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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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ZynstraToday, Zynstra announced that it has completed an $8.4 million Series B funding round. This brings the total for the company’s first public year to $12.5 million. In a release today, Zynstra representatives explained that this funding will be used primarily to develop the company’s UK programs, as well as branch out into the North American Channel.

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MDSMy Digital Shield today announced it has raised $500,000 in seed funding from private investors, including Litera Investments.

This funding will help support the growth of MDS, which was founded in 2013 to give SMBs access to enterprise-level security technology that is reasonably priced and easy to install, configure and use.

“This investment will allow us to expand MDS’ security offerings, build out our team, establish more reseller relationships, and grow our sales efforts,” said Andrew Bagrin, founder and chief executive officer of My Digital Shield. “Small businesses cannot afford in-house IT experts or the expensive Internet security solutions currently on the market and designed for the Global 2000. Our mission is to deliver much-needed protection against cyber threats and intrusion to business owners at an affordable and predictable price, helping them protect their brands and foster growth.”

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brotherBrother International Corporation and Protected Trust, LLC have partnered to offer a joint solution that includes secure cloud servers, email encryption services, secure hosted exchange services, email archiving services, and disaster recovery services.

Brother traditionally supplies technology such as scanners and all-in-one printers to SMBs and is continuing to develop its IT services to work in conjunction with its hardware and cloud offerings. 

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storagecraft smallZenith customers who purchased StorageCraft ShadowProtect licenses through Zenith Infotech have the opportunity to transition to new licenses through July 31 at a discounted rate.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect, a backup software solution, includes products for virtual systems, desktops, laptops, servers, and Microsoft Exchange email systems.

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TigerpawTigerpaw Software recently announced that it has appointed former AIM Director of Sales and Service, Corey DeJong, as its new Director of Marketing.

“As a user of products like Tigerpaw, I am excited to work with the team, the technology, and the vision, that will continue to move Tigerpaw forward and upward,” said DeJong in a press release. “I’ve seen a lot of companies – vendors, startups, partners – over the course of my years in marketing life, and Tigerpaw is one of a kind. Tigerpaw brings great value to its customers and partners and it’s just continuing to get better at an increased pace.”

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WPC World Cup Party in DC…

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WPC WorldCupFour years later, it’s the same coincidence. The FIFA World Cup final falls on the on the Sunday prior to the start of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (and another coincidence – it’s in Washington DC again!).

So our friends, and yours, at the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) are hosting a party to watch the game from 2pm – 5:45pm Eastern. Harrybbb will be there cheering for Brazil or Germany (depends on the outcome) with long-time SMB leaders like Steve Hall from District Computers in Washington DC (an IAMCP leader).

Register here: http://www.iamcp-us.org/events/event_details.asp?id=454459&group

Learn more about IAMCP WPC activities here: http://www.iamcp-us.org/?page=WPC2014

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Registration Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/358866673

Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:00-2:00 PM PDT

Presented by: Rhett Ryder, VP Business Development, Zynstra and Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation

Webinar to review update from Harry on final leg of his world tour regarding SBS/WS03 migration plus an update on the Zynstra SBS/WS03 Migration and Hybrid Cloud IT product identified in SBS II. Hear how the Zynstra product has been stacking up against the “build your own” versus product approach. Hear what progress has been made and what has been the typical feedback or concerns from the SMB Partner community and how they have been addressed. Plus take part in an open discussion on what the SMB Partner Community would like to 1. ask of Microsoft at the forthcoming World Partner event to help further in this area.

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dubai windows xp may 2014Time stands still for no one. It’s now over 90 days since the April 8, 2014 Windows XP end-of-support. So where are we now? Basically, the migration cadence has accelerated since the April 8th deadline. There was a surge in this past quarter as people finally took the matter seriously and motivated. SMB IT Pro partners and resellers have been embracing the opportunity, but their enthusiasm and excitement has been somewhat muted – to be brutally honest.


