SMB Nation Blog

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

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Yodle, a provider of local online marketing products and services for SMBs, released recently results of “Yodle Insights: What Consumers want from Local Businesses,” a survey on consumer behavior and preferences related to local service businesses.

yodlelogo

“We conducted this survey because we are committed to helping local businesses succeed,” Yodle President of Local Paul Bascobert said. “Although this survey confirms that local businesses are embraced by consumers, the results highlight that there are untapped opportunities for them to reach more consumers and improve the customer experience.”

Online communication was a key concern area for consumers, who identified local businesses as lacking in presence and ways to connect.

Despite a perceived lack of opportunities for connections, 82 percent of more than 6,000 consumers surveyed use local businesses and 96 percent said they believe local businesses beat national chains on personalizing service.

The full report is available for download here.

Quick Heal unveils unlimited reward opportunity

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IT security solutions provider Quick Heal Technologies announced yesterday Quick Rewards, its new loyalty program for North American reseller partners. Quick Heal Logo

The Quick Rewards program offers opportunities to receive rewards credits representing up to 6 percent of a partner’s first-year SEQRITE product line sales and 4 percent of his or her second-year SEQRITE sales, with no limit on the rewards earned.

“It’s common practice for reseller executives to network with one another and talk business – from technology trends and profit margins, to new vendors and products,” said Farokh Karani, Director of North America Sales and Channels for Quick Heal Technologies. “As a newcomer to the North American IT security space, we want those conversations to be about the rewards of doing business with Quick Heal. With Quick Rewards, we’re sending a strong signal to the channel that we want to grow together with them, and that our success is tied directly to theirs.”

As its North American sales and channel program continues to grow, Quick Heal also announced yesterday it appointed Paul Lupo as its eastern region sales and support manager and Gus Safadi as its western regional sales manager.

Digium released recently an infographic comparing the costs and benefits of both hosted and on-premises VoIP solutions.hosted vs prem v3 00000003

Hosted VoIP, known also as a cloud-based phone system, has proved to be a tough competitor for traditional on-premises systems. While on-premises solutions offer control and customization, according to the infographic, hosted solutions work especially well for SMBs without in-house IT resources.

The infographic covers cost, future expansion, control, flexibility and implementation before providing recommendations for businesses on the solution best to adopt.

The full infographic is available to the right, and more information about hosted and on-premises solutions is accessible here.

SkyKick launches CMaaS product category

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SkyKick, a Seattle-based cloud management software provider, announced today the launch of its new Cloud Management-as-a-Service product category. SkyKick 300x300

CMaaS is designed to help IT solution providers manage cloud-based applications from a unified platform through migration, backup and central management capabilities for cloud products including Dropbox and Office 365.

“We are excited to usher in the next era for SkyKick—a global software company delivering cloud management solutions for partners,” said Todd Schwartz, SkyKick co-founder and co-CEO. “Cloud usage is expected to double in the next three years, and the average IT partner will soon have over 5,000 customer cloud touch points to administer, which can be incredibly complex and time-consuming for solution providers to backup and manage. With the release of our new cloud management products, it’s another step forward for us in delivering innovative products to help partners around the world provide a more successful, efficient and safe cloud experience for their customers on one unified platform.” 

The new product line includes SkyKick Cloud Backup, Cloud Manager and Cloud Migration Suites. SkyKick also announced it secured $10 million in strategic funding and will use the capital to accelerate product development and expand sales and marketing globally.

Is Amazon Evil?

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A prominent Amazon Web Services (AWS) customer has just sent me an unapologetic missive that doesn’t take ownership for service degradation. Read on.

The Crime

This customer has a dependency on with its core line-of-business knowledge application. I’ve been told some of its features and functionality disappeared recently (a widget). While investigating “what the hell happened…,” as the client put it, an unsolicited excuse amazonpicarrived from AWS that I have reprinted below. What concerns me is that Amazon doesn’t say “we’re sorry” and it hardly takes ownership of the malady. Here is the bottom line: Amazon has had a service failure, likely on a server farm, and it’s being less than helpful in assisting my client in restoring its LOB to full functionality. As I read it, the excuse looks as if lawyers run technical support at AWS. It deftly avoids responsibility and promotes its right to retire instances. Where is the redundancy (ummm…RAID or other approaches?)?

