brain” schism.

That’s probably why most IT techs are great at fixing and maintaining networks, but they lack good writing skills, and they rarely document their work.

Continue reading
0 Comments

CALLING ALL I.T. PROS: Take our one-minute Managed Services survey and get entered for the Amazon gift card giveaway!

Selling Managed I.T. Services continues to provide significant revenue growth opportunities for I.T. consultants and PC service companies. How big an impact do these solutions make on your business?

ALL survey respondents will be entered into a drawing for three $100 Amazon gift cards plus are offered a free subscription to ChannelPro magazine.

Take the survey/enter to win: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ChPro_IT-MktResearch_SMB-Nation

Continue reading
0 Comments

Simple is Not Easy, But it is Profitable

attachedapps Dec  2014SMB customers and the partners that serve them have an amazing variety of IT solutions to choose from these days. Along with so many choices comes a lot of confusion around which solutions are best: cloud vs. on-site vs. hybrid, apps vs. software vs. suites, subscription vs. long term licenses, less filling vs. tastes great. OK, so maybe not that last one so much, but you get the idea. If customers get too confused, they may just decide to forego making any decisions at all and just stick with what they’ve got, no matter how outdated or inefficient. That’s why one of the biggest competitors in the SMB IT space is “good enough”. Luckily, some vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing SMB solutions that are based on the concept of simplicity. One of our favorites is attachedapps.

Continue reading
0 Comments

New Services Drive SMBs Cloud Growth

CD-Logo-220x150The opportunity to serve small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) with cloud services is going to take off in 2015. As the scope of SMB cloud deployments grow beyond a single service, they will need their channel partners more than ever. 

The foundation has been laid in 2014 with initial deployments of cloud services like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and other solutions. From this beginning, SMBs will expand the number of services they use in the cloud. Their comfort levels and experience with cloud services continues to grow and the barriers to adopting new services are almost non-existent.  

IDG Enterprise notes in its 2014 Cloud Computing Study that 69% of respondents to its cloud survey say they have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. That’s a great start and demonstrates the role cloud is playing in the market. With at least one service in the cloud, there’s nothing stopping businesses from exploring other ways to use cloud in their operations.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Office 365 Isn’t Going Anywhere – But Your Clients’ Data Might

eFolder-wordmark-logo1Both Google Drive and Box have recently announced integrations with Microsoft Office applications, saving your users time and increasing their productivity while collaborating with others, or when taking their work on the road. The upshot of these moves is clear: by letting people store their documents in whichever cloud repository they want, Microsoft will ensure consumers continue using their productivity suite while nurturing potential subscription buyers of Office 365.

Smart move, Microsoft. But where do partners fit into all of this?

Microsoft Office 365, including the Office productivity suite, is the elephant in the room. For $5.00 per user per month businesses can subscribe to Office 365, including Office, Exchange, Lync, and OneDrive, with generous amounts of storage – an enticing bundle for many small- and medium-sized businesses. In this environment, partners need to evolve and figure out new ways to add value, since clients are moving away from on-premises applications that need to be deployed and managed.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Migrate Dropbox Data – Not Headaches

BitTitan 100Moving to a business cloud solution but worried about your document archives? Trying to consolidate employee instituted solutions into a secure corporate infrastructure? Projects like this are no small undertaking. But whether you're migrating a few gigs of data to one destination, or several terabytes from multiple sources to multiple destinations, BitTitan solutions safely automate the entire process.

BitTitan MigrationWiz is the first and only solution capable of migrating data from Dropbox to more enterprise-friendly storage such as OneDrive for Business and Google Drive. This is an ideal way for companies looking to standardize or consolidate corporate data to one secure cloud-based platform, and move away from a less secure shadow IT environment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Seats are Filling Quickly for the O365 Tour 2015!

220x150 ads-4Join SMB Nation and your peers for a focused one day event on Office 365 in 2015.  Be sure to check out our event finder  for a city near you.  If you don’t see a city near you be sure to let us know you would like us to bring the show to you by requesting an event, located at the bottom of the event website, or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Continue reading
0 Comments

Office 365: What’s in it for SMB partners?

There is no question that Office 365 is a massive success for Microsoft, and that it is disrupting the entire productivity software category. Nowhere is that more evident than in the SMB customer segment. Adoption of Office 365 by SMBs is already off the charts and even seems to be accelerating lately. However, as is often the case when a new, disruptive technology comes along, partners can be left wondering “What’s in it for me?” and “How do I take advantage of this massive change?”

Continue reading
0 Comments

How To Get More Business From Clients With Internal IT

 

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

According to a recent survey of IT Service Providers and MSPs conducted by RapidFire Tools, the vast majority (more than 80%) reported having one or more clients with internal IT departments. A third of them have 10 or more such clients.

Dealing with clients that have their own internal IT resources is both a blessing and curse. The good part about it is you have an “educated” client who can really appreciate the value of the services you are delivering. They also tend to be larger, with bigger budgets.

Continue reading
0 Comments

O365 Tour Registration is Open!

 

220x150 ads-3We're hitting the road in 2015 and bringing the show to you! From popular demand and many request we are focusing this year’s tour on Office 365.

The Office 365 Tour has so many reasons to attend: The content, the relationships, and the fact there is no travel required.

Join us for this one day educational event which offers over 6-hours of pure Office 365 content, plus the ability to join the new network of Office 365 user groups. Benefit from peer sharing and professional networking. Leave with technical and strategic business knowledge you can apply immediately to Office 365 matters.

