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.

AT&T to launch wireless plans bundled with video after Time Warner win

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N) will launch two new unlimited wireless plans next week that will be bundled with a new video streaming service called WatchTV, in the company’s first move to pair entertainment with phone service after closing its $85 billion acquisition of media company Time Warner Inc.

 

ATT

FILE PHOTO - An AT&T logo is seen at a AT&T building in New York City, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo

The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier is putting to use Time Warner’s stable of content, including TV channels like TBS and CNN, to drive sales of the wireless plans at a time when carriers have struggled to find growth.

“This is the first step to transforming how content is created, distributed and consumed,” David Christopher, president of AT&T mobility and entertainment, said in an interview.

WatchTV, which will have over 30 live channels but no sports or local news channels, will be free for customers of the new wireless plans. It will cost $15 per month as a standalone product. Customers who sign up for the higher-priced wireless plan can also get HBO for free, the premium TV channel with the hit show “Game of Thrones” that AT&T acquired as part of the Time Warner deal.

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Bitcoin explained by AI will melt your brain

BitCoin

 

By now I'm assuming we all have a fundamental understanding of what Bitcoin is: digital money regulated and distributed with encryption techniques, stored on a ledger independent of a centralised bank.

Something like that. Maybe go here for a better explanation.

OK, that's good. That's how a human being might explain Bitcoin. Here's how an AI might try to explain it.

BitCoin Video

 

The video comes from Botnik Studios' YouTube channel, posted Tuesday. According to the description, it was created "using predictive keyboards trained on dozens of Bitcoin explainers".

Friends, my brain is currently leaking out of my earholes

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SkyKick Launches Cloud Backup Support for Microsoft Office 365 Groups and Teams, and Upgrades Syndicated Apps

• Strengthens #1 MSP-voted cloud automation platform to enable IT providers to grow
• Robust data protection for Group and Teams unlocks new profitability scenarios for partners
• Enhancements to SkyKick Syndication provide partners with more customizable ways to sell cloud migration and backup directly in their own e-commerce experiences

Seattle – June 27, 2018 – SkyKick (www.skykick.com), a global provider of cloud management software for information technology (IT) solution partners, announced today major enhancements to its Cloud Backup skykickSuite for Office 365. The enhancements extend cloud backup data protection to Microsoft Office 365 Groups and Teams, enabling partners to deliver added value to customers seeking Office 365 data protection.

“Microsoft Groups and Teams is growing rapidly and was one of the most requested backup features from our global partner base,” said SkyKick Vice President of Product Management Chris Rayner. “We’re thrilled to deliver this additional value to our partners, and continue to accelerate our momentum in enabling partners to protect customer data across the entire Office 365 tenant.”

The Groups and Teams upgrade to SkyKick’s Cloud Backup Suite for Office 365 provides partners greater product completeness and flexibility. It enables partners to browse and select specific Groups to backup, search and restore conversations, calendar, files, and notebook, and choose from a range of data retention periods. In addition to the Groups and Teams enhancements, SkyKick is releasing support for point-in-time restore for Exchange and OneDrive for Business. Together, these enhancements further distinguish SkyKick’s Cloud Backup Suite as one of the most technically complete and partner-centric data protection solutions for Office 365. Groups and Teams is included in SkyKick’s Cloud Backup Suite for Office 365 and available at no additional cost for SkyKick partners with active “full backup” subscriptions (Exchange and SharePoint/OneDrive).

“As a progressive MSP, it is critical that we protect customer data in new collaboration scenarios like Groups and Teams. The fact that SkyKick is one of the first to offer a robust backup solution for Groups and Teams demonstrates their commitment to partner success,” said Ryan Chernick, president of Wisconsin-based partner CCCP. “Leading with a comprehensive, integrated solution like SkyKick’s gives us a competitive advantage while enhancing customer satisfaction.”

SkyKick is also announcing upgrades to SkyKick Syndication, which thousands of partners are using to incorporate SkyKick Migration and Backup directly into their websites or e-commerce buy-flow with simply a few lines of code. The upgrades include new ways for partners to add custom branding to SkyKick Cloud Backup apps on their own websites, including modifying favicons, creating custom URLs or domains and providing customized support details. The company is also releasing a new Cloud Backup self-service search and restore capability to give partners new options for operational service delivery. Partners who choose to grant customers self-service access can incorporate this new experience in their websites, enabling their customers to directly initiate data search and restore. These upgrades are free for existing SkyKick Syndication customers.

“We welcome SkyKick’s approach to syndication. It will help partners simplify their operational burden while still creating a deeper brand connection with their customers,” said Vegard Aspnes, SaaS product manager at European partner Dustin Group.

“With our recent $40 million funding announcement, we reiterated our commitment to our 20,000 partners and the broader partner ecosystem,” said SkyKick Co-Founder and Co-CEO Todd Schwartz. “We’re relentlessly innovating across our cloud management platform to provide partners with more ways to package and sell cloud services, improve their operational efficiency, enhance their customer experience, and ultimately transform their business for the future.”

These enhancements extend the company’s cloud management platform, and complement the SkyKick Migration Suite which was the top-rated solution in a recent survey of MSPs by research firm AMI-Partners. With partners increasingly packaging and bundling cloud services, SkyKick’s unified cloud management platform provides integrated applications to help IT solution providers build more successful cloud businesses. The SkyKick Migration Suite allows IT consultants, system integrators, managed service providers, value-added resellers and other IT partners to automate an entire Office 365 migration project from initial sales to project completion. SkyKick’s Cloud Backup Suite provides cloud-to-cloud backup, unlimited storage and one-click restore of lost Office 365 data.