Advice

My advice to this loyal reader? Move to AZURE! I’m hearing more and more AWS horror stories. In the case of this reader, it should qualify for the generous BizSpark program at Microsoft whereby it can receive up to $60,000 of Azure credits as a start-up. And that’s not small potatoes, lemme tell you.

Men Read!

Computer guys are notorious for not reading (e.g. RTFM). The Amazon storyline below is juicy. As a special reward for reading, I have a secret below. Here is Amazon’s notification:

We have important news about your account. EC2 has detected degradation of the underlying hardware hosting one or more of your Amazon EC2 instances in the us-west-2 region. Due to this degradation, your instance(s) could already be unreachable. Running instances will be stopped or terminated after 12:00AM UTC on 2015-07-10. The affected instances are listed below:

i-72e0445f

You can see more information on your instances that are scheduled for retirement in the AWS Management Console (https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/v2/home?region=us-west-2#Events)

How does this affect you?

* If your instance’s root device is an instance store volume, the instance will be terminated after the specified retirement date. When the instance is terminated, all data stored on the instance store will be deleted and can’t be recovered. Depending on the nature of the hardware degradation, you may be able to connect to your instance and migrate any data from instance store volumes. Unfortunately, in the case of disk failure the instance store data cannot be recovered.

* If your instance's root device is an EBS volume, the instance will be stopped after the retirement date, and you can start it again at any time.

In either case, since EC2 instance store volumes are physically attached to the host computer, any data on these volumes will be lost when the instance is stopped or terminated.

To check whether your instance’s root device is an instance store or EBS volume, go to the AWS Management console (https://console.aws.amazon.com/ec2/home?region=us-west-2#s=Instances), select your instance, and view the Root device type information in the details pane.

What do you need to do?

If you can still access the instance, we recommend the following:

* If your instance's root device is an instance store volume, launch a replacement instance from your most recent AMI and migrate all available data to the replacement instance, or migrate your data to an EBS volume, which you can back up with a snapshot.

* If your instance's root device is an EBS volume, you can replace the instance by creating an AMI of your instance, and launching a new instance from the AMI. For more information please see Amazon Machine Images (http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/AMIs.html) in the EC2 User Guide. In case of difficulties stopping your EBS-backed instance, please see the Instance FAQ (http://aws.amazon.com/instance-help/#ebs-stuck-stopping).

* If you've registered the instance in EC2 Classic with a load balancer, the load balancer will not be able to route traffic to your instance if you stop and start it, due to the new IP address associated to the instance. You must deregister the instance from the load balancer after stopping the instance, and then re-register it after starting the instance. In EC2 VPC, the IP address does not change, but the abovementioned deregister and register actions will speed up the time that it takes for the load balancer to recognize the instance. For more information, see De-Registering and Registering Amazon EC2 Instances (http://docs.aws.amazon.com/ElasticLoadBalancing/latest/DeveloperGuide/US_DeReg_Reg_Instances.html) in the Elastic Load Balancing Developer Guide.

Why retirement?

AWS may schedule instances for retirement in cases where there is an unrecoverable issue with the hardware on an underlying host. For more information about scheduled retirement events, please see Monitoring Scheduled Events in the EC2 user guide (http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/monitoring-instances-status-check_sched.html). To avoid single points of failure within critical applications, please refer to our architecture center for more information on implementing fault-tolerant architectures: http://aws.amazon.com/architecture.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the AWS Support Team on the community forums and via AWS Premium Support at: http://aws.amazon.com/support

Sincerely,

Amazon Web Services

Secret!

As your reward for reading the above, I have a secret phone number that is extremely hard to get. It’s the Amazon general support telephone number: 866-216-1072. This is how you avoid e-mail hell configuring your Kindle or other Amazon products. Bon Appétit!

It’s out with the old and in with the new for Ontario-based Onward Computer Systems, which announced recently it will move locations July 2 to 4390 Paletta Court, Unit K1, Burlington, Ontario LRL 5R2.

onward cs

After 24 years in its current location, the move mirrors changing business from system building to managed services, cloud, consulting and recurring revenue.

The new office will focus on customer experience and feature updated technology while still allowing space to complete deployments and repairs as necessary, Vice President John Krikke said.

Visitors should wait until mid-July for the office to be fully ready.

