SMB Nation Blog

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

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YouMailYouMail recently announced that it has completed a Series B funding round for $5.5 million. I had the chance to speak with company CEO Alex Quilici, who went over a bit about his company, and how they were able to leverage the recent JOBS act.

To start, YouMail is a provider of cloud-based telecom services for SMBs. They currently have just over 6.5 million registered users of a personal assistant app to help users manage incoming phone calls. Features include visual caller ID, personalized smart greetings, cloud storage and access to messages cross-platform.

insightTechnology provider Insight Enterprises, Inc. today released a list of businesses’ top five concerns as they consider moving to the Cloud.

“Businesses are asking the right questions about how the Cloud will work across infrastructure, platforms, and applications, and many are starting to embrace the efficiencies and potential benefits from improved agility, greater employee collaboration, and reduced IT complexity,” said Harish Krishnamurthy, senior vice president, Insight Cloud Services. “However, we are still seeing adoption apprehension because of concerns surrounding security and data management. The benefits the Cloud offers are immense, however, and clients are reporting that Cloud options can be faster, safer and a better value than traditional IT. Because of this, we believe that Cloud services will increasingly become the norm for businesses, not the exception.”

DatamotionDataMotion announced today results from its third annual survey on corporate email and file transfer habits, revealing a significant amount of security risk occurring within organizations.

Though almost 90 percent of respondents affirmed they have security and compliance policies in place, policies often aren’t enforced and more than 75 percent of respondents said employees at least occasionally violate policy.

“Though the survey shows us there is year-over-year growth in the number of companies putting security and compliance measures in place, the widespread security risks occurring are of great concern,” said Bob Janacek, chief technology officer at DataMotion. “Particularly at a time when a number of organizations – both large and small – have experienced serious data breaches, it is essential that companies have strong security and compliance policies in place and that they ensure their employees fully understand and diligently follow them.”

The full survey report is available here.  A healthcare-specific report is available here.

constant contactConstant Contact, Inc. recently announced the results of a report on what makes SMBs respond to email marketing. The company watched the traffic of 2.1 million emails, all sent to 100+ people, over the last 13 weeks, and found a sweet spot of images and text to increase overall click-through-rate (CTR).

“Click-through rates are perhaps the truest measurement of the quality of an email’s content and its effectiveness as a marketing tool,” said Christopher M. Litster, senior vice president, sales and marketing at Constant Contact. “Regardless of industry or customer base, click-through rates convey how often you are able to get your email subscribers to go where you want them to go and complete your call-to-action. This new research is a big step forward in helping small businesses craft email content that will result in even more successful campaigns going forward.”

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The second installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

Last month, I opened my blog series for this year, known as “Better Call an MSP,” with a call for content and ideas. We want to hear from you, the members of our MSP community, about some of the more pressing issues facing your business.

In speaking with some of Continuum’s partners at our recent Partner Advisory Council (PAC) meeting, one of the challenges discussed was the hiring process – and more importantly, how to retain and keep solid, long-term employees. Several of the PAC members I spoke with noted that they want to not only become better at hiring, but also want to have a company that’s based on low employee turnover. While it’s true there have been countless books and articles written on this topic on a general level, a point was made that there is a need for more shared best practices and techniques specific to the MSP community. Having personally participated in hiring and recruiting processes that have worked, here are some tips to keep in mind when starting the hiring process to save both time and money – and to ensure that the hire is an appropriate long-term fit.

autopilotAfter four weeks of beta testing, Autopilot announced today a multi-channel marketing platform designed to help companies automate customer touchpoints and create personalized buyer experiences in online, offline and mobile channels.

Digital marketing is currently divided between email software solutions and marketing automation solutions, a division that makes solutions inaccessible or ineffective for marketers and their consumers.

Revisiting Partnerships: IAMCP

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IAMCP feb meetingFor many years, I’ve watched from afar as the IAMCP has “hung in there” through various Microsoft generations. I was active in the late 1990s, when I worked at Clark Nuber, a Pacific Northwest accounting firm that had a robust Great Plains accounting practice. Fast forward the movie to present times, and we’re working closer with the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IACMP) than ever before. It serves all parties well.

