SMB Nation Blog

Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.

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Digium decodes VoIP for business owners

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Voice over Internet Protocol is a key technology for businesses small and large, functioning as one of the most popular methids of communication both in and out of the office, according to Digium's newest infographic. 

The graphic highlights the rise of VoIP throughout myriad verticals and notes top reasons for companies to switch to VoIP, notably lower telecommunication costs and a desire to merge voice and data traffic.

Digium offers resources illustrating the transition to VoIP here for businesses and the professionals that support them. View the full infographic below. All About That VoIP copy

IBM to acquire Cleversafe

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IBM announced this morning it entered into an agreemnet to acquire Cleversafe, Inc., which will strengthen IBMs ability to develop and lead storage and hybrid cloud. IBM logo1

Cleversafe’s portfolio will be integrated into the IBM cloud business unit to provide clients with increased consistency in on-premise, cloud and hybrid cloud solutions. 

"Today a massive digital transformation is underway as organizations increasingly turn to cloud computing for innovative ways to manage more complex business operations and increasing volumes of data in a secure and effective way," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. "Cleversafe, a pioneer in object storage, will add to our efforts to help clients overcome these challenges by extending and strengthening our cloud storage strategy, as well as our portfolio.”

Cleversafe CEO John Morris said the acquisition will expand Cleversafe’s current solutions to better its client service as well.

StorageCraft enhances UK presence with exhibit

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StorageCraft announced this morning the StorageCraft Technology roadshow is set to make a stop at IP Expo Europe later this week to enhance its foothold in the U.K. and throughout Europe.  Storagecraft logo

"StorageCraft is enhancing its strong foothold in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom,” Ellen Marie Hickey, StorageCraft's European marketing director said. “This is an opportunity for IP Expo attendees to learn why information technology professionals trust StorageCraft backup and disaster recovery solutions in more than one million computer systems around the world."

StorageCraft will be available at booth M23 in the ExCel Exhibition Center from Oct. 7-8. 

Microsoft announces Azure innovation at AzureCon

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The intelligent cloud is powering innovation industry-wide and key to advancement of Microsoft Azure. 

Microsoft Corp. announced earlier this week Azure will be available in more places worldwide with new features designed to offer users simplicity and flexibility. microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

“We live in a connected world, and the intelligent cloud is powering it all,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud + Enterprise Division. “As data and devices continue to proliferate, there is vast opportunity for businesses to tap into their data to make their applications more intelligent. Through our offerings across applications, data and IoT, and cloud infrastructure, we are enabling companies to innovate more easily and rapidly, using the tools and platforms they know and love.”

Exciting product news include the availability of the Azure IoT Suite and the expansion of Azure Data Lake. Microsoft Azure services are now available in India, with O365 and Dynamics CRM soon to follow in the coming months. 

More product information and service announcements from AzureCon are available here.

Webroot expands UK distribution

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U.K.-based Distology and threat protection provider Webroot announced today they expanded distribution of Webroot’s products into the UK and Ireland. webroot

“The MSP space in the UK carries huge potential and Webroot has taken a very dynamic and proactive approach to grow its presence in this market,” said Rick Yates, director of sales and marketing at Distology. “Webroot’s lightweight agent, two minute initial system scan time, and minimal impact on end user devices keep downtime to a minimum and service costs low. We look forward to delivering their innovative threat intelligence and Smarter Cybersecurity™ solutions to our extensive partner and MSP network.”

This expansion will allow Webroot to globally further its partner programs and provide MSPs, resellers and system integrators with privacy, performance and protection.

Tagged in: Distology msp UK Webroot

Jabra expands SPEAK series to simplify collaboration

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Jabra announced today availability of Jabra SPEAK 810, a speakerphone solution designed to mitigate traditional difficulties of conference collaboration and eliminate poor sound quality.  Jabra long

"Businesses are becoming more focused on creating working environments and cultures that better enable them to compete,” Holger Reisinger, Head of Business Solutions, Jabra, said. “As a result, office environments are changing and becoming more dynamic, demanding and technology-enabled. New ways of working are adding flexibility to working spaces, practices and hours. Yet productivity must also remain a priority for business success and for this reason so should enabling effective collaboration and concentration.”