Rogue IT is more rare than rampant, CompTia found, but the threat of it seems to be encouraging closer collaboration between businesses and IT teams.

IT industry trade association CompTia released the study Building Digital Organizations, which included findings that indicate continued deep engagement of IT teams.

“The complete side-stepping of IT has gone down,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. “It certainly appears that businesses have learned their lessons, based either on missteps that have made themselves or on information gathered from others.”

According to the study, security remains a key concern businesses want IT professionals to address.

The study, based on online surveys of 650 U.S. business and technology professionals and augmented by in-depth interviews of 14 professionals, is available for download here.

Oracle announced Wednesday it plans to open a data center in Campinas, São Paulo in August to support cloud computing development throughout Latin America.

“This new data center in Brazil signals our commitment to helping companies in Latin America fully embrace cloud computing, modernize their business and become the leaders in their industry,” Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said. “This is great news for our customers throughout Latin America who are ready to capitalize on the region’s growing economy and take advantage of the unlimited possibilities cloud computing offers.”

This new center will join 18 others worldwide and will allow Oracle to better manage service level objectives and data governance for customers throughout the region.

Champion Solutions Group Acquires allAware

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Microsoft SMB cloud partner Champion Solutions Group announced yesterday it purchased the assets of allAware, Inc., in an effort to continue to build its Microsoft Business Unit, MessageOps and deepen skills in application development, EMS and Azure practices.

“With the allAware, Inc. purchase, we are making an investment in capitalizing on Microsoft's momentum of Enterprise Mobility Suite and Azure Cloud services,” said Chris Pyle, Champion Solutions Group president and CEO. “Jason Milgram, a co-founder of allAware, Inc., is a Microsoft Azure MVP and one of the best developers with (whom) we have worked. He and his team will make a huge impact on Champion’s continued success in assisting our clients to evolve the way they embrace Microsoft cloud technologies and their mobile device strategies.”

Key software assets acquired in the purchase include Linxter, a cloud-based message-oriented middleware solution; Linxter Messenger, a private instant-messaging app; Monitor Grid, a cloud service for server health and performace monitoring; and Emergency File, a web app that allows users to store and organize emergency information.

StorageCraft Technology Corp. announced today the Professional Services program, which gives MSPs and VARs the ability to augment consultation, design and implementation of backup and disaster recovery services with help from the StorageCraft Professional Services team.

“One of the most valuable assets for any business or organization is data. The StorageCraft Professional Services offering is designed

to assist our partners by addressing immediate backup and disaster recovery needs and to help them build the best possible disaster recovery infrastructure for the long-term protection of their customers’ data,” said Mike Kunz, StorageCraft vice president of worldwide sales. “It is StorageCraft’s goal to make our partners as successful as possible in backup and disaster recovery.”

Both on-demand services and full services will be available in the United States and Canada.

VeriStor Expands Team and Security Practice

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IT solutions provider VeriStor Systems announced yesterday expansion of its Security Solutions and Services Practice, including the addition of Bryan Copeland as Security Practice Director. veristor

The Security Solutions and Services Practice is designed to provide visibility and protect the landscape from endpoint to data center to cloud.

"At VeriStor we look at security processes and strategies holistically, building the solutions that deliver comprehensive and compliant protection," said Ashby Lincoln, CEO, VeriStor. "We are expanding our security portfolio to further enable this mission. With Bryan guiding our efforts, we are confident in our ability to master the rapidly changing security landscape with the solutions and services that keep our customers safe, compliant and breach-free."

Bryan Copeland previously worked at Trend Micro as its strategic partner manager and said he hopes to deliver solutions that provide customers with a sense of security.

Harrybbb at the US Open – Lessons Learned

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Pic 1: Harrybbb with Bob Lewis at the US Open! WP 20150618 12 49 04 Pro

It was like living the Robert Redford-directed movie “Bagger Vance” where a down-and-out golfer attempts to recover his game and his life with help from a mystical caddy. No, I’m not talking about Tiger Woods (but I could be as I saw him walk by a few times; see the pic below). Instead, I’m talking about my personal journey pivoting from SBSer to O365er and reflecting on life along the way.

Winners Happen Here!

