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SMB Nation Blog

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

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Author Karl Palachuk Heads to Australia

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MR Aust NZ GraphicBy Monica Caraway

Long-time community member and author Karl Palachuk is packing a big suitcase and getting ready to head to Australia and New Zealand in November. Palachuk will take his “SMB Roadshow” Down Under with stops in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland, NZ.

Karl will be accompanied by Jenifer Novak Landers, a life coach and business coach who also presented at Karl’s SMB Nation Preday seminar last week. That event was very well received and packed the room with eager attendees.

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win10blogpoliteYesterday, Microsoft announced the next version of Windows, known as “10,” at an event in San Francisco. Optically, it appears to be a hybrid between a traditional Windows paradigm and the “eight era” emphasizing touch and mobility. I have reason to believe it’ll emerge as a best of breed and be the most significant release since Windows 95 in terms of favorability ratings. Why?

Click the image to watch my blog video!

Pent-up Demand. Microsoft will fulfill a market gap. The eight haters sat on the sidelines the last two years using Windows 7 or (gasp) Windows XP. This is their release. No longer can they complain that they can’t have a “real” Start button. It’s back.

Final XP EOS Push. Look for Dell and other OEMs to make one last push to eradicate the still sizeable base of Windows XP in the marketplace. Windows 10 will break Windows XP’s last stand.

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Community Corner: Seattle Give Camp this Weekend

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Good day, SMB Nation Community! The team is coming off the heels of our 12th annual SMB Nation Fall Conference, and we wanted to pass along an interesting bit of news we heard at this year’s event.

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dandhjpgThis morning, D&H Distributing announced that it will be offering the Intel Retail Client Manager software to its partners. As part of this new digital signage offering, the distribution company will also be hosting one of its well-respected Solutions Lab sessions on October 7 at 2pm Eastern.

“Digital signage has been a viable product application for some time. However, the market has been waiting on a practical and easy-to-use platform that empowers companies to manage these displays and turn them into truly persuasive business tools. RCM’s analytic component lets users customize content to engage specific viewers and generate sales, which is a breakthrough capability,” said Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales for D&H Distributing.

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voxoxVoxox today announced the promotion of Joann Farrar to the role of VP, agent channel, Joe Schiavone to the role of VP, dealer channel, and Tad Nikolich to the role of SVP business sales.

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The week that was – September 28, 2014

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It was another jam packed week in IT land, what with Spiceworld (no not the girl power Brit poppers, but rather the SpiceWorks conference in Austin), Continuum’s Navigate show, and Ingram Micro ’s ONE event in Las Vegas, not to mention our own humble conference in Seattle.

Last week we started with iPhone 6 news and since that went so well we're going back to the well for some more. Apparently iPhone users have discovered a hole in Apple’s there’s-an-app-for-that universe. It seems there’s no app that lets your phone double as a stool. If you sit on it it will break! Shocker! The idea that a delicate piece of technology (would you sit on your flatscreen TV?) can’t support the weight of your average human is, naturally, beyond the pale for some people who have broken their expensive devices and whined about it online to all and sundry. So far Apple has reported only nine complaints, but dumb is contagious so no doubt there will be more. Naturally this turned into a Thing. (Even Consumer Reports got into the act, testing a bunch of phones in a bend test. No Apple didn't win the sit-on-it-Potsy sweepstakes.) Somehow this is Apple’s fault. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an Apple user. I don’t love iPhones, or iPods or iPads, or i-Whatevers. I prefer devices with a bit less pry-ware, but I digress. That all said, I kind of feel for the company on this one. Only an idiot sits on his or her phone. But then again, maybe the people who do this are trying to mindmeld with Siri and the back pocket is the closest they can get her to their brains.

Now this, on the other hand, is something you can lay at Apple’s feet.

Teachable moment: Apple botches iOS 8 updateApple Logo

Apple botched the iOS 8.0.1 update so badly that the maker of all things i* had to pull it from the app store just two hours after releasing it. Apple scrambled back to the drawing board following a deluge of user complaints about problems with cellular network connectivity and Touch ID on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and issued a fresh patch – 8.0.2 – the next day. That wasn’t fast enough for some and Apple shares took a hit, tumbling more than three percent to $98.47. Many IT solution providers have taken this as a teachable moment for their clients: Regardless of what IT product you are talking about, never be the first to download a new update. Wait at least a day or two to let the bugs – and there are almost always bugs – reveal themselves and be addressed by the vendor.

BlackBerry gets back to its enterprise-oriented roots with the new Passport

Still in the land of smartphones: Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry unveiled its new device. The BlackBerry Passport is a clear sign that the inventor of the smartphone is listening to all the people who have been telling it to stick with what it’s good at and re-engaging with the enterprise business market.

