SMB Nation Blog

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

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D&H Distributing
and MakerBot today announced that it has signed a distribution agreement, which will allow D&H to sell MakerBot 3D printers and scanners to a wide range of verticals. As many of you know from our past coverage of D&H, the PA-based disty is laser-focused on new technologies and the education opportunity for resellers.

In fact, today’s announcement will enable D&H to add the 3D printers and scanners to its K-12 education offerings, and product training via D&H’s well-respected Solution Lab. As of this writing, MakerBot has its 3D printers and scanners in over 5000 educational institutions, and the company was one of the first 3D printer manufacturers to make the technology more affordable.

Security-as-a-Service provider My Digital Shield announced today Caleb Sima, executive chairman co-founder of Blueblox Security, has joined MDS’ advisory board. my digital shield

“We’re thrilled to welcome Caleb to our advisory board and are confident that his unparalleled expertise in web security technologies will be a significant asset to our team,” MDS CEO Andrew Bagrin said. “His understanding of the field and insight into emerging trends will be a driving force in helping expand MDS’ growth.”

Sima has more than 20 years of experience in the web security industry, and was chosen for his ability to expand MDS’s expertise within the security space and accelerate growth in IT channel and SMB markets.

Information and biographies on MDS advisory board members are available here.

o365 cover pic editedNow it’s real. In just 90-days, the end-of-support (EOS) deadline for Windows Server 2003 will arrive. That milestone represents both a threat, and an opportunity. The threat is that, much like Windows XP, you’ll ignore the deadline for both time convenience, and the belief you don’t have any Windows Server 2003 machines in your portfolio. For MSPs, this is compounded by managing multiple sites and/or should you go hunt down W2K3 Server sites? Part of this deadline arrogance (and ignorance) is based on recent history, where “nothing bad happened” after the Windows XP EOS (ummm…just ask Home Depot how well that worked out).

Clearly, you know the talking points concerning W2K3 Server EOS. Now the opportunity. What are you going to do? There are two realistic migration paths: Cloud (Office 365 for example) and Hybrid IT.

Avnet Technology Solutions announced today it expanded its portfolio of cost-effective cloud-ready solutions to include Office in the Cloud services from Intermedia. avnet

“Avnet’s new alliance with Intermedia further enables our Avnet Cloud Solutions team to supply our partners with strategic guidance, resources and packaged offerings to quickly build and grow subscription- and consumption-based cloud solutions for their customers,” said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of Cloud Solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. “The addition of Intermedia to Avnet’s ecosystem of world-class cloud providers and unmatched training and enablement make it easier, more efficient and more cost-effective than ever for partners to transition their customers to cloud-based environments.”

The Office in the Cloud suite includes email and phone systems, file sync and share, identity and access management, archiving, security and mobility. More information about the partnership is available here.

iamcpWe received an email this morning from Jeff Shuey, our contact at the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP) with exciting news about the group’s next two chapter meetings in Bellevue, WA. The first meeting is coming up this Thursday!

You can join the IAMCP team in welcoming BitTitan’s West Region Territory Manager, Terry Emmingham, as he discusses the cloud opportunity and migration scenarios. This meeting will be held at the Microsoft Civica Building in Bellevue, WA from 11:30am – 1:00pm, April 16. Registration is open for this event at the site here.

If you can’t make the April event, the IAMCP group has a special breakfast meeting set for Thursday, May 21, at which Jenn Matthews of Microsoft will host an interactive briefing.

Intel logoIntel Security commissioned the report “Tackling Attack Detection and Incident Response” from Enterprise Strategy Group, examining companies’ security strategies, cyber-attack environment, incident response challenges and needs.

Almost 30 percent of security incidents are targeted attacks, and a slow or inadequate response results in loss of sensitive data.

“Just as the medical profession must deliver heart-attack patients to the hospital within a ‘golden hour’ to maximize likelihood of survival, the security industry must work towards reducing the time it takes organizations to detect and deflect attacks, before damage is inflicted,” said Chris Young, General Manager at Intel Security. “This requires that we ask and answer tough questions on what is failing us, and evolve our thinking around how we do security.”

The survey found respondents are calling for better integration between security tools, improved analytics, help to contextualize data captured, increased expertise and automation to enhance action.

The survey, available here, included 700 IT security professionals at mid-market and enterprise organizations.

Altera Joins Industrial Internet Consortium

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Altera Joins Industrial Internet Consortium

Altera Corporation announced today it joined the Industrial Internet Consortium, an industry organization focused on facilitating development of an Internet of Things global ecosystem.Internet of Things

"Altera technology will enable the IIC to look at innovative ways to support accelerated intelligent cloud and gateway platforms that collect and process the input from a wide variety of 'things' at the edge of the network," said David Moore, director, Industrial Business Unit at Altera. "These platforms can benefit significantly from Altera's hardware and software programmability, which can flexibly service fragmented application needs while offering the performance to cost-effectively accelerate analytics and security in the data center and IoT infrastructure."