First, it was refreshing to hang with my friends at Concur Software, a Seattle-based expense management software company that was recently acquired for $8 billion by SAP. I was a media guest in its corporate white tent and enjoyed Round One at the US Open at the 7th hole. I’ll report more on Concur in the future, but I want to shout it out for Bob Lewis, seen in the pic with me. Bob worked with the SBS community in the 2006-2007 time frame as a Microsoft manager on the Small Business Accounting (SBA) team. You might recall the North Face jackets he gave away at the SMB Nation 2007 Fall Conference. Wiser minds will also recall that shortly after Bob’s big SBA splash, the product was discontinued (Jason Harrison and Susan Bradley certainly remember this LOL). So fast forward the movie. Bob moved in a few years ago to Concur and has done very well for himself. His success is well-earned and a function of both reinventing himself and being relevant – something all of old timey SBSers could model.

Da’ Course

In general, nobody liked the Chambers Bay course, but for the wrong reasons in my opinion. The United States Golf Association (USGA) that hosted the 115th US Open at Chamber Bay (45-miles south of Seattle) wanted to do something different and think outside the box. This course has the Scottish links design. It’s highlighted by sand traps, lack of water and tall grasses. Astro, the English Springer Spaniel and SMB Nation Mascot, was breed for this type of gold course and so was Chambers Bay! It’s new, daring and annoying. The perfect golf course to test the pros! It’s akin to saying Mount Alyeska ski resort in Alaska is horrible because it’s too hard! Needless to say – the course was the narrative.

WP 20150618 16 15 24 ProAnother Life Lesson.

Jason Day captured the world’s affection at the US Open. He battles a mild case of dizziness known as vertigo and collapsed at the end of Round 2 on Friday. He is sponsored by Concur so I took a special interest in his journey. He was in contention deep into the final round before fading but still getting a top ten finish. Lesson learned? It’s all about who can go on their off day! And quite frankly (and sadly) it was the opposite for Tiger Woods who faded early (seen here in the picture below).

Pic 2: Tiger Woods walking by the Concur tent at the 7th Hole.

Dropbox announced yesterday it would begin rolling out an update for its 5-year-old Android app in an effort to create a faster, user-friendly platform allowing mobile access to files. dropboxpng

This update is designed for users and companies on the go, with new features for taking and saving photos, searching within Dropbox and taking action on documents. This comprehensive update joins the addition of features such as a PDF viewer and in-document search to the app in the past few months.

Dropbox is also available on iPhones, iPads, Blackberry devices, Kindle e-readers and Windows devices.

A link to download the app is available here.

IBM and Box Partner to Transform the Cloud

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The cloud continues to transform industry globally, and IBM and Box announced today a global partnership that will use combined resources and technologies to create new solutions designed to transform work in the cloud.

IBM BOX LockUp Color

“This partnership will transform the way work is done in industries and professions that shape our experience every day. The impact will be felt by experts and professionals in industries such as healthcare, financial services, law, and engineering who are overwhelmed by today’s digital data and seek better solutions to manage large volumes of information more intelligently and securely,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president, IBM Analytics. “The integration of IBM and Box technologies, combined with our global cloud capabilities and the ability to enrich content with analytics, will help unlock actionable insights for use across the enterprise.” 

Their partnership will focus on creating new content-rich apps and solutions, as well as joint solutions that transform enterprise work and improve international reach and security.

More information from IBM is available here, and more information from Box is available here.

Unitrends Named to Gartner Magic Quadrant

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Business recovery solution provider Unitrends announced today Gartner, Inc. recognized it as a member of the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances.

“Since our Magic Quadrant debut last year, we have made tremendous strides in delivering cutting-edge, backup and disaster recovery solutions,” said Kevin Weiss, Unitrends’ president and chief executive officer. “Our acquisitions of PHD Virtual and Yuruware have expanded our virtualisation and cloud functionality, and we’ve consistently delivered new products, like Unitrends Free, and features, such as tiered SSD flash storage, that are truly transforming data protection. We believe this recognition by Gartner underscores our efforts to provide customers with cloud-empowered integrated appliances and software offerings that allow them to focus on managing their businesses rather than grappling with backup and disaster recovery.”

Unitrends also offers scalable solutions and solutions built for SMBs and other small businesses, such as Unitrends Free.

A downloadable list of the companies named to the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances is available here.