Blackberry-passport"As we set out to design BlackBerry Passport, we were guided by a simple yet challenging idea -- to set aside the limitations of traditional design and to instead simply build a device that fundamentally changes the way business professionals get work done on their smartphone," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen (see photo, inset) in a statement. "The BlackBerry Passport was created to drive productivity and to break through the sea of rectangular-screen, all-touch devices."

The Passport is no consumer device (To start with it won’t fit in your back pocket!), featuring a square-shaped 4.5 x 4.5 in. display that the vendor says was designed to support the specific needs of business users as opposed to the consumer the company had started trying to woo years ago, leading the organization to the brink of ruin. Also front a center: the traditional BB tactile keyboard has been given a makeover, making use of the larger form factor to provide bigger keys and the potential for an easier, more accurate typing experience for those of us with fat thumbs. The Passport will also come equipped with the next BlackBerry OS: BB10.3.

(Disclosure: I mentioned earlier that I’m not an Apple fan. In fairness, I thought I should let you know that I currently use a BB Z30. I don't love BB any more than Apple -- especially after making the mistake of buying a Playbook -- but I got a deal and it really does have less pry-ware.)

IDC predicts channel growth IDC

According to new research from IDC the next year will be a good one for the channel, which will outgrow the overall server, storage and networking markets in some specific industry sectors. The report, penned by IDC Director of Infrastructure Channels Research Paul Edwards, claims the channel will gradually pick up more of the total IT spend until it owns 61.1 percent of the market by 2018. The North American channel should expect to see a 2.7 percent CAGR key sectors, such as servers, storage and networking, which beats the 2.3 percent CAGR for the overall market. This translates into a $38.1 billion share of the market in 2018, up from $33.5 billion in 2013. The channel is expected to pick up $17.3 billion in Networking sales by 2018, up from $14.4 billion in 2013. While analysts predictions should always be taken with a healthy dose of sodium chloride, these predictions bear up under one critical measure. As we’ve seen in the Week that Was over the past few months, OEMs like Dell, HP, Cisco and Xerox have been redoubling their channel engagement with new partner programs and strategies. Clearly they expect a lot more of their revenues to be flowing in indirectly and are investing in engagement with partners with specific, and valuable, customer knowledge.


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Leading Small and Medium Business community creates Board of Advisors group offering designed to bring together like-minded business people with the common goal of leading successful IT practices.

Bainbridge Island, WA – September 26, 2014 – SMB Nation announced today that it has launched what is known as “Board of Advisors” program. As part of this initiative, the media integration company has established a new division to manage this program. The groups, which are designed to bring together like-minded MSPs and business people, with the common goal of leading successful IT business organizations, will be made up of solution provides, based on what solution providers want out of a group, and evolving with the groups respective  businesses grow and change.

Powered by IT and MSP consulting firm K2, SMB Nation Board of Advisor Groups will be led by Ken Thoreson and Keith Lubner. Both are well-known thought leaders in the SMB channel, are industry veterans, having spent several years directing Acumen  Management Group and Channel Consulting Group. Both are well-published authors in Redmond Channel Partner magazine, Channel Pro and other respected journals.

SMB Nation Board of Advisor Groups will be geared toward IT business professionals and MSPs who are looking to be part of an affinity group that will provide them with a holistic approach and outlook to furthering their respective business models. The Board of Advisor Groups are based with the idea in mind that they are willing to be open and honest, and share information about all aspects of their business.

“With Board of Advisor Groups we are working to accomplish three things, improve profitability, overall company growth, and improve the quality of life of owners and employees,” Thoreson said. “We are building the next generation of peer groups, which are not tied to antiquated management methods or driven by vendor agendas.”

According to Lubner, while SMB Nation Board of Advisor Groups will be available to anyone in the SMB industry who is looking to share best practices with other like-minded individuals in their circle, he did add that the ideal candidate is an individual whose company has revenues between $500,000 to $2 million per year, has invested in a PSA infrastructure, and has at least one layer of management within their business. “These are the types of “emerging partner” companies that usually thrive in a Board-  environment,” he said.

As a member of SMB Nation Board of Advisor Groups, IT professionals can expect to achieve the following:

  • Learn from the mistakes and successes of other IT service providers.
  • Set ambitious, achievable targets for your company.
  • Learn effective management/leadership methodologies.
  • Improve personal and professional life balance
  • Discover new ideas that have already been successfully implemented by others.
  • Improve the capacity of your sales, service and other managers.
  • Stay on the cutting edge of the latest IT industry trends.
  • Network with professionals in your industry.

