SMB Nation Blog

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

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Lenovo announced today new products in several solution portfolios, including updated X6 servers and two new EMC-supported offerings optimized for deployments of SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite software. lenovo for those who do

“Business analytics presents big opportunities and challenges for virtually every enterprise,” said Darrel Ward, vice president, Enterprise Marketing and Storage Business Unit.  “Our new X6 server-based solutions and services for SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite offer a powerful, scalable and fast path for turning data into a competitive advantage.”

The updated scalable X6 servers, the four-socket Lenovo System x3850 X6 and eight-socket x3950 X6, feature a modular architecture and deliver 50 percent better performance than previous-generation X6 systems.

Lenovo’s newest EMC-supported offerings, the enterprise-certified EMC VMAX3 family and VNX Unified Storage Systems and the EMC VSPEX technology for classic SAP solution-based landscapes, are designed for customers to leverage existing hardware and infrastructure components with an expanded, effective solution.

“Combining EMC enterprise storage offerings  with Lenovo servers offer customers also running SAP applications with the ability to help speed deployment, simplify management and reduce TCO,” said Roger Frey, Vice President, Enterprise Applications Solutions, EMC Corporation.  ”Lenovo System x and Flex System servers combined with EMC storage offer customers a great combination of enterprise-class server infrastructure with enterprise-class storage, enabling them to confidently run their business.”   

Tagged in: Lenovo SAP

Digium Discusses Benefits of a Phone System in the Cloud

Digium released last week an infographic detailing the benefits of cloud-based phone systems, a solution especially suited for SMBs.Cloud Phone Systems

and remote businesses looking to reduce costs, minimize IT resources and keep employees connected regardless of location.

“The beauty of Cloud applications and VoIP phones systems are that they are located in secure data centers, and vendors take responsibility for owning, configuring, and managing them,” Cora Cloud, Digium content marketing specialist, said.

Full-featured Unified Communication solution Switchvox Cloud, designed for SMBs, includes UC features in a cloud format, which Digium suggested is the superior option for SMB phone systems.

According to the infographic, 82 percent of companies reduced costs by moving to the cloud, and cloud-based phone systems also saved energy and server space.

The full infographic is available  to the right.

P.S. Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign-up here: getconnected.o365nation.com

Tagged in: cloud Digium Switchvox VoIP

IBM announced today a set of integrated Power Systems solutions for the SAP HANA platform designed to process high volumes of data efficiently for both transactional and analytic workloads. IBM logo1

"The commodity servers used today by many organizations are increasingly stretched to their limits by new workloads, in the cloud or on premises," said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems. "IBM's Power Systems' architecture is uniquely suited to provide faster access to critical business data stored with in-memory database technologies. New IBM Power System Solution Editions for SAP HANA are tailored to deliver enterprise-class capabilities to clients' growing core systems reliability expectations."

This announcement furthers the IBM and SAP partnership, SAP CTO Quentin Clark said. The integrated solutions are expected to enable POWER8 servers to run SAP HANA.

More information on the integration is available here.

P.S. Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign up at getconnected.o365nation.com

Tagged in: data HANA IBM POWER8 SAP

Adobe and Microsoft announced at Adobe Summit a strategic partnership focused on redefining management of marketing, sales and services to better engage with customers across all touch points. adobe

Through this partnership, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Solutions will be integrated with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, creating a CRM-marketing solution that helps brands to take all customer engagements into account.

“Helping our customers reinvent productivity and business processes is one of our top priorities. Partnering with Adobe enables us to deliver a comprehensive set of customer engagement processes to enterprise customers to help them be more productive and better engage with their customers,” said Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions. “The integration of our industry-leading Dynamics CRM solution with Adobe Marketing Cloud will enable business professionals to maximize their investment in technology and deliver breakthroughs in marketing, sales and customer care.”  

Adobe and Microsoft are also working on a connector to enable data and insights from Adobe Analytics to appear in Microsoft’s Power BI.

