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.

Virtualization is Still a Relevant Solution for Your Customers

By Pete Engler

In the technology world, solutions and deployment methods change rapidly. One of the current technology trends centers on hosted or cloud-based solutions, which is gaining traction at a rapid pace. Most vendors releasing cloud-based solutions see this new segment of their business growing faster than traditional offerings; these hosted solutions are also proving to be excellent paths to cloudsolutiongrowth and competitiveness. Even so, there are legacy solutions that remain relevant and serve very specific needs within an organization. Virtualization is one of those ‘legacy’ solutions that continues to play a strategic part of a reseller’s or VAR’s portfolio.

Virtualized environments were considered a mainstream solution for nearly two decades when VMWare burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s. Offering a software platform to consolidate applications on the same hardware allowed businesses to reduce the need for datacenter servers, saving expenses and energy costs over an extended period of time. Virtualization is not limited to the size of the business and is used by small to medium-size businesses (SMBs), as well as enterprises.

There are many benefits for the reseller/VAR in offering virtualized solutions. These include:

  •  Cost savings for the business. Virtualizing business applications on a reduced number of servers saves hardware and administrative costs. Businesses need to be efficient and saving cost anywhere over a long period of time adds to the bottom line.
  • Energy savings. Reducing the hardware footprint in any size organization will reduce energy savings, making the business more efficient and profitable. There is also the benefit that saving energy can help the environment, which today can be a factor in a customer’s decision to do business with providers of products and services.
  • Backup/disaster recovery. Virtualized environments offer excellent disaster recovery options. If one virtual machine has hardware or software issues, or dies completely, the system can automatically compensate by spinning up the application on another “slice” of a different virtualized machine. Critical environments, which most all businesses have, can rely on this feature for constant uptime of services.
  • Cloud offerings to end customers. There are options for the reseller/VAR to become a cloud vendor to their end customers. Building a datacenter using virtualized product offerings, for example a business phone system, allows resellers/VARs to offer cloud-based solutions. This consolidates the hardware that needs to be managed in a central datacenter and allows streamlined management of the solution to each end customer.

Even with all of the new technology solutions available to organizations today, virtualization is a technology that remains important to a variety of businesses. And, it is a solution easily fulfilled by you, as a technology reseller/VAR. With a wide variety of deployment methods, whether at the customer location or by creating a hosted service for the customer, these options will round out your product portfolio as a reseller.

Pete Engler is the channel marketing manager at Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.

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How To Live Your Life in Fear – An MSP Guide

Just lately I’ve had interchanges with business people, family and even MSPs where I was somehow more attuned to “fear factor” language then I’m accustomed to. I’ve even asked people I know and respect why some people are “fearful?”  I think my sensitivity relates to my new “Start-Up” mindset. Each to their own.

So, tongue in cheek, this missive is intended to scare the snitz of you. I’m assuming you have an opening for more fright in your fear bucket. I’m here to fill you up.

What I’m speaking towards is a white paper I recently read titled “Hidden Dangers Lurking in E-Commerce – Reducing Fraud with the Right SSL Certificate. Given I have a Facebook-like high need for attention, I immediately thought I could ruffle some feathers by making you exasperated with my exaggerations. Here we go!

When you download this whitepaper HERE, you can expect to discover the following conversation.

Shopping online has now become almost second nature to most of us, but where did it all start, and what enabled it to grow to the levels that we see today? Reportedly1 it was back in 1994, with the first known web purchase being a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese from Pizza Hut. When that first pizza was ordered – and, a year later, when online retail giant Amazon sold its first book (Douglas Hofstadter’s ‘Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought’2), it ushered in a torrent of activity. Two decades later, global e-commerce sales for 2013 have been calculated at upwards of $1.2 trillion3. What facilitated this tectonic shift in our shopping habits? Trust.

Trust in who we were shopping with, and trust that the purchase information we provided would be secured. Because as ever, where there is money there will always be criminals - eager to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunity. But if trust is the grease that lubricated the online marketplace, what is the technical basis for that trust? The answer is in part solved with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and more specifically, digital certificates - a reliable technology which has worked well for decades, and can continue to do so. But for this to happen, it has to be deployed responsibly. Put simply, not all certificates are created equal – and today, some ingenious criminals have found a way to corrupt the very system that was designed to stop them. As a result we need to make sure that certificates are matched to their uses and that when people send their personal and financial information across the internet they can have confidence that the recipient is not a criminal.

In fact, research from Norton estimates the global price tag of consumer cybercrime now topping some US$113 billion annually 4 which is enough to host the 2012 London Olympics nearly 10 times over. The cost per cybercrime victim has shot up to USD$298: a 50% increase over 2012. In terms of the number of victims of such attacks, that’s 378 million per year – averaging 1 million plus per day.