Below, you can see some of the sessions so you can get an even better idea of what we have planned. Of course, the awesome sessions are reason enough to attend but don’t forget about the hallway networking, exhibit hall, and incredible speakers and more all add to the experience.

Sessions:

Have you registered?   If not … seriously, don't wait any longer.  

Want to learn more? Please contact us at 206.201.2943 ext 105

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Beyond the Hype: Cloud Communications Adoption in 2014

 

Acoredialfter looking back on the first half of 2014, we see momentum rising in the cloud communications market and a positive outlook on the future from our customers.

The research and forecasts from firms like Infonetics Research tell a story of a rapidly growing market for cloud communications, with adoption being driven by real customer demand. We can see that, so far in 2014, cloud communications have moved beyond the hype and are delivering true value for partners and their customers.

As we’ve spoken to our customers over the last 6 months, these are the four things that stood out:  

Continue reading
0 Comments

SELL YOUR COMPUTER PARTS WITH THE BEST IN THE IT AND TELECOM BUSINESS

PSO banner 220X150Members of the PowerSource online community enjoy unparalleled opportunities to buy and sell all kinds of new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts, including computer parts and related equipment. Our B2B network connects sellers with thousands of buyers worldwide, allowing suppliers and resellers of computer components to greatly expand their sales prospects and develop industry contacts from a single online platform.

PowerSource Online’s advanced selling and sourcing tools give our members a leg up on the competition by allowing them to advertise up to 30 “Seeking to Sell” postings per day. Members can view and respond directly to requests to buy computer parts, telecom equipment and more. Another advantage of PowerSource is the ability for members to customize who sees their inventory. As well, PowerSource members are able to access government contract opportunities in their region that require the purchase or sale of computer parts and telecom equipment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

5 Website Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Pronto Logo2Websites come in so many different layouts and styles that it can be mind-boggling at times. That being said, when you see a poorly organized business website, chances are you don’t spend much time considering working with that company.


Here are 5 website mistakes that should always be avoided:

Continue reading
0 Comments

Cut your costs on Office 365 migrations before the end of the year.

bittitanIt’s migration season, and not just for the birds. Moving your small-to-midsized business customers to the cloud is a great way bring in more revenue – especially during November and December. Getting your migration projects in during these months is advantageous for several reasons; none of which more significant than capitalizing on that year-end spending push. But where do you start?

Fortunately, two new package deals from BitTitan, Office 365 migration experts, make this decision a lot easier and help you cut costs. BitTitan’s Office 365 QuickStart bundle, featuring the automated solution UserActivation, enables partners to get their first Office 365 onboarding project of up to 30 seats free. UserActivation removes the risks from the onboarding process and turns it into a few simplified steps – from helping you choose the right plan and auto-discovering all user accounts, to migrating mailboxes and configuring Outlook and all desktop applications. At a $900 value, the Office 365 QuickStart bundle is the perfect solution to move to the cloud, risk-free.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Registration Open for the Office 365 2015 Tour!

 

125x125 ads-3Mark your calendar as SMB Nation is hitting the road with its Office 365 Tour.   It may be in 2015, but we are busy working to make sure this tour brings you the latest content, best speakers, and networking together in this one day event.  

Check out some of our Sessions:
•    Line of Business Apps/Integration
•    Migration
•    SharePoint Online & OneDrive for Business 101

registrationRegistration is open now.  Be sure to secure your space, because we would hate for you to miss out.

See you on the road!

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Happy Veterans Day 2014!

veterans day 2014Good morning, SMB Nation Community. The SMB Nation Team would like to wish you all a very Happy Veterans Day (US) and take a moment to thank the Veterans in our community and beyond!

This holiday in the US shares its roots with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day across the globe, first celebrated on November 11, 1919. There was a slight change, however, in 1945, when World War II veteran Raymond Weeks moved to expand the holiday to recognize veterans of all wars. The nomenclature change then happened in 1954, where the word “Armistice” was replaced by the word “Veterans.”

Continue reading
0 Comments

What Microsoft’s Big News Means for SMBs, MSPs, and VARs

By Neeraj Periwal, Marketing Coordinator, efolder

eFolder Nation Banner CloudfinderEarlier this month, Microsoft made headlines by making two major announcements about Office — news that will have a big impact for many SMBs, MSPs, and VARs.

On November 4 and 6, Microsoft said it was making Office free for iOS and Android and also announced a new tie-in with Dropbox, making it seamless for Dropbox users on iOS and Android to open and edit their files directly in Office applications.

These moves make it clear that Microsoft wants to (and will!) sell more Office 365 licenses to small and medium-sized businesses. This is not only a terrific competitive move for Microsoft — it also introduces a tremendous opportunity for players in the IT channel.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Are Your Writing Skills As Good As Your IT Skills?

 

bob vogel augustBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

One of the biggest challenges faced by most IT executives is the fact that most of their techs are great at fixing and maintaining networks, but they lack good writing skills, and they rarely document their work.

It’s hard enough trying to get them just to update service tickets with good notes. But these are NOT the guys or gals who are going to prepare a comprehensive report for your clients detailing the work you’ve performed. And they’re certainly not the people who are going to walk out of a prospect situation and generate a well-written and well-organized set of documents detailing what they discovered, and what the implications are.

Recent comment in this post
Emelia Jackson
Writing is a medium of human correspondence that speaks to dialect and feeling through the engraving or recording of signs and ima... Read More
Sunday, 01 January 2017 23:35
Continue reading
1 Comment

Weekly Webinar: The Windows Server 2003 Opportunity: All Paths Lead to Success

 

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1209487342149945858

Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Bill Hersh, D&H Distributing and Harry Brelsford, SMB Nation, Inc.

