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q2 2012 Issue 6-5
The Channelâ€™s Best Friend
SMB 150 List Revealed SMB Nation and SMB Technology Network present the 2nd annual SMB 150 awards
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contents 8 q2 2012
The 2012 SMB 150 List Revealed By Harry Brelsford
Perceptions SMB Cloud Adoption Lessons for Success
Things SMBs Should Know about Windows 8
By Anurag Agrawal
By Onuora Amobi
Editor’s Note Fighting for a Cure 6 MSP Speak
By Regina P. Ciardiello
By Steve Copeland
Part 6: How to Avoid the McDonald’s Effect within Managed Services
By Harry Brelsford
MVP Events…Meet the Gurus
cloudSpeak by Mike L. Chase, (aka ‘Dr. Cloud”)
The Social Side of “The Cloud”
Business Speak By Harry Brelsford and Regina P. Ciardiello
The Adoption of Cloud Software is Growing Exponentially
IT Guru Helps Rocky Mountain Urgent Care Embrace the MSP Switch
Security Speak By Joseph Walker
Top Five Security Threats Facing SMBs
By Tracy Anna Bader
An Open Letter to the SMB Community
By Jay McBain
How BYOD and BYOA are Furthering the Consumerization of IT
By Harry Brelsford and Regina P. Ciardiello
More Details on Microsoft Small Business Competency Trickling Out
Calling all “Geeks”
By Harry Brelsford
Streaming Conferences du Jour
On the Cover:
This month’s cover features a mosaic style design inspired by a video shown at the recent Intel Partner Summit. The main photo features SMB 150 recipient Eriq Neale, surrounded by a “mosaic” of all of this year’s winners.
17 Community Photos / 26 PluggedIN / 28 People on the Move 37 TechNewsWatch/Advertising Index/Events Calendar 4 smb nation www.smbnation.com
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Fighting for a Cure
Normally each month I use this column to discuss what’s in store for this current issue, as well as any activities and events that we have upcoming in our community. However, this month I wanted to take a different approach, and instead get a little more personal. While we are all aware that the focus of this month’s Cover Story (See Page 8) is on the winners of the SMB 150, there is more to this group of channel influencers than just a list of names. Those that have been honored are real people with real lives—lives that go beyond our SMB channel community, and more.
Real People, Real-Life Stories For instance, some of you may (or may not) know that Eriq Neale of Third Tier, who is one of our SMB 150 recipients, was diagnosed in the last year with liver cancer. By all standards, Eriq is considered a young man. He’s only 43 years old, which is not even middle-age, and was in excellent health. It seems almost like you never know what is going to happen, or where life will take you, at least I’m sure that’s what Eriq felt upon receiving his diagnosis. While some might have just retreated into a world of depression and gloom, Eriq decided that he would grab “the bull by the horns” and instead turned his situation by extending positive energy through his work for the SMB community and his Web site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/eriqneale/mystory. Regina Ciardiello On this Web site, Eriq also posts blogs updating family, friends and colleagues Editor on his condition and his general feelings about what he is going through. A recent post discusses a visit from his brother, and how he was even able to keep up with his wife, Anna, on a recent jogging outing. After reading this post, I felt like a very lazy person, since I am lucky if I can make it a couple of minutes running around the block in my neighborhood before I am out of breath! There are also other members of our community who fight on for their causes, and keep things moving, despite their situations. I recently received an email from another SMB 150 recipient, David Schafran, of Cogent Growth Partners, who is doing an MS Walk at the end of April in New York City. Schafran, whose wife, Karen, was diagnosed with MS in 2001, started a walking team, “Got Wine??,” to raise money and awareness to put an end to MS. Schafran first did the MS Walk in 2002, and he and has team continue to walk each year. Even better, is that his wife’s health continues to improve, and he has since raised more than $420,000 in the past 10 years. Eric Ligman, Director, Microsoft’s Director, Worldwide Partner Experience, also shared his story with us about his daughter, Samantha, who was diagnosed this fall with fluid on the brain (hydrocephalus). The fluid was discovered this fall, after Samantha sustained a concussion during a soccer game, and she was admitted to surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital the next day to hopefully permanently drain the fluid, as well as a biopsy on the mass to help determine what it is. Thankfully, Samantha is doing well. Per a blog post on her CaringBridge site: http:// www.caringbridge.org/visit/samanthaligman, it states that the mass on her brain has not grown at all, and Samantha is doing great. In fact, she is doing so well, that her team of doctors said she can forego any additional three-month checkups, and instead move to follow-ups every six months.
Final Thoughts Usually, this is the point in the column when I let our readers know that their questions, comments and story ideas are always welcome. However, this month, I would instead ask each of you to instead think about what it is in your life that you are most thankful for. sN
6 smb nation www.smbnation.com
The Channel’s Best Friend Quarter 2 Issue 6-5
Published By SMB Nation, Inc. Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 PUBLISHER Harry Brelsford Harryb@smbnation.com EDITOR Regina P. Ciardiello Reginac@smbnation.com ART DIRECTOR Jay Sevidal CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anurag Agrawal, Onuora Amobi, Tracy Anna Bader, Mike Chase, Steve Copeland, Jay McBain, Eriq Neale, Joseph Walker CONTRIBUTING Photgrapher Tracy Anna Bader BUSINESS STAFF Harry Brelsford Chairman Harryb@smbnation.com Tom Poole CEO Tom@smbnation.com Jennifer Hallmark Senior Manager Jenniferh@smbnation.com Chris Bangs Business Development Manager Chrisb@smbnation.com Jeremiah Igles Business Development Manager Jeremiah@smbnation.com Heather Childers Data Entry/Production Assistant Heatherc@smbnation.com Theresa Perry Accounting Manager Acct@smbnation.com Marianne Poulos Tele-Buddy Mariannep@smbnation.com Edna Sparkman Tele-Buddy email@example.com
SMB Nation, Inc. 9727 Coppertop Loop NE Building 8, Suite 203 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Tel: 206-201-2943 Fax: 360-824-6042 ISSN 1933-8899 To renew/apply/change subscriptions to SMB Nation magazine, and its weekly newsletters, visit our Web site at www. SMBNation.com, or email Heather Childers: Heatherc@smbnation.com.
mspspeak This month’s Birth of a Managed Services Provider
column is especially near and dear to my heart. It marks my first anniversary as CEO of Manage My IT, as well as the fact that it was this time last year that I began writing this column for SMB Nation. This year has been amazing in all facets of that word. We opened our doors and our company with one thing in mind, and that was to do things differently and to share those experiences in this regular column series. We have had some high points and some low points, some positive experiences and some learning experiences, and during those times, I have found an amazing community of peers and friends. I would like to thank those of you that have read this little piece of the world and encouraged me; I would also like to welcome those who are reading this column for the first time. I don’t have a weekly blog or radio show, although I keep a journal in the hopes that one day it will encourage others to reach for their goals and strive to open their own company.
The Birth of a Managed Services Provider Part 6: How to Avoid the McDonald’s Effect within Managed Services a recent commercial. There is an old saying in business, “The fastest way out of business is imitating your competition.” Perhaps Burger King hasn’t heard that one? Have you heard that one?
Staying Competitive and Unique
There is a fierce competition ongoing in our marketplace. We set out to be different. We want to change not only our business model, but also our customers’ way of viewing us. We also strive to not imitate our competition, but instead innovate on it. The “McDonald’s” of McDonald’s didn’t become who they are because their Managed Services meat or product was better. In fact, it is just a burger between For this month’s column, I am going to discuss the two pieces of bread. McDonald’s didn’t become better because “McDonald’s effect.” Or as I like to say: “Here is your man- they got customers out of the drive-thru faster, or were the least aged services, would you expensive, or gave you refills on drinks. McDonlike fries with that?” Each and every one ald’s became who they are For each and every way of us does managed serbecause they served food vices differently; we have up better with a smile, in there is to build an a different combination of some Styrofoam containIT infrastructure, tools, skill sets and even ers dripping with grease. by Steve Copeland CEO, Manage My IT best practices. For each They didn’t even have betthere are at least 211 different and every way there is to ter promotions. build an IT infrastructure, Every company in the ways to implement it, there are at least 211 difworld uses Microsoft or and 400 ways to build an MSP. ferent ways to implement Apple. Every company in it, and 400 ways to build the world uses some kind an MSP. So why do our cusof device to access their tomers look at us as a simple solution? After all, they only data whether in the cloud or on-premise. Every company in want their IT infrastructure to work and not go down. Simple, the world eats hamburgers. They look to us to show them how right? I mean how hard can IT be? our burger or our way of making it is different. Our customers expect two things from us: uptime and It doesn’t matter what PSA or RMM tool you use, if you reliability. We present and sell another: maintenance and attended this training camp or that one, that you are part support. So what do you do differently than ABC MSP or of this peer group or if you use this business coach or that even ZYX MSP? Leaders in our community and in this one. It doesn’t matter if you use Dell, HP or a black box from profession have discussed this. It is evident that large com- Bakersfield. What matters is you all of these with one goal in panies think what we do is simple. What is it you do that is mind, servicing your customers better than anyone else, but different? We are all selling Big Macs, but what is in your more importantly in the way they want to be serviced. It’s secret sauce? what our customers want and something they will never get I am old enough to remember Styrofoam containers at with these mega-MSPs entering the market. sN McDonald’s, and maybe I am naive enough to somehow think that at one point the food actually tasted good. I Steve Copeland is Founder and Owner of Manage My IT, an also remember that what seemed like every other fast-food Irvine, Calif.-based managed services start-up. He can be reached company trying to mimic them. It seems like it’s happen- via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Steve on Twitter ing again with Burger King stealing McDonalds’ recipes in @managemyitinc. www.smbnation.com smb nation 7
SMB 150 coverstory
The 2012 Revealed
SMB Nation and SMB Technology Network
By Harry Brelsford, Chairman and Publisher, SMB Nation
present the 2nd annual SMB 150 awards
Like good manners,
leadership is always in good taste. Good times or not, there are always those achievers in any community who pay it forward, send the elevator back down and give more than they take. We believe such a list is presented here with the naming of the SMB 150 influencers for 2012. So raise your glass high, and toast these heroes for the SMB technology community.