Important features include a directional microphone with a 15 foot range; connectivity through USB, Bluetooth and 3.5 mm jack cables; USB charge out for charging mobile devices; and a Kensington lock slot option.

Covertix supports O365 transition

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Israel-based Covertix continues to facilitate migration to Office 365 with its SmartCipher technology, the company announced today. 

SmartCipher is designed to provide control, tracking and forensics for internal and external unstructured data files.

"Security concerns are the primary reason that many people are not actively moving to the cloud," said Covertix CEO Yoran Sirkis. "Covertix support for Office 365 eases some of those concerns."We live in a world without boundaries. Protection needs to follow each document, each piece of information because the endpoint no longer exists. It's now everywhere.”

Its technology allows governance of protected information across O365, including email and cloud storage. 

 by Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation

We’ve been talking a lot on O365 Nation about the financial and management benefits of moving to Office 365. Simply removing the internal infrastructure costs for Exchange can be a compelling reason for a business of any size to consider Office 365. That said, Office 365 is a service from Microsoft that offers so much more than a way to simplify the management of

Are you getting the full advantage?

One area that is currently underutilized by many Office 365 subscribers is the included SharePoint Online license. For example, a recent Radicati Group survey found that only 23% of respondents are using SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online represents a transformational opportunity for many of today’s business and you should be taking a careful look at all the opportunities. Maybe you don’t have an intranet today or all your internal files are in a file share. Your current Office 365 license allows you to change all this.

So why aren’t more people using SharePoint Online?

Radicati states that the “hesitant majority of enterprises that aren't willing to move to [SharePoint Online is] because of user issues, existing architecture and data security.”

(Source for above: )

In some areas these objections are tried and true challenges with SharePoint on-premises for which there is a well-established ecosystem of vendors focused. For example, AvePoint, Cryptzone, and Metalogix are just a few of the vendors focused on data migration, architecture and security problems.

So what about user issues? This is a newer area of focus for the Microsoft ecosystem, but promises to help overcome one of the last real stumbling blocks to better adoption of Office 365 across the enterprise.

Depending on your SharePoint Online needs, there is help for the user experience issues. For example, Beezy offers tools to enhance the collaboration user experience on Microsoft’s cloud stack. ShareGate is a vendor with roots in the data and site migration space that is differentiating itself on the SharePoint administrative experience across Office 365. Thirdly, there is Akumina, who is bringing their founders knowledge of the site management and content authoring experience and applying it to a new turn-key Office 365 intranet site that they say you’ll be able to use and manage without being a SharePoint expert.

So don’t hold back on getting the most out of your Office 365 investment. Just as with SharePoint on-premises, there are several ways you can address some of the most common gaps in what Microsoft delivers out of the box.

New Features to Look for in Office 2016

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By Nathan Mitchell, Appriver

The highly anticipated Office 2016 was released on September 22. While you will quickly notice that many of the Office apps appear very similar to the 2013 version, Microsoft, however has snuck in several new features that make Office 2016 work great with Office 365.AppRiver Nathan Mitchell

Sharing files and saving to the cloud have become very popular with Office 365’s OneDrive for Business. Microsoft has now further simplified that process by adding “Save to Cloud” and “Share” features right into the Office 2016 apps. With co-authoring also available in Office 2016 apps, the workflow for creating, sharing and collaborating has never been easier.

Right: AppRiver’s Office 365 Support Team Lead, Nathan Mitchell

 With collaboration and team work being a huge part of business today, the “Groups” feature helps teams communicate easily and effectively by acting as a shared inbox, calendar, and OneDrive. Office 2016 incorporates the new Groups feature in the Outlook app making it readily available for Office 365 users.

A ton of features have been incorporated into Office apps over the years and it can be difficult to remember all of those things. Not to worry though, as Office 2016 includes the new features “Tell me” and “Smart Lookup” that make finding answers to all Office questions a breeze. The Smart Lookup feature brings the Web browser right into the Office app so you can quickly and easily search the Web. The Tell me feature makes it easy to find commands or options within the Office app you are using. Tell me will be especially useful for users upgrading from older versions of Office with different interfaces who want a quick nod in the right direction.