Over the next several months, the SMB VAR community has the single largest network infrastructure upgrade opportunity that we have ever had. We also have the broadest array of high-value options for our customers to move to, from upgraded on premise installations to all-cloud implementations and all manner of options in between. Please join Bill Hersh, Solutions Coordinator with D&H Distributing, as he reviews many of these options and the high value that they offer for different customers

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Nine Questions to Ask Clients and Prospects about Disaster Recovery

storagecraft smallBy Casey Morgan, StorageCraft Technology Corporation

As an IT provider, you understand that backups are really just the first step toward something much bigger. A backup without a recovery is about as useful as a computer without a monitor—the data is there, but can you actually use it? But that’s why shouldn’t sell simple backups. You should sell disaster recovery as a service or “DRaaS.” (See “More Tools” below).

The tricky thing is that clients and prospects don’t always see the value in spending more for something they think are “just backups.” In order to help them understand the value in disaster recovery, it’s helpful to have a conversation about what disaster recovery is and what backups are not, and this involves asking some questions.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Do You Get Me?

 That’s what every partner should ask vendors. Sometimes it can get a little frustrating working with vendors that don’t “get” partners. A lot of them don’t seem to understand the role that partners like you play in selling IT solutions to SMBs, and even worse, don’t understand how partners make money. A lot of them will create products, stick them on a web site then spend a lot of money on direct marketing and sales in an attempt to get customers to come buy them. We all know that that is not the best way to serve SMB customers.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

How to Conduct a Non-Invasive Network Assessment

Bob Vogel BlueBy Bob Vogel B2 Marketing

I’ve been talking with the folks over at RapidFire Tools to learn more about their network assessment tool called The Network Detective. Their big claim to fame is that the tool they’ve created allows you to perform a completely non-invasive assessment that’s deceptively easy to set up and fast to run.

So I asked them what does” non-invasive” really mean, and why is that important?

“Basically, there’s no software to install, and no monitoring agents that need to be deployed around the network,” said Win Pham, who built the software for RapidFire Tools. “This is really important if you’re walking into a prospect environment. There might be an incumbent service provider or internal IT resource that the owner would rather not know that you are in there poking around.”

Recent comment in this post
Leopold
Do you anytime deathwatch up and attending in your closet abounding with ralph lauren polo outlet clothes and feel like you accept... Read More
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 23:25
Continue reading
1 Comment

Guest Blog: Small Businesses Are the Majority of Cyber Attack Victims

By Greg Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, Global Velocity

Today’s cyber security risks for SMBs and how resellers can help prevent data breaches

 

More than ever, small to medium sized businesses are realizing they are a target for hackers and cybercrime aficionados. While SMBs are not as big as companies like Target and Home Depot, they are the majority of victims at the hands of cyber thieves seeking easy targets. The Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report found that 62 percent of breaches impacted smaller organizations, likely a conservative figure since not all small organizations are reporting breaches.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Breaking Bad Part 9: Four Steps to Take When Re-Examining BDR/Security

 

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

Part 9 of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.

In honor of October being designated as Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s only fitting that this month’s blog focus on how MSPs can protect themselves (and their SMB clients) from cyber-attacks and other types of network disasters. With viruses like Cryptolocker and Cryptowall 2.0 running rampant, now is the time for SMBs to re-examine their BDR and security policies. Here are four important steps to take when examining security:

1.) Have a Reliable BDR Plan in Place: If you think that security breaches can only happen on an enterprise level, such as the recent hacks occurring within Target and Home Depot, you are fooling yourself. In fact, cybercriminals are now (at an alarming rate) targeting SMBs, which they often feel have fewer resources dedicated to cybersecurity. According to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, 44 percent of small businesses have been victims of cyber-attacks, costing an average of $8,700 per attack. If those figures aren’t enough to get you talking to your clients, think about instances other than actual security breaches.

For example, how does a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy wreak havoc for your clients’ networks? Two years ago, Sandy pummeled the East Coast and millions lost power; some for more than two weeks. I recall hearing a story of an MSP, who, prior to Sandy, was unsuccessful in getting his client, a doctor’s office in the New York metro region, to set up a BDR plan. He didn’t listen to the MSP, and unfortunately, because the client had his servers located in the basement of his building with no backup to speak of, all of his data, including confidential patient records, was destroyed.

I can’t reiterate enough how BDR is the number one most important technology that all SMBs need.

2.) Ensure Security Infrastructure and Processes: Once you’ve helped your client realize the importance of BDR, and you have the tools in place, work with your staff on a process of who will handle what for each client should a disaster occur. First and foremost: How will the disaster (by type) be handled (and by whom)? Also, make sure your help desk is equipped to handle these types of situations. The last thing you want is for your staff and techs to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to figure out a game plan. The most important thing to remember is: The least amount of downtime, and the quickest recovery time, minimizes negative impact of the disaster.

Aside from the technology component of disaster response, the business end of this plan must also be solid and in place. Understand expectations on both sides, and review your contracts and SLAs with all clients. If possible, combine all of the business aspects together into one cohesive and individual report, so they can be accessed quickly and efficiently. The last thing you need, especially after a service interruption or security breach, is to have to tell your client they have to pay extra or additional costs that neither of you had previously planned for.

3.) Educate your Clients on Safe Internet Habits: Make sure your clients and their staff are practicing safe searching while they are online, especially if they are accessing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., which can be platforms for virus attacks. If a link doesn’t look legitimate, it’s probably a virus or phishing scam.

