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.

Microsoft is extending its Office Insider Fast Ring test program

Microsoft is adding a Fast Ring option to its Office Insider test program for Windows desktops, Windows 10 Mobile, iOS and Android.

mary jo foley thumb2By Mary Jo Foley

 

 

 

Microsoft has an Office Insider testing program that shares a number of similarities with its Windows Insider program, but one difference broaderofficeinsiderbetween the two has been scope.

The Office Insider program, which Microsoft launched in November 2015, didn't initially support different test rings. The one rather odd exception was the Office Insider for Mac program, which did include both Fast and Slow ring options, since June 2016. (Microsoft added Office for Mac users to its Insider test program in January 2016.)

Today, August 30, Microsoft disclosed it would be adding a Fast Ring option to its Office Insider program for users on other platforms, beyond Mac OS.

 

 

 

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SELL, TRADE-IN OR RECYCLE YOUR USED PRINTER ONLINE

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

Powersorce September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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The Benefits of Working with a BDR Provider That Owns Its Backup Technology

Headshot Ben AustinBen Austin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Continuum Managed Services

Managed services providers (MSPs) are trusted advisors to their clients. By acting as virtual CIO (VCIO), safeguarding the health of IT environments and maximizing the ROI of their clients’ IT budgets, MSPs are responsible for increasing the business efficiency and profitability of the organizations they serve. This relationship is often started with the implied trust of a customer that their MSP will deliver as promised in the sales cycle. Then, as time rolls by, that trust becomes more tangible based on the actual experience with their MSP.

As this trust grows so does the responsibility of the MSP. One area that MSPs ultimately have significant influence over is the handling and protection of one of their client’s greatest business assets: their data. This trust is at its apex in the delivery of completely reliable and modern backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions.

For your end-clients, BDR solutions are similar to umpires in a baseball game. If you never find yourself talking about them then everything is probably going smoothly. It’s when data loss or excessive downtime occurs that clients lose faith in the credibility of your business continuity offering.

With so much at stake, it’s vital that MSPs minimize any concerns with their business continuity offering by investing in the right BDR platform. So how do you know which solution is right for you? One easily identifiable and often overlooked approach is to work with an IT management platform provider that owns its BDR technology and handles service delivery of the product from top to bottom. Let’s examine a few of the reasons why this particular service is one that MSPs want to be as close to the source as possible.

  1. The MSP can influence product changes – When a managed services provider works with a business partner that has complete ownership over its BDR technology, the MSP can request additional features and functionality that will make them more productive and strengthen their overall offering. If the BDR solution used by an MSP is several touches away from them, they likely won’t have much influence in changes that improve the BDR software’s performance. The MSP could even miss out on the chance to test new product developments before they are implemented. While some might think it risky to be the first to try something new in a product offering, it can actually serve as a competitive advantage. Working directly with the owner of the BDR technology is a great opportunity to bring something to end users before anyone else, thus possibly providing a first-mover advantage.
  2.  MSPs can have an elevated level of trust in their BDR partner – Having that level of involvement in influencing product roadmap and other important aspects of a BDR offering can create a real trust between the MSP and their provider. MSPs strive to earn the trust of their clients. Part of that comes from having trust in the technology partners and vendors that sit behind them as they go to market. Having some skin in the game with regard to impacting product development is a great opportunity for an MSP to deliver BDR solutions to their clients with the utmost confidence.Having some input in the product roadmap and maintaining business interests that align with those of your BDR partner certainly signal a relationship that’s built to last, but what directly impacts your business’ bottom line? How can working with a BDR provider that owns all of its backup technology help grow margins?
  3. Independent platform pricing protects the MSP’s margins– With no middle man markup, the MSP avoids price ceilings that can result when subject to third-party technology. In purchasing a BDR platform subscription from an independent provider, they can protect their margins by increasing gross profitability. Profit is inversely related to cost. The higher the expenditure, the lower your bottom line. Instead of having to pay extra for support once removed, work with a BDR partner that owns its solution, thereby allowing you to cut costs. By the same token, to further increase profitability, look for BDR software and service delivery that helps you maintain financial stability by maximizing revenue.
  4.  Having support closer to the end client raises customer satisfaction – Typically, the closer support is to the end-client, the more efficient the response and issue resolution. In the instance where a BDR platform provider owns and develops its entire BDR solution, any support calls that are taken are handled right then and there. Additionally, expect support staff to manage issues and answer questions in a timelier manner. These technicians will likely be more knowledgeable of the BDR product (and therefore understand its intricacies) if the solution is owned in-house. Increased familiarity with the backup technology and all its ins and outs ensures a higher degree of service delivery because the MSP (and end client, by extension) doesn’t have to wait for a third-party vendor to deduce why the BDR software may be acting in a certain way. The less turnaround time to fulfill a client request, the better the client experience overall.

These latter two points help MSPs create loyal fans, increase client retention and capture more upsell and cross-sell revenue, without incurring the costs of losing business. As a result, independent BDR platforms enable MSPs that are offering business continuity services to be more profitable.

Become a Major BDR Player with Continuity247™

Fully-managed BDR platform, Continuity247, is owned and operated entirely by Continuum, allowing the company to deliver the peace of mind provided by each of the four points outlined above. Continuum is committed to ensuring its partners receive unparalleled support and regularly make refinements and improvements based on partner feedback. With this shared ownership, trust is at the core of its business model. You can always count on Continuum to have your back. Nowhere is this more evident than with the level of BDR service that partners receive from its world-class Network Operations Center (NOC).