My Digital Shield announces new leadership

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SECaaS provider My Digital Shield announced yesterday it hired channel industry veteran  Stuart Selbst as its vice president of channel sales. In his new position, Selbst will oversee channel sales and marketing, as well as strengthening and furthering MDS’ relationship with partners and the channel. my digital shield

“My Digital Shield’s small business cyber security solution offers such a unique opportunity for channel partners to leverage among their existing customers,” said Selbst. “I look forward to leveraging my expertise across the channel to help MDS better educate the reseller community on its offering and help IT service providers strengthen their services portfolios with the addition of MDS’ small business cyber security platform.”

Selbst has been recognized for his channel expertise with awards from MSP Mentor, The VAR Guy and SMB Nation, included in the SMB Nation SMB Top 150 list from 2011 to 2013.

Today’s latest technology is designed to make decisions easier for both businesses and tech professionals.

Changepoint, a portfolio management and professional services automation service provider announced today it will reveal its business execution management solution at a U.S. Gartner symposium Nov. 5. 

"In today's evolving business landscape, CIOs and senior executives need solutions that enable them to make agile and strategic business decisions," said Mark Upson, President of Changepoint. "Changepoint's BEM platform does exactly that, and there is no better place to introduce it than Gartner ITxpo, where the focus is on bringing new insights and tools to a high-level audience of IT and business leaders.”

Changepoint will also showcase the solution at symposiums in Australia and Spain.

SaaS provider AppRiver shared two announcements yesterday: Penton awarded the company high positions on lists ranking MSPs and CSPs, and it will share its insights and strategies at Channel Directions Live. appriver logo emailwebsecurityexperts stacked

At the conference, AppRiver will accept its No. 31 ranking on the Talkin’ Cloud 100 list of Penton’s top CSPs and its No. 9 ranking on the MSPmentor 501 Global Edition awards list. 

"Evolving technology trends such as cloud computing, BYOD and sophisticated advanced persistent threats directed toward businesses are driving the adoption and demand of new security solutions," AppRiver channel sales manager Justin Gilbert said. "Not only have we designed our technology to keep businesses productive and information secure, but we're helping resellers become trusted advisors to their clients.”

Gilbert said the awards serve as a testament to  AppRiver’s continued dedication to its partners.

Tagged in: AppRiver

IBM grows portfolio of cloud business solutions

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IBM announced today plans to expand its business solutions capabilities with new industry platforms designed to simplify and accelerate transitions to the cloud. IBM logo1

These industry platforms combine multiple cloud business solutions, and the portfolio includes platforms built for personalized learning, insights and customer experiences. 

“Our portfolio of cloud business solutions is a recognition of the mandate for speed and time to value, along with the requirement of clients to personalize business solutions to their own processes and culture and deploy them via the cloud," said Sanjay Rishi, IBM Global Business Services, Managing Partner, Cloud Consulting Services. “Our new IBM Cloud Business Innovation Center will help us co-create with our clients, addressing their unique needs with tailored solutions, delivered on the cloud for fast results.”

IBM’s portfolio is built to address specific verticals and business functions. More information about available solutions can be found here.

Tagged in: cloud IBM solutions

For many, this is the brand that needs no introduction. Who can forget this German company with its yellow headphones in your youth, when you listened to the likes of the Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, et al. I remember well, and Sennheiser headphones both revolutionized the listening experience and also kept family peace (so I didn’t play my rock-and-roll too loud).HarrySenn

Fast forward the movie and this well-respect brand associated with high-fidelity is not only alive and kicking but more relevant than ever. Sennheiser is now a major player in Unified Communications (UC) headsets. I’ve put the SD Pro1 to the test these past few weeks, and can report the following:

Supporting multiple call types. The ability to switch between my traditional Polycom VoIP phone and computer-based services like GoToMeeting and Skype is amazing. I can have my traditional calls via the SD Pro1 headset and my phone and then switch to Skype with push button ease for overseas clients. The “switching” has been flawless.