A good example of this is the latest Cryptowall virus, which is disguised to look like a user is receiving a suspicious email with a ZIP or PDF attachment disguised as an invoice, purchase order or other business communication. MSPs should advise their clients to verify with the sender that they did in fact send the message prior to opening the attachment. Know that this can happen to anyone, at any time, even to the most tech-savvy of people. I recently received an email like this from one of my credit cards, regarding a past due bill, which I had already paid. A simple phone call to the company proved that the email was a hoax and I deleted it immediately.

4.) Frequent Anti-Virus Updates are Key: Aside from safe Internet searching, it’s paramount that every employee’s PC and relevant mobile device is up-to-date with anti-virus or anti-malware programs. While it’s great to have these in place, if they haven’t been updated in months, they can actually be more of a threat than a protector. Make sure your clients have best practices in place to ensure regular updates and patches are being installed. You can also save time by having the client’s employees learn how to do the updates themselves; it just takes a simple calendar reminder. Or, even better, have pre-scheduled, system-wide updates running. This is also something that you as the MSP can do for your own business. Map out a specific plan on how you handle updates and patches for you and your employees, and then share best practices with your clients.

Bottom line: When it comes to establishing a BDR/security plan, this is not something to be taken lightly – and it’s important to drive this point home with your clients. Start by sharing your own best practices including a reliable BDR, solid security processes, exercising safe Internet searches and updating anti-virus program regularly. Then if disaster or a cyber-attack does strike, both you and your clients are able to handle it with little to no down time.

 

Raymond Vrabel is Continuum's Director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives. He manages Continuum's Technical Account Management team which supports over 3,500 partners worldwide. Vrabel has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in managed IT services, disaster recovery and cloud solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @rayvrabel.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Top 5 Ingredients For A Successful Managed Service Practice

Bob Vogel BlueBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Spoiler alert: there are more than five. But I’ve interviewed literally hundreds of IT service pros over the years, and I keep seeing and hearing recurring themes among the successful ones.

Ironically, even knowing whether or not you are successful is one of the top ingredients. So many IT service companies are living from month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, even year-to-year, without any clearly defined goals. Without goals, there’s no way to measure success. Tip 1: If you don’t have clearly defined goals for your business, establish them right now and put them in writing.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: 10 Things I Learned About the Channel This Summer

By Jay McBain, Co-Founder, ChannelEyes

changing-business-model1As the summer of 2014 is quickly wrapping up, I wanted to share some of my observations on the ever-changing technology channel.

I am seeing the very definition of the channel changing. The first generation of the IT channel opened its doors in the late 1970s, with business models around midrange computing, Apple education sales and hobbyist PC sales.

When IBM announced the PC on Aug. 12, 1981, the Microsoft/Intel revolution began. The channel grew quickly and weathered numerous storms such as Dell direct in the early 1990s, explosion of the internet in the late 1990s, Y2K and, more recently, cloud, consumerization, mobility and convergence.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Special Webinar: Maybe You’re Ready, Maybe You’re Not?

This week’s webinar is a treat for our community! Join SMB Nation’s own Harry Brelsford as he discussed the brand new Board of Advisors Program with Keith Lubner, Channel Consulting Corp, and Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management Group (pictured).

Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/864506928

Learn how to make 2015 your best year ever. Maybe you are ready for the next level!  If you face sales, marketing and/or business management challenges in growing your business it’s time to invest in your success! Invest 45 minutes of your day on Thursday, October 23 to learn how other partners are enjoying success.

Join us at 10am PDT to get the scoop on how this is different from other traditional groups, as well as info on the three distinct program pathways, and the Board of Advisors Round Table.

Board of Advisors: powered by SMB Nation, led by Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management Group, and Keith Lubner, Channel Consulting Corp.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Are You Leaving Money on the Table with Office 365?

A lot of SMB partners are wondering if they are leaving money on the table when selling Microsoft Office 365. The shift from on-premise to cloud-based products means potential disruption of traditional partner revenue streams, but there is still plenty of opportunity for SMB partners. One of those key areas is something that Harry talks a lot about: application layering. One of the best application layer products for SMBs that we have seen is attachedapps.

Basically, attachedapps are a set of subscription-based apps that are tightly integrated with Office 365 and Outlook, and let customers to do things like turn leads into contacts, manage sales pipelines, and provide customer support. All without having to deal with the expense and complexity of full-blown CRM products.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Business Transformation and the Next Wave of Cloud Adoption

coredialIt is business transformation rather than simple cost cutting that will drive the next wave of cloud adoption, according to Gigaom Research. That isvery positivenews for the future of cloud-based services and SaaS platform providers.

The focus for the future should be on the value that cloud-based services can create within a business rather than basic cost reduction. Reducing costs is a positive for any enterprise IT department, but in the long-termit is innovation and the impact cloud can have on the overall business that counts. As we know, you can only reduce costs so much, while innovation and new processes are limitless.

Continue reading
0 Comments

IT Security Breaches: The New Normal

 

By Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Bob Vogel BlueIf you are reading this before Thursday, 10/23/14, I strongly recommend that you register for what could be a game-changing webinar for you.

On that day, at 2 PM Eastern 11 AM Pacific, RapidFire Tools, Inc. will be talking about Internal Vulnerabilities, and a new tool they have to help you deliver better IT security services and maybe save your clients from an “inside” attack.

Here’s the link to register to see it live or, if you missed it, to watch a recording: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/945628550.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Dates for the 2015 Fall Conference Announced!