SkyKick’s new Cloud Backup Suite for Office 365 is available immediately. SkyKick will be demonstrating the enhancements in booth 1013 at the Microsoft Inspire Conference July 15 to 19 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Understanding Small Business Tax Eligibilities Will Increase Your Profitability

Many small businesses do not seem to understand the importance of taking small steps all year long as one of the most vital keys to minimizing tax responsibilities and avoiding expensive tax penalties. As well, there are many eligibilities that small Taxbusiness owners are not even aware that they are entitled to, especially in light of the most recent tax reform laws.

The best place to keep up with any available information will be to follow the IRS Tax Reform News and Information Page.

If you run a small enterprise and would like to maximize your tax minimizations; we would like to help you succeed with some suggestions that will make a difference with your tax responsibilities by the end of the 2018 tax year. The more of this information you’re aware of, the more likely that these tips alone will increase your profitability in 2018.

  • Begin by Educating Yourself About the Forms You Must Complete For Employee Payroll
    Federal taxes will not be the only taxes upon which you will need to focus; There are also separate state and municipal, as well as additional federal forms that may be required.
  • It is Best to E-File Your Taxes and File Taxes On Time
    Filing on time will save you headaches and penalties. By E-Filing, you will receive a confirmation number that will be provided by the IRS, and there will be no question as to the date that your filing was received. Filing electronically on time will help avoid penalties that will accrue until you pay in full
  • Paying Enough Quarterly Estimated Taxes Will Help Your Business Avoid Penalties
    It is easy for new business owners to spend their W-2 income all the while believing that they can pay taxes on their entire income at the end of the tax year. The wise business owner will pay enough estimated taxes on a quarterly basis. It will benefit your business when you file your taxes next year.
  • Consider a Reputable Tax Software Program and a Separate Accounting Software Program for Properly Tracking Expenses and Revenue Acquired in Your Small Business
    Using a reputable tax software will assist in the avoidance of penalties. Doing so will also make a difference in helping you separate your personal from your business finances.
  • Integrate a Paper Filing System
    Set up a filing system of your choice, whether it is 12 folders in a filing cabinet, an expandable folder or an electronic receipt scanner and use it faithfully. Prepare a few hours monthly to organize all expense receipts, banking withdrawal, and deposit slips, etc. into their respective folders. Failing this, you will spend all of those stressful hours at the end of the year organizing all at one time. Monthly organizing will ensure that you do not lose your documents and they are correctly indexed and available at the end of the tax year.
  • Consider Implementing the Services of Independent Contractors to Save on Taxes
    Whether you are an old pro in business or you are just beginning, ICs will save small businesses money in many ways. For tax minimization, you do not have to pay taxes on their behalf. If you pay an IC $600.00 or more in a tax year, you will need to maintain records stating what you have paid them and merely provide a 1099 form at the end of the tax period. If you would like to do this, however, be sure that you understand the definition of an Independent Contractor according to the IRS.
  • Consider the Donation of Remaining Inventory
    Should you find that you must pay to store leftover inventory that you are confident will not be used, you might choose to donate that inventory to a good cause. This “philanthropy” will save money in the long run. The caveat is that donations exceeding $500.00 face far more strict reporting rules with the IRS sure gift makes sense.
  • Consider the Benefits of Implementation of a Retirement Plan
    See the “Highlights for Changes in 2018” located within this IRS Pension Limitations document.
  • There Could Be Hidden Value In The Miles You Put On Your Vehicle
    Not everyone is aware that they may have the ability to deduct miles they use to participate in charitable acts. You may also deduct miles accrued for medical purposes and even some personal uses of your vehicle. You can see what you are allowed to deduct through this IRS Standard Deduction page.
  • Where and How You Decide to Structure Your Business Will Affect Your Tax Responsibilities
    The SBA (Small Business Administration) offers a plethora of information as to how your specific business should be structured and how it will affect your tax status. This is definitely worth the read for a small business owner.

 

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Trump officials roll out new rule for small business health insurance plans

 Insurance

By Tami Luhby, CNN

New York (CNN)The Trump administration is taking the final step Tuesday in its plan aimed at making health insurance policies cheaper for some small businesses.

But the move could weaken some of the Affordable Care Act's consumer protections for those buying these plans and make coverage more expensive for those who remain on the Obamacare exchanges.

The administration is releasing its final rule governing association health plans, which allow small businesses and the self-employed to band together based on their industry or location and buy health insurance. The rule stems from an executive order that Trump signed in October aimed at providing alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, which it is bent on dismantling.

The rule allows association health plans to be regulated in the same way as large employer policies. That would free them from having to adhere to some of Obamacare's rules, particularly the one requiring insurers to offer comprehensive coverage. So these plans would likely have lower premiums, but also provide fewer benefits -- which could leave sicker and older workers out in the cold. Also, the offerings could be less attractive to young women if they don't cover maternity benefits.

Plus, the proposed regulation would allow associations to base an employer's rates on the gender, age and industry of its workers, which could leave firms with many younger men paying less, but those with older workers and women saddled with higher premiums. Currently, the Affordable Care Act bans insurers from basing premiums on gender or industry and limits the amount that can be based on age.

However, plans would not be allowed to set premiums based on workers' health status, which critics of the executive order had feared. It also maintains state regulators' oversight of these policies.

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