Altera brings to IIC its FPHA and SoC products and experience, which offer designers the ability to securely bridge wired and wireless interface standards across a range of IoT applications. It will work with other consortium members to build out the Industrial Internet, a network of intelligent devices and sensors.

Tagged in: Altera IIC IoT

Rich Lane Joins Powerstorm ESS Advisory Board

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Powerstorm ESS announced today mobile technology expert Rich Lane joined its board of advisors. Powerstorm logo

Lane, president of Entrepreneurial Ventures and general partner of Radio Spectrum Partners, has honed startup management and consulting skills after spending more than 30 years building businesses and maximizing shareholder value in the mobile technology industry.

"We are happy to have Rich as part of the team to grow our company," Powerstorm CEO Mike Freni, said. "He has the wisdom that comes with many years of business experience, and I'm confident that he will use that to help Powerstorm most effectively provide power to those people in the world currently living in energy poverty."

Lane said he looks forward to using his skills and experience to assist Powerstorm.

“The work that this company is doing, utilizing their innovative energy storage technologies to enable wireless communications for people who have been previously power-deprived, is full of potential and possibility,” Lane said.

WPC2010 Dino White and Eric LigmanSadly, we’ve lost a pivotal member of the Small and Medium Business (SMB) IT Pro community. Read on, as this isn’t your normal mention of someone’s passing. This is about Dino White who, earlier this week, succumbed to the effects of a major stroke suffered approximately 18-months ago.

Some readers will recall we originally reported on Dino’s stroke in late October 2013 here and here.  

Pictured: Dino White with Eric Ligman

Dino was an SBSer (a Small Business Server enthusiast). He attended several SMB Nation workshops and conferences, and he was one of our leading customers. He had the perfect bi-lingual balance between business acumen and a technical skill set. One day you’d see Dino in an Intel-branded vPro golf shirt and the next day he’d be wearing a collared shirt in his hometown of New York City attending a business marketing symposium at the Harvard Club (I was there with him). Dino, as a small business owner himself (owned and operated Dicyn Solutions for over ten years) also held the entrepreneurial attributes of being a finder (get the business), minder (manage the business) and grinder (do the work) that is an extremely rare skill set. Turns out Dino, who was soft spoken and humble, was also a star football player in college at Eastern Carolina University (Go Pirates!) and went on to earn a Master’s in Communications at Emerson in the early 1990s.

comptia logoBy Seth Robinson, Senior Director of Technology Analysis for CompTIA

With smaller budgets and fewer resources, efficiency and cost reducing improvements continue to remain top priorities with small and mid-size businesses. Those are two chief reasons SMB organizations put so much focus on implementing new technologies and improving their existing platforms. Of course, finding the right price/benefit balance isn’t easy for the companies that try to do it on their own.

Only 17% of small businesses are truly satisfied with their existing technology platforms and solutions. 55% of them also included new client acquisition among their top priorities and, recognizing that the competitive environment and customer behaviors are radically shifting, understand they need to change. This information, as well as a detailed account of the opportunities in this space can be found in the latest CompTIA Research report: Enabling SMBs with Technology.

Small business owners and managers know that technology can be the great equalizer, giving them the ability to take on much larger competitors without breaking their budgets. That’s true whether implementing a new backup and data recovery solution or moving their servers and all their capabilities to the cloud. The efficiencies and flexibility those systems provide can be a real game changer for any business, regardless of size. Channel partners who can define the specific needs of their clients and match them with the most appropriate technologies will likely enjoy the most success. In the SMB space, the solution providers and agents who can cost-effectively provide those types of solutions can expect their client numbers to swell.

EMA Releases IT Service Management Research Repor

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Enterprise Management Associates, an IT and data management research and consulting firm, released today “WhEnterprise Management Association logoat is the Future of IT Service Management?,” a report that found IT service management is needed more than ever as the IT industry becomes increasingly service-centered.

“Research is always an exploration—you never know for sure just what you’ll find. So it was exciting to see how strongly this research data reinforces the value of a more progressive and transformative approach to ITSM technologies, processes, and organizational interactions across all of IT,” vice president of research Dennis Drogseth said.

With almost 50 percent of ITSM organizations set to grow, the research suggests a progressive or reactive track for ITSM teams, with separate profiles and investment platforms.

The full report is available here, and journalists can request a complimentary copy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Energy management specialist Schneider Electric announced the release of PowerChute Network Shutdown v4.0,Schneider Electric Logo which includes advanced redundancy capabilities and a new Uninterruptible Power Supply configuration option.