Furthermore, to provide a true granular effect for each member, SMB Nation Board of Advisor Groups will be designated by three separate categories of like-minded individuals, as outlined below:
We are offering three distinct pathways:


*   Board of Advisors: Accelerate your Cloud and Mobility Practice

*   This is a 5 session, 4 month program

*   Board of Advisors:  Business Acceleration Program

*   This  Owners Board is a yearlong Program

*   Board of Advisors: Sales and Marketing Acceleration Program

*   This is a 10 Month program focused for sales and marketing teams

Contact SMB Nation for exact details of each Board, all programs will begin in 2014.

“This is not your grandfather’s Board of Advisors group,” said Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation. “What differentiates SMB Nation Board of Advisor  Groups from other groups like this in our industry is that we will be investing forward in focus areas such as Cloud, Office 365 so that it’s not overwhelming and cumbersome to you, the IT professional and MSP. We will focus on helping you to look at alternative ways to help you successfully run your business. And we’re open membership encourages participants from all walks of life and lifestyles.”

To learn more about SMB Nation Board of Advisors, and to have one of our representatives contact you with more information, go to www.SMBNation.com and select Contact Us.

About SMB Nation

SMB Nation is a community targeted at the small and medium business (SMB) channel partner/reseller/consulting/VAR community.  SMB Nation spreads the knowledge of SMB technology trends through its conferences, books, print magazine, online services, and worldwide seminars, workshops and accredited Pocket MBA certificate.  As an active participant in the technology community, SMB Nation has a long history of enthusiastic advocacy and evangelism. The SMB Nation tribe exceeds 40,000 followers worldwide. For more information, visit www.SMBNation.com, www.O365Nation.com and www.Telephonation.com. Follow us on Twitter @SMBNation, and join our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/SMBNation.

For more information, contact:
Harry Brelsford
Founder and Chairman
SMB Nation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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D&H Redesigns Website

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dandhjpgD&H Distributing announced it redesigned and improved www.dandh.com to improve customer experience.

Specific improvements include new drop down menus, customizable Watch Lists, discontinued item notifications, an enhanced notification center and the availability to browse product categories from any page through the navigation menu.

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Uber Secrets for Fall Attendees!

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UberEveryone loves secrets. It somehow makes you feel you know something that others don’t know. LOL!

Long-time SMB Nation member Robert Nitrio shared a few Uber insights in preparation for the transportation needs of incoming attendees en route to Seattle for the 12th annual SMB Nation Fall conference this weekend (Sept 26-28).

First – he surfaced the Uber option as one of the transportation alternatives to consider for the ride form the airport to the host hotel. He shared:

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Spiceworks App Center Debuts

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Spiceworks logoSpiceworks today debuted the Spiceworks App center and formalized its developer program.

The App Center will allow IT professionals to find, research and purchase free and for-fee apps and cloud services directly from Spiceworks. By formalizing its developer program, independent developers and technology brands including Microsoft, Lenovo and IBM will be able to offer free and paid applications to IT professionals within the network.

“Millions of IT professionals already rely on Spiceworks for the technical information, peer feedback and vendor connections they need to make an informed purchasing decision,” said Scott Abel, co-founder and CEO of Spiceworks. “The new App Center takes the Spiceworks experience one step further by streamlining how 6 million IT professionals research, buy and use IT apps and cloud services.”

New, free apps will be available later this year and paid application support will begin in Q1 2015.

Additional App Center information is available here, and more information about Spiceworks’ developer program can be found here.

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GoDaddy Offer Helps SMBs Create Online Presence

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GoDaddySMB technology provider GoDaddy collaborated with Microsoft Corp. to create Get Online Today, an offering intended to help SMBs worldwide start, maintain and grow their online presence.

For $1/month for the first year, the Get Online Today offering includes: a custom domain name; subscription to GoDaddy’s Website Builder, including hosting for the business’ website; Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy; $50 credit for Bing Ads; and GoDaddy 24/7 phone support.

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Continuum Launches Collaborate to Connect MSP Partners

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continuumContinuum , the sole channel-exclusive provider of fully integrated managed solutions, launched private forum Collaborate to allow its 3,500 MSP partners to connect, share and learn.

Collaborate offers more support features than Continuum’s current partner support portal in an effort to educate partners and equip them with resources so they can compete effectively for business.

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Online Fall Conference Just Added!