The SMB Nation Team would like to thank all of this year’s attendees, media, speakers and sponsors for helping us make the 2014 Fall Conference a success! We are pleased to announce the dates and location for the SMB Nation 2015 Fall Conference today as well:

Dates: October 2-4, 2015

Location: Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond, WA

Special: Pre-Day activities on October 1, 2015

Plan ahead to meet us in Redmond! We would love to see you!

Keep an eye on this site for more information as we get into the 2015 calendar year!

Continue reading
0 Comments

Making the case for desktop backups

By Casey Morgan, StorageCraft Technology Corporation

Is file-based backup enough for desktop units or should managed service providers be taking full, image-based backups of them? Proper desktop backups can be a value to them and a potential revenue source for you. I’ll share a story that looks at why your clients are best served by full, image-based backups, not simple file and folder backups.

My roommate mentioned a few months ago that the hard drive on her laptop was showing signs of impending failure. She had issues saving files, odd noises coming from inside, and so forth. I told her I had an extra copy of StorageCraft ShadowProtect and that she was welcome to use it to take a full backup of her system. “Nah, I’m ok, I’ve got my files backed up,” she said. I shrugged and said, “You know you’ll wish you had a full backup, right?” “I’m ok,” she said. I shook my head.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Client Advisory Boards

 

Ken ThoresonBy Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management

At a recent client meeting we discussed the need to create a Board of Directors.   It is a difficult task to find the right individuals and more difficult for an entrepreneur to accept what a good board can provide. Another spin is creating a “Client Advisory Board”. This is easier to develop and can actually provide real value to your business as well as your sales process. Both topics are covered below. Let me know your thoughts? Experiences with these kinds of boards.

 

Our research shows that accountability -- or, more accurately, the lack of accountability -- is among the top challenges that partner-company executive’s face. We've also found that many partners are too close to their own organizations to have genuine insight into their own businesses, their marketplaces or their industries. Client Advisory Boards and Business Advisory Boards can help provide better visibility for both those blind spots.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Generating More Revenue from Office 365

Big Oct 7A key theme that kept coming up at the recent SMB Nation Fall Conference was “How do we make more money from Office 365?” A main value proposition of Office 365 is that it’s easy to deploy and maintain, meaning that partners who were dependent on revenue from server installation and maintenance are having to adapt their business model. Thus, the message that attachedapps delivered at the Conference was very timely and very well received since their apps are designed for partners to generate additional revenue while filling in a key functionality gap in Office 365.

Recent comment in this post
montre suisse
Par Boluyali montre série LBR5680-25191BR Lac Léman au printemps dans le plus délicat, comme un lac tranquille par Boluyali repliq... Read More
Thursday, 28 July 2016 01:15
Continue reading
1 Comment

Navigate by Continuum User Conference: A Recap You Don’t Want to Miss

 

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

 

Part 8 of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.

 

In the previous installment of “Breaking Bad,” I discussed how to combat business complacency by adding a few simple technologies to your services offering. This month I take a different approach, with a recap of Navigate by Continuum, our inaugural user conference held last month in Boston. With more than 450 attendees, Navigate featured three great days of our MSP partners meeting and greeting with vendors, Continuum staff, and their peers.

 

If you couldn’t make it to Boston for the event (or even if you did), here are my top five take-aways from Navigate 2014:

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Author Karl Palachuk Heads to Australia

MR Aust NZ GraphicBy Monica Caraway

Long-time community member and author Karl Palachuk is packing a big suitcase and getting ready to head to Australia and New Zealand in November. Palachuk will take his “SMB Roadshow” Down Under with stops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland, NZ.

Karl will be accompanied by Jenifer Novak Landers, a life coach and business coach who also presented at Karl’s SMB Nation Preday seminar last week. That event was very well received and packed the room with eager attendees.

Continue reading
0 Comments

HIPAA “By The Numbers” – It All Adds Up To Opportunity

hipaaBy Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is one of the most sweeping regulatory mandates in the history of IT. It applies to literally millions of businesses and healthcare organizations, and impacts every IT service company – including yours – either directly or indirectly.

That’s why you need to understand the real risks of ignoring HIPAA, and huge opportunities that exist when you make it a part of your offerings.

To help you understand the impact of the regulations, noted compliance expert and consultant Mike Semel has put together a nifty compendium of facts and figures he calls, “HIPAA by the numbers.” Here are a few of the more juicy ones to whet your appetite for more:

Recent comment in this post
Armstrong
Midland fertility clinic offers IUI, IVF, Embryo Transfer, ICSI, Egg and Sperm Freezing, Egg and Sperm Donor Treatments, Surrogacy... Read More
Friday, 13 January 2017 22:25
Continue reading
1 Comment

Special VIP Invite for SMB Nation Members

Free Pass to the ChannelPro SMB Forum on November 5th in Philadelphia! Limited time offer!

Time is running out to register for our Philadelphia event, and we urge you to reserve your spot ASAP. Our April and September events were maxed out. So, now is the time to get on the invite list!

Why you must attend the ChannelPro SMB Forum in Philadelphia November 5th:

  • Timely, informative sessions and workshops for Cloud, Managed Services, Sales and marketing and much more
  • Unique, interactive format: no other channel event makes sure that you are part of the conversation
  • Jam-packed one-day event to make the best use of your time
  • Tons of hardware giveaways for attendees
  • When you pre-register as a VIP, the event is FREE with all meals, materials and parking included

What are you waiting for? Click here to register and we'll follow up with you soon

More event info found here .