Pictured: Windows XP point-of-sale device seen mid-May 2014 in Dubai on my worldwide tour.

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mellanoxMellanox Technologies, Ltd. today introduced the Ethernet Switch MLAG, which allows hosts to connect to two separate switches with a pair of load balanced bonded interfaces and boosts speed of failure recovery.

Open Ethernet, as many of you may know, gives businesses the ability to choose switch solutions without constraints, separate hardware and software, and more effectively control network resources.

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IDC logoToday, the International Data Corporation (IDC) released the results of its Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Tracker. The analyst firm reported that public cloud services revenue reached $45.7 billion in 2013, with an expected CAGR of 23% through 2018. For those of you not familiar with the IDC Cloud Services Tracker, it monitors the top 80 public cloud service providers across 8 segments worldwide. Today’s results cover the two main components of the public cloud services market: Cloud Software and Cloud Infrastructure.

Cloud Software led the way in 2013 with an 84% share of the public market, according to IDC. For the IDC tracker, Cloud Software included the revenue from SaaS and PaaS applications. On the SaaS side, Salesforce led the way with its CRM software, followed by Intuit and ADP. IDC also reported that this sub segment of the Cloud Software market was driven by ERM solutions, followed by CRM and Collaboration applications. On the PaaS side, leading applications were based in the Integration and Process Automation categories, led by Amazon.com with Microsoft and Salesforce tied for second in 2013 revenue.

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extricomWireless LAN solution provider Extricom Ltd. announced availability of its RP-23ac access point that uses its Channel Blanket architecture to maximize the efficiency and reliability of the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.

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220x150We are gearing up for our Annual Fall Conference!

Read what others are saying!:

“I just wanted to say congratulations on selecting Office 365 as the focus for this year’s SMB Nation. It’s currently something many MSP’s are selling and supporting. I have not sent any of our staff in several years because the content did not seem applicable to our client base or staff. This year we will be sending people from both the sales and tech departments. I think both departments will get value out of the topics that will be covered. I hope others feel the same and you have a successful conference.”
– Gordon Carlisle, BrightWire Networks, LLC, Tumwater, WA

Here are the details:

Event Website and Registration:

September 26-28, with a Pre-Day on September 25, and a special Post-Conference Bike Ride on September 29

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By Bob Vogel, B2 Marketing

Last month I wrote about the huge opportunity that exists for EVERY IT service provider and MSP in the medical and healthcare market . . . selling HIPAA Risk Analyses.

RFT 7.7Here’s why this is a target-rich opportunity:

  • Prospects must have one annually, or they are breaking the law.
  • You can offer a much better risk assessment than your prospects can do themselves.
  • You have access to a professional diagnostic and reporting tool that guides you through the complex process, making it much easier.
  • You already understand the IT security issues that confound your prospects.

And most importantly, the benefit of your risk analysis far outweighs the cost.

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Sean TindallBy Bob Vogel B2 Marketing

If you want to really understand the value of performing regular IT assessments for your clients, try doing an assessment on your own network – you might be really surprised at what you find.

Sean Tindall (pictured) is the Chief Technical Officer at Bulletproof InfoTech in Calgary, and he knows what I’m talking about.

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DRAM Settlement

Posted by on in Sponsored Posts

At least $310 million is available in a class action settlement to businesses that purchased DRAM, or devices containing DRAM, such as laptops, desktops, servers, graphic cards, video game consoles, MP3 players, printers, PDAs, DVD players, etc. Eligible purchases are those that were made from any entity other than the DRAM manufacturer Defendants in United States at any time between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2002. (Eligible DRAM types are EDO, FPM, RLDRAM, SDRAM, RDRAM, ASYNC AND DDR.)

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The week that was – July 3rd, 2014

Posted by on in News

With the 4th of July celebrations in the US and Canada Day early in the week north of the border, it was a relatively slow news week in the IT world. That’s par for the course this week every year, as any half decent PR pro knows not to pitch stories they actually want covered. However, business is business and a few things worth noting managed to squeeze out.