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220x150While your intentions are good to try to attend the in-person 12th annual SMB Nation Fall conference, sometimes it’s not possible. But it’s now possible to attend online and listen to the Business (B) and Technical (T) speeches. Using Lync, we will broadcast three days of academic Office 365, Server 2003 EOS and many more lectures for just $99. For you, it’s the ability to participate from afar in the comfort of your office (or home) without time away and travel and accommodation expenses.

So what are the next steps?

  • Discover what the conference can offer you at fall2014.smbnation.com.
  • Note the times and dates. The conference is the weekend: Friday September 26 to Sunday September 28                                                                                                                          
  • Register for the online event via this registration link: https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1573788
  • Order your pizza and make your popcorn for three-days of jam packed content!
  • Hurry – online attendance is limited to 250 participants.

If you have any questions, call SMB Nation at 206-201-2943 and speak with Edna at extension 105.

Notice: In order to offer you this subsidized online attendee rate of $99, you agree to allow SMB Nation to share your contact details with the conference sponsors.


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Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/177730585

Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:00-11:00 AM PDT

Presented by: Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation

It’s not about hitting home runs. It’s about consistently getting base hits and having a high batting average when it comes to MSP success. Discover how old school biz dev practices, such as lunch-and-learns really really work. And you can do it all for under $100 (catering included). Bottom line – if you are not selling into your customer community, you are leaving money on the table. This webinar, hosted by Harry Brelsford, digs deep into the vaunted Microsoft Community Connections program and walks you through the mechanics of easily acquiring new customers for a very low acquisition cost. This is a “must do.”

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Microsoft Satisfaction Results Released!

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Turns out you still love Microsoft! Like a long-term marriage, there are ebbs and flows in the relationships. You’ve had your peaks and valleys in the Microsoft relationship, but at the end of the day, we’re family, and blood is thicker than water. Such are the findings in my well-received Microsoft Satisfaction survey for partners. I’ll share the results here.

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The week that was – Sept. 22, 2014

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It’s easy to think that the only IT news worth knowing to start the week starts with the new iPhone 6, continues with Microsoft layoffs (probably carefully timed to coincide with the iPhone news so it would get drowned out of the news cycle) and finishes with the new iPhone again. That would be a misperception though. Sure, what Apple CEO Tim Cook gushed about his “better in every way” and “best iPhone yet” device which sold more than 4 million pre-orders in the first 24 hrs of availability – making a moderate splash. But other things did happen this week in IT Land.

Microsoft to buy Minecraft maker for $2.5B

It wasn’t all dark news from Microsoft this week. The company made the widely rumored $2.5 microsoft logo-100029828-gallerybillion deal to acquire Sweden’s Mojang, maker of the popular game Minecraft, official. Minecraft has about 100 million users worldwide and made about $100 million in profit last year, making the price tag a bit surprising. However, the growing popularity of the game may have posed a threat to Microsoft’s Xbox market leading some industry observers to think that the move was a defensive one. One must also consider the value of the connected community Minecraft has built. In and of themselves connected communities are inherently valuable. Amazon paid $970 million for Twitch and its million-odd users recently. The majority of Mojang’s 40 employees will join Microsoft Studios, which brought you Halo, Forza and Fable. However, the people that actually created Minecraft, Markus Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, will be leaving to start new projects.

Home Depot lifts lid on investigation into massive breach

The fallout from the Home Depot data breach continued to rain down this week, with the home reno home depotretailer issuing a statement detailing the attacks, the measures the company has taken to address the weakness and the cost of those measures. To start with, Home Depot failed to properly deploy data encryption capabilities, opening a window of attack that gave criminals access to as many as 56 million credit and debit cards between April and September 2014.

According to the statement, the investigation discovered a new malware, customized to avoid detection. “The malware had not been seen previously in other attacks, according to Home Depot’s security partners. To protect customer data until the malware was eliminated, any terminals identified with malware were taken out of service, and the company quickly put in place other security enhancements.”

The whole incident should serve as a massive lesson for retailers and IT services pros who support them. Expenses related to this breach will top $62 million, with about $27 million coming back from the company’s data breach insurance. The final tally has yet to be counted though, with additional expenses coming from paying banks and processors for credit card fraud and card replacement costs.

SAP acquires Concur for $8.3Bsap-logo

SAP announced plans to buy Seattle’s Concur Technologies for $8.3 billion. Concur makes a SaaS-based software package that manages corporate travel and entertainment expenses – including travel booking, corporate credit cards, reimbursements and audits – and runs TripIt, a popular mobile travel organizer. Details about the deal are sketchy as the deal hasn’t closed. The two companies are expecting regulatory approval by the end of the calendar year.