Continue reading
0 Comments

Bob Nitrio Explains: Mobile Apps - A Great Opportunity

By Bob Nitrio, CEO, Ranvest Associates

In January of this year we completed an historic shift in Internet use. For the first time, Internet access via mobile devices exceeded that from desktop PCs. This trend toward mobile Internet consumption has huge implications for us and for our clients. Those businesses that are able to adapt to this change quickly will have a competitive advantage over those companies that lag behind. At the same time, they can remain in front of their clients and potential customers by being available to them on the devices they are using with greater frequency as their preferred tool for communication and work. Think of it as fishing where the fish are.

Continue reading
0 Comments

SmartShield Instant Recovery: A Partner’s View

By 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 satisfied with it. This client was over two hours away and I needed something to make the new systems bulletproof.

My search for a replacement solution led to Centurion’s SmartShield. This program restores a system to a locked-down state every time you reboot. It also allows you to specify files and folders that stay outside of the golden image so that they always remain current, such as a PST file or a document folder. If you need to add a new program, you simply turn off SmartShield, install and update the program and then lock things down again.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Webinar: The Secret To Success - Your Event-in-a-box Biz Dev Kit

Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/177730585

Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

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

It’s not about hitting home runs. It’s about consistently getting base hits and having a high batting average when it comes to MSP success. Discover how old school biz dev practices, such as lunch-and-learns really really work. And you can do it all for under $100 (catering included). Bottom line – if you are not selling into your customer community, you are leaving money on the table. This webinar, hosted by Harry Brelsford, digs deep into the vaunted Microsoft Community Connections program and walks you through the mechanics of easily acquiring new customers for a very low acquisition cost. This is a “must do.”

Continue reading
0 Comments

Autotask Introduces New Smart IT Guide: 5 Steps to Pricing Managed Services

 

autotaskEvolving from an hourly-fee based break/fix (B/F) service model to one that includes a managed services (MS) recurring-revenue model provides benefits to both IT Service Providers (ITSPs) and their clients.

Read the rest of this article at:

http://www.autotask.com/about-us/press-room/details/2014/09/02/autotask-introduces-new-smart-it-guide-5-steps-to-pricing-managed-services

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

About PowerSource Online

 

PSO banner 220X150Since its creation in 1997, PowerSource Online has helped thousands of computer parts and telecom equipment buyers to efficiently source used, refurbished and surplus IT and telecom systems, parts and equipment for their PCs and laptops, central office, VoIP and business telephony systems, storage components, point of sale systems, wireless networks and networking operations.

Continue reading
0 Comments

How secure is your website?

Pronto Logo2Hackers don’t care that you have a business to run. They’re just looking to exploit your site for their own gains. One day, you have a nice beautiful site. The next, it’s littered with links to shady pharmaceutical websites.


While you probably don’t need to be worrying about your site getting hacked every minute of everyday, it is a real and serious threat to your online presence. But, if you take the right steps, it’s something you’ll never have to worry about.

Continue reading
0 Comments

The next BIG thing for Office 365 partners

 

attachedapps advertorial and home page ad for Sept 22Have you made the transition to Office 365 (or planning to)? If so, you don’t want to miss out on the next BIG revenue opportunity. Check out attachedapps. They found a way for partners to generate even more revenue while adding additional value to your Office 365 customers. In fact, conservative estimates show a partner that sells one of their apps to just 2 customers monthly can earn an estimated $100K+ in referral fees and services add-ons in the first year alone!

What are attachedapps, you might ask? They are powerfully simple apps that solve the #1 pain of SMB customers who are using Office 365: retaining, managing and growing their customers. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • attachedContacts: Converts leads to contacts. Integrates and syncs to and from Outlook, and allows up to 99 users to easily share contacts across the company and devices. All for free.
  • attachedContacts+: Enables additional security and admin. Capabilities, and allows partners to function as their customers’ administrator for an unlimited number of users. $3/user/month
  • attachedSales: Converts contacts to sales. Supports sales pipeline management, tracking and customizable reporting. $7/month
  • attachedCustomers: Keeps customers happy and buying more. Enables tracking and follow-up capabilities to grow your customers. $7/month

attachedapps has a true “partner-first” strategy. Their unique partner program enables you to generate revenue through generous, perpetual referral fees, and by adding your own services on top of their apps. They also just announced a Preferred Partner Program for partners that sign up before November 31. Bonuses include:

  •      Higher referral fees that double your referral fee percentage in year 2
  •      Priority placement on their partner locator
  •      Lifetime Partner Account Manager (PAM) support
  •      Lifetime Partner Advisory Council membership
  •      Co-marketing assistance

Become an attachedapps Preferred Partner today, and start generating even more revenue. Sign up at www.attachedapps.com/partners or call (425) 615-7008.

Oh yeah, be sure to stop by their booth at the SMB Nation Fall Conference and let them show you the next BIG thing for Office 365 partners!

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Win a FREE Wireless Bluetooth Speaker: Webinar - Adopting a Services-Based Model for Success

Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/784313752

Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: George Anderson, Webroot and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation

Customers are looking for ways to increase their IT prowess without increasing their IT spend. VARs that are holding on to the traditional hardware, break/fix model of business soon will find themselves left behind by customers who need 24/7 support from a reliable services provider.

In this webinar we'll discuss how you can evolve your business into a services-based model that can increase your customer base and your monthly revenue:

Continue reading
0 Comments

It’s Disaster Preparedness Month, Have You Tested Your Plan?

 

storagecraft smallSeptember is the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMA) disaster preparedness month. This means a number of things for you and your family, but as you’re making your disaster plans for earthquakes, tornados, floods, and so forth, don’t forget about your business and any businesses you provide services to.