The UPS configuration option enables IT personnel to manage and monitor multiple groups of redundant UPSs and add increased redundancy for IT equipment when necessary.

“Due to the growing trend of virtualization, IT architectures have evolved into increasingly complex systems, with many IT managers struggling with how to not only manage but protect their multiple servers across varying locations,” said Paul Bohan, vice president, network management, IT business, Schneider Electric. “PowerChute Network Shutdown v4.0’s seamless integration, migration and shutdown capabilities give IT managers the peace of mind that their entire virtualized and physical IT infrastructure is protected from potential power events or outages – no matter their location.”

The software provides IT managers with control of movement of virtual machines and can be integrated with VMware vCenter and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

PowerChute Network Shutdown v4.0 is available for download here.

o365nation editedOver the past year, we’ve discretely developed what we hope has become one of the world’s leading Office 365 independent portals ( And we want, and need, you to participate to make it better!

First some context. We’re not the only Office 365 portal in the world. In fact, we’re not the biggest. Microsoft itself can lay claim to hosting the largest go-to Office 365 portals. For your benefit, I’ve listed three here that you should consider participating in:

To understand Microsoft’s role in the community, I’ll share a recent conversation:

A vendor asked: “what is the best site in the world for having a conversation with Microsoft channel partners/MSPs about Windows Server?” My response was easy: The punch line is that Microsoft sites don’t accept vendor sponsored advertising. LOL.

What makes our Office 365 Nation (aka community different from Microsoft’s leading site? It’s very simple. We are INDEPENDENT. We’re staffed with like-mind IT Pros who are bilingual (geek and business). We’re analysts. We are your Office 365 community ombudsman. Being Seattle-based, we’re ready, able and willing to represent your best interests by putting our independent foot forward. We frequently share your questions and concerns with Microsoft on its carpet in Redmond!
Next steps!

Visit and just read our independent content. Offer up your feedback. And then SIGN-UP to participate in our community. The link is right at the top: SUBSCRIBE!

See you there and enjoy the Office 365 ride.

paesslerPaessler AG recently announced that it will be releasing the 100 sensor license of PRTG Network Monitor for free to home users, SMBs and startups. This will be a full version of the product.

What’s the reasoning? Well, Paessler, a Germany-based Network Monitoring solutions specialist, is noticing the rapid growth rate of IT infrastructure, and recognizing that smaller enterprises, SMBs and home users are struggling to keep up with the demands. In addition, many of the startups and smaller enterprises are finding that existing solutions are not only out of their budget, but their staff requirements as well, needing more complicated setup.

digium logoBy Pete Engler, Digium

Technology can make your customers productive, save them money, and help them stay ahead of their competitors. The right technology, introduced to the market at the right time, can also make innovative vendors and manufacturers (and resellers) lots of money. For the last few decades, technology has been innovating and evolving at breakneck speed with some manufacturers constantly trying to come up with the “next” big thing, while others are just trying to keep up. In the consumer market, we see the tech-buying craze in action every time a new smartphone or tablet is released. In the business market, the spending fury is often a bit slower, given the sales process is much harder for new technology, particularly if the price tag is high. Even so, business consumers continue to crave new, better technology. As the business market demands technology advancements (that sometimes contradicts sales cycles), maybe it’s worth asking these two questions: Is all technology sellable? And, what role do resellers play in the innovation-to-market decision process?

Unisys Forward! Server Certified for SAP HANA

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Unisys Corporation announced today its Forward! Model 4150B server is now certified for operating the SAP HANAunisys logo platform, giving clients the ability to deploy real-time data analytics applications.

"This certification is the latest step in Unisys' initiative to provide clients with real-time analytics solutions based on SAP software on the Forward! platform," said Rob Cashman, vice president, Mission-Critical Servers and Solutions, Unisys. "We are excited to deliver solutions running on SAP HANA that enable clients to benefit from the superior performance, reliability, availability and security that Forward! offers."

The single-node, bare-metal server configuration will enable clients to run SAP HANA in the bare-metal environment, with other application workloads running in a partitioned environment managed by Unisys’ secure partitioning software.

This certification complements the existing suite of Unisys programs supporting SAP software.


Tagged in: SAP Unisys

Vodafone Launches Mavenir VoLTE Solution

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Mavenir Systems, a software-based networking solutions provider, announced today its virtualizeVodafone logod VoLTE application solution was launched by Vodafone Germany.

“We are pleased to have partnered with Vodafone to successfully launch such a critical service,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mavenir Systems. “Mavenir’s VoLTE solution provides the foundation for the transformation to a low-cost, consolidated all-IP network that will enable service innovation, as well as converged consumer and enterprise features across mobile and fixed market segments.” T

his solution, according to Vodafone Germany, will allow Vodafone to offer fast connection and high-quality HD voice to its customers. Vodafone Germany CTO Eric Kuisch said the company plans to add new features to enhance the service experience.