Cisco buys both Memoir Systems and Metacloud

In separate deals, networking giant Cisco announced plans to purchase Memoir Systems, a privately held semiconductor memory vendor, and Metacloud, which develops and sells OpenStack-based private clouds. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for either deal. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Memoir Systems sells embedded memory solutions that make vendors' ASICs faster and more programmable. According to Cisco the Memoir technology will accelerate the memory access of its ASICs and the speeds of its switches, routers and other networking equipment. The Metacloud acquisition is expected to drive Cisco’s Intercloud play. Metacloud, based in Pasadena, Calif., was founded in 2011 and claims to deliver a full public cloud experience – including all the self-service capabilities, OpenStack APIs and integrated developer tools – only with the security and control of a private environment. Cisco's Metacloud announcement plans comes only a few days after HP announced it will acquire Eucalyptus, which provides of open-source software for building private clouds.

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The Cloud Security Alliance today released Cloud Usage: Risks and Opportunities. Survey results from IT and security professionals worldwide indicate they perceive their organization has significantly fewer apps running in the cloud than reported by vendors and researchers.

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Dell Logo amllDell has shown significant growth in software offerings and revenue through its PartnerDirect partner program. Channel partners and Dell Software have embraced the opportunity, securing partners associated rebates with the sale of Dell products and substantial deal registration and revenue growth—with deal registration up 61 percent and revenue growth up 15 percent year over year—for Dell.

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autotaskEvolving from an hourly-fee based break/fix (B/F) service model to one that includes a managed services (MS) recurring-revenue model provides benefits to both IT Service Providers (ITSPs) and their clients.

Read the rest of this article at:



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snom Logosnom technology AG  today introduced its new lineup of IP-based cordless DECT products, expected to improve coverage, reliability and features.

The snom M65 IP DECT phone and M700 multi-cell base station will be released in October, and the M5 DECT repeater will be released later this year.

“Our M65 DECT phone and M700 base station represents a new generation of feature-rich mobility for business users,” said Tom Ostrander, Director of North American Channel Sales. “These new products offer expanded range, and more features and flexibility for administrators to easily increase the number of users while maintaining performance.”

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microsoft logo-100029828-galleryMicrosoft pulled the trigger on another 2,100 employees today, executing the second wave of its record layoff plan that will eventually cut 18,000 positions – 14 percent of its global workforce. The first 13,000 cuts happened in July when the software giant first announced the plan.

Today’s cuts, 747 of which strike the Seattle area, are being made across all roles and teams as CEO Satya Nadella attempts to simplify engineering operations and management processes, as detailed in a July memoto staff. In the memo he said the goal was to have “fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making.”

Of the 18,000 total cuts 12,500 hit the recently acquired Nokia division – an acquisition driven by former CEO Steve Ballmer which Nadella is widely reputed to have opposed.

Also apparently affected by today’s moves is the company’s Mountain View, Calif.-based research facility, Microsoft Research Silicon Valley. The lab, which opened in August 2001 employs more than 75 researchers focused on distributed computing, including Derek Murray who tweeted that the lab would close this Friday, Sept. 18.

With today’s cuts, Microsoft still has 2,900 positions to eliminate – most of which the company says will be resolved by the end of the calendar year. The layoffs are expected to be complete by the end of Microsoft’s fiscal year end in June.


Tagged in: Microsoft
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envoyDataMotion , an email encryption provider, and Envoy Data Corporation, an IT security solutions specialty distributor, agreed to a partnership that will strengthen Envoy Data’s product portfolio and help its North American resellers sell to a mid-sized enterprise market.

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Truck Stop “Stops” Offering Faxing Services…

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fax information super highway editedOn the surface, this isn’t news. But dig a layer deeper and there is a story about “innovate or perish” here. On my recent trip to the D&H Distributing Canada show in Toronto, I drove by, made a U-turn and took the following photo. The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words applies here. You are looking at a shuddered truck that niched on offering faxing and other services to long-haul truckers. I’d offer it’s a sort about technology relevancy.

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christa champOver the years, readers have followed the challenges and successes of my niece, Christa Brelsford. Today, I am happy that I can report success, and there is a lesson learned for all of us in the SMB IT Pro community experiencing “disruption” in our profession. Stick with me and think about this the next time you complain that “they took away Small Business Server.”

Pic 1. Christa Brelsford won gold at the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship - Gijon (ESP) 2014 this past weekend.

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About PowerSource Online

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PSO banner 220X150Since its creation in 1997, PowerSource Online has helped thousands of computer parts and telecom equipment buyers to efficiently source used, refurbished and surplus IT and telecom systems, parts and equipment for their PCs and laptops, central office, VoIP and business telephony systems, storage components, point of sale systems, wireless networks and networking operations.

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