What is a Digital Certificate and what is SSL?

In order to transact business online, consumers and businesses needed a way of exchanging credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information securely. SSL is the technology that protects much of the Internet and in essence it enables e-commerce. It “lights up” the padlock symbol in the browser to tell the consumer they are safe to send their credit card information to a vendor in a


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Webroot and Greater Intell Partner to Deliver Simple, Scalable, and Automated Next-Generation Endpoint Protection for Kaseya VSA

webrootWebroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection Integrated with Kaseya VSA Drives MSP Adoption and Scalable Enterprise Security Management

BROOMFIELD, Colo., April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Webroot, the market leader in next-generation endpoint security and cloud-based collective threat intelligence, today announced a strategic partnership with Greater Intell, the leading provider of software products and professional services for IT management platforms. Webroot SecureAnywhere® Business Endpoint Protection and Kaseya VSA platform are now engineered together to enable enterprises and managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver next-generation endpoint security in a single, unified solution that provides powerful protection and is easy to deploy and manage.

"We're very pleased to be partnering with Greater Intell to offer the Kaseya community more value from their existing investment," said Charlie Tomeo, vice president of channel and technical sales at Webroot. "Kaseya's industry-leading remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform has fostered a loyal and rapidly-growing following within the enterprise and MSP ecosystems. These customers recognize that endpoint security is challenging today and that they need next generation defenses to protect their users and their company data from cyberattacks. With Webroot's proven next-generation endpoint protection, both internal security teams and external managed services organizations will be able to offer better protection and performance, and also increase operating margins by significantly reducing the complexities and inefficiencies associated with managing a traditional security solution."   

The integration of Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection with Kaseya VSA was developed in collaboration with Greater Intelll, a leading-edge mobile applications, systems management software, and cloud systems developer. The combination integrates the comprehensive, cloud-driven protection features of Webroot into the Kaseya VSA platform.

The cloud-based Webroot management console requires no on-premise servers, and endpoints can be managed and remediated remotely from any location. The fast, lightweight Webroot agent can be installed remotely on a managed endpoint in less than a minute, virtually eliminating impact on end user productivity, and significantly shortening the time normally required to deploy a new security solution from weeks to minutes. Webroot also features unique journaling and rollback remediation capabilities, saving customers time and money by greatly reducing the need to reimage infected machines.

In support of the integration, Greater Intell created a customized plug-in currently available as a single executable. The plug-in takes just minutes to install and configure.

"Webroot was a clear choice," said Corey Mandell, founder and CTO of Greater Intell. "We did a thorough cybersecurity review within the MSP community, and Webroot was the obvious winner. Many MSPs told us that Webroot integration with Kaseya was a top priority for them. We expect strong growth and are pleased to be partnering with market leaders like Webroot."

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Raise Your IT Services Bar, Adopt CompTIA’s New Channel Standards

By Miles Jobgen, Director, Education at CompTIA  Miles Jobgen CompTIA Trustmark 200x200

No one likes to be average, or worse, subpar. Especially when it comes to running an IT services business. Unfortunately, even those who work 20-hour days and invest their life savings can find themselves falling behind if they don’t have the right plans and systems in place. While IT professionals typically excel at making complex technologies work for their client, many admit they struggle managing their own businesses. It’s simply not a strong part of their skills sets. They have to work much harder in order to master (or at least get batter at) that part of their operations and most are willing to take those steps but may not know how to start. Many times, they just need a little help.

That’s where CompTIA comes in. Our members, subject experts and employees have been actively creating and compiling industry best practices for many years. We’ve drafted scores of training materials and educational resources to address the needs of IT providers, from fundamental ‘how-to’ guides on building a new practice to advanced financial management workshops. Thanks to the generosity and expertise of our members, this information is readily available at little-to-no cost to you and updated frequently.

Through certification, channel education and its advocacy efforts, CompTIA has supported and encouraged the growth and improvement of Solution Providers for decades. And now, at the request of our Board of Directors, thought leaders and other industry professionals, the association is taking its commitment one step further.

CompTIA Channel Standards represent the culmination of all our activities and efforts. This collection of guides, resources and business practices for IT companies is designed to improve the quality and consistency of the IT channel and its service delivery methods. CompTIA Channel Standards identify expert opinions on the fundamentals of IT operations and provide the tools required to embrace and enact those specific practices. And this will not be a “one-and-done” proposition. Our goal is to not only develop these usable resources for the IT industry, but to update them regularly to keep pace with the changing needs of providers and their clients.