For example, with Continuity247™, Continuum’s team of 700 NOC technicians provides partners 24x7x365 backup support. In addition to absorbing time-consuming, labor-intensive responsibilities like testing and monitoring backups so MSPs don’t have to, support staff is intimately familiar with the BDR technology, understands its DNA and is able to more quickly troubleshoot its behavior. To strengthen technical support for Continuity247, Continuum also combines deep product education with regular internal training to reinforce the BDR service delivery on partners’ behalves. Continuum is the final line of support, which means the company can answer any product-related inquiries internally, rather than having to rely on a third-party to respond. Finally, Continuity247 was built with partners’ profit margins in mind. Since they’re not constrained to the pricing of a third-party vendor, partners can yield a higher profit by selling their business continuity services at a much higher rate than what they purchased them for.

Whether you’re thinking about switching providers or just getting into the BDR market for the first time, you have to vet what you are actually getting in a BDR solution vs. just simply the shopping price.

Do you know if your current BDR provider owns all of their backup technology? If not, you may want to start asking questions regarding their BDR offering to ensure you are getting the most value for your spend. Only after examining solutions under this lens can you accurately compare BDR platforms and make an informed purchasing decision.

Ben Austin is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Continuum’s backup and disaster recovery products. He has experience in high-velocity content marketing and demand generation. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Emerson College and has spent his career researching and writing about the B2B tech industry.

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StorageCraft releases VirtualBoot for vSphere

New technology allows rapid boot of backup images directly on VMware ESXi hosts

            DRAPER, Utah, -- Aug. 30, 2016 -- Global backup and disaster recovery leader, StorageCraft® Technology Corp., announced the release of StorageCraft VirtualBoot™ for vSphere, a new technology that makes the recovery of data and systems exponentially Storagecraft logofaster and more efficient. This unique technology gives StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX users the ability to rapidly virtualize backup images as guest virtual machines (VMs) directly on VMware ESXi hosts without the use of an intermediary appliance or secondary conversion process.

VirtualBoot for vSphere is used in conjunction with StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX backup and disaster recovery software and is included with every SPX license. VirtualBoot for vSphere was developed in joint collaboration and participation with VMware through their vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering (VAIO) Program and is now certified as VMware Ready.

VirtualBoot for vSphere uniquely enables users to:

  • Instantly virtualize SPX or ShadowProtect backup images as guest VMs directly on the ESXi hypervisor
  • Permanently migrate physical systems or VMs from a different hypervisor platform to ESXi with minimal downtime
  • Easily test changes to production systems offline
  • Leverage existing VMware investments to maximize ROI


            “If a business is experiencing IT downtime, it is imperative that it get access to its valuable data and mission-critical systems as quickly as possible. StorageCraft VirtualBoot for vSphere is a great business continuity tool because it removes time-consuming steps and frees up resources during the all-important recovery process,” said Scott Barnes, StorageCraft’s Chief Technology Officer. “StorageCraft VirtualBoot for vSphere is another example of how StorageCraft is enabling its partners to reliably protect their clients’ data and systems while being as efficient as possible.”
           

More information about StorageCraft VirtualBoot for vSphere is available at www.storagecraft.com/products/virtualboot. Managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) can learn how to become members of the award-winning StorageCraft Partner Network at www.storagecraft.com/partnerships.


Throughout the years, StorageCraft Recovery Solution components have been recognized by analysts, leading IT publications, and most importantly, IT professionals for their speed and reliability. Among recent accolades, StorageCraft won the ASCII Cup Vendor of the Year award, the Redmond Channel Partner Editor’s Choice Award for Best Storage Software and a fourth-consecutive PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice award.

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SQLSoft3 is selling 30 Microsoft Exam Vouchers at $20 under cost

I was speaking to my friends at SQLSoft3 and they have 30 extra Microsoft Exam Vouchers that they are selling at $20 under their cost. When the 30 are gone, that's it.... so if you are a Microsoft Partner or an IT Pro or Developer who is interested in certification, you won't find Microsoft official certification exams any cheaper. Microsoft has a certification exam quota and SQLSoft3 needs to sell 30 more of them this year; so their loss is your gain!

SQLSoft3


Here is how it works:

Purchase one or more standard Microsoft Certification Exam Vouchers - Use the coupon code of "QUOTA" at checkout and you can purchase your exam voucher for $20 below cost of the usual $165 price (after "QUOTA" discount - $145) or the Plus version with a Practice Test for $190 after the "QUOTA" discount. Buy now and you still have 12 months to register for the exam.               

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There is also a Microsoft Exam Voucher Promo that gets you more, but is only good until August 31. Purchase one or more Microsoft's Booster Pack Promo 1-2-3 options and use the promo code "QUOTA" to get $20 off. Microsoft's Booster Pack promotion includes an exam voucher and practice test and/or 4 exam retakes. Note: The Microsoft Booster Pack promotion ends in five days on August 31, so this promo will be gone after that.

If you don’t already know, SQLSoft3 is the home of reality-priced IT Professional, Developer, and Security training for Azure, SQL Server, Identity Management, Windows 10, Windows Server, Sharepoint, System Center, Visual Studio, Exchange, Skype and more. SQLSoft3 offers the lowest prices for Microsoft MOC On-Demand training in the known Universe and continues to deliver live IT Instructor-led training to individuals as well as custom training events for national and global companies. Over the past 20+ years, they have trained over 50,000+ IT Professionals and Developers.

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