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.

MyDigitalShield Unveils OmniWAN, a SD-WAN Solution Designed for the SMB Market

MyDigitaial Sheild

New solution brings the high quality and reliability of expensive MPLS networks to low-cost broadband with baked in enterprise security

Wilmington, DE– June 20th, 2017My Digital Shield (MDS), a leading provider of Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) for small businesses, announced today the release of OmniWAN, a SD-WAN solution tailored to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A combination of Elastic UTM and SD-WAN, OmniWAN brings important quality metrics to existing internet connections, turning cable, DSL and more into enterprise-quality MPLS, without the costly price. Having offered OmniShield, an ElasticUTM platform tailored to provide Fortune 500-grade managed security services to SMBs, MDS sought out to create a high-performing, secure UTM coupled with high-performing internet connectivity at a small business price.

OmniWAN optimizes the internet connection or bonds multiple internet connections, sets several parameters and adds dynamic guardrails in order to keep all traffic flowing optimally. OmniWAN also adds other technology to ensure all applications are treated and optimized according to how they should be treated across the network. All applications, including voice, video streaming, music, webcasts, video conference and file transfers, are sensitive to different network parameters such as bandwidth, latency, jitter, packet loss, fragmentation, etc. OmniWAN ensures each application receives the optimal treatment for its sensitivity requirements.

"SD-WAN and ElasticUTM are extremely powerful independently, but when properly used together, the enhancements are exponential," said Andrew Bagrin, founder and CEO of MyDigitalShield. "We didn't want to become another SD-WAN provider; our goal was to enhance OmniShield while building a combined solution for the SMB market. As a result, we are able to bring the high quality and reliability of expensive networks at lower costs, but with baked in high-end security."

Tested by MDS channel partners for months, OmniWAN and OmniShield have shown great success.

"OmniShield has always been an amazing concept for security and one which has proven to be extremely effective for our clients; however, I was a bit skeptical about OmniWAN,” said Kenneth Holley, founder and CEO of Information Systems Integration, a premier MDS channel partner. “After experiencing it first hand, thoroughly testing in our lab and several other locations, I am amazed at how the combined solution works so well. The improvements to the networks are incredible.  Absolutely everything works better, is faster and more secure. The OmniWAN and OmniShield combination is exactly what we - and our clients - needed."


For more information about MDS’ OmniWAN, visit http://www.mydigitalshield.com/omniwan/.

About My Digital Shield
My Digital Shield (MDS) is a leading provider of ElasticUTM and SD-WAN fused as a platform that provides enterprise-quality connectivity and security technology to small businesses and branch offices. Based on industry-leading unified threat management (UTM) technology, MDS’ customizable cloud-based security solution offers continual protection against cyber threats and intrusion at an affordable price. With no bandwidth pollution, the ElasticUTM delivery model ensures that the latest virus definitions and threat updates are in use for continual threat prevention. Founded in 2013, MDS serves thousands of managed service providers (MSPs) and small businesses in various industries, including retail, restaurants, hospitality, and professional services. For more information, visit www.mydigitalshield.com or follow on Twitter @MyDigitalShield.

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Sage Bots

Recently many MSPs and partners attended a lecture on “How to Throw an Election” discussing bots with the notorious Tcat. The well-attended event was to further our technology conversations beyond the LAN and even MSP land. The context was actually SECURITY and that is always a crowd pleaser. Funny thing is, an election bot rehash article emerged here just as I was writing the blog. If anything, this report from the NY Daily News is interesting.

But the real reason we’re here is to talk business bots. A tip of the hat to Sage (the accounting software firm) for hosting a one-day bot “BOTlanta” workshop in Atlanta as part of the Sage Summit 2017 conference (in part this made me think about the above Tcat lecture). “At BOTlanta, Sage’s chief of AI and bots, Kriti Sharma, will outline the importance of establishing a bot code of ethics and provide an interactive step-by-step guide on how to create a bot of your own.” This free day-long workshop was open to the Atlanta community. Bravo!

Kriti Sharma BOT CHICK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bot Chick: Kriti Sharma


At the Sage Summit keynote, Sharma introduced PEGG, a voice chat bot that resides on the Amazon Echo device. Beyond cool, you can use the most natural interface of all (voice) to manage the Sage One cloud-based accounting system. For example, you can as management reporting questions such as “How much does Microsoft owe me?” You can watch the keynote speech here as I shot a point of view (POV) vid (see below).

  pegg keynote

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the good stuff. I had 1:1 interview with Sharma (“the bot chick”) after her bot presentation. First Sharma clarified that Pegg was launched as a chat bot for Facebook messenger and Skype. You could essentially type commands. At Sage Summit 2017, the voice portion of the Pegg chat bot was introduced. Point well taken.

“We use analytics to help design and improve Pegg. It’s the only way.” Shared Sharma. “Over 20,000 people are using Pegg and we can discover new features that people want. Our development time using a chat bot is much faster than traditional application development.” She emphasized voice integration as a way to get more tasks done and “open up the industry to a new wave of users who don’t have accounting expertise.”
Interestingly, Pegg is best thought of as having strengths in management reporting and revenue side transactions such as issuing an invoice. “You can’t trigger a payment from Pegg as we haven’t built a global payment solution yet.” Sharma added. “So security isn’t that different from a keyboard or mobile interface. We don’t want to give an account balance without some type of voice signature.”