Pictured: Long-time Microsoft SMB executive Arnie Mondloch speaks to the monthly Puget Sound IAMCP lunch meeting. Readers will remember Arnie from his leadership role several years ago in the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC).

Corporate IT Solutions logoTechnology solutions provider Corporate IT Solutions announced today general availability of pCloud Workspace, a desktop-as-a-service offering that combines cloud flexibility and agility with stability and management of an enterprise application.

“With the rapid growth of mobile technologies and remote workforces, easy and secure access to enterprise applications and data from any device has become essential to organizational productivity,” CIO Jeffrey Boardman said. “Existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offerings have failed to meet many organizational needs due to their high cost and complex deployments.  Additionally, most of the desktop-as-a-service offerings available today are being outsourced to third parties. This creates significant reliability, security and compliance issues.”  

Microsoft’s SMB IT Hot Links! Pt. 2

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Microsoft LogoGood day, SMB IT Pro Community! Welcome to the second part in a three-part installment of the Microsoft Hot Links for SMBs! Here are the next 5 links to help you realize your business goals and find community information in 2015:

ingram cloud summitYou don’t send me roses anymore, so I’m delivering them to you. With the dramatic business transformation in our SMB IT Pro community, new conversations require new outreach approaches. So I’m covering the Cloud Summit event, March 8-10 at the amazing Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. It’s just what the Doctor ordered – cloud content, spa and a seven acre water park. I need this “working vacation,” and I’d like you to join me.

Melanie GassI had the chance to chat with Melanie Gass, aka the “Microsoft Princess,” and well-known speaker at various SMB Nation events, about her popular radio show. Some of you may have been able to meet her at our most recent event, the Office 365 Tour 2015 in Los Angeles, CA. For those of you who didn’t, you can meet Melanie at any one of our tour stops, and hear her great presentations on SharePoint/OneDrive and Making Money with Office 365!

As many of you know, Melanie was dubbed the “Microsoft Princess” as recognition for her training and consulting of Microsoft’s various products. I asked her how she got into radio, and how she’s seen the environment change, among other things. Read below for our interview:

soonrSoonr, a Silicon Valley, CA-based File share and Collaboration company, recently announced that it has made some enhancements to its partner portal. These enhancements are designed to make it easier for partners to provision and manage policies.

To be specific, Soonr partners can now deliver the company’s service with multiple customers from a single location. This means that partners won’t need to log-in to a specific account or team to set up services for a variety of customers.

 imageFrost & Sullivan announced today it will host a complimentary webinar about the trends set to impact the Latin American IT industry.

The webinar will be held at 8 a.m. PST tomorrow, March 3. Speaker Guilherme Campos, a Frost & Sullivan IT industry analyst, will explain Latin American developments in investing and adoption levels of security, cloud computing and big data.

Charter SpectrumCharter Communications, Inc. announced today Charter Business is now Spectrum Business, which will leverage an all-digital network to deliver full-featured solutions at a low price to SMBs and larger organizations.

"Spectrum Business is more than just a new name. Over the past 12 months we have invested in our advanced fiber network, completed our transition to all-digital, and made enhancements to our product suite, including a doubling of entry Internet speeds from 30 to 60Mbps," said Jonathan Hargis, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Charter Communications.

snom LogoGermany-based snom technology AG and GSMK Cryptophone are expanding their existing collaboration to develop highly secure encrypted telephones.

GSMK, a developer of protected operating systems and encryption solutions, and snom, a developer of professional and enterprise VoIP telephones, are working on desktop IP telephones that will be secure, encrypted, tap-proof and immune against attacks.

gfiGFI Software released today the findings of a study examining business and societal impacts of cyber security issues, which revealed growing concerns of personal risk and potential for physical retaliation.

“Cyber attacks have profound consequences for the business community, whether companies are the target, or the victim of an attack elsewhere. In the last few months alone we’ve seen major corporations targeted in systematic acts of espionage and geopolitical retaliation, as well as hundreds of thousands – potentially millions - of individuals affected by the fallout of data being stolen and misused,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software. “Usernames, passwords, credit card data, health records – malicious use of this data by criminals can quickly create financial hardship and significant stress for affected individuals, while the negative fallout for organizations the data was stolen from can range from loss of reputation to fines, falling sales, civil and criminal legal proceedings and more.”

continuumContinuum recently announced that four of its MSP partners have been named as finalists for the Robin Robins “Better Your Best” competition. This particular competition allows MSPs to vie for the chance to be the spokesperson for Robins’ company: Technology Marketing Toolkit.