How We Got There In an industry full of awards such as the ASCII Cup, MSP Mentor 100+250, CRN 100+500+et al, Channelnomics’ Channel Influencers and many more, we purposefully sought to be distinctive and different. In creating the 2012 contest, we borrowed some of the best tactics used by the amazing Ramon Ray at his Smallbiztechnology.com site and his “Small Business Influencers” contest. Ray’s brilliant contest approach includes using both a popular vote and judges. In our case, we allowed the popular vote to account for 40 percent of the weighted total. The judges accounted for the remaining 60 percent of the award calculation. Judges included Jeff Connally (CEO, CMIT); Chip Reaves (former CEO, Computer Troubleshooters); Josh Peterson (COO, FusionTek); and Larry Schulze (CEO and founder, Taylor Business Group) who cast unbiased and independent votes for the “true” SMB 150 technology influencers (in their educated opinion). The judges submitted their votes free of outside influences, not consulting the popular vote totals to avoid the appearance and practical effects of bias. Continued on page 10
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Of course we also wanted to hear from this year’s SMB 150 winners, so we reached out to a few of this year’s honorees for their take on being nominated, and ultimately winning this coveated award. Long-time SMB community leader Karl Palachuk shared the following regarding his inclusion in this year’s SMB 150: “I am very honored to be named to this list once again,” he said. “And I’m delighted to share the honor with community and business leaders from all over the world.” Palachuck is known for his user group advocacy, content and community participation that includes hosting and speaking at events. For example, his SMB online conference will be presented in late June 2012. We also heard from additional winners, as noted below: “I commend SMB Nation and BlackBerry and thank the SMB community for their vision to recognize those who are taking early stakes in the rapidly growing SaaS and Cloud space. SaaSMAX is committed to helping the channel learn and profit from new SaaS opportunities while efficiently managing all of their SaaS deals, sales commissions and vendor relationships in a single place.” – Dina Moskowitz, Founder and CEO, SaaSMAX, Inc. “I am grateful to both my industry peers and the SMB 150 judging panel for extending this honor to me as a member of our industry’s best and brightest thought leaders. As a small business owner myself, it gives me a sense of pride to know that I am grouped with other individuals in my industry whom share my thoughts on why it is so important to promote the SMB community and the individuals who serve it.” – Chris Wiser, Founder and CEO, TechSquad IT
R e a c t i o n “We sincerely appreciate the nomination. My team and I look to do one thing: serve our clients by giving them the tools, confidence and capabilities they need to take their business, income, profits and personal success to the next level. Although my clients’ success is reward enough, everyone here at Technology Marketing Toolkit appreciates the nod from the industry. I also want to point out that everything we do is possible because of the brilliant professionals working with us, namely the entire ‘Team Robin,’ our Producers Club Captains, my Genius League members and the Sponsors who make a LOT of things possible. All of these folks go the extra mile to give back and strive for excellence.” – Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit “It is all about service. Helping IT service organizations go from good to great to awesome is why I get up in the morning. Having this acknowledgement from my peers makes me realize that I am on the right track in helping our community as a whole.” – Stuart Crawford, President and CMO, ULISTIC Inc. “I am honored to be included and representing Cisco, and women in IT, in this year’s SMB150! I am in esteemed company of 149 fellow winners whom I admire, and respect, as well as all of the wonderful nominees. It is especially humbling to be in the company of 23 exceptional women represented on the list. It was wonderful to see such advancement and recognition of women in IT and inclusion and diversity of channel members from all over the world!” – Michelle Ragusa, Cisco Relationship Manager
Aaron Booker Ahsun Saleem Alan Helbush Alex Rogers Alistair Forbes Allen Miller Amy Babinchak Amy Luby Andy Goodman Andy Trish Anurag Agrawal Arlin Sorensen Arnie Bellini Austin McChord Barbara Dove Ben M Johnson Bill Hole Bob Godgart Bob Penland Bradley J. Dinerman Brian Sherman Carl Mazzanti Carlos Fernando Paleo da Rocha Carlson Colomb Chris Amori Chris Bangs Chris Chase Chris Smith Chris Sterbenc Chris Timm Chris Wiser Christy Sacco Cindy Bates Corey Simpson Curtis Hicks Damian Leibaschoff Dan Sturgill Dan Wensley Dana M. Epp Dave Foxall Dave Seibert Dave Sobel David Bellini David Schafran Debi Bush
Lee Evans Len DiCostanzo Lenin Srinivasan Leonard Dimiceli Linda Brotherton Mark Crall Mark Hicks Matt Makowicz Matt Nachtrab Meaghan Kelly Michael Jenkin Michael Reuben Michelle Ragusa Dina Moskowitz Mitch Garvis Dona Keating MJ Shoer Doug Young Nancy Williams Douglas Ofer Shimrat Grabowski Oliver Sommer Drew Phelps Paul Dippell Ed Correia Peter Sandiford Elvis Gustin Ramon L. Garcia Eric Ligman Rayanne Eric Townsend Buchianico Eriq Neale Richard Kenyon Gareth Brown Rick Bahl Gary Pica Rob Rae George Sierchio Robin Robins Greg Starks Robyn Davis Harry Brelsford Ryan Morris Hilton Travis Scott Barlow Ian Moyse Scott Cayouette James Kernan Scott Schreiman Jamison West Scott Scrogin Jan Spring Sean Daniel Jay McBain Jeannine Edwards Sean Sweeney Shari Godgart Jeff Dryall Steve Copeland Jeff Middleton Steve Harper Jeff Shreeve Steve Noel Jeremiah Ilges Steven Banks Jerry Koutavas Steven Teiger Jim Muglia Stuart Crawford Joe Hillis Stuart Selbst John Iasiuolo Suresh Ramani John Krikke Susan Bradley Josh Freifield Susanne Dansey Josh Peterson Ted Hulsy Joy Belinda Ted Roller Beland Tero Leskinen Justin Moore Thomas Fox Karen Christian Tim Barrett Karen Guarino Tim Beard Karl Palachuk Todd Thibodeaux Keith Nelson Todd Nielsen Kent McNall Travis Austin Kevin Hoffman Vlad Mazek Kevin Royalty Kevin Weilbacher Wain Kellum Walter Scott Larry Doyle Wayne Small Laurie McCabe Zak Karsan Lawrence Hsu
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coverstory SMB 150 Contest Continued from page 8
The popular vote went viral with candidates campaigning to aggressively solicit as many votes as possible. It was BIG FUN in a true election year with more than 68,710 votes cast. A voter was allowed to vote once per day (24 hours) for the candidates of his or her choice. Campaign techniques mirrored real-world campaigns; tweeting, Facebook entries, press releases, telephone calls, emails, direct mail, shaking hands and kissing babies! We even hosted a 60-minute online debate!
• Nomination (Early 2012) • Popular Voting (March/April 2012) • Judges Voting (April 2012) • Election Results (April 2012) • Award Celebration (May 16th LA, CA)
In 2012, we created categories to betterdefine the candidates. Our belief is that an influencer can be an expert, leader, media professional, partner or vendor. The openminded SMB technology community is inclusive, and we wanted our contest to reflect exactly that. Category definitions are: Experts – MVPs, technical gurus, subject matter experts, bloggers, and oth-
ers that provide information and guidance to the partner community. Leaders – User group or trade association leaders that better the partner community. Media – Press, authors, editors, bloggers and others that provide news and other content of interest to the partner community. Partners – MSPs, owners, VARs/ VAPs, resellers, channel partners and anyone else selling to the SMB end user space.
Living Life to the Fullest
SMB 150 Recipient Eriq Neale Continues to Fight On This particular Friday afternoon was stacking up to be another late-February Friday. We had a drop off in support requests, we were getting some internal documentation update, and we were getting close to finding a new office space that would make more sense for us. In fact, my employee Quinton and I were at one of the office spaces we were considering when a call came through on my cell phone that turned my world upside down. In the week leading up to that Friday afternoon, I had gone from seeing my doctor about a strange abdominal pain to having CT and MRI scans done, to heading back to the hospital by way of the ER later that night, getting a biopsy of the tumor and a PET scan, all leading to the same conclusion: I had cancer. I had no idea where it had come from, and the biopsy showed conflicting information about the type of cancer it was, so I was scheduled to have a liver resection done so they could biopsy a much larger tissue sample. My liver surgery took place at the end of March 2011, and I spent the next month recovering from that surgery. In addition to the liver tumor, they found a cancerous lymph node and other tumors growing on the underside of my abdomen. Surgery was not going to be able to remove all of the traces of cancer, so I was then referred over to chemotherapy. I started the chemo around May 1, and thus the downhill battle began. The first chemo cocktail they tried nearly killed me. Another chemo concoction was tried 8 weeks later, and while it wasn’t as bad as the first chemo, I certainly couldn’t say I was enjoying going through the treatments. I took a short break from chemo in July, and started taking an oral chemo medication in August. I tolerated that medication much better, but after doing a couple of cycles of it, we found that it wasn’t preventing the growth of the cancer in the way that we had hoped. I then started another oral chemo drug in September, and by the time I finished the cycles in December, we did another scan and found the nodules that had made their way into my right lung along with other new growths found in my abdomen. After a visit to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I started another chemo round in January, and we did another scan roughly 6 weeks after starting it. Same result, nothing stopping the growth of the cancer.
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You may note I’ve not said anything about my businesses that I work with, Third Tier or EON Consulting. That’s because I took a medical leave of absence starting when I had the liver surgery. Both organizations managed to keep moving and growing without my input, although I did check in By Eriq Neale frequently to see what was up. Owner, EON Consulting In March of 2012, I made the decision, with LLC, and Partner Third Tier careful consideration of my wife, and the rest of my family, that I was not going to continue with chemotherapy. I wanted the time I have left here to be time that I enjoy and can physically move around. That wouldn’t happen while on chemo. So at this point, I have stopped all cancer treatment and have gone under hospice care, and we wait to see how long I’ll be around. This has been incredibly difficult, and part of my coping mechanism has been to write periodic updates to my spot at CaringBridge, an online journal for patients going through medical care. If you want to read more details, you can follow me at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/eriqneale/journal. In many ways, I feel lucky that I have received the diagnosis early, even though going through the treatment has been anything but a joyride. I have been able to take time to get my affairs in order so my wife doesn’t have to deal with those things on her own during a period where she will be in great grief. I have donated my body to a local medical school, so I can still continue to educate people even after I’m gone. I’ve been able to transfer essential knowledge to my business associated at Third Tier and EON Consulting. I’ve also been able to make time to spend with people I might not have done so otherwise. I have no idea how much time I have left, but I have learned a very important lesson: Live every day to the fullest; and I don’t mean that in a motivational slogan way. I have really worked on enjoying each day and finding at least one good thing about every day that I get to spend here. I hate that I won’t be present to receive my SMB Top 150 award or at any of the other events that I would normally attend, but that’s the straw that I’ve drawn for this life. I’m choosing to make the time I have left the best time I can have with what I have left. sN q2 2012
By Joseph Walker, Contributing Writer, SMB Nation
Community Celebration! A shout out to BlackBerry as the primary sponsor for the SMB 150 contest, along with additional support from OKI Data Americas, CharTec, Quest Software/ PacketTrap and others for supporting our efforts to prosecute a progressive and world-class professional awards contest. Our sponsors will be supporting our May 16th awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Calif., which has committed attendees from the U.S., Brazil, Australia and Canada. At
“Looking at the list of winners, it becomes clear that the quality of these unsung SMB heroes has been well represented.” the event, each SMB 150 incumbent will be awarded an amazing award plaque and a BlackBerry PlayBook (64GB). “I encourage everyone in the SMB channel community to join me in celebrating the accomplishments of the men and women who made the SMB 150 list,” said Josh Freifield, President of the SMB Technology Network. “Each and every one of them has spent countless hours growing our community and deserves every accolade we can give them. I can’t wait to toast them in Los Angeles.”