Booz Allen Hamilton and Trend Micro Incorporated announced yesterday they partnered to combine Booz Allen’s Predictive Threat intelligence and consulting services with Trend Micro’s threat intelligence.

TrendMicro

Their partnership will provide a data-rich, on-demand view of cybersecurity ecosystems backed by an integrated team of analysts.

“Today’s cyber adversaries are more sophisticated and aggressive than ever,” said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer, Trend Micro. “This new reality demands collaboration among industry thought leaders to stave off the onslaught of threats, ranging from intellectual property to sensitive personnel information. By aligning with Booz Allen, Trend Micro can deliver more than a quarter century of experience to help decision makers better understand their vulnerabilities, and what action should be taken, to guard against current and future threats. We look forward to working with their exceptional team while sharing our innovation and insight to stay ahead of the fast-evolving threat landscape.”

Trend Micro and Booz Allen will both participate in the 2015 Trend Micro Global Customer Summit June 22-23 in Vancouver.

D&H Distributing announced today a campaign designed to assist VARs in marketing a business continuity solutions portfolio.dandh

This announcement comes weeks before the Windows Server 2003 EOS, as SMBs and others work to muddle through the process of finding and implementing a replacement.

D&H will offer new programs, materials, incentives and training as part of the campaign and will help resellers develop contingency plans for end-users.

“Business continuity is a crucial concern, especially for small businesses that can’t afford to shoulder the loss and downtime of a potential network failure,” D&H solutions coordinator Bill Hersh said. “This area involves a broad spectrum of products, encompassing everything from servers to firewalls, software to storage devices, to full-scale cloud-based infrastructures. The Microsoft Server ‘03 end-of-service deadline opened the door to a dialog about upgrades in all these categories, providing ample opportunities to make turnkey sales.”

The company will host a “VAR Best Practices” webcast titled “Business Continuity: Bulletproofing Your Clients” 2 p.m. June 25 via its Solutions Lab online training venue, giving VARs information from D&H partners and opportunities to learn more through an interactive Q-and-A session.

Hear from Microsoft Channel Chief, Phil Sorgen  

 

Looking for insight into how partners are embracing transformation? Want to hear how Microsoft is enabling partners on their journey to Cloud? As partners begin to experience the successes of their transformation, they are surpassing and outperforming their peers.

International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners

 

Join us June 25 with Microsoft’s Channel Chief, Phil Sorgen to learn how Microsoft stands in a unique position to accelerate their partners’ momentum and profitability in the cloud. You’ll gain insight into how we will rethink and rediscover how customers are leading the way, inspiring you to optimize for the way you sell and modernize your business.

 

The IAMCP Seattle chapter is pleased to offer this meeting as an open session to both members and non-members – every partner is welcome! Phil Sorgen, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group, will present and offer a short Q&A. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Register here.

Books and blogs and conferences, oh my! Harry Brelsford and Karl Palachuk, long-standing leaders in the channel community serving SMBs, together shared expertise and caught up late last week by releasing a podcast detailing upcoming events for SMB Nation and O365 Nation. podcastpicture

It’s a busy summer for SMB Nation, with two more Windows 10 Behind the Curtain events in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Austin, Texas; Office 365 Tour 2015 stops in Charlotte, N.C. and Boston, Mass.; and the fully-online Get Connected broadcast Aug. 4-5.

Though the original plan was to focus on Azure and Office 365, the Get Connected event will take an in-depth look at Windows 10 right after its July 29 release.

Through all these events, Brelsford said he intends to give attendees an independent education on popular Microsoft products that could better their businesses.

“We take great pride in being an ombudsman to Microsoft and being able to have an open and honest dialogue now that we’re inside the beltway and we’re all family,” Brelsford said. “Nothing like family for feedback.”

Palachuk, the author of Managed Services in a Month and Relax Focus Succeed, will deliver the SMB Online Conference June 23-25. More information and links to register are available here.