Finally, I asked her if the industry is “early” with artificial intelligence with the likes of IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa and now Pegg. “Yes and no. The way I see it is that Watson and Alexa are very general. Pegg is solving a use case defined for a particular industry. And I want to speak of ethics. Bots should not pretend to be humans.” Sharma concluded. With that, refer back to paragraph one concerning Twitter bots and elections.

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Sage Advice: Hey George – What Should My 18 Year Old Son Do?

At the recently completed Sage Summit in Atlanta, I enjoyed a 1:1 meeting with George Foreman, boxing legend, following his keynote address to several thousand attendees. My question was simple – it was about advice for my 18 year old son who is an Eagle Scout and will start at CalPoly this fall studying information systems.
“It is important that you must start - you can't dream without making a first step to start. Then in life you will always have to start over. If you do it once, you can certainly do it again.” Foreman offered as advice that applies to anyone of any age.

Specific to a young person, Foreman opined “The most important thing is to get a job. Doesn't matter how many hours it is. Learn and then learn something you love. Even volunteer. Even clean the bathroom. At work, everyone will stop by to tell you something.” Foreman shared. “If you can just get into the door, you can learn what you really want to do. Don't wait to be successful. You got to start the ground work and you have to start from the bottom.” I’d offer that is sage advice from Foreman at the Sage Summit!

Keynote context
Foreman dazed and amazed the Sage Summit audience for a few rounds, literally. Today Foreman works with youth at the George Foreman Youth Center in Houston, Texas. “The youth energized me and really got me back into boxing the second time.” Foreman said. “I had run out of money and I was focused on getting kids off the street. I’m still doing the that."

harryb and george foreman

Foreman told his story of not completing high school to learning boxing and become Olympic gold medalist within two years of starting boxing. He went on to be a twice world champion. That followed with success with selling 100+ million George Foreman Grills.
George Foreman

Bottom line. Foreman went from riches to rags to riches again. His success is well-earned.

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Get Ready for IoT by Taking 3 Essential Steps

by Oliver Schabenberger

To prepare for IoT, companies need to take advantage of big data and advanced analytics, and adapt their culture, so they are ready for the transformation.

In the early 1990s, the general public made its earliest forays into using the Internet. At the time, no one could have imagined where the IOT one photo shutterstock 468787469 A2technology would lead. Social media, e-commerce, mobile apps, cloud computing, software as a service -- the list is endless. Entire classes of applications -- even industries -- were not even a gleam in their creators' eyes. Today these internet-based technologies have transformed the way we live and work.

Fast-forward more than 25 years. We are at a similar stage in the latest iteration of the internet -- the Internet of Things (IoT). Pundits of all stripes predict that the IoT will change everything. Connected cars. Better patient monitoring devices. Industrial machines that track their own maintenance requirements. Intelligent street lights. Everything will be connected.

As with the original internet, we have no idea where the IoT will take us. And before we see the full impact of the predicted and unforeseen advances, we will need to remove significant technical obstacles, notably security and lack of standards.

Still, despite the roadblocks, companies that get ahead of the IoT curve will undoubtedly benefit from a lasting competitive advantage as they forge new markets. So what can your company do today to prepare for the future of IoT? The following are the top three best practices:

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Microsoft Power BI Visualizes Dynamics 365 Business Processes

By: Pedro Hernandez | May 18, 2017

A Power BI content pack allows Dynamics 365 customers to gain new insights into their business processes.

Power BIMicrosoft wants to help demystify the business processes of its Dynamics 365 customers.

Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based business intelligence (BI) and data visualization platform, is typically used to create interactive visualizations that unearth insights using a wide variety of business data. Now, joint Power BI and Dynamics 365 users have tool that can help them get a better grasp of what makes their businesses tick.

The software giant announced the release of a new Power BI Process Analyzer Content Pack for customers using Dynamics 365 (version 8.2 and up), a cloud-enabled business application platform that integrates Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software along with a bevy of intelligent applications. The pack is available in the AppSource marketplace from Microsoft.

The Power BI content pack, authored by Microsoft staffers Christian Abeln, a senior program manager, and Karl Maybach, a senior content developer at the software maker, links directly to the Dynamics 365 database and generates interactive charts and other visualizations that represent business process flows. According to the company, users can then track and explore several of their organizations' performance indicators.

A step-by-step guide on setting up the content pack and creating custom business process reports is available in this blog post.

Also this week, Microsoft released a preview of Power BI Report Server, which enables customers of the new Power BI Premium licensing option to store and manage reports on-premises. "With this first release, you connect directly to an Analysis Services data model, which in turn can connect to a variety of other data sources, including SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, and more," stated Riccardo Muti, a group program manager at Microsoft Power BI in a separate post. "We aim to extend direct connectivity to the other Power BI Desktop data sources, targeting later this year."

Power BI Report Server will be generally available alongside Power BI Premium later this quarter, added Muti.

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