The Final Word Perhaps Freifield said it best when asked for his summation of this year’s SMB 150 Channel Influencers. “Looking at the list of winners, it becomes clear that the quality of these unsung SMB heroes has been well represented,” he added. “By utilizing a voting system in conjunction with an esteemed panel of judges consisting of Jeff Connally, Josh Peterson, Chip Reaves, and Larry Schulze, we’ve been able to honor people based on their contribution and participation in this closely knit community.” sN
Ron Frere’s Lessons for Efficiency and Work-Life Balance It’s true that many of this year’s SMB 150 winners most definitely have the work-life balance situation to a tee. However, there is one member of our community that while not included in this year’s SMB 150, still deserves a mention on how to make the most of the all-important “work-life-balance, and that’s Ron Frere. Ron Frere is many an IT professional’s dream come true. He started his own IT consultancy in 1992. By 2004, he had earned enough money for him and his wife to buy the Snow Goose Inn. Eight years later, he’s living in Vermont, away from the hustle and bustle of Boston. While he still maintains a number of longtime clients, he spends much of his time relishing in the natural beauty of rural Vermont while keeping inn with his wife. Ron Frere (left) recently hosted Ron’s story is a lesson in efficiency and work-life balance. After Harrybbb (right) in Vermont at the Snow Goose Inn, which he co-owns his kids were off to college, he and his wife decided to buy the with his wife. Snow Goose Inn. When I asked him why, he said: “Peace in the family!” popped out before anything else. Ron had had his career, and it was time for his wife to have hers. Only, Ron wasn’t quite finished with his. His clients—mostly small law firms—had no intention of letting him leave. Ron’s need to serve clients from several hours away propelled him to heights of efficiency that left me slack-jawed and jealous. About three times a month, he made the drive of 150 miles down rural state highways to spend three days meeting with clients in eastern Massachusetts, Boston and the Connecticut shore. When he’s not on the road, Ron does all of his work from the comfort of his country manor. When I asked him how, he explained to me the magic of remote monitoring. All of his clients’ servers have remote management installed, and most of them have remote power management. All of his production servers run on Hyper-V and are backed up throughout the day for easy recovery. (He mentioned that he especially likes ShadowProtect for quick and painless backup and recovery.) When I asked Ron how he had grown such a successful business, he paused for a moment. “I never did much marketing,” he said eventually. “When I started my business, I knew I wanted to go vertical. It was going to be either doctors or lawyers, and I chose lawyers.” I could hear the smile in Ron’s voice when he added, “From the beginning, I lived by an important principle: I don’t work for a business unless the owner makes more money than me.” Ron assured me that what he meant was he wanted to work for established businesses that were on their way up, not fly-by-night operations always looking for the cheapest shortcuts. I sat back and thought: Here was a man who had barely spent a dime on marketing, who was spending most of his time working in the comfort of his own home, whose wife was living her dream, whose motto was, “Peace in the family!” I was hesitant to pump Ron for more information, but I had to know more. This guy had what I wanted. Happily, he obliged. “Network, network, network,” he offered. Ron couldn’t stress enough the importance of talking with both his peers and people in the business community. He still receives calls on a regular basis from new potential clients, and they’re all referrals. He said that what small firms most appreciate is how he functions as their Director of IT. He’s decidedly not an MSP; he’s not trying to sell a package. What Ron does is sit down with each client and figure out what they need. He takes responsibility for their servers, email, phone, and whatever other IT services they need. Ron makes sure all of his clients have exactly what they need to accomplish their goals at exactly the right price. And if something goes wrong, he knows how (or where to turn) to fix it. “Do you worry about competition?” I asked him. “My clients receive sales calls on a regular basis. The MSPs are quite aggressive actually, and they usually have some sort of attractive package. But my clients don’t want a package. They want a Director of IT. They want a relationship.” Ron hasn’t lost a client yet. sN
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Photo by Tracy Anna Bader
Vendors – Sponsors, hardware and software manufacturers, service providers, and anyone else providing something for sale to the partner community.
mvp MVP Events… Meet The Gurus
The conference season is in full swing for the MVP set
My intention with this column is to share with you a roundup of events that are Microsoft MVP-centric. I start with our own MVP Nation, discuss Dave Sander’s IT Pro Appreciation Day and Jeff Middleton’s IT Pro Conference.
MVP NATION, MARCH 2-3, 2012, REDMOND, WA A few days before our annual MVP Nation conference, Microsoft released its Windows 8 “Customer Preview” at a mobility conference in Barcelona, Spain. That led to our presenting current Windows 8 information to an audience of 400 attendees (200 live, 200 online; see Harry’s Corner, Page 38, for more information on conference streaming) at the well-respected Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond. Many speakers were Microsoft MVPs themselves, but not all. However, all speakers were esteemed technical Windows 8 gurus who were well-received. The original idea behind MVP Nation was to have a public-facing event featuring and hosting Microsoft MVPs. The intended audience of IT Pros, SMB channel partners, Microsoft partners, resellers and consultants would receive instant gratification from the current content being delivered. What we ultimately discovered was the alignment of the conference largely adhered to plan but that the MVPs by harrybbb Chairman and Publisher were more comfortable in the role of speaker and not as SMB Nation much as mere attendee. The content provided at MVP Nation included: • MVP Nation Welcome Address. • Windows 8 Expert Panel. • Installing and Configuring Windows “8” – The old and the new! • MVP Nation 2012 Keynote Speech. • Disaster Recovery and Data Protection Planning - Keys to Maximize Business Continuity. • How Symform is Disrupting the Cloud Storage Market and Why That’s Good for Your Business. • Windows Server 8 Hyper-V more Virtualization Than Ever -Session I. • Introducing Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. • Windows Server “8” Hyper-V - Even More Available and Advanced Tactics -Session II. • What you DON’T know about Windows 8 Workstation! • Why SMB2.2 based NAS Storage is a “must have” for Windows Server “8” deployments. • 10,000 computers, 10 staff and 1 script. • Ahead of the Curve – Windows Phone Deep Dive for Fun and Profit!!! • Windows “8” Tablets Demystified. • Town Hall Meeting, March 3rd. 12 smb nation www.smbnation.com
Moving forward – we’re open and receptive to your ideas about what MVP Nation could or should be. We believe that a strong technical focus makes sense and should that focus expand to encompass the mid-sized and enterprise markets? How about on-site certification testing? Please let us know your thoughts! BTW – you can sign-up to watch the entire MVP Nation conference (taped sessions) at mvp.smbnation.com for $99 USD. Special shout outs to Onuora Amobi (Windows8update. com), Tony Bradley (PCWorld) and Wes Miller (Directions on Microsoft) for lending us a hand on two expert panels!
IT Pro Appreciation Day (March 23, 2012, Charlotte, NC) Long-time successful community advocate Dave Sanders, a Microsoft MVP, recently held the IT Pro Appreciation Day that wasn’t your normal technology event. It had a community charity theme in addition to technology content. “It was driven by our desire to help out deserving charities that help the homeless and kids in need including Autism Speaks, Kids First of the Carolinas, and OliveWhite, an organization that takes homeless men and women off the street, places them in housing and provides rehabilitation to turn their lives around. All proceeds go to these charities,” Sanders shared.
Community advocate Dave Sanders, a Microsoft MVP, held the IT Pro Appreciation Day on March 23 in Charlotte, NC. In addition to technology content, the event had a community charity theme and donated all proceeds to various charities, such as Autism Speaks, Kids First of the Carolinas and OliveWhite.
It was also priced very different from other industry events. For $10 at the door for full admission including lunch, attendees were treated to expert lectures from numerous MVPs such as Kevin Royalty, Grey Lancaster, Cliff Galiher, Andy Goodman, Amy Babinchak, Rhonda Layfield and Dave Sanders himself. Microsoftie Yung Chou presented on Q2 2012
numerous cloud topics. Topic ranged from Hyper-V Lynch, Mulitpoint Server and Windows Storage Server. It was considered a major success with a great day of content and community giving at its core.
IT Pro Conference (June 8-9, 2012, New Orleans) Banking on crowd interest in the theme “Trusted Identity: Faith in a Technology World,” Microsoft MVP Jeff Middleton is hosting his IT Pro Conference, taking place in New Orleans via seven-day Caribbean cruise, June 10-17. While the event is celebrating its fifth anniversary, there are some new offerings for 2012, such as the conference’s Technical Pre-Day on Thursday, June 7. Known as the “Third Tier Brain Explosion,” this full day of content will occur just in time for the start of the event’s Jazz Reception Welcome party. Note there is a separate registration fee required to attend the pre-day. Prior to the departure of the seven-day cruise on Sunday, June 10, the IT Pro Conference will also be holding a two-day French Quarter Weekend Conference on Friday,
June 8 to Saturday, June 9 at the Aster Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans. Attendees can also enjoy the Saturday Night Dine-round and Balcony Cocktail Party that evening, before the ship departs the next morning for the one-week cruise. “By no means is this going to be a conference structured entirely on the arcane concepts of security, authentication, and validation of logons and access rights,” Middleton said. “Yes, how computers manage a Trusted Identity is a fascinating technical feat. No doubt we will address that in some sessions, but there’s a much more troubling concern rising about real-life vs.E-life Trusted Identity. The IT Pro Conference 2012 is set to explore not only the new products and technologies used today, but the vision of how providing IT consulting in the future is moving well beyond product knowledge of functionality. Those who have already committed as sponsors for the event include: HP & Microsoft Coffee Coaching, StorageCraft, eFolder and BackupAssist. For more information on the vision and details of the event theme, go to: http://www.conference2012.sbsmigration.com. sN
www.smbnation.com smb nation 13
By Anurag Agrawal, CEO, Techaisle
SMB Cloud Adoption Lessons for Success Real-Life Solutions from Early Cloud Adopters
loud computing is the thread that ties together new
and emerging technologies namely, mobility, virtualization and managed services for SMBs. As cloud adoption among SMBs continues to accelerate, both SMBs and channel partners are trying to figure out harmony among the cacophony of vendors announcing cloud application solutions almost on a daily basis. SMBs are looking for real-world lessons and best practices from early cloud adopter SMBs. Channel partners, however, are looking for vendors to partner with that can provide end-to-end solutions and support for SMBs. Recently, Techaisle conducted an extensive primary research study sponsored by Dell, with U.S. SMBs who have been using cloud business applications. The objectives of the study, which covered both the IT Decision Makers (ITDM) and Business Decision Makers (BDMs), were to understand: l Which cloud business applications are being used by SMBs? l What are the benefits realized by adopting cloud business applications? l What did SMBs learn during their cloud implementations? l What best practices can be utilized for maximizing the value of cloud applications?