The first question to ask yourself is this: do you have a formal, written disaster plan? If not, it’s time to make one. The first things to consider are your employees.

Keeping a business running after a disaster is important, but it’s not as important as the wellbeing of the people around you. A good disaster preparedness plan will include more than just getting systems back online. It will also lay out expectations you have for employees or clients and expectations they have for you. If a disaster happens while you’re all at work (a very likely scenario) do employees know what to do if there’s an earthquake? What about a tornado? Do they know the procedure for what to do after any disaster?

The other side of this is what if a disaster happens while employees are not in the office? Will they know what to do the following day? It’s important to think about how you’ll communicate with your employees or clients following a disaster. Certain methods of communication may not work in large catastrophes, but it’s important to find something that does.

There are lots of methods to communicate after a disaster. In fact, you might be able to send emails and update social media pages, but if all systems are down, you might be out of luck. That is, unless you have equipment prepared well ahead of time. Think carefully about how to communicate if the Internet and cell services are down.

Once the human aspect has been sorted, you need to think about your backup and recovery plan. Your disaster plan will probably cover human elements like those we mentioned above, but a backup and disaster recovery plan for your equipment is much different. We won’t go into the minutiae of building a plan here because there are some very detailed guides available that can do the subject more justice.

Once you’ve established expectations for different scenarios above, make sure appropriate protocols are in your written, formalized plan. Now share the plan with employees so everybody knows what to do. Once that’s done, the final and most important part of your plan is testing it, which should be your primary goal for disaster preparedness month. If you can test your plan and everything goes well, you’ll know you’re ready.

Whether we’re talking about your business or a client’s, you’ll really want to schedule a day to test disaster recovery plans. This way you can verify that people know what to do, and that your equipment can be put back online without any time or money-consuming hiccups.

Disaster testing sounds boring, but if you’re like Google, it can be fun. Google has been known to have themes for their disaster recovery tests. They’ll attribute various disaster scenarios to fictional attacks by everything from zombies to aliens, just to make a dull subject a little more interesting. Disaster testing doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to be done if you hope to be ready for whatever nature throws at you.

How are you preparing for disaster preparedness month?

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

Harry on the Road

dandh show bostonOur very own Harrybbb will be on the road this week! Stop by and see him in Boston, MA, and at his Beerfest in Newton, Ma tonight, and at the D&H show in Toronto later this week.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Guest Blog: Top Tips for Selecting a Secure Public Cloud Provider

By Natalie Lehrer, Senior Contributor for CloudWedge

Cloud computing has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the flexibility and cost savings it provides organizations. Forrester research examined the ROI of building out a private datacenter and the research analysts concluded that the average cost across all organizations to build out a private datacenter was $59 million. Public cloud solutions can equate to efficiency and cost savings advantages over traditional means of housing, manipulating and backing up data. Cloud data centers are being built all over the world due to a rising demand in services.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Cloud Communications and a New Enterprise Advantage

 CD-Logo-220x150According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services , it is business agility, not cost, that is driving cloud adoption.

Enterprises are recognizing that if you only focus on cost-savings, you are missing out on the bigger benefits of the cloud. The study notes that business agility was the leading driver for cloud adoption among all respondents, with 32% saying it was their primary reason for pursuing the cloud.

This is a great sign for the market. Enterprises are seeing cloud as a competitive advantage, rather than just a way to improve a balance sheet. By not leading with cost, enterprises are positioning themselves to be more productive, efficient, and competitive. When we talk about business agility in the context of cloud communications, it is really about the ability to change and grow, and improve or streamline communications, which feeds competitiveness. 

In the past, enterprises buying premise-based solutions needed to anticipate near term or future needs and be ready to lock themselves in for multiple years. With cloud communications, you can grow, shrink or change how your offices are structured without the fear of being strapped with the wrong equipment. 

Cloud communications services can scale to meet the needs of a growing business with the flexibility to cater to the communications needs of an increasingly mobile workforce. When adding offices or phasing them out, the enterprise has control and they are able to quickly adjust their communications requirements to meet the needs of their employees. The responsibility to ensure the scalability of the communications services is in the service provider’s hands, rather than the enterprise.

Upfront costs are minimal and it is an opex-driven model.  That gives the enterprise an efficient way to manage cashflow and positions them to invest in communications services based on real demand instead of anticipated requirements.

Since the servers and software are in the cloud, features and functions are more easily improved and enhanced over time. This future-proofs the enterprises communications services and prepares it to adjust and adapt to new technologies and user behaviors. It also helps lengthen the lifecycle of the premise-based telephone and video end-points since they look to cloud services for updates, as well as enhanced features. 

Enterprises that adopt cloud communications are preparing themselves to manage change in the future  and react quickly to new opportunities. They can be faster and more efficient than competitors and use the cloud business model to create new advantages in their operations.

 To Learn More About CoreDial's Private Labeled Cloud Software Platform, Please Go To www.coredial.com.

Continue reading
0 Comments

IT Security Breaches: The New Normal

 

Bob Vogel BlueBy Bob Vogel, B2Marketing

Hardly a month goes by without the leading news headlines covering a major IT security breach with national – and sometimes international – impact.

But for every big data breach you read about, there are thousands of instances of external and internal cyber-thieves gaining access to information that’s supposed to be private and protected.

In fact, according to a recent survey, in the past 18 months, 51 percent of companies said they had at least one security breach. And, in the same survey, 18% of companies said losses from data breaches were more than $500,000 and another 8% said they had losses of more than $1 million.