“We offer our congratulations to these top MSPs that have enjoyed significant revenue and profit increases over the last year by implementing Robin Robins’ proven marketing strategies,” said Frank Bauer, Sr. Channel Development Manager at Continuum.

veeam logoVeeam Software today announced that the customer adoption of is Veeam Availability Suite v8 has gone above and beyond company expectations. The company reported that 36% of existing users upgraded to v8 within 90 days of the product announcement, and that there have been an average of 1200 downloads of the software per day.


Tadiran-NewLogoTadiran announced today it was awarded 2015 Unified Communications Product of the Year by TMC, a global, integrated media company, for its Unified Communications and Collaboration solution, Aeonix.

"It gives me great pleasure to honor Tadiran Telecom as the 2015 recipient of TMC's Unified Communications Product of the Year Award for their innovative product, Aeonix," said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. "Our judges were very impressed with the ingenuity and excellence displayed by Tadiran Telecom in their groundbreaking work on Aeonix".

Cadence Products Achieve PCI-SIG compliance

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cadenceCadence Design Systems, Inc. announced today multi-protocol Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) PHY IP for PCI Express 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 technology for TSMC's 16nm FinFET Plus (16FF+) process have passed PCI-SIG compliance testing.

"PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 2.0 compliance was achieved with first 16FF+ silicon. The early availability of these products enables our customers to tapeout their leading-edge mobile, storage and enterprise designs sooner and with reduced risk," said Osman Javed, product marketing director at Cadence. "These flexible multi-protocol solutions provide customers a unique combination of SoC differentiation and future proofing.

LogicNow Launches MAX Backup v15.0

Posted by on in News

logicnowLogicNow announced today the release of version 15.0 of its MAX Backup hybrid cloud backup and disaster recovery solution, a key part of MAXfocus, its MSP and IT support platform.

“MSPs want to be able to provide more value to their customers. Backup can easily be seen as a business continuity box-ticking exercise – as long as everything is safe if the worst happens, then all is well,” said Chris Groot VP, Sales, MAX Backup & Recovery. “But we and the MSPs we work with know that with disaster recovery, the speed of backup and the speed of recovery is vital. The new features and new direction of MAX Backup v15.0 mean that MSPs can offer disaster recovery services where downtime will be measured in minutes rather than hours, positioning them as the best provider of this mission-critical service to their clients.”

Mavenlink Raises $19M in Growth Capital

Posted by on in News

MavenlinkMavenlink , a global provider of integrated business management software, today announced it garnered $19 million in growth capital, composed of $15 million contributed by shareholders and a $4 million credit facility. The round of funding was led by Carrick Capital Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.

Microsoft’s SMB IT Hot Links! Pt. 1

Posted by on in News

Microsoft LogoGood day, SMB IT Pro Community! Welcome to the first part in a three-part installment of the Microsoft Hot Links for SMBs! Here are the first 5 links to help you realize your business goals and find community information in 2015:

skykickSeattle-based SkyKick, a cloud migration company specializing in Microsoft Office 365, announced today Computer Reseller News, a brand of The Channel Company, named Peter Labes as a 2015 CRN Channel Chief.

Labes, SkyKick’s vice president of development, joined SkyKick in October 2014 and has increased international reach through agreements with distributors, IT solution providers and channel service organizations.

Community Relations

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datto dinner editedIt’s been said the only reason you would ever engage in lead generation is because it’s a last resort. That is, you would grow by referral based on your reputation. When that doesn’t work, you’ll see companies go metric and engage in big data lead generation activities with little regard for business relationships. It’s more than apparent in the SMB IT community.

But there are a few exceptions. Datto is one of them. If you research the company, you can get your speeds and feeds fix and learn about its young wunderkind founder. That’s not what this blog is about. Instead, it’s about Datto going old school, and hosting a series of community gatherings across the US. This past week, I attended thE Datto event at a local restaurant, Duke Chowder House, with the Puget Sound Small Business Server (PSSBS) group. This night did double duty as the group’s monthly meeting as well.

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