2 2 2
Average No. of cloud business applications used by smbs
SMB Cloud Business Application Adoption Accelerating Techaisle survey research data shows that SMBs have already moved ahead from the the “trial” stage of cloud adoption. It is not surprising to find that the average number of cloud business applications 14 smb nation www.smbnation.com
being used by SMBs has doubled from 2 in 2010 to 4 in 2011. SMBs are planning to add an average of three new cloud applications in 2012. The reasons behind this growth are not surprising. Cloud has become a great equalizer for SMBs. Based on the survey data, 87 percent of SMBs say that cloud applications have given them a competitive advantage, and 85 percent believe that cloud applications have made their teams more productive by giving them access to capabilities typically available to only large enterprises.
applications are providing us 87% Cloud with a competitive advantage Cloud is allowing us to gain
that only large 85% capabilities enterprises could afford
applications make people 85% Cloud & business more productive business applications 83% Cloud offer superior TCO
Benefits Realized by adopting cloud business applications
Cloud applications are
us to get to 81% allowing market faster I cannot imagine
cloud 74% without applications
(Percentage who responded “Strongly Agree” + “Agree”)
SMBs Start their Cloud Journey with SaaS Based on the study, it was revealed that most SMBs begin their cloud journey with cloud business applications, also known as, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). Users access applications over the Internet, and simply pay a monthly subscription fee.
first cloud usage
saas/ iaas/ saas & Business cloud iaas at Apps Infrastucture the same time
Deploying cloud business applications is much easier than onpremise software and becomes productive almost immediately. However, cloud infrastructure requires a higher level of IT sophistication and takes longer to implement. The study also shows that within cloud applications, 55 percent of SMBs begin their journey with CRM, and later on add other cloud applications such as business intelligence, project management, marketing automation, etc. The survey even shows that one in two business applications users consider CRM to be their mission-critical application. CRM applications provide SMBs a window to the outside world, typically their customers and partners. It helps SMBs manage their sales process efficiently, provides ability to generate and maintain sales leads and create a better sales forecasting plan. It is not out of place to find SMBs using CRM with marketing automation and business intelligence. q2 2012
Three Key Lessons for a Successful SMB Cloud Adoption Strategy SMBs have been the trend setters in cloud adoption. This detailed study conducted by Techaisle with the early adopters has revealed three key lessons for a successful cloud adoption strategy. 1. Correct vendor selection helps avoids pitfalls. 2. Planned deployment drives better experience. 3. Sound integration ensures maximum productivity. Lesson 1: Correct vendor selection helps avoid pitfalls. The primary research found that 69 percent of 8% indifferent SMBs would prefer to 23% prefer to procure their work directly with different cloud applicavendors tions from a 69% prefer to procure single trusted applications from a single trusted vendor that it vendor was capable of providing highlevel applications as well as efficient deployment, integration and support. As SMBs add more cloud applications, managing multiple vendors with multiple SLAs becomes taxing and inefficient. There are many different vendors delivering just applications or just services, or just integration but not a single vendor or partner that can help SMBs with an end-to-end solution. Lesson 2: Planned deployment drives better experience. Although cloud applications are easier to implement than on-premise software, 49 percent of SMBs experienced a longer-than-anticipated deployment cycle. New technologies always bring in a sense of apprehension during deployment. SMBs can take several steps that ensure quick deployment: l Find partners that provide implementation packages rather
than custom engagements, which can become pricey and lengthy. l Doing a test-drive before committing helps SMBs know what functionality they are buying. l Identifying applications with intuitive interface that are similar to what end users have experienced as consumers.
deployment issues faced
41% 49% 40% 36%
right vendor will help avoid these issues
Lesson 3: Sound integration ensures maximum productivity. As SMBs add more cloud applications, it becomes critical to integrate those applications with each other and on-premise software. SMBs have found that they need tremendous flexibility to adjust their integration as their business processes change. Application integration has been quite common among large companies, many of which obtain integration on a custom basis. However, in recent years, application integration platforms have grown in popularity and new platforms are available to integrate cloud applications. For example, Dell Boomi is an efficient integration platform that allows SMB end users to integrate their cloud applications easily and effectively without coding. As per the survey data, the greatest benefits of integration for SMBs are – improved operational efficiency, improved productivity and improved connectivity. operational efficiencies/ 54% Improved costs due to reduced manual processes employee productivity 52% improved due to automation of tasks and information
connectivity 52% improved with partners and customers visibility into 44% better performance and operations
accuracy 37% improved of orders, billing and payments cash 32% improved collection cycle
benefits realized because of application integration
Conclusion As it has in the past, technology continues to impact the way SMBs work. The increasing adoption of cloud and growing reliance of SMBs on cloud business applications underscores the tectonic shift in how IT is being consumed today. Nearly all technologies first find their way into the hands of a few businesses that are not afraid to take a leap of faith, and, in doing so, they successfully separate hype from reality and chisel a path for others to follow. The early adopters have shown that not only cloud business applications are the new SMB imperative, but also that a successful cloud implementation strategy is highly dependent upon selection of right cloud vendor, planned deployment and sound integration. sN To download a copy of the white paper with survey trends, go to: www.techaisle.com/#smb-cloud-adoption-lessons-for-sucess or www.dellcloudapplications.com/crm-resources/whitepaper-cloudadoption-lessons-success.
limited longer lack of Lack integration than training of with anticipated customization other deployment applications cycle
www.smbnation.com smb nation 15
cloudspeak The Social Side of “The Cloud” Why Cloud is more than just technology What has more hype, pitfalls, highs, lows, turns, twists and drama than the economy, politics, religion and your inlaws combined? You guessed it! Enter, THE CLOUD. Your infrastructure may be going up in a puff of smoke even as you read this, but when it does, rest assured some joker four blocks down will call it “Cloud” and extoll the wondrous virtues of it all. Cloud isn’t just about technology, it’s about perspective. You hear buzz words every day, but there’s a social side to the Cloud which begs one simple question: Which Cloud is the best fit for you, your company, and your customers?
Personal Cloud – You’re Already There, so What’s Next?
by Mike chase CTO, tamCloud AKA “Dr. Cloud”
Love it or hate it, a lot of us got sucked into someone’s personal Cloud against our will. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, you’re tied into Apple’s iCloud or Google Play (formerly known as Android Market) from day one when you bought that phone or tablet. It started off completely innocent. Store some music up there, pictures, a few files. Next thing you know, your Cloud cherry got really popped and suddenly your entire OS, apps, data and more are all provisioned from and synchronized to the Cloud. Wow, how did that happen!? In the world of VDI, you can have a company that offers a hosted virtual desktop, and at the bottom as one my clients so eloquently put it, “the cost of doing nothing” by just staying on physical desktops (and believe me, there’s a big cost associated with sitting on your hands and not diving into the savings Cloud offers). Offline VDI is that grey area in between; it’s not the Yugo, but it’s not the Ferrari either. It allows you the luxury of using real windows on real laptops but provisions and manages everything on them from the cloud while adding encryption, remote wipe, bi-directional synchronization (which means you can then get to your files from android, ipad etc without virtual desktop using trend micro safesync, drop box, box.net, spideroak or others) and tons more cool features which leverage the power of the Cloud on a wide variety of devices.
Public Cloud – Dedicated vs. Multi-Tenant In the past, public cloud was automatically assumed to be multi-tenant, shared infrastructure. Au contraire! In 2012, numerous providers are emerging, which offer dedicated public cloud. This means customers can choose from dedicated, isolated, secure physical cages, racks and infrastructure (servers, storage, networks, wanx, load balancers, firewalls) in co-location facilities worldwide which give them a high degree of physical control & security, but the hardware, software, professional services, and much more is “rented” 16 smb nation www.smbnation.com
on a monthly basis by a Cloud Service Provider (“CSP”) to the customer. Today, CSPs can offer hosted virtual servers, desktops, apps, storage (native virtualized replication targets for any IP based SAN), backup, wireless (controller lives in the cloud), and entirely virtualized PBX, auto-attendant, voicemail, video calling, and more. It’s new, it’s sexy, and it just works.
Private Cloud – Co-Managed vs. ITaaS Extending the cost model, services, and features of a CSP into your private datacenter is what Private Cloud is all about. It’s not about merely virtualizing your servers. But, private cloud is nothing new. With CSPs, varying levels of co-management or ITaaS/outsourcing are available. Tight integration with your Microsoft active directory helps leave you in control while p2p VPN and private circuits can link your virtual private datacenter (“vpDC”) in the Public Cloud to a Private Cloud in your own datacenter resulting in a Hybrid Cloud. Some customers with SAN’s that can replicate over IP (NetApp, Compellent, etc.) will use this to enhance their DR strategy by first replicating to a public cloud, then mounting those volumes in the Cloud and spinning up their VMware ESXi or HyperV servers, adding virtual desktops, etc.
Times Are Changing – Is Your VAR or MSP Keeping Up? Savvy VARs and MSPs are all embracing Cloud, many of them pushed by customers and competition alike to “get with the times.” Cloud is a multi-billion dollar industry, which makes it very tantalizing, but it’s not easy and can be extremely risky. No one wants to have spent the last 10-20 years building a VAR or MSP just to lose it in the fog of war we know is Cloud. Trying to figure out what to offer, at what price points, which products to use to build a CSP infrastructure, how to mitigate legal liability, train sales personnel & engineers, innovate the right services, and differentiate yourself in a vast ocean of emerging providers is no easy task! Ask what your VAR or MSP is doing around Cloud and partner yourself with the ones who are forward looking. After all, you want your infrastructure in the Cloud, not on fire going up in a puff of smoke! Smoke, isn’t Cloud! ;-) Stay glued to Cloud Speak during 2012, and we’ll explore further. sN
Mike L. Chase currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer for tamCloud.com, a Cloud Services Consulting company which helps VARs, MSPs, private/public corporations and others worldwide make sense of (and money in) the Cloud via cloud management tools, hosted servers, online VDI, offline VDI, hyper scalable storage, cloud backup systems, virtualized application delivery platforms, infrastructure design, cloud based UC/IP phone systems, video & mobility devices all of which are used to deliver next generation datacenters -- all in the Cloud. Q2 2012
smb community 1
photos 3 a
1a Brett Hill, Office 365 MVP, at CloudIntelligence in Seattle. 2a Ken Thoreson at the ChannelPro SMB Forum in Orlando. 3a Will Lea Thompson make a guest appearance at this year’s Back to the Future themed Fall Conference? 1B Guy Kawasaki addresses the audience at the Parallels Summit. 2B Harrybbb attended the GeekWire Annual Summit in Seattle this March. 3B CJ Bruno, Vice President, Intel, at the company’s summit in New Orleans last month. 1C Harrybbb (left) and Neil Ticktin, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, MacTech at the MacTech Boot Camp in Seattle. 2C Margaret Dawson of Symform. 3C Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com (left); and Marian Baker, Prime Strategies (right) served as co-hosts for this year’s Small Business Summit 2012 in NYC. 1D SMB Nation Editor Regina Ciardiello (left), and Scott Hintz (right), co-founder, TripIT at Small Business Summit. 2D SpamSoap’s Jenna Chase at her company’s booth at LPI’s Road Show stop in Newark, NJ. 3DThe Small Business Tour made its Seattle stop in April. www.smbnation.com smb nation 17
businessspeak Calling all “Geeks” Will geek squad be the New MSP Kid on the Block?