Range. Tested on the 20th floor of a busy downtown Seattle building, the range was impressive. I could migrate around the entire floor (even outside my leased office space) and once rode the elevator down, keeping the session alive until the 18th floor. That was unexpected.

Fidelity. The proof is in the ear of the customer. When using SD Pro1, I repeatedly asked how my sound quality was. I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted to know how well the SD Pro1 actually works. I’ve heard reactions from “fine” to “best ever.” Second, I wanted to practice what I preach. I’m so pissed off at people using UC solutions like Skype for Business and talking into their built-in laptop microphone. The sound quality for computer-based microphones sucks. I refuse to devolve about 15-years to poor quality VoIPy-like conversations. My point is that I’ve made a commitment to sound quality with Sennheiser and my entire staff is outfitted with the same. Stamp out poor sound quality in UC!

Music to my ears. Returning to my Sennheiser roots, I discovered I can listen to music while working and switch to incoming phone calls with ease. Using the online streaming capabilities of my laptop, I can listen to my beloved KEXP public radio ( during the day. This hip station streams alternative music that keeps me calm and young at heart.

So find out for yourself if Sennheiser SD Pro1 allows you to step up to the next level with UC.

PS – Sennheiser is a sponsor at this weekend’s Fall conference in Redmond! Still time to join us in-person or via live streaming. Visit

by Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation

GoDaddyGoDaddyMarketing and IT — they’ve never been strange bedfellows, because, well, they’ve seldom been in bed together. In most organizations, they’ve slept in different rooms, if you know what I mean.

But here’s the thing: The terms of endearment have changed. Marketing has become so technology-driven, that you at least have to flirt with it. If you haven’t considered offering web hosting, website development, and other forms of digital marketing tools to your clients, you do so at your own peril.

This came to me as I reviewed the results of a just-released survey by RedShift Research sponsored by GoDaddy. It showed that a huge amount of money is sitting on the table among a still vast number of small businesses that have yet to take even the first, most basic step to get online with a simple website.

Getting them there may open the door more opportunities. “Companies that get online are likely to use other IT services,” GoDaddy SVP Steven Aldrich told me as we discussed the significance of the just-released survey.

Or as GoDaddy put it in announcing its findings:

“While those planning to build a website are as likely to telephone a customer as they are to email them, the survey found that those already with a website were twice as likely to communicate via email as to phone. That suggests that as these very small businesses get their own online presence, their communication practices will change, perhaps as they become more digitally sophisticated and their customer base grows.”

Note: Those “other services” extend beyond email. Digital marketing is on its way to becoming the next great imperative among all businesses, even including the very small ones (five employees or less) constituting the RedStart-GoDaddy survey universe.

Digital marketing is 90 percent technology-driven. Ergo, you, dear IT pro, will be an essential and trusted advisor on on this matter.

Let’s say you have a contract customer. Yes, you’re offering email, telephony, network management and monitoring. Great. But helping your customers with a website can also lead to a daisy chain of other related services — email marketing, marketing automation, live chat, reputation management, and a host of other related platforms.

This represents a huge potential opportunity. Consider: A surprising 59 percent businesses in the RedStart-GoDaddy survey didn’t have a website. Extrapolate: That means about 118 million small businesses need someone to help them get a Website — and then grow into other services.

And heaven help them if you don’t. Their competition promises to eat them alive. Look at these two other survey results:

59 percent of those respondents who already have a website say their business grew.
83 percent of small business owners who already own a website feel they have a competitive advantage over those without one.
Don’t write off those businesses without a website as hopelessly and forever behind the times. Of those surveyed, 55 percent said they intend to create a website in the next two years.


One other note of interest about the GoDaddy survey: It exemplifies the extent to which the company has re-calibrated its strategy. Remember those racy Danika Patrick Super Bowl ads? Gone.

“We’re talking about GoDaddy to the customers we’ve always had,” Aldrich said. “Much of our advertising and marketing is about the day-to-day effort by small businesses to keep the lights on.

“So our creative has shifted away from the sensational to that small business struggle.”