Ingram Micro Mobility’s new Advanced Analytics solution, announced yesterday, was designed to leverage data points and connected devices to empower supply chain team decision-making.Ingram Micro logo

"Each year, consumer returns cost carriers tens of millions of dollars," said Bashar Nejdawi, executive vice president, Ingram Micro, and president, North America, Ingram Micro Mobility. "We modeled the Advanced Analytics solution after the health IT field, recognizing that we could use the same type of heuristics to predict future behavior and make accommodations early -- ultimately reducing cost, while increasing customer satisfaction."

The solution combines the cache of digital data available in the mobility and hi-tech industries with market intelligence and customer profiles to show gaps in processes and services, contradictive actions and opportunities for cost savings.

Outlook.com Announces Add-ins

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The Microsoft Outlook Team announced April 29 the addition of add-ins Uber, Boomerang and PayPal, among the first partners to bring add-ins that can be accessed without leaving Outlook to Outlook.com’s 400 million active users.Outlook.com

New unified consumer and commercial Outlook APIs were also announced, and create an open platform for developers to build contextual experiences for Outlook.com and O365 users.

Developers can build add-ins with open standards such as HTML, CSS3 and JavaScript for user interfaces, with the option to integrate further using REST APIs and OAuth for secure access to data and services. Details on how to request an account are available here.

Add-ins can be used worldwide across Outlook.com, Outlook 2013 and the Outlook Web App.

Lenovo celebrated today the 10-year anniversary of its acquisition of IBM’s PC business, bringing it from a China-only PC maker to its 2015 rank as No. 1 PC maker worldwide.  Lenovo For Those Who Do

In 2005, Lenovo ranked No. 9 in the global PC industry with an annual revenue of $3 billion and a 2.3 percent market share, and today, it controls a 20 percent market share and earns a $39 billion annual revenue.

“The acquisition of IBM’s PC business transformed Lenovo overnight into a truly global company, changing not only Lenovo but our industry,” said Yang Yuanqing, Chairman and CEO, Lenovo. “Since then, we have overcome many challenges – and many doubters – to become the world’s leading PC company and one of the world’s most innovative personal technology companies.  Even more, this acquisition built the foundation for our expansion to new products like smartphones, tablets, servers and now our ecosystem, growth engines fueled by the success of our first big deal.”

More statistics and stories from Lenovo’s decade of success are available here.

P.S. Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign up at getconnected.o365nation.com

Repumatic Releases Free Online Defamation Monitor

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Repumatic released today the Repumatic Defamation Monitor, a free online tool designed to track defamation of businesses and individuals.

To discover potential defamation, the Repumatic community built its Defamation Database, continuing to compile a catalog of websites encouraging sharing opinions on a person and business.

Repumatic scans these websites for names of registered users, and alerts users to potential defamation to allow the user to efficiently and effectively respond.

“Right now, almost 2 billion people use Google to find information about people and companies,” Repumatic creator Chris Martin said. “If defamation hits Google, the clock is ticking. You have to start working before it’s the first thing people see when they search for you.”

Tagged in: Defamation Repumatic

Dropbox Offers Comment Option to All Users

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Dropbox announced today its new comment feature is available to all users, after Dropbox for Business users tested out commenting over the last month.Dropbox Logo

Comments on Dropbox are key to improving collaboration, as multiple people can comment on the same Dropbox file, keeping the conversation with the document.

Through Dropbox comments, users can mention others to connect or continue the conversation; stay up-to-date with email notifications for each comment; manage access to commenting; and make changes in a Microsoft file opened through Dropbox in Office Online or the desktop app, with changes saved directly back to Dropbox.

Step-by-step instructions are available here.

Trend Micro Uncovers ACH Fraud

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Trend Micro announced earlier this week companies are targets for macro malware BARTALEX in an outbreak of spammed messages related to Automated Clearing House fraud.TrendMicro

These spammed emails lead to a Dropbox page with specific instructions and a Microsoft Office warning, closely resembling a non-malicious page. More than 1,000 macro-based malware links are hosted on the Dropbox site, and Trend Micro contacted Dropbox for removal.

According to V3, a U.K.-based technology website, Dropbox is aware of the campaign and taking action against the hackers and malware.

The United States is the top country affected by BARTALEX malware, according to the Smart Protection Network.