Tagged in: mavenir vodafone VoLTE

There has been a lot of talk about how partners can and should adapt to the rise of cloud-based software, with particular focus on how to replace revenue from sources like on-site server and software installations Harry had a 3-part series on the issue a few months ago, and many other knowledgeable sources have written and spoken about it. In short, the transition to the cloud is happening, and is even picking up speed. This means that partners need to adapt in order to capitalize on the transition. Smart partners are finding new ways to attach revenue to cloud-based software like Office 365. That’s where our friends at attachedapps come in.

AriaAria Systems completed its inaugural global conference on recurring revenue, Monetize2015, and amassed seven tips it believes are key to moving from basic billing into monetization.

First, Aria Systems suggests successful programs place emphasis on customer lifetime value, working to cultivate long-term relationships.

Encouraging retention is important, and Aria offers focusing on long-term retention and upsell and customizing the dunning experience.

levineBy Jonathan Levine

Many of you may have a grandparent or relative who still holds onto Depression-era fears that their money isn’t safe in the bank. Some of them may actually even keep their money under their mattresses or hidden in their freezer. Never mind the FDIC or all the other advances that made banks far more secure—or that a house fire was far more likely than a run on a modern bank.

Anyone who understands modern banking knows that their money is safer within institutions that are dedicated to protecting it. But what all-too-few businesses realize is that there’s a clear analogy between keeping your money under your mattress and storing your data in an on-premises server.

Dropbox Online Notes Application Leaks

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A leaked link to Dropbox’s developing Hackpad-like note-taking application allowed some users to test the newDROPBOX Logo product before it was pulled, PC Magazine freelance writer David Murphy said.

According to TechCrunch, Murphy wrote, Dropbox isn’t quite ready to release information on its “Project Composer.”

Users who accessed the link to “Project Composer” found on Product Hunt were pleased with the appearance of Composer, noting its typography and clean interface.

This variant, Murphy said, is said to be more closely tied to Dropbox than the Hackpad online note-taking service.

Murphy’s full article is available here.

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

The third 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.

In last month’s installment of “Better Call an MSP,” I discussed how to hire employees that will be effective and will go the distance long-term. This month, let’s talk about clients that might be costing you money. These clients may be potentially non-profitable to your business because they’re either not on board with your new business model, or they aren’t willing to make suggested technology and business changes that you are recommending, including standardizing on an IT services provider, hardware and set pricing.

Let’s examine a few steps to see if you can both come to a mutual agreement when it comes to these recommended changes.

eFolder-wordmark-logo1eFolder recently announced the general availability of its eFolder BDR for Veeam solution in the US and Canada. This solution was developed specifically for IT Partners, and will allow MSPs and VARs to add off-site BDR services to any Veeam software deployment.

So what does it do? The eFolder BDR for Veeam utilizes Veeam’s Availability Suite v8 software to replicate backup images to the eFolder cloud, with multiple options for restoration in the event of a disaster.

Autopilot Achieves Early Success

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Autopilot announced today more than 1,000 companies have created personalized marketing journeys on its multi-channel marketing automation platform one month after its launch.

Autopilot’s platform allowed these businesses to create customized emails, texts and postcards and track more than 1.3 million user activities from 1.7 million contacts in real time.

“Our early traction makes it clear that businesses of all sizes want to realize the original dream of multi-channel marketing automation,” said co-founder and CEO Mike Sharkey. “These types of tools no longer need to be confined to the tech elite. We’re leveling the playing field for marketers everywhere by delivering software that’s easy yet powerful.”

Industries served include consulting, e-commerce, technology and financial services.


EarthLink Announces New Management

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EarthLink Holding Corp. announced today it has appointed Gerard Brossard as executive vice preEarthLinksident and managing director of managed services and information technology, replacing current executive VP Michael Toplisek. Brossard’s previous employment includes Visa Inc. and HP.

Executive vice president and CFO Bradley Ferguson will move to executive vice president and managing director, small business and consumer, and Louis Alterman, executive vice president of strategy, operations and transformation will fill Ferguson’s role.

"Mike Toplisek has been a great asset to EarthLink. We are very grateful to him for his dedicated service to EarthLink and we will miss his talent and enthusiasm,” CEO Joseph Eazor said, "Gerard Brossard is a fantastic addition to our management team and Louis and Brad are ideally experienced for their new positions.  I look forward to working with them in their new roles as we continue with our strategy to be a leading managed network, security, and cloud service provider. And while I will have much more information to share on our earnings call in early May, I am pleased with how our first quarter results are demonstrating our continuing progress in executing this strategy."