MobileIron takes EMM mobile with new tablet apps

mobileiron logoMountain View, California-based MobileIron has released a new app that will make it possible for IT administrators to manage mobile devices from their iOS and Android tablets. MobileIron Insight allows IT admins to view, monitor, and manage deployed devices from their own mobile devices. The new app provides admins with the same kind of flexibility EMM typically provides for mobile employees, giving them the ability to view devices by platform, ownership, carrier and compliance; drill down to device status and configuration data; troubleshoot problems and apply policies. The new app is one of several new capabilities announced by the enterprise mobility management vendor as part of its summer release this week including a new OS platform, data security and ecosystem integration capabilities to the toolbox for IT administrators. Additionally, MobileIron Spaces delivers a new way for IT to set data and task boundaries, to address user privacy issues and deliver flexible delegation of IT responsibilities in MobileIron Core – which adds mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile content management to the MobileIron Platform.

SimpliVity unveils new channel program

simplivity doron kempel f2Westborough, Mass-based SimpliVity took the wrappers off its new and improved channel program this week. The hyper-converged infrastructure solution developer hopes SimpliVity PartnerAdvantage will help scale up business as more vendors make significant moves in the immature market – including Nutanix, which signed an OEM agreement with Dell last week. According to the company, the new program builds on a previous channel partner program with new benefits and streamlined processes. Hyper-converged infrastructure is a software stack which includes is set of resources such as computing, storage, networking, virtualization and others running on commodity hardware. This gives users a solution that is managed holistically rather than through individual management systems/interfaces.

Ingram Micro acquires Rollouts

Ingram-Micro-logoIn the first major move since it announced it was rebranding to broaden its focus to place more emphasis on services, Santa Ana, Calif.-based Ingram Micro added IT services capacity with the acquisition of Chaska, Minn.-based IT services company Rollouts. Rollouts specializes in providing the engineering and technical support to execute big projects and manage cost-effective solutions delivery. To this end the company maintains a network of more than 15,000 technicians, a project management team and a project tracking tool. According to Ingram Micro the acquisition will help provide partners with the value-add professional services they need to be successful, especially in vertical markets like retail, health care, finance, education and the public sector where Rollouts has particular expertise. “Adding Rollouts' proven and highly scalable workforce and project management services to our professional services portfolio will further enable our channel partners to pursue larger deals with confidence and look to Ingram Micro Professional Services as an extension of their own IT services practice,” said Paul Bay, president, North America Technology Solutions at Ingram Micro, in a statement. Rollouts will become part of Ingram Micro Professional Services.

Germany cancels Verizon contract over NSA spying

verizonThe fallout from the NSA spying scandal continued as the German government announced it will end a long-running contract with New York-based Verizon citing concerns that the company is facilitating NSA eavesdropping. The decision, announced late last week by the Germans Interior Ministry, kills a relationship through which Verizon has provided telecommunications services to several German government agencies since 2010. A report from the Associated Press suggests that Germany was already reviewing its contract with Verizon when reports surfaced indicating the U.S. government had focussed intelligence gathering efforts on German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed officials to drop the contract completely. Many US companies have seen their overseas business damaged by the scandal prompting the likes of Cisco CEO John Chambers and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to call on the government to change the way the NSA is operating.

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LightpathNew York metro telecom provider Lightpath expanded its portfolio of managed service offerings with Lightpath Video Conference, a cloud-based service that provides virtual meeting rooms and managed video services.

Lightpath Video Conference allows mid-market and large businesses to conference and connect with up to 25 attendees worldwide on most devices. It is a fully-managed service that provides an end-to-end feature set that includes system design and installation, virtual meeting room services that support either new or existing equipment, access to a 24/7 helpdesk, and optional proactive monitoring.