Hashes for the malicious files are available here, along with the full Trend Micro advisory.

Kaspersky Lab, an endpoint protection solution provider, announced today the latest edition of Kaspersky Small Office Security, a security solution built for SMBs with fewer than 25 employees that protects Windows- and Mac-based devices.KSOS 4 main screen PC

SMBs, frequently targeted by cybercriminals because of perceived easier access to data, require increased security in an increasingly dangerous digital environment.

“Running a small business can be very exciting and fun, but being small doesn’t mean being less noticeable by cybercriminals. It’s very important for businesses to pay more attention to ensuring their cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Small Office Security has made it easy. It’s straightforward to install, simple to configure, and easy to maintain, so that business owners can get on with doing what they do best: making the company a success,” Konstantin Voronkov, Head of Endpoint Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.

Key features of the new edition include enhanced threat protection, cloud-based management console and password management, and improvements to security for financial data.

P.S. Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign up at getconnected.o365nation.com

Tagged in: cybersecurity SMB

D&H Distributing, a computer products and consumer electronics distributor, announced today it appointed Peter DiMarco as the vice president of VAR sales in the computer products division, a newly-created executive position. 

DiMarco, whose experience includes companies such as EarthLink and Ingram Micro, will oversee sales teams working with value-added resellers that provide products through the CPD division, among other responsibilities.

“We’re thrilled to bring on Peter DiMarco in this new capacity, to help D&H generate new sales and make inroads with a larger customer base of mid-market solution providers, as well as help our current resellers migrate to higher sales,” said Davis. “Peter’s breadth of expertise is substantial, delivering decades of industry acumen to support D&H’s latest initiatives.  We’re proud to take him into the fold, to accommodate our growth strategy and create an enhanced level of opportunities for our customer base.”

In addition, D&H appointed Fred Eddy as the vice president of sales for the retail, e-tail and direct market reseller segment within the CPD division.

Lenovo announced today the ThinkCentre Chromebox, an addition to its ThinkCentre Tiny business desktop family designed for education and SMB users.

Lenovo

Based on Chrome OS, the ThinkCentre Chromebox offers security, easy management and flexibility, key for businesses and industries with few IT professionals or minimal training. Through Google Chrome, users can access myriad applications designed for learning, sharing and collaboration.

“Lenovo was the first to introduce a one litre commercial desktop and ThinkCentre Chromebox is a testament to our commitment to the continued evolution of the desktop and our promise to push the boundaries on innovation for our education and business customers.” said Ouyang Jun, vice president and general manager, Desktop and Visuals, Lenovo. “Combined with the ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One, the new Chromebox illustrates our belief in more flexibility for teachers and IT managers to continue to offer desktop solutions in a modern day environment.”

ThinkCentre Chromebox will be available in June.

P.S.: Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign up at http://getconnected.o365nation.com.

Tagged in: Chrome Google Lenovo

IBM announced yesterday SoftLayer opened a second cloud data center in the Netherlands to meet rapid growth of IBM Cloud in the region. IBM logo1

The new center, located near Amsterdam, provides more regional options for redundant data storage and geographically isolated services. One of several locations in Europe, the new center provides customers with geographic diversity able to mitigate business risk by replicating data or creating redundant oprtations in multiple locations.

"This new facility demonstrates the demand and success IBM Cloud is having at delivering high-value services right to the doorstep of our clients," said James Comfort, IBM General Manager of Cloud Services. "We're reaching customers in a way that takes all the guess work out of moving to the cloud. They can build and scale applications, run the toughest big data workloads, have the level of security they need, all in country and connected to a truly global platform."

According to IBM, it plans to continue worldwide expansion of SoftLayer and IBM Cloud.

As companies struggle to create strategies engaging diverse age groups from millennials to baby boomers, HR Policy Foundation released today at the White House Upskill Summit its “Talent Sustainability Report: The CHRO View From the Front Lines of the War on Talent.”

Changing Policies PRINT

The foundation found almost 70 percent of respondents indicated innovation and transformation occur more quickly today than normal, and, while this fits millennials, it increases challenges with older employees. With 40 percent of millennials missing soft skills in communication, though, they still have much to adapt to in the workforce.