By Pete Engler

As a reseller, offering new or cutting-edge technology products and services to your customers can be high stakes. If the gamble pays off, you will have a happy, long-term customer who brags about their (now) tech-savvy business and your insightful recommendations that brought their business up to speed. If the solution is a bust, not only could you lose the confidence of that customer but also any hope for referrals could vanish, instantly. Many resellers witnessed this type of dilemma first-hand in the late 1990s, when VoIP (voice over IP) services and SIP (session interruption protocol) trunking was first introduced and began to change the landscape in the telecommunications world. Both VoIP and SIP trunking have come a long way, but the question remains whether or not resellers are really letting the “gamble” of that once-new technology now pay dividends in their own businesses. digiumlogo

In its early days, VoIP had a reputation for being unreliable and plagued with voice quality issues. Much of this was due to infrastructure issues, such as low bandwidth connections and networks not being able to support prioritizing voice packets over data and supporting or utilizing quality of service (QoS), which is essential to VoIP. Even today, when commingling the packets of VoIP over the same networks as data, jitter and latency can be expected but can be properly managed with the right networking infrastructure. Maintaining and using networks that have adequate bandwidth and QoS ability, prioritizing the voice packets over data, are still the keys to quality VoIP service. Major strides over the last 15 years have been made in the provider networks, as well as the local area network infrastructure products to support VoIP services.

The advances in VoIP and specifically SIP trunking (an alternative to traditional PSTN services) throughout the carrier and business infrastructure markets are changing the landscape of services deployed. In fact, the fear of VoIP that once kept many businesses, and even consumers, firmly entrenched with PSTN services has been subsiding, especially in the last few years. Infonetics, an international market and research firm, predicts SIP trunking adoption will increase by 55 percent in 2015, sustaining a 50 percent or better yearly increase in the last few years.

While strides have been made in the quality of service and reliability of SIP trunking and VoIP, there is another major factor helping accelerate business adoption rates: cost savings. Gartner estimates that SIP trunking saves businesses up to 50 percent over legacy PSTN services. That type of ROI is hardly a gamble for any business.

While all of these service improvements and increased adoption rates are great for the providers of telecommunications services, the benefits extend through to resellers and integrators as well. Traditionally, the process of dealing with legacy providers has been thought of as time consuming and cumbersome. SIP trunking opens up a wider variety of providers to choose from, removing some of the aggravating barriers to upgrading services. Additionally, resellers now have the option of purchasing SIP trunking through a simplified online process, making it much easier to buy and manage the services for an end customer. Increased competition and product options also result in better service and prices for the customer, and in faster deployment times and reduced support time. For the reseller/integrator, this all translates into higher margins.

The addition of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is a significant benefit for the reseller when offering SIP trunking in a portfolio of products and services. Most SIP providers will pay a percentage of the monthly revenue as long as the customer is attached to the service. The traditional model for telecommunications resellers/integrators consisted of selling hardware systems each month, starting at zero revenue on the first day of each month. By building a steady stream of MRR through SIP trunking and other cloud services, resellers can now offset that monthly scramble from zero.

What if customers are not convinced they want to move from their current PSTN services? SIP trunking provides a great opportunity to sell it as a backup option in the event of a PSTN related service issue. Most modern unified communications (UC) systems are capable of multiple calling path configurations or legacy PBXs can take advantage of a VoIP gateway to manage the connection and call routing between a legacy PSTN connection and SIP trunking. By positioning the SIP trunking as a ‘failover’ route for calls, the communications manager within that business will have a sense of security about the service provided to the employees, while the reseller/integrator receives the MRR. That’s a win for everyone.

Of course, for resellers, the key to providing SIP trunking services is to choose vendors that offer easy purchasing options, preferably all online, and excellent monthly commissions on the services sold to your customer. At the end of the day, it should be clear that offering VoIP and SIP trunking services is no longer a gamble. But, as a reseller, you do risk missing out on some consistent wins if MRR is not part of your business strategy.

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

eFolder Sponsors 2015 Cloud World Forum, Plans to Lead Breakout Session

eFolder announced yesterday the solution supplier is a visionary sponsor of the 2015 Cloud World Forum tradeshow, which will provide thousands of attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the Cloud and its future.

“eFolder is excited to be a Visionary Sponsor at the 2015 Cloud World Forum, an event that draws technology leaders from around the world,” says Bryan Forrester, senior vice president of sales at eFolder. “eFolder is uniquely positioned to support enterprise companies that are migrating to cloud applications. Cloud World Forum gives us an opportunity to meet with stakeholders and explain the importance of cloud-to-cloud backup.”                                                            

Through its position as a visionary sponsor, Bryan Forrester, eFolder senior vice president of sales, will present a breakout session, “Top Five Sources of Cloud Data Loss and How to Protect your Organization” and offer a booth at stand F50 to demonstrate eFolder CloudFinder.

bsi100varsBob Scott’s Insights, an industry-focused site led by editor Bob Scott, released its list of Top 100 VARs earlier this month, highlighting a trend toward increases in revenue for resellers.