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Intel 7.3. 2Investing in mobile devices is a necessary, yet serious expense for many small businesses. With work happening in and out of the office (if a traditional office even exists), entrepreneurs need devices that can be used for several tasks throughout any given day. To help find the best tools for the job, we’ll highlight the four different types available in the market today, with some examples of models that may pair best with your organization.


Small, lightweight and with a touch interface, tablets are the ultimate on-the-go devices, ideal for quick updates on email, social media, and other channels. Plus, tablets are great for sales personnel who need to show customers presentations, product demos, price sheets, and other materials in a highly interactive fashion. Some business-level tablets include:

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GoDaddyEarlier this week, GoDaddy released the latest addition to its technology offerings for small businesses. The Get Paid solution is designed to help small businesses collect and manage payments from clients from anywhere, and is based on two main trends in the small business arena: Mobility and e-payments.

I was able to speak with Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy’s SVP of Applications this week, and he went into detail about the two trends listed above. Primarily, he told me that more and more businesses, particularly in the “S” space, are doing business on the go. This means that not only is the actual work being performed at the customer site, but that the business owner often has to complete various other business duties while away from the office. This includes finances, and making sure that all payment is received for work completed. To compound on this, many SMB customers are preferring to pay electronically.

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redhatRed Hat, Inc. announced cloud management certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This allows partners’ cloud management solutions to manage and interoperate with Red Hat Linux OpenStack Platform and assures Red Hat customers that OpenStack-based clouds and management solutions have been thoroughly tested and are supported by Red Hat and its partners.

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Paid vs. organic – the winning search strategy

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pronto 7.2.2014 1By now, most of us in running small or medium businesses know a little about the magic that makes certain websites appear at the top of search engines when we type in terms such as "local shoe shops" Best dishwasher" or even “smartphone reviews” online?

And we know that getting to the top of these coveted search engine results pages (SERPs) is far more than a game of chance. But as a small business owner, do you know any of the tricks that will get you there?

Well let's look at the two main strategies for affecting your website’s SERP ranking and different situations for employing both.

It is SEO and keywords that make the difference between being top of the engines or relegated to page 3. But as with most things in life, money makes the real difference. The top slots are reserved for companies that pay top dollar. These are paid searches. The others are ranked organically thanks to carefully SEO campaigns, clever use of key words and great word of mouth.

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twtelecomtw telecom inc. announced it was selected as the recipient of seven ATLANTIC-ACM North American Business Connectivity awards. The Colorado-based Business Ethernet and networking solutions provider was awarded: Large Service Provider Brand, Sales Reps, Provisioning, Network Performance, Customer Service, Voice Value, and Data Value.

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Unitrends logoUnitrends announced its hybrid cloud Disaster Recovery as a Service offering that can recover entire IT infrastructures within hours of a disaster.

This new DRaaS offering allows customers to backup virtual and physical environments on-site with continuous replication of data, systems, and applications to the cloud through No Limits Cloud storage. If a disaster or failure occurs, live virtual machines and physical systems are instantly created within the same cloud to recover all IT infrastructure, preventing downtime and ensuring business continuity.

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


Part 5 of a monthly blog series examining tips on how MSPs can work to break “bad” business habits that they might unknowingly fall into as a result of just wanting to get things done.


In the previous installment of “Breaking Bad,” I discussed “How to Choose the Right Vendor Relationships.” In this month’s blog, I offer tips and advice on how to provide a mid-year assessment on the health and wealth of your business. A mid-year physical or check-up helps you and your staff avoid scrambling at the last minute at the end of the year. December will be here before we know it, so here are a few tips to help you get started now:


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The week that was – June 30, 2014

Posted by on in News

Your weekly round-up of the IT channel news you don’t want to miss.

AppDirect adds mobile functionality

AppDirect-logoSan Francisco-based AppDirect announced it will be extending its white label cloud marketplace and management solution to mobile devices. The pure-play cloud services company sells MSPs and VARs a platform that helps them – and their customers – cut through the noise and clear up some of the market confusion arising as more and more *-as-a-Service offerings emerge. Just a few short years ago there were only a few hundred cloud applications, but today there are thousands, with thousands more coming. The new capabilities support the intersection of cloud with another major tech trend – mobility (and BYOD). Going forward users will be able to find, purchase and access apps both through the platform and through their mobile devices. AppDirect has also added several features aimed at MDM vendors, including license management.