Chairman and Publisher SMB Nation
Back during the end of March, Geek Squad, which is the wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, announced its indirect channel program at the Spring 2012 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Before getting into specifics, we would like to give a quick shout out to our friends at Channel Partners magazine, who first reported on this item on Monday, March 26. Per an item on its Web site, Channel Partners said that “Geek Squad is recruiting master agents, network and cabling experts and IP telephony systems resellers to sell Geek Squad’s phone, online and on-site IT help desk support, except for hardware repair, to SMBs around the country.” The new channel program will involve actual Geek Squad employees carrying out the work, with target end users having “one to 20 computers in their offices and cannot afford a full-time IT expert.” Billed at a per-seat price each month, the standard package, according to Channel Partners, “covers network integration, client and server administration, and diagnostics and repair.” Regarding compensation, Channel Partners said that “partners will earn a lump sum that equals the amount of the first month’s revenue — for example, if an end user commits to the minimum 12-month contract for $500 per month, the partner receives a one-time $500 payout — as well as residual commissions based on volume.”
Natural Act – Geek Squad – the new MSP on the block! Regina Ciardiello Editor SMB Nation
So what does this all mean for the SMB channel? Even though Best Buy is known for selling its big-screen TVs, personal computers and smartphone devices to the consumer crowd, Geek Squad’s parent company has been in the Managed Services arena since last year when it purchased MSP mindSHIFT in 2011 for $167 million. At SMB Nation, we feel that this single act has the potential to up-end and change the SMB channel. Here’s why, per our thoughtful analyses: Strategy: The original news item posted on the Channel Partners Web site speaks toward a well-thought entry into the SMB channel. Geek Squad will “do the work” and sales agents (initially from the telecom sector) will get the gig. It’s really that simple. Geek Squad is using the agent model so popular in telecom and something that has been an unnatural act in the IT community. Compensation Simple. A $500 spiff to the sales agent for a
long-term contract (12-months at $500 per month from the 18 smb nation www.smbnation.com
customer = 8.33%) plus a monthly residual paid over the life of the contract. The commission amount wasn’t disclosed but is rumored to be into the double-digits, which would implicitly make it a higher payout rate than the single-digit spiff. Service offer Geek Squad employees perform the actual work for end user in the 1-20 space. The standard offer is billed per-seat price per month and includes basic IT work including network integration, client and server administration, and diagnostics and repair. There is an “undefined” advanced package that builds on the standard package and costs more because the additional services of unlimited onsite diagnostics and repair are included. Roots Few people know that Geek Squad was “one of us” as a successful IT consulting business in Minneapolis (the home of BestBuy). Started it 1995, it was later acquired by BestBuy, and frankly, has gone on to be a shining star in the BestBuy portfolio. Compare that to the less stellar acquisition and disposition of SpeakEasy in the telecom space.
Geek Squad currently boosts more than 20,000 employees and several hundred more at mindSHIFT. Finally – there are up to a few more thousand employees at several BestBuy call centers in the US doing direct sales. Missing? Where does mindSHIFT fit? It’s not clear but if I had to speculate, I’d say it a Latin American strategy at work here. There is the upper-class (mindSHIFT as a master MSP) and there is Geek Squad in the lower “S” space. But there is a vacuum in the middle-class or medium enterprise space. Time will tell how BestBuy closes this “M” gap.
Community Comments and Quotes As you might imagine, the SMB channel had their own “feedback” to share on this announcement. Here are just a few snippets we received on the SMB Nation Facebook Wall: Matt Anderson: “Interesting.” Michael Minnich: “BestBuy recognizing that in order to make sales it takes relationships; and that VAR now means ValueAdded Relationship (Builder)? The commission is the PICA model as best as I can recall.” Bill Morgan: “Let’s herd some nerds on the more buy range.” Dan Tomaszewski: “I’d find it more interesting if Nerd Herd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Buy More, was launching a channel program.” sN q2 2012
SMB NATION 2012 FALL CONFERENCE W W W . S M B N AT I O N . C O M L A S V E G A S , N E VA D A 1. 8 8 8 . S M B . N AT 1
vendorprofile The Adoption of Cloud Software is Growing Exponentially A Sea Change is Currently Occurring in Cloud Software Implementation By any measure, growing businesses are choosing cloud software at an alarming rate. Leading analyst firms indicate the annual growth rate for the SMB market is expected to be 25 percent or more through 2014. A recent study of the U.S. market for SMBs indicates that on average, SMBs will have deployed seven cloud applications in 2012. This growth rate reflects a fundamental market shift in cloud software adoption and poses interesting challenges for companies who are in the midst of this sea change. From choosing the right applications among a complex and expanding landscape of software vendors, integrating cloud and legacy applications, to implementing cloud software with minimal business disruption, more and more growing businesses are looking for a trusted vendor who can help.
Traditional Barriers to SMB Adoption SMBs have traditionally faced three common barriers to adopting cloud software. 1) Complex Integrations: Historically, companies have faced making the difficult tradeoff between all-in-one application suites or buying individual best-of-breed applications and cobbling them together through long, costly, custom-coded software integration projects. Despite the promise of the application suites, most SMBs have chosen to purchase cloud applications one 20 smb nation www.smbnation.com
at a time and devote precious staff and financial resources building custom integrations between these applications. 2) Lack of Analytics:
Companies have traditionally evaluated new software in terms of how it can best help them not only better operate their businesses, but also how the new software can help them better understand true businesses performance. In a world of “Blood, Sweat and Excel” SMBs have been slow to adopt new software for the sake of new features alone. 3) Hype not Help: Companies have been skeptical to invest with new cloud software vendors particularly after seeing many new market entrants fold up shop when times get tough. Faced with trying to choose from a growing number of look-alike cloud applications, many companies have sat on the sidelines waiting for solutions from a trusted vendor with whom they already do business.
Application Integration Made Easy The days of complex, custom-coded application integration projects are quickly fading. New, cloud-based application integration solutions are now available to SMBs. Designed to be “configured” not “customized,” these solutions take much less time and technical savvy to implement. Developed in the cloud, they give SMBs flexibility to deploy quickly without the need for addi-
tional hardware and give companies the ability to pay as they grow.
Powerfully Simple Analytics Analytics solutions have traditionally been practical for large enterprises with internal technical staffs capable of developing, implementing and maintaining complex legacy software. New, cloud-based analytics solutions are making powerful analytic applications practical for SMBs. Designed with out-of-the box reports, dashboards and integrations to popular SMB business software such as Salesforce. com CRM, Intuit Quickbooks and Microsoft Dynamics GP Accounting, these solutions require less technical resources to support and put the power of robust analytics in the hands of business users quickly.
Help from a Trusted Partner A recent Techaisle survey of U.S. SMBs who have deployed cloud applications revealed that up to 50 percent of respondents experienced significant challenges in keeping track of different SLAs. Also, up Q2 2012
to 48 percent complained that explaining their business to each vendor was tedious and time consuming. Limited budgets and resources mean that growing businesses look for a single vendor to help them pull together the right cloud application software, deliver implementations on time and on budget, and provide both a single point of support and a single invoice.
Total Solution Approach Dell Cloud Business Applications offer SMBs an end-to-end cloud software solution consisting of a family of best of breed applications for all business functions, simple cloud-based application integrations, powerfully simple analytics and productized implementation services designed to get companies up and going quickly. Backed by Dell, a trusted vendor to millions of SMBs worldwide, this new solution offers SMBs the comfort of knowing they can work with a
The days of complex, customcoded application integration projects are quickly fading. New, cloudbased application integration solutions are now available to SMBs. single vendor whom they have come to rely upon for much of their existing IT solutions. To provide the best possible solutions offering for growing businesses, Dell Cloud Business Applications has forged partnerships with industry-leading cloud application software providers. The current Dell Cloud Business Applications offering includes applications from the likes of Sales-
ara.com Calc • Certs • Returns
force.com, Adobe and AppExtremes. Utilizing Dell Boomi cloud integration technology allows Dell Cloud Business Applications customers to implement the applications that are right for their business one at a time and integrate them with the rest of their technology suite. Dell Boomi gives SMBs the flexibility to incorporate cloud applications at their own pace and rather than rip and replace existing many applications in one step. Dell is also delivering enterprise level business intelligence technology at an attractive price point for the SMB in the form of pre-packaged, simple and powerful cloud analytics. Dell Cloud Business Applications helps SMBs navigate the transformation to cloud applications with a total solution from a vendor they trust. sN To learn more about Dell Cloud Business Applications, visit www.dellcloudapplications.com
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MSP Helps Healthcare Provider Save $65 Per PC Per Year D e m o g r a p h i ca l ly, Mat thew McGuire’s business, with 150 employees, would be classified as “just a small business.” However, there’s nothing simple about it. Rocky Mountain Urgent Care includes 32 physicians and 14 physician’s assistants across 14 locations, delivering services seven days a week. Their business model (and competitive advantage) is to combine urgent care and family practice together to make comprehensive medical care more accessible to patients. McGuire, who is the company’s COO, explains the concept: “Patients can access urgent care services at a lower cost than an emergency room visit, and then seamlessly move to the follow-up with their family physician—all within the same organization,” he says. “The level of care is better while the overall cost is lower.” Not surprisingly, this comprehensive approach requires a stable, flexible IT infrastructure to run smoothly and efficiently.
Making the Managed Services Switch Like many SMBs, Rocky Mountain Urgent Care realized that managing its own IT wasn’t cost- effective. Instead, the company turned to IT Guru, an IT services provider in Denver, Colo. “We provide complete managed IT services that give SMBs more effective IT functions while lowering their IT costs with a predictable, flat-rate fee structure,” says Joseph Axne, president of IT Guru. 22 smb nation www.smbnation.com
Solution Provider: IT Guru (www.it-guru.net) End User: Rocky Mountain Urgent Care (www.rockymountainurgentcare.com) Vendor Cabinet NG: Intel (http://msp.intel.com/small-business) Result: Reduced PC downtime that would otherwise be critical in a healthcare-related setting.
One of the key elements of IT Guru’s managed services is its ability to comprehensively monitor and manage its customers’ IT networks and systems remotely, thus reducing costly service visits. The company does this by using advanced management software combined with desktop PCs based on Intel vPro technology. PCs powered by an Intel Core vPro processor help businesses cut costs and increase efficiency by taking advantage of intelligent performance and unique hardware-assisted and manageability features. PCs based on Intel vPro technology let us prevent many problems, solve problems more quickly, and eliminate many interruptions for our clients,” notes Axne. “For Rocky Mountain Urgent Care, that means higher productivity and better patient care.” Because PCs based on Intel vPro technology allow IT Guru to do more PC maintenance after hours and repair PC problems more quickly, Rocky Mountain Urgent Care’s employees experience fewer interruptions,
How Rocky Mountain Urgent Care reduced PC downtime based on Intel vPro Technology
are more productive, and can deliver better service to their clients.