And that to note as well because where small businesses are pained is exactly where you can most gain.

by Patrick Houston, Editor-in-Chief, SMB Nation

Webroot and Lynx partner to protect IoT

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Webroot and Lynx Software Technologies announced earlier this week the start of a strategic partnership combining security technologies to enable developers to build advanced threat detection and protection into IoT and IIoT devices. 

In the combined solution, components of Webroot’s IoT Security Toolkit are embedded inside the LynxSecure Hypervisor secure virtual space. 

“With constantly changing security threats, we need an IoT security solution that adapts to any environment while taking into account the importance of future-proofing and the need for living protection,” said Dick Williams, Webroot CEO. “As we bring our cloud-based threat intelligence to IoT developers through the Webroot IoT Security Toolkit, we see a very clear alliance with Lynx. By combining our technologies, we’re able to offer a unique solution to protect the connected IoT world from advanced targeted threats.”

The integration of Webroot’s toolkit substantially increases threat awareness, Lynx CEO Gurjot Singh agreed.

eFolder extends eFolder BDR for Veeam service

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eFolder announced yesterday the eFolder BDR for Veeam service has been extended to support cloud-based disaster recovery for Veeam-protected VMware vSphere environments.  efolder

VMware leads the market in virtualization software deployments, according to the IDC, and this addition to eFolder BDR for Veeam service is designed to enable IT channel partners to support and capitalize on this success. 

“eFolder BDR for Veeam is the most comprehensive off-site backup and disaster recovery service for Veeam,” says Ted Hulsy, vice president of marketing at eFolder. “Enhancing the service to support cloud-based disaster recovery of VMware environments, which we know to be the majority of Veeam deployments, gives IT channel partners the opportunity to offer a profitable, end-to-end disaster recovery solution for any virtualized environment.”

The solution can also be used with Microsoft Hyper-V environments, according to eFolder.

SMB Nation is incredibly excited to announce we are now offering a cost-friendly virtual opportunity for you to join the best jam session of the season! THE 2015 Fall Conference is going online to extend the experience to the worldwide community of professionals supporting the SMB market.  smb logo horz rgb

This is your opportunity to learn more about Microsoft's best solutions for SMBs and enterprise from the experts that know them best, all from the comfort of your home or office. We're bringing myriad sessions straight to your computer in a live-streamed or pre-recorded format for just $99. 

Even though you'll miss in-person networking opportunities, you can still join the conversation by live-chatting during the sessions through your twitter account.

The sessions included in the virtual pass are denoted by an asterisk at If you have any questions about virtual attendance or which registration package is best for you, contact Jenny Hallmark at 206.201.2943 ext 102 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Global technology and software leader Microsoft announced yesterday its next key update to the Microsoft portfolio: The worldwide release of its popular home and business Office suite.  microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

Its pairing with Office 365 and Windows 10 as well as increased built-in security make Office 2016 an exciting solution in both the SMB and enterprise markets . 

This latest update is designed to catch up with other popular business solutions that integrate opportunities for collaboration with co-workers and clients. 

“Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team. “It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.”

Read the full blog from Koenigsbauer here to get insights on enhancements to connectivity and productivity and the details about Office’s most innovative features yet. 

Unitrends marks five years on Inc. 5000

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Spending a fifth year on Inc. Magazine’s annual ranking of the nation's fastest-growing privately-owned companies is certainly something to celebrate.

Unitrends announced today its position at No. 1184 on the exclusive list, with a special nod to its recognition on the Inc. Magazine Honor Roll, which includes organizations recognized on the Inc. 5000 list five or more times.  unitrends logo

"Our ranking on this year's Inc. 5000 list and inclusion in the Inc. 5000 Honoree Club is recognition of an unwavering focus on creating the highest quality data protection solutions that enable companies to recover more than just data," said Kevin Weiss, president and CEO of Unitrends. "Equally as important, it demonstrates that the path to financial success is dependent on constant innovation, world-class, award-winning customer support, and a vision of where this marketplace is headed and how we as a company will lead that change.”

This year has been key in Unitrends’ expansion, with worldwide growth of Unitrends Cloud and the Unitrends Enterprise Backup software. 