Reminder: New Canadian anti-SPAM law takes effect July 1st

drapeau-canada-vintage1-800x481If you haven’t reached out to an Canadians on your contact lists to secure permission to continue contacting them you are almost out of time. A new Canadian law aimed at thinning the flow of unsolicited SPAM will go into effect July 1st (Canada Day). Under the new regulation, which applies to email, SMS text messages, instant messages and any other electronic communication, messages much include an "opt-out" option, clearly identify the sender and have a valid return mailing address and contact information. Violators could face fines as high as $10 million. While the comparable U.S. laws haven’t been enforced and are thus often ignored, vendors should take the Canadian regulation seriously. Not that long ago the Canadian government laid numerous punitive fines against telemarketers for violating the country’s Do-Not-Call registry and it’s reasonable to assume that the anti-SPAM law will be enforced with similar vigor. This leads to a decent opportunity for service providers as organizations will need to update their messaging systems while many companies – specially smaller SMBs – are going to need to employ more sophisticated CRM solutions than they currently use.

Mitel restructures North American partner program

mitel blue logoMitel partners are currently ranked and rewarded strictly based on the revenue they generate for the unified communications vendor, but that is going to change in early July. The new program will have three separate tracks – for solution providers/VARs, carrier and cloud provider partners. Partners in the solution provider/VAR track, which will include partners who sell Mitel’s on-prem and cloud-based UC offerings, will be segmented into four categories: Authorized, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Partners will be ranked based on a combination of the number of Mitel certifications they hold and the amount of revenue they generate. As one would expect, partner discounts and resources increase at each progressive tier.

Trend revamps partner program with new tiers and incentives

TrendMicroLike Mitel, Trend Micro is also planning a revamp of its global partner program. Driven by competitive pressures from Intel Security (formerly McAfee), Symantec and IBM, which acquired Trusteer for $1 billion last year, the Tokyo-based security vendor has been reworking its market approach to emphasise the SMB channel, including the simplification of its product lines for the SMB market. The new set up, which will be rolled out throughout 2015, will standardize branding, naming, revenue requirements, benefits and will be supported through a new partner portal, simplified training for sales and technical engineers, and incentives that will be applied to partners regardless of geographic location. Under the new plan, Trend Micro will rely more heavily on regional distributors for program management and channel recruiting. A new tier system is being introduced and – possibly most interesting to partners, an up-front discount of 40 points for VARs carrying Trend’s SMB products.

Carbonite releases new hybrid backup appliance for SMB

carbonite1Carbonite Inc. has released a new hybrid backup solution aimed at small businesses. The Carbonite Appliance HT10 promises to deliver the high speed of local backup but with the increased reliability of a cloud model. The new Appliance makes it possible for partners to deliver centrally-managed local and cloud data backup services. Because the device is managed entirely by the solution provider, it demands increased interaction between the client and the MSP, giving them the opportunity for increased touches and thus, increased intimacy with their customers. You can find out more about the new device at www.carbonite.com/hybrid-backup/how-it-works or, if you are attending Microsoft WPC, by visiting the Carbonite booth.

D&H adds Cisco's Meraki Wi-Fi to line-up

dandhD&H Distributing has added Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed wireless technology to its portfolio. The Meraki portfolio – which was acquired by Cisco in 2012 for $1.2 billion – has been popular with Cisco partners, enabling them to turn wireless access infrastructure sales into opportunities for recurring revenue. According to D&H, the addition of Meraki to its lineup of Cisco offerings will be particularly beneficial to Cisco partners focused on SMBs extend their cloud services practices. D&H is planning a series of Meraki training webinars for resellers over the coming months.

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