Reducing Unnecessary Downtime For Rocky Mountain Urgent Care, any PC downtime reduces the level of service it can provide to patients. IT Guru minimizes downtime by using the advances of Intel vPro technology to access and manage Rocky Mountain Urgent Care’s PCs aroundthe-clock, seven days a week—even if the PCs are off or their operating system is disabled. This allows IT Guru to proactively watch for many developing issues and intervene before they negatively impact the PC user’s workflow. When problems do arise, they can often be corrected remotely, without the cost and delay of a field service visit and without interrupting the PC user. “Intel vPro allows us to reach out remotely to prevent and fix problems, even if someone is on the road traveling,” says Axne. McGuire loves the positive impact on his employees and their work. “IT Guru can access our PCs and diagnose and repair problems quickly,” he notes. “The tools they use make them much more responsive than other providers we’ve had experience with.” With Intel vPro technology-based systems, Q2 2012
IT Guru is able to reduce PC downtime by 75 percent. For the repair of many hardware and software problems, Intel vPro technology’s remote capabilities eliminate a field service call by allowing IT Guru to diagnose or fix problems remotely. On average, Intel vPro technology reduces the time it takes IT Guru to repair a hardware problem by 60 percent. “People pay us to keep their employees productive,” says Axne. “Tools like Intel vPro help us do that more effectively.” McGuire agrees and emphasizes the impact. “This is very positive for our patients,” says McGuire. “While a PC is down, our ability to respond to the patient is diminished—good outcomes depend on access to information right now. IT Guru’s ability to fix a PC remotely improves health care.” Because data security is a paramount concern to any business, but even more so for a highly regulated industry such as
healthcare, IT Guru can proactively protect its customers via Intel vPro technologybased PCs, It can constantly monitor PCs based on Intel vPro technology to ensure that critical security software is in place and up-to-date, without bothering the PC user. Regular security patches and updates can be done automatically after hours, even to PCs that are turned off—which means that Rocky Mountain Urgent Care’s critical business, and patient data is better protected. “By letting us reach PCs that are turned off, Intel vPro helps us maximize our customers’ security much more quickly, whenever a new critical security update becomes available,” said Axne.
Power Management Capabilities that Lower Energy Costs With the ability to turn off groups of IntelvPro technology-based PCs after hours
and then power them back up before the start of the next business day, IT Guru can save their customers money through lower energy usage, increasing the return on their PC investment. “On average, we’re able to save our customers $65 per PC per year in energy costs,” says Axne. “Over a customer’s entire installed base, those savings can add up. For Rocky Mountain Urgent Care’s McGuire, IT Guru’s use of tools like Intel vPro technology-based PCs is just one example of their comprehensive approach to making IT work better.” IT Guru is our IT department,” explains McGuire. “More than just an IT provider, it’s a key collaborative partner for us. Technology is constantly changing. We rely on IT Guru to look at the opportunities and analyze the return on investment of various options.” In the case of its PCs, Intel vPro technology is paying off handsomely for Rocky Mountain Urgent Care by increasing its productivity and the level of care it can deliver to patients. “IT Guru’s responsiveness is critical in a healthcare setting,” says McGuire. sN
www.smbnation.com smb nation 23
Without any hint of exaggeration, it’s fair to say that 2012 will be remembered as a huge year in the history of computing. Toward the end of this year, Microsoft will introduce Windows 8 to the world, and there will be profound implications for consumers, OEMs and SMBs. Based on what we have seen so far in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the latest Operating System (OS) from Microsoft will introduce many changes to the way we use our computers. That said, here are 8 things SMBs need to know about Windows 8.
The introduction of the Metro UI will force businesses to define (or at least consider) a slate or tablet strategy. A lot of the new OS will work best on a touch screen, and so we can expect a slew of new Windows tablets to hit the market this holiday season. These tablets will be direct challengers to the Apple iPad, and businesses will have to figure out if (and where) tablets fit into their organizations.
Businesses may need a tablet strategy
Microsoft is also developing a new Server OS (Windows Server 8), which will introduce a lot of new performance enhancements to the existing versions of Windows Server. Companies will need to figure out if these changes are useful and justify an upgrade in their back office.
A new Server OS is coming as well
By Onuora Amobi, Editor, Windows8update.com
Windows Phone 8 Microsoft is also intro-
ducing a new version of their mobile phone OS, which will be called Windows Phone 8. It is widely expected to have features that are consistent and compatible with the rest of the Windows 8 family. Companies will need to figure out not only what these enhancements are, but also if (and how) they fit into their Windows deployment strategy.
Cloud compatibility With the introduction of Sky-
Drive to Windows 8, Microsoft will give the new Windows OS an unprecedented level of cloud integration. The average end user will have access to storage in the cloud and that access will need to be defined and managed as appropriate by businesses.
The need for new development tools
The new Metro style interface is different The primary
Windows 8 user interface (dubbed Metro) is radically different from anything Microsoft has ever done. This beautiful, new tile-based interface scrolls from left to right and is best used with a touch interface. This new user interface is a very radical departure from the Windows that most consumers are used to and will take some time to adjust to. Microsoft has decided to remove the traditional Start Menu that we have all grown accustomed to. This controversial move is an indication of how different the new version of Windows is and guarantees that end users will require substantial user interface training.
Training will be necessary
24 smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft is introducing an application store to Windows. This is exciting for many reasons. It allows businesses to create and sell their apps to a large audience. It may also provide a creative way for businesses to deploy and distribute internal applications. The Windows Store model is still being built and refined but it’s something to watch out for.
Introducing the Windows Application Store
By Joseph Walker Contributing Writer, SMB Nation
Businesses Need To Plan Deployment Carefully As you can see, businesses will have a lot of new hardware, features and enhancements to study and analyze. It’s going to be crucial for companies to step back and think through what items are crucial and what items are nice to have. Strategic planning will be a critical part of deploying Windows 8 successfully in the years to come. To sum this all up, it’s fair to say that Windows 8 may be an exciting opportunity for both consumers and companies to achieve substantial gains in productivity and efficiency. For vendors that service SMBs, this will create a tremendous opportunity. Those vendors will need to stay tuned to all the latest changes coming from Microsoft and use that information to provide strategic roadmaps and guidance for their customers. Vendors who find ways to provide strategic value to their clients regarding Windows 8 will have their hands full over the next few years. sN Onuora Amobi is the Founder and Executive Editor of Windows8update. com (http://www.windows8update. com). A former Microsoft MVP for Windows Desktop, Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems. Onuora has also shown leadership in positions that have ranged from consultant to Principal/Director. His work history includes positions at VERITAS Software, Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte Consulting), EDS Enterprise Solutions, IBM, Kaiser Permanente and Warner Bros Studios among others. In addition to running multiple technology websites, Onuora works with vendors and SMBs to plan for the upcoming rollout and deployment of Windows 8.
Step aside, Metro:
the Best New Windows 8 Business Features and Apps The new metro touch interface, controversial Windows logo redesign, and snazzy multimedia apps have captured more attention than anything else about Windows 8, but Microsoft’s new operating system represents much more than just sexy aesthetics and Apple-like simplicity. Microsoft’s engineers have been hard at work transforming Windows 8 into an operating system every business user will want to have. Here are 10 of the most useful new Windows 8 business features and apps (ranked in order of my preference):
1 Windows to Go Remember when you had to boot up from a floppy? Well, it’s back. With Windows 8, it’s possible to construct an entire image—operating system, applications, data and all—and put it on a bootable USB memory stick. That means employees can take their “computer” anywhere and work within a secure environment, whether on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. It’s like the opposite of cloud computing, but just as cool.
2 Direct Access: Remember the days of configuring obnoxiously fickle VPNs? For me, that day was as recent as last Thursday. Microsoft is promising that its new remote access technology (i.e. DirectAccess) will deliver more performance, more security, and less complexity. DirectAccess provides remote access to intranet resources, like network volumes, internal websites, and line-ofbusiness software without having to launch any additional network connections.
3 SkyDrive with Office Web Apps Windows SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, is integrated seamlessly into Windows 8. There’s no need to download cumbersome software, additional plug-ins, or third party syncing tools. With SkyDrive, a user’s data is always there, everywhere. It’s even accessible on non-Windows platforms, like Android and iOS. With Office Web Apps, users can open, edit, and share their data on virtually any device with a browser.
4 Remote Desktop Services RDP was pretty cool, right? RDS is cooler. It enables multiple people to concurrently log into the same remote session and seamlessly share their desktops with one another.
5 Refresh Every Windows 8 machine comes with the ability to “refresh” it to its original or other saved states—without losing any user data or
custom settings and configurations. Refresh is refreshing quick and simple to use, and it should eliminate a whole lot of software headaches.
6 Windows PowerShell Automation Okay, I admit it: I’m a pretty crappy scripter. I’ve always wanted to get better, but the time was just never right. Now, it is. The new Windows PowerShell provides a clear and straightforward interface for creating automation scripts. I’ve already started playing with the 1,200(!) new task-oriented cmdlets for PowerShell. Dare I say: You should as well.
7 Integrated Mobile Broadband Windows 8 natively supports 3G and 4G technology, which means no more dealing with obnoxious third party drivers and finicky connection tools from companies like Sprint and Verizon. (You’ll really appreciate this if, like me, you’ve ever had to re-install Windows on a client’s computer because their mobile broadband connection utility went belly up.)
8 mSecure If you’re the type of person who has 100 different passwords, then this app is for you. It enables you to store and manage all of your passwords in one secure, touch-friendly, intuitive interface. Protected by 256-bit Blowfish encryption, mSecure supports usernames, passwords, account numbers and PINs.
9 Evernote Not much needs to be said about Evernote, the app that remembers things so that your brain doesn’t have to. There’s already a Windows 8 app for it, and it works beautifully.
10 Internet Explorer 10 I’m currently a big Chrome fan, but Microsoft is promising a modern HTML5 browser that can do it all without any plugins. If they can actually deliver on that, it will mean far less headaches for IT works tasked with keeping computers secure and up-to-date.
Overall, Microsoft has done their best to make Windows 8 simple to use and easy to support. I look forward to helping users understand and implement the magic of remote access, cloud connectivity, virtualization, and mobile productivity. Now if only I could convince all of my clients that the cloud isn’t going to eat their data and spit it out in China. sN
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pluggedin Cisco Expands SMB Tech Portfolio to Boost Productivity via Smartphones, Tablets
Cisco has expanded its small business product portfolio with new wireless access points, routers, switches, unified communications and partner-managed service offerings. These new solutions are designed to help drive customer productivity and growth by allowing small businesses to get the most out of smartphones, tablets, and cloud applications and services. Cisco also announced new offerings that help its VARs offer new remote network management services. By extending the cloudbased partner managed service offerings of the Cisco OnPlus Service with new wireless network management tools and capabilities, Cisco will enable its partners to capture the growing demand for outsourced IT services that are being driven by the surge in smartphones and tablets that require secure Wi-Fi connectivity. These new products are being introduced at a time when mobile-connected devices are expected to exceed the world’s population in 2012, and the adoption of cloud services by small and SMBs is expected to hit 98 percent by 2015. Furthermore, during the next two years, SMBs in the U.S. alone are
expected to spend $50 billion on cloud services. Voice and unified communications technologies are also part of Cisco’s aim to provide a valuable productivity boost to any business, especially small businesses. In fact, workers using unified communication technologies are estimated to gain 32 minutes per day of time in productivity.