Dell co-designs solution with Cloudera and Syncsort

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Dell announced today it worked with Cloudera and Syncsort to co-design a new solution for Hadoop created to streamline the extract, transform and load process for data analysis. dell

The solution’s features work to combat the lack of flexibility and the high cost of traditional tools such as RDBMS and EDW with increased customizability and improved access to insights. 

“Businesses are increasingly requiring quicker, cost effective and richer data insights to drive and accelerate their business results,” said Jim Ganthier, VP and GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell. “Dell and Cloudera continue to jointly bring to market breakthrough big data and analytics solutions that deliver on those needs. Our new solution, which now incorporates Syncsort, will bring the power of big data insights to a whole new set of users who were once unable to justify the costs and complications of previously available commercial solutions.”

The solution is generally available today. 

Tagged in: Dell ETL Hadoop

Webroot announced yesterday it received the 2015 North American Cybersecurity for Robotics & Industrial Control Frost & Sullivan Product Leadership Award, which recognizes Webroot’s IoT cybersecurity and Industrial Internet of Things technologies. 

"We are honored to accept this coveted award, and it serves as strong validation of Webroot's overall IoT security leadership and unique, future-proofing strategy," said John Sirianni, VP of IoT Strategic Partnerships at Webroot. "While existing cybersecurity solutions for embedded devices focus on locking down systems at the time of manufacture—which has been shown to be ineffective against the evolving threat landscape—BrightCloud Threat Intelligence continuously monitors the origin and nature of attacks, and defends vulnerable IIoT devices and systems against ever-evolving exploits."  

Webroot’s technology combines BrghtCloud Threat Intelligence with Webroot’s device micro-agents to protect connected devices against threats including DDoS attacks, malware, ransomware and sensitive data exfiltration.

Voxox caters to channel partners, offers promotion

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Cloud-based rich-communication service Voxox announced earlier this week at the Cloud Partners Conference & Expo it revamped its hosted PBX and SIP trunking solutions under the Voxox Office Brand.  voxox

In this transition, Voxox will double the standard partner commission to 40-50 percent for the first year of hosted PBX and SIP Trunking deals for 12 months or longer. 

"The channel is our primary sales force so we are always thinking of ways to cater to partner needs," said Bryan Hertz, CEO of Voxox. "We saw an opportunity to enhance our hosted PBX and SIP trunking solutions tailoring the latest offering to our channel partners' requests, and we feel that the new Voxox Office suite offers an even better partner and customer experience. We are excited to roll out this offering."

Voxox Office combines both Voxox solutions and third-party products, as Voxox strives to offer the most complete features and solutions. 

SMB Nation Webinar: The Rise of Cloud Vertical-ization

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SMB Nation, the events and media company for the SMB channel community, announced this morning it will host “The Rise of Cloud Vertical-ization” from 10-11 a.m. PST Sept. 24. 

The webinar, featuring AppRiver’s Scott Paul, will give MSPs and IT pros an opportunity to learn how they can deliver innovation and create profit.  smb nation webinar topper

As platforms continue to mature, and more organizations are drawn to the financial and management benefits, cloud is spurring interest from industries that have been hesitant, including those most beset with regulation, compliance and privacy: banking and finance, healthcare, and legal firms and companies.

Organizations need help navigating the security and compliance hurdles they face, and cloud service providers are delivering more features, certifications and tools to help them. 

Managed service providers who bring these needs and resources together to create well-defined, compelling packages that are easy to implement are delivering real innovation and value.

Those interested in the webinar can register here.

Accenture announces agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas

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Cloud services provider Accenture announced Tuesday it entered into an agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas, a cloud advisory and technology services provider specializing in “pure play” technologies including Salesforce and NetSuite. 

“We’ve reached a tipping point in cloud as our clients rapidly adopt cloud solutions,” Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty said. “Accenture’s Cloud First agenda is a game-changer that offers transformational cloud services to help clients move their businesses to the cloud and achieve significant business results more quickly. I look forward to welcoming the talented professionals of Cloud Sherpas to Accenture.”

Combined, the two companies will continue to strengthen a strategic partnership with Salesforce, with thousands of certified professionals combined. 

More information about the acquisition and how it will affect customers and employees is available here.