"While skill life cycles are shortening, and competitive advantage is increasingly transient, it has never been more critical for companies to align their talent strategy with their business strategy,” said Jaime Fall, vice president of workforce and talent sustainability at HR Policy Foundation. “This report includes eye-opening future implications from CHROs and survey data that we hope will be used to encourage frank discussions about how employers, educators and policymakers can work together to develop the skills of future and current workers who are prepared for success in the workplace."

The report, compiled from yearlong research conducted by the HR Policy Foundation, included surveys of more than 100 large companies in fall 2014.

Washington-based Paladin Data Systems announced today its Advanced Skills Management Industrial qualification and certification management product is now the platform for Strategic Systems Programs’ Watch Bill, Qualification and Certification Management Software tool for sailors and marines assigned to SSP Security Forces.Paladin Data Systems Logo

ASMi, a personnel readiness tool, is an authorized software application within the U.S. Department of the Navy Application and Database Management System and is designed to manage, maintain and forecast workforce knowledge, skills and abilities.

“SSP does such important work for our nation, and we were glad that they chose to deploy our technology to support their security forces mission,” Paladin CEO Jim Nall said. “The SSP organization was great to work with, and the SSP and Paladin ASMi team successfully completed the software deployment on-time and on-budget. It was a tremendous effort by the entire team.”

Paladin’s products are used nationwide by myriad government agencies.

ECi Appoints Grant Howe as CTO

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ECi Software Solutions announced today Grant Howe, newly named chief technology officer, will be responsible for product and technology strategy and execution across the ECi family of companies. ECi Software Solutions logo

“It’s exciting to be part of the ECi team and to support the entrepreneurial spirit of independent business owners,” Howe said. “I am looking forward to offering a growing variety of products and services that help them compete effectively in today’s market. I am always intrigued and challenged by the technology development that goes on behind the scenes but, at the end of the day, it’s the customer-facing benefits of improved efficiency, growth and profitability that truly bring value.”

Howe served as a senior technology executive at companies including Abila and NetIQ, and ECi CEO Ron Books said Howe’s knowledge in research and development and his team-building skills will fuel ECi solution development.

Tagged in: CTO ECi software

The Managed Service Provider Consortium, an open consortium built by MSPs for MSPs, is a platform that leverages the MSPC platform tool designed to help MSPs eliminate licensing fees, improve business performance and increase revenues.

Its platform tool combines remote management and monitoring and professional services automation, and is free to use, just as MSPC is free to join.

“A huge advantage of the MSP Consortium is that it has been designed by MSPs specifically for MSPs – giving members the ability to leverage a community of IT and security experts to help solve any technical or business challenges they are facing in building their business,” said Amy Rutt, MSPC board president and CEO of Ciracom. “The ability to quickly and easily tap into the knowledge of your peers will give members unique insight, tools and resources – all free of charge. No one in the entire IT industry is doing anything like this today for MSPs.”    

Organizational operations are led by committees surrounding central MSP concerns, such as technology and compliance, and a board of directors, which includes representatives from Ciracom, Comodo and LazoTek Computer Solutions, among others.

Membership information and registration is available here.

Tagged in: 2015 msp

YouMailCalifornia-based YouMail today released the results of a public survey concerning spam calls in the US. The main takeaway was that, despite being listed on the Do Not Call Registry, 74% of respondents still received spam calls every month. The tradeoff? Business owners are losing time and focus having to deal with spam calls.

In fact, 30% of those polled said that they receive at least one spam call per day, and 60% say that they lose valuable business time trying to deal with spam callers (asking for removal). The respondents’ only quick way for dealing with the call was to either hang up, or just delete the message.

logicalisLogicalis US asserted successful CIOs have realized the importance and advantage of a converged infrastructure, yet CI’s purpose is changing to face critical industry issues with shadow IT.

Logicalis released “Converged Infrastructure for Targeted Workloads: Using Converged Infrastructures to Catapult your IT Environment into the Future of Computing,” a downloadable white paper with strategies and principles surrounding the new nature of CI.