McAfee Releases New Deployment Option for its MOVE AV Solution
McAfee announced a second deployment option for its Management for Optimized Virtual Environments, or MOVE, solution earlier this morning. The McAfee MOVE system may now be deployed on either via multi-platform or through a new agentless option. Both deployment options are managed by the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator. The MOVE is designed to be a comprehensive security solution that will protect users’ networks from all types of virtual and physical attacks. Also, the MOVE is able to integrate into VMware’s vShield Endpoint, which McAfee believes will help standardize network security for businesses. Network security is a major concern for enterprises moving towards virtual environments. The new MOVE agentless option is specifically designed for easy deployment.
26 smb nation www.smbnation.com
NetEnrich Ups the Ante on Solution Provider Service Offerings for Data Centers
NetEnrich said it will expand its service offerings for solution providers with data centers that is both complementary to the services already offered by data centers, while enabling solution providers to gain revenue and increase profit, without building additional infrastructure. As part of a move to “doubledown” on the data center, NetEnrich is enhancing its all-in-one remote infrastructure management and operations services to enable solution provider partners with datacenter and cloud services offerings to support managed co-location, managed hosting and cloud services, and other advanced services. NetEnrich’s new services will also enable solution providers with data centers to provide high value offerings such as DevOps and TechOps support for social gaming, social media, SaaS and social networking companies. All of these services enhance a Data Center’s IT operations capability without the cost of technical RMM tools or increased staff. “ The specialized services available through NetEnrich’s Data Center Practice are recommended for use in conjunction with the company’s traditional 24x7 remote IT Operations center, or ROC IT business support ser-
vices such as 24x7 remote IT and cloud infrastructure monitoring, troubleshooting, full-and partial remediation and complete IT Operations and administration. Quest Software’s PacketTrap MSP Version 6.2 Includes PSA Integration, VoIP Monitoring
Quest Software released its PacketTrap® MSP 6.2, which is the latest version of its RMM platform for MSPs. By using PacketTrap MSP 6.2, MSPs can now access a single console to manage – and simplify – business processes including job scheduling, technician management, CRM, service requests and billing and invoicing. In addition to integrating with PacketTrap PSA, PacketTrap MSP 6.2 features other enhancements such as monitoring support for Cisco wireless controllers, which are increasingly used to manage all wireless access points, and new monitoring templates for predefined monitoring and alerting of common applications. In an additional twist, PacketTrap MSP 6.2 also allows MSPs to monitor customers’ Avaya VoIP infrastructure, which includes Avaya Aura Communications Manager, Avaya DP Office, PBX systems, IP Phones, Gateways, switches, routers and end-to-end network, physical and virtual IT infrastructure. sN q2 2012
guestspeak If you haven’t been following the BYOD (Bring Your
How BYOD and BYOA are Furthering the Consumerization of IT
Own Device) trend, you likely will soon. The trend can be traced back to the first smartphones and began to accelerate with the proliferation of $300 netbooks five years ago. Solution Providers were successful, for the most part, in keeping these consumer devices off the corporate network due to lack of security, manageability as well as raw horsepower, but that is changing. Connectivity is moving toward ubiquity, the cloud business model is real, and the iPad release in 2009 forever changed the hardware landscape. l Compliance and regulations (differing by industry) It is no surprise that the tablet market is growing at blocking adoption. a dizzying pace. Gartner is calling for 294 million units l Security of the data on public clouds and intermixed worldwide within four years, while Forrester is expecting with consumer data. l Portability of the output. 82 Million of them in the U.S. alone by 2015. Apple coml Information fragmentation. mands almost 90% share, but more than 125 other tablets have come to market by early-2012. Some of the early limitations of tablets, like netbooks We are already seeing examples of where corporate combefore them, included lack of security, manageability and munication has been fragmented into public clouds including compatibility. Newer devices personal email, LinkedIn, Facehave dramatically improved book, Google+, Twitter, and a “It is no surprise that and now offer things such as growing number of other social PKI authentication certificates, media platforms. Other app the tablet market is categories are quickly gainbiometrics and remote wipe capabilities, making them growing at a dizzying pace. ing popularity such as human acceptable to IT departments. resources, expense reporting Gartner is calling for 294 and CRM. Every employee has One lesser-known limitation that still exists is if the device somewhat unique productivity million units worldwide is subject to a legal hold – the and efficiency requirements company is in a legal dispute and Solution Providers will be within four years, while of some kind – the end user challenged supporting this rap- By Jay McBain Co-Founder, ChannelEyes Forrester is expecting 82 will lose their personal device idly growing ecosystem. for an extended time. Million of them in the U.S. Smaller companies, for Where the the most part, do not have a Channel Fits in alone by 2015.” mobility policy in place and Solution Providers will be were the first to adopt BYOD. The growth into industries crucial in managing this complexity of dozens of devices such as healthcare and finance has taken less than a year (and perhaps hundreds of apps) per person. New serto happen. vices and practices will evolve that focus on mobile device The story isn’t just about managing secondary and ter- management (MDM), vendor management, security, complitiary devices from the consumer market. Industry experts as ance, data organization and protection in this increasingly well as futurists are calling for more devices, perhaps dozens fragmented world. New revenue models will also evolve per individual, gaining access to secure corporate and gov- including recurring micropayments by device and app – in ernment networks within a few years. many cases pennies per month. To be effective in managing this potential chaos and, What is BYOA? more importantly, profiting from it, Solution Providers will The consumerization of IT isn’t just about hardware – we need to have built a solid business foundation with predictare at the beginning of another interesting trend: BYOA – Bring able and repeatable business operations. Also needed is a Your Own App. Some have predicted that the explosion of more way to organize all of these hardware, software and services than 1 million apps may spell the end of the traditional desktop offerings and filter information to stay on top of it all. sN internet. While that is likely premature, apps could provide some real advantages in the business world including cutting down Jay McBain is Co-Founder of ChannelEyes, a free and secure on training time, allowing employees to feel more invested, and social network for Solution Providers to get a filtered snapreplacing costly software licensing with cheaper apps. shot of new program highlights – every day. Join today: However, there are several issues with BOA including: http://www.channeleyes.com.
Where will the Channel Fit in going Forward?
www.smbnation.com smb nation 27
peopleon themove Harrybbb Appointed to ITT Program Advisory Committee Our own Harrybbb
has received an appointment to the ITT Tech Program Advisory Committee, responsible for advising the School of Information Technology on its curriculum offerings. The committee, comprising business leaders and technology experts, advises ITT on the technical training and certifications that are most relevant to the needs of today’s employers. While Harrybbb is definitely no stranger to the IT community, he is however, new to the ITT community, but has substantial experience in the field of higher education. He has taught for over 12 years as an adjunct professor at Alaska Computer Institute, Alaska Pacific University, Griffin College, Central Washington University and Seattle Pacific University. Most recently, he has served as the Dean for the School of Technology at Aspen University, an online accredited college. “I spend a lot of time traveling the country talking to IT professionals, especially those serving the SMB channel,” Harry said. “One thing I’ve noticed is the SMB IT channel is starting to gray, so it’s important that we provide our youth with the education and experience necessary to support the SMB channel. ITT plays an important role in doing that.”
Jennifer Anaya Returns to Ingram Micro as VP Marketing for North America We heard from Ingram Micro
last month that Jennifer Anaya, who previously served as VP of Marketing for NetEnrich, has joined the distributor in a similar capacity, focusing on the North American region. According to Ingram Micro, Anaya’s appointment reflects the distributor’s constant focus on partner enablement and vision to become the IT channel’s top-performing marketing services organization in North America. In her new position at Ingram Micro, Anaya will be handling the distributor’s U.S. and Canadian marketing organizations, in addition to branding and marketing the company’s North America region. She is also accountable for setting the strategy, establishing the tactics and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s Marketing Services and Events Agency, as well as customer communities, marketing services engine, two Solution Centers and the Ingram Micro Experience Center, a 1,000-square-foot technology demonstration facility located inside the distributor’s Buffalo Solution Center that showcases advanced Cisco architectures such as data center, Borderless Networks and collaboration in real-world business environments. While Anaya recently rejoined her Ingram Micro alum, Justin Crotty at NetEnrich last year, she surely is no stranger to the distributor, spending close to a decade working in a variety of roles. While at Ingram Micro Anaya was tasked with overseeing the adoption of Ingram Micro’s Partner Smart brand and spearheading several strategic marketing and communications initiatives including the successful launch of the company’s agency in 2006. 28 smb nation www.smbnation.com
dinCloud Taps Kevin Schatzle to Lead as President
dinCloud, a provider of hosted virtual desktops has tapped Kevin Schatzle to lead the company toward its next stage of growth as its new president. dinCloud recently closed its first round of seed funding and successfully launched its flagship hosted virtual desktop offering. An industry veteran, Schatzle has 24 years of technology experience that includes management positions at HP, ComputerLand, En Pointe Technologies and SupplyAccess. He most recently served as president for the U.S. subsidiary of a global leader in IT Infrastructure Management solutions. “Clearly cloud is the hot buzzword in the technology marketplace. However, in order to take full advantage of the cloud’s benefits, companies need to work with a service provider that fully understands the challenges of operating in the cloud, such as proper licensing requirements, security measures, application availability,and extending control to the customer,” Schatzle said in a media statement. “My decision to join dinCloud is rooted in the belief that this company is one of the rare few who possess the expertise in software licensing and technology innovation to rapidly migrate customer infrastructure into the cloud. Going to market with a service that saves customers 30-50%, provides customers with a secure and backed up operating environment and vastly improves the end-user’s productivity, is an opportunity to be a part of a company that could change the game on the desktop.” Under Schatzle’s leadership, dinCloud also plans on adding additional industry veterans in the coming months. One of these new executives will likely be a new CTO, which was previously held by Mike Chase, who recently told SMB Nation he is no longer with the company. Chase, who authors our regular CloudSpeak column is now with another cloud provider known as tamCloud.