This presents a big opportunity, and a big risk, for any MSP or IT service provider. If the networks and computers you manage are breached, some of that liability could easily trickle down to you. On the other hand, with the right legal agreements and the right tools, you can protect your clients AND make more money doing it.

The fact-of-the-matter is that many security breaches are the result of too much focus on “the edge” where the networks are connected to the internet, and not enough attention is paid to what happens on the inside. If a “Trojan” attack makes it pass the firewall, then what? Or, if someone from the “inside” decides to go after private company data, what becomes vulnerable then?

A powerful new security assessment tool from RapidFire Tools could help. Called Network Detective Inspector, this innovative hardware/software solution is designed to quickly and easily uncover a wide array of INTERNAL network vulnerabilities.

If you’re an MSP or Service provider, simply attach the appliance to your client’s network, turn it on, head back to your office and let it do its thing. When the scan is complete, you’ll get an email notification. Next, jump into your Network Detective application, open the client site, pull in the scan and run your reports.

In addition to the comprehensive output showing security holes, warnings and informational items, you can also produce a super detailed Layer 2/3 diagram.

And if that’s not enough, you can beef up the assessment with the Network Detective Security Assessment module – with or without the Inspector.

Just run the non-invasive (nothing to install) scanning tool on the network and a random selection of PCs or Macs, and in about 30 minutes you’ll get:

  •      Security Risk Report. This executive-level report includes a proprietary Security Risk Score along with summary charts, graphs and an explanation of the risks found in the security scans.
  •       Security Policy Assessment Report. A detailed overview of the security policies which are in place on both a domain wide and local machine basis.
  •       Shared Permission Report. Comprehensive lists of all network “shares” by computer, detailing which users and groups have access to which devices and files, and what level of access they have.
  •       User Permissions Report. Organizes permissions by user, showing all shared computers and files to which they have access.
  •       External Vulnerabilities Full Detail Report. A comprehensive output including security holes and warnings, informational items that can help make better network security decisions, plus a full NMap Scan which checks all 65,535 ports and reports which are open. This is an essential item for many standard security compliance reports.

Want to learn more? Visit the RapidFire Tools website.

 

Continue reading
0 Comments

SMB Nation Partner: PowerSource Online

PSO banner 220X150PowerSourceOnline.com is the largest B2B computer, printer, networking and telecom exchange that connects buyers and sellers of IT parts. The online marketplace for buyers and sellers of telecom systems and parts, networking equipment, computers and laptops and other IT equipment is the largest online network for the secondary telecommunication and IT marketplace. Since its creation in 1997, PowerSource remains committed to providing quality sourcing and disposition solutions of hard-to-find, excess, discontinued, obsolete and end-of-life computer parts and systems. With a global member base of over 2000 members consisting of Dealers, Resellers, Brokers and Service Companies, locating computer parts, systems, telecommunication equipment, peripherals, printers and networking equipment has never been easier! In 2010, Telecom Finders joined the PowerSource Online website and community to add telecom parts and equipment to the already expansive IT and computer parts and equipment database.

PowerSource Online has helped thousands of computer parts and telecom equipment buyers to efficiently source used, refurbished and surplus IT and telecom systems, parts and equipment for their PCs and laptops, central office, VoIP and business telephony systems, storage components, point of sale systems, wireless networks and networking operations.

The heart of our service consists of a searchable parts and equipment database which instantly connects the buyer to over 3 million lines of inventory which is advertised from the most reputable suppliers in the IT and Telecom Secondary Market Industry. Power Source Online understands the importance of quality information, and requires that all its suppliers upload their most recent stock list at least once a week. Our Verified Suppliers upload more often and users can view images of the warehouses and information about the Supplier with confidence that the part is in stock.

PowerSource Online also offers a Broadcast Section where buyers can upload their requirements and sellers can advertise their excess and unwanted equipment.

Continue reading
0 Comments

Webinar Today! Add more value to (and get more revenue from) your Office 365 customers. First 25 registrants receive a $200 discount for SMB Nation Fall

HarryB HeadshotRegistration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/619730720

Thursday, September 4, 2014

10:00 - 11:00 am PDT 1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT

Learn how to generate incremental revenue while increasing the level of service to your customers with attachedapps.  attachedapps offers a powerful yet lightweight solution for SMB customers’ biggest pain point of effectively winning, delighting and growing their customer base.  A complete offering that no one else provides today, attachedapps are easy to install, “attach” to Office 365 and run on Azure.

In this webinar, we will cover:

Continue reading
0 Comments

Harrybbb Appears on New Broadcast from the Microsoft Princess

Melanie GassMelanie Gass, aka the Microsoft Princess, recently had a broadcast of Office 365 basics, with our very own Harrybbb.

The session, titled: Office 365 101: The Basics, is now available at the link here.

Also be sure to catch Harry and Melanie at the 12th Annual SMB Nation Fall Conference, September 26-28 in Redmond, WA!

http://fall2014.smbnation.com

Recent comment in this post
Samreen
Harrybbb Appears on New Broadcast from the Microsoft Princess and the detail of this one contain here. You like to put the source... Read More
Monday, 17 April 2017 10:43
Continue reading
1 Comment

Guest Blog: 10 Questions to ask Before Moving your Office to the Cloud

 ForrestBlair-photoBy Forrest Blair, CEO of AirDesk Solutions

 

1.Will data be converted?

Many cloud services require your existing data to be converted into their format. That is a one-way trip. Imagine not being comfortable with the service or choosing to move to another vendor. Vendors who can move the current data to the cloud intact and without conversion present less risk in many ways. Anytime data is touched or manipulated there is a chance of error or collision with naming conventions.

Continue reading
0 Comments