Step 1: the IT Solution Provider
Channel Standards will let CompTIA take a more “open book” approach to connecting members and other providers with all that information. The format was designed to enable any and all to review and implement these peer-developed best practices into their own businesses. The end goal is to promote the behaviors tech companies can adopt to ensure greater success. They prosper, their customers receive even better solutions and support, and our industry advances. That’s a win-win-win.
How does it work? First of all, all our collective knowledge will be organized into a framework that everyone can easily follow, starting with the IT Solution Provider Channel Standards just rolled out at our CompTIA Annual Member Meeting. These are the core best practices of a successful technology services business, from lead generation and customer relations to delivery and operations (not to mention management and strategy recommendations).
The real question many are probably asking right now is “how will the CompTIA Channel Standards help me?” The answer, for most, is three-fold: 

  1.  Self-evaluation of the business. A companion Workbook is part of the program, allowing providers to have those crucial internal conversations that drive improvement. It will help them to identify areas of strength and those that need upgrades, with specific recommendations that, if implemented properly, should produce positive effects.
  2.  Engage with education and resources available. CompTIA’s Insights and Tools and Education resources can be tied to each of the Channel Standards. Many of these materials and tools are free of charge, but our Premier Members have open access to use and leverage the entire portfolio.
  3. Demonstrate Compliance. This final point applies to the upcoming Cybersecurity Channel Standard and the existing Security Trustmark+, which includes an independent assessment of adherence based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. By shifting our focus to the preparation and application of security best practices, regulatory compliance is more sensible and achievable than ever.

As I mentioned. CompTIA’s IT Solution Provider Channel Standards are foundational. Over the next few months, we’ll roll out several others that help VARs and MSPs enhance their business specializations. Those “concentrations” include:

  • Managed Services 
  •  Managed Print Provider
  • Advanced Digital Solutions
  • Cybersecurity

One goal of the CompTIA Channel Standards is to ensure those in our segment of the IT industry have a clear path to the future. With the lightening-fast technology innovations and shifting needs of the business community, solution providers simply have to get better at what they do…or at some point, they won’t be doing it anymore. Channel Standards will give them a roadmap to improvement and logically connect them to the most relevant resources to get them there.

The Channel Standard and accompanying Workbook are free to download, so there is no risk and loads of potential benefit. You may find your business is in need of a little attention behind the scenes, or maybe learn you’re a step ahead of your peers. Either way, that knowledge can be leveraged for planning, service delivery, differential marketing, sales, and helping your clients achieve their goals.

The gauntlet has been thrown. Will the channel rise to the occasion? Success is there for the taking…  

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The whole topics is all about the raise your IT services bar, adopt compTIA’s new channel standards. Its all about the new channe... Read More
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Give us one day and we'll send you home with all the expert sales, marketing, product, and operations advice you need to grow your revenue and boost your bottom line. The perfect event for integrators and managed service professionals looking to grow their business. Take our one-minute Managed Services Survey and then get the free invite to our live event! ChannelPro SMBNation 220x150 SurveyAd

Who should attend the ChannelPro live events:

I.T. Resellers, MSPs, solution providers, and consultants looking for concrete, practical advice on building a healthier bottom line.

Event Locations:

Anaheim May 4th; D.C. September 15th; Boston November 3rd

What you'll get of it:

The ChannelPro 2016 ‘Channel Fitness Tour’ features an all-star cast of top industry experts, a unique interactive format that puts you in direct conversation with them, and a fast-paced, information-packed agenda covering topics you care about:

  •  Pump Up Your Managed Service Revenues: Learn about revenue-boosting services you should be offering but probably aren't from a panel of your peers. 
  •  Bottom-Line Finance Strengthening Exercises: Discover the critical metrics experienced managers use to keep their business strong and growing.
  • Cloud Sales and Marketing Fitness Secrets: Let our panel of sales and marketing specialists show you how to build a high-volume, high-velocity cloud sales pipeline. 
  •  Business Process Optimization Lightning Round!: Get proven, actionable suggestions for hiring employees, tracking time, setting prices, and more. 
  •  GEAR AND CASH GIVEAWAYS: Lots of chances to win big with gear and cash giveaways throughout the day!

 There's More!

Attendees also receive numerous session-related resources, including white papers, analysis tools, and worksheets that add value to their experience. We'll even take care of parking, meals, and more so you can focus on what really matters: Building a stronger, more profitable business.

How to pre-register for free as a VIP>>

Take our one-minute Managed Services Survey and then get the free invite to our live event!

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You like to posted the complete procedure to re invited to the Channel pro and more similar kind of approach. On the other hand, I... Read More
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