Cogent Growth Partners Appoints Industry Thought Leader as Partner George Sierchio has joined
mergers and acquisitions advisory firm Cogent Growth Partners as a Partner, effective Jan. 1, 2012. For the record, according to David Schafran, Cogent’s managing partner, he and Sierchio first met several years ago at SMB Nation’s Spring Conference when Sierchio did a presentation on: “Run it Like You’re Going to Sell it.” Who knew a few years later, that one meeting would stem a longlasting partnership? Sierchio has owned and operated several successful service and consulting businesses in the last 20+ years, including IT business advisory company Action Business Partners, Inc. This includes his work as a consultant and coach to owners of IT companies providing guidance in profitability, overall growth and M&A related activities. He is highly experienced in the areas of strategy, finance, operations, marketing, human resources and corporate structure. Specific to mergers and acquisition, he is well versed in many areas including growth strategy, acquisition targeting and evaluation, valuation, due diligence, deal structure and integration. sN Q2 2012
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program highlights | secure. filtered. all in one place. ChannelEyes, the ChannelEyes Logo and Charlie the Chameleon are trademarks of ChannelEyes LLC. Patent Pending. For more information, email: email@example.com or visit http://www.channeleyes.com
specialreport by harrybbb, Chairman and Publisher, SMB Nation and Regina Ciardiello, Editor, SMB Nation
More on Microsoft Small Business Competency Trickling Out New Program Expected to Roll out this Coming June
ast month, we chatted with Thomas Hansen, Micro-
soft’s VP SMB Worldwide, and he shared more details about the forthcoming Small Business competency inside the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Readers will recall that the “SB” competency was announced March 1, and Hansen said the full program will roll-out in June 2012 before the main event of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in mid-July in Toronto. The top takeaways from our interview with Hansen include: Redo The SB competency is more than two years in the making and is the accumulation of one prior attempt that was postponed when the MPN was launched. Essentially, Microsoft went back to the drawing boards to get it right and it sought worldwide customer feedback to “make it right.” Hansen underscored Microsoft’s commitment to a HUGE small business market. Ergo the ongoing investment of time and money into the new SB competency. “We expect the SB competency to be far and away the largest competency in MPN very quickly,” he said. BusinessSpeak “We want the Microsoft Partner to speak the language of the small business itself,” Hansen shared, when he divulged that the SB competency is as much about business understands as technical knowhow. He commented that Microsoft realizes there is often a cultural mismatch when big league IT pros try to integrate into a small business. What Hansen didn’t share was HOW the SB partner will in fact learn to be more business savvy. Hansen promised that information will be more forthcoming at a future date (but known before the June program launch). He added that, so far, the only “negative” feedback he has received from partners was that they wished Microsoft had introduced this program earlier. CloudSpeak “In for a penny, in for a pound of cloud” was the message we heard regarding the technical emphasis of the SB competency. Legacy on-premise solutions such as Windows Small Business Server weren’t really the main part of the conversation with Hansen. Instead, it a greater focus was on Office 365. Interesting but albeit somewhat risky strategy for Microsoft to be all in for cloud when the channel has expressed revenue reservations about that path. But Hansen countered that “once we announce the actual detailed program guidelines you will note that there is a WinServer/SBS element to it. So we are certainly not throwing on-prem under the bus.”
Brand Merger Over the next year or so, Microsoft will slow merge the SB competency with the long-standing Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC). Ultimately, the SB competency will prevail, and the
Thomas Hansen, Microsoft’s VP SMB Worldwide, is flanked by Tom Poole, CEO, SMB Nation (left), and Harrybbb (right) during a recent visit from SMB Nation at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA.
beloved SBSC blue badge will go away. Think of it as how FedEx first merged and then ultimately eliminated the Kinko’s brand. “The Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) will continue to thrive and Microsoft will continue to support our SBSC partners. Both brands will co-exist for approximately 12 months after the introduction of the Small Business Competency. After that period the Small Business Competency will be the brand to small business customers and the Small Business Specialist Community will evolve to become an MPN peer-to-peer community. We will provide a smooth pathway into the Silver Small Business Competency for those SBSC partners that value the MPN offering/branding.” Hansen shared.
Inducements So let’s dig deeper into the above conversation. For many “small guys,” the SB competency will require elevating up to silver MPN status where there are real membership costs but also real membership benefits. To help with the transition, Microsoft will offer a lower Silver competency admission price between June and the end of 2012. Hansen declined to be more specific or name that price in during our interview.
Something for Everyone Hansen also noted during our conversation, that the SB Competency is not just for a specific group of Microsoft partners; It is open to everyone, no matter how large or small they are, or if they are located in a major U.S. city or small local overseas. “Because we are a multi-national company, this is multi-national offering,” Hansen said. “How people engage may vary, but this is available to all partners, and how they choose to apply it is up to them.”
Final Thoughts When we were involved “back in the day” with the creation of the SBSC program, it was often viewed as a partner-level inside the Microsoft Partner program. The SB competency essentially has a different paradigm with it truly being a competency (like Desktop, Hosting, Mobility). I would offer this in closing. Be careful what you asked for. To all those older tired community curmudgeons who complained about the SBSC title, you now have the SB competency. Are you happy yet? sN www.smbnation.com smb nation 31
securityspeak Top Five Security Threats Facing SMBs How to beat the industry’s most pressing dangers
By Joseph walker Contributing Writer SMB Nation
Many small businesses are on a tight budget— especially when it comes to IT costs. Companies that struggle to afford new technology are even less likely to ensure that they implement a comprehensive and effective security program. Unfortunately, that leaves the digital assets of small businesses vulnerable to hackers and other ne’er-do-wells. A study released last year by Javelin Strategy & Research found that data and identity theft hit SMBs even harder, and with more frequency, than individual consumers. SMBs have become attractive targets to cybercriminals and hackers because they typically have more money than consumers but far less security savvy than their corporate counterparts. As a result, SMBs’ online fraud losses in 2010 grew to over more than $8 billion—a sting made all the more painful by most small businesses’ lack of the zero liability protection afforded consumer credit cards. While SMBs and their employees engage in any number of risky digital behaviors, they make some mistakes much more often others. Thankfully, MSPs and IT consultants have a wide assortment of low-cost tools available to them to help SMBs fight back against the growing tide of security threats. Here’s a list of the most common security threats facing SMBs and what IT professionals can do to help.
Poor Web Site Security
Many small businesses take a “fire-and-forget” approach to their Web sites. In other words, they recognize the importance of creating a Web site but do little to actually maintain it. Infected Web sites are one of the number one purveyors of malware, and a large number of those sites are unsecured installations of the e-commerce and CMS platforms favored by SMBs. Because of their steady traffic and track record of poor security, SMBs’ Web sites are also a common target for spammers. Hacker-spammers typically gain access to a site by taking advantage of unsecured blogging platforms or other user plugins, misconfigured web forms, weak admin credentials, or improperly set permissions on folders containing config scripts. Useful tools for scanning and securing Web sites include Netsparker, Wapiti, and Skipfish. Companies like Zscaler, Symantec, and Webcertiv offer cloud-based Web site security services.
One of the most common security mistakes small businesses make is mixing their internal and public facing networks. Many businesses, such as restaurants, coffee shops, small retailers, and service shops offer unencrypted, public Wi-Fi access to customers. Unfortunately, 32 smb nation www.smbnation.com
some of them run their internal network on the same SSID as their public network. In some cases, businesses separate their public and private networks but either fail to secure their private network or use weak WEP encryption. IT professionals can offer to help businesses secure their networks by recommending network penetration testing. Network-savvy pros—or those willing to learn—can conduct their own penetration tests with the help of a few handy utilities: l Nmap is a port scanner that includes service and OS identification. l Nesses provides a variety of automated vulnerability scanning features, including searching for unbroadcasted but insecure wireless networks, open file shares, and firewall holes. l THC-Hydra conducts brute-force password cracking against Windows, Linux, and OS X. l Cain & Abel sniffs out and tests the security of RDP sessions. Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable conducting penetration tests can become a reseller for cloud-based penetration testing services, such as SAINTexploit, iViz, and nCircle.
Unsecured POS Systems
When Verizon released its annual landmark report on credit card data security this past March, a key finding was that restaurants and small retail businesses rank among hackers’ most popular targets. Specifically, cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in these businesses’ point-of-sale systems. The problem has grown so large that entire marketplaces for stolen credit card numbers have emerged on Tor, a popular anonymous network. Anyone with the Tor browser can go online and purchase stolen credit card numbers for a dollar or two each. Here’s how a typical POS hack occurs: A hacker, usually in another country, uses software to scan the Internet for IP addresses that are likely those of servers belonging to restaurants or retailers. The hacker then plugs those IP addresses into another program that tries to log into the servers with the default (or other common) passwords for the most popular POS platforms. Once the hacker gains access to the POS server, he can set up any number of malicious programs. This type of attack recently allowed a gang of Romanian hackers to steal customer credit card information from more than 200 Subway franchisees. IT professionals can help protect businesses against POS attacks by setting up secure POS server passwords or using encrypted cloud-based POS services, such as ShopKeep or VelaPOS.
Lax Data Management and Protection
Many small businesses, especially unregulated ones, treat confidential and other sensitive information (including their own) with far less care than they should. Common practices at many SMBs include engaging in financial transactions on unencrypted wireless networks, emailing passwords and credit card numbers to themselves or others, and storing confidential information on laptops or mobile devices that aren’t password protected or which have weak q2 2012
password protection. (Anyone with a Hirens boot CD, for example, can bypass a Windows user password.) While nothing can replace employee training and securityconscious company policies, businesses can address most of their data management snafus by relying on data encryption. TrueCrypt is a free and easy-to-use disk encryption tool that doesn’t require any effort on the part of employees, and companies whose employees store confidential information on their mobile devices can use apps like DroidCrypt (Android) and My Eyes Only (iOS) to secure their data.
It’s the lucky small business that hasn’t been hit by a malware infection. Estimates vary widely on the rate of malware infections, but even Microsoft accepts that millions of computers are infected across the world. The cost to disinfect a single computer can easily exceed $100, and that price soars when infections hit a server or the wider network. Beyond the cost of disinfection, modern malware often seeks to steal financial information or send out huge volumes of spam, leaving SMBs in hot water with customers whose information has been stolen or with ISPs who label them as spammers. Beyond traditional antivirus products, IT professionals can help businesses guard against malware with a number of simple steps: l Install ad-blocking browser plug-ins, such as AdBlock Plus.
l Configure automatic updates for Windows, Web browsers,
Adobe Reader and Flash, and Java. l Preload malware removal tools, such as MalwareBytes and TDSSKiller. l Sandbox Web browsers with software such as Sandboxie or Spoon.net. As MSPs and other IT services providers identify and discuss security concerns with their SMB clients, it is important that they insert the cost of security breaches into the conversation. For SMB owners to commit money and effort to IT security, they must be able to weigh the value of security against the cost of securing their IT infrastructure. Compromised Web sites, pointof-sale systems, and networks can lead to both loss of trust and loss of money (even if only prospective sales). Larger security breaches can even lead to major lawsuits, loss of credit, and destruction of data. Most SMB owners don’t want to a take those kinds of risks. But they need IT professionals to provide them with the education necessary to make informed decisions. sN Joseph Walker runs an IT consulting and computer repair business (and consults with other consultants, too). He’s also been doing technical writing and IT industry reporting for the