“The last few years have seemed to be a story of survival. But the revenue figures reported by this year’s Top 100 VARs tell a much different story,” the report preview said. “They confirm what resellers have been reporting for the last few months—that business is good; so good that many are having some of the best results in their history.”

SBS Group, which announced its placement on the list today, is a national Microsoft master VAR and accomplished growth the SBS Partner Network in the last year.

The full list, ranked by revenue, is available here.

Asterik developer Digium announced earlier this week speakers for its annual Asterik user conference, AstriCon.

digium

Richard Hathaway, principal consultant of RLH Telecom Solutions, will speak, as will Russell Bryant, principal software engineer of Red Hat, Matthew Jenkinson, Twilio technical consultant and more.

“Asterisk experts and those from related projects are stepping up to discuss the latest tools and techniques as well as products and services available to the industry,” said David Duffett, Asterisk community director. “We are excited to announce that these industry-leading companies have chosen to support AstriCon and we look forward to learning from their insight.”

AstriCon 2015 topics include infrastructure, real-time communications and development.

Vera introduced today data protection for Office 365 designed to allow users to secure and track attachments through O365, Outlook and OneDrive for Business. vera

“Organizations are moving their most important tools to the cloud and enabling employees with more social, collaborative, and mobile-friendly solutions. But they lack the ability to protect files when they travel outside the corporate perimeter,” said Prakash Linga, CTO of Vera. “The most common way people share files today is through email or popular cloud storage services. The problem is that once you send an attachment or link, you’ve lost all control. Vera makes securing a file with Office 365, or even revoking access, as simple as clicking ‘Send,’ or hitting ‘Reply All’. We’ve built a recall button that actually works.”

Solution users will be able to attach security to the data in the file upon its creation, giving them the ability to immediately adjust or revoke access to documents as needed.

endofserverweirdthing

We’re one month away from the end of support (EOS) for Windows Server 2003 (W2k3S), and I’ve found several observations of note.

The Buzz. Similar to Windows XP, I’m seeing a lack of overall excitement about the impending deadline. The messaging was overwhelming at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. last July, but the topic quickly dropped with the next news cycle.

Procrastination. A recent communication from the BBC media outlet shared that one in four people procrastinate. I’d offer it’s at least that with the W2k3S EOS, as such is the attitude of the SMB IT Pro.

Real opportunity. Here is the irony. The people I have conversations with are “switched on” and don’t have clients with W2k3S devices. They’ve already migrated said clients years ago. The challenge is reaching the clients that need the help the most. It’s like managing global hunger—getting the food to those who need it most is vexing. This ongoing challenge continues to haunt SMB IT Pros. Near the end of the Windows XP migration motion with its April 2014 EOS, some SMB IT Pros would call small businesses randomly asking if they had Windows XP. That’s a very expensive way to acquire customers and akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

MSFT Extension? No. My sources inside Microsoft are indicating there is no appetite to extend the W2k3S EOS deadline of July 14, 2015.

Hedge Strategy. LogicNow is promoting an interesting approach to extend the W2k3S EOS deadline as a last resort for procrastinators or a must-do out of necessity. Let me expand on the latter statement. The idea is that there are certain sites that must run W2k3S for backward compatibility purposes. In speaking with Allister Forbes, GM at LogicNow (formerly GFI), he shared that his firm is on record with a deadline extension strategy that offers prescriptive guidance on how to run W2k3S after July 14, 2015. It’s the type of communication that Microsoft Redmond cannot, will not and probably should not offer. I coined this as the “Rebel with a Cause” hedge strategy. An associated white paper details this approach ranging from security hardening to isolation. If you’d like to receive a copy, you’ll need to complete the form here to download the white paper.

So, as your Microsoft ombudsman, I’ll wrap this blog for now with a commitment to revisit the topic in mid-July. I predict planes will fly and the sun will rise in the east on July 14.