AppRiver Announces Enhanced SecureSurf Solution

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AppRiver, LLC, a provider of email messaging and Internet security solutions, announced today a new version of SecureSurf Web Protection, a multi-layer cloud-based adaptive solution which continues to defend against existing and emerging threats and now includes an critical threat notification capability.Appriver Logo

“Unfortunately for online users today, it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ you will encounter Web-based malware, but ‘when,’” CTO Joel Smith said.  “Our SecureSurf solution was built to put businesses at ease.  It’s secure, reliable and delivers the protection a business needs without the complexity and costs often associated with enterprise-grade IT security.”

SecureSurf works as both a stand-alone solution and in tandem with AppRiver secure messaging products. Features of the SecureSurf product include continuous updates, minimal footprint and availability of 24-hour customer service.

Tagged in: AppRiver

skykickSkyKick today announced the launch of a new “Hands Free” migration feature for its SMB and Enterprise Migration Suite software. This particular feature is designed to remove end user involvement for any Office 365 migrations, enabling partners and customers to quickly and easily migrate an organization without needing any email password information from the end user, and without requiring the end user to install software.

“Over the last two years since the launch of our Migration Suites, our partners have given us a 96 percent satisfaction rating for the time savings and efficiency that our solutions provide,” said SkyKick Director of Product Management Bernard Clark. “But as a partner-only company, we are always pushing ourselves to do more to help them. So over the last couple years we have been on a quest to solve one of the biggest challenges in cutover and staged migrations—removing all effort and touch points for the end-user. Today I’m proud to announce that we’ve achieved the ‘holy grail’ of migrations with our new Hands-Free feature.”

D&H Distributing celebrates the five-year anniversary of its “Go Green” initiative in 2015, as Earth Day marks its 45th year Wednesday, April 22. dandh

It sold 46,809,568 ecologically-conservative products between 2010 and 2015, with an increase of more than 7.5 million items ordered year-over-year since April 2014.

“Earth Day is a great time to brainstorm on how else we can preserve resources, to review how efficient our current policies have been, and to assess how they impact reseller business,” said Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H. “On Earth Day’s 45th anniversary and the fifth anniversary of D&H’s Go Green program, it’s especially appropriate to take stock, noting how to keep ecological endeavors top of mind, and encouraging a more eco-friendly channel through the proliferation of these products and practices.”

In addition to increased availability of eco-friendly products, it made headway in recycling and conservation programs, including installing a field of solar panels in one of its Pennsylvania parking locations and the collection of 17 pallets of material for recycling from a June 2014 recycling day event.

Despite $4.1 billion in 2014 revenues, market intelligence firm ABI Research predicts the market for broadband modems used in non-smartphone mobile computers, tablets and CE devices could fall as fewer people purchase aftermarket USB modems or update notebook PCs. ABI Research Logo

 Hauwei continues to dominate the modem market, according to ABI Research, with a 62 percent share of 2014 worldwide modem unit volume.

“The vendor landscape changed significantly in 2014 with several suppliers exiting the computing modem business, changing strategic focus to exclusively M2M / IoT, or being acquired,” said Sr. Practice Director Jeff Orr. “OEMs are seeing greater demand for mobile broadband in tablets as well as ultraportable PCs. The plan could be foiled, however, if pricey mobile broadband service contracts deter potential buyers.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s “Mobile Broadband Routers and Modems Market Research,” available here.

Grabbing the Low Hanging Fruit

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As a channel partner, you are probably always on the lookout for anything that will bring you additional revenue, a competitive edge, and enhanced relationships with your customers. If you are taking advantage of the move to cloud computing that’s sweeping the SMB world, you want products that fit into the cloud-based paradigm. The challenge is finding products that are easy to sell, easy to learn, and provide real value to your customers while complimenting what you are already selling. In other words, you are looking for the low-hanging fruit that you know is out there.

Consider this. All companies have contacts that they need to manage. The problem is that most SMB customers don’t want or need the cost and complexity of CRM products, so they wind up using something like Excel to keep track contacts. In fact, Excel and Outlook are the top two products that SMBs say they use to manage their customers. That’s the low hanging fruit you’ve been looking for, and attachedapps is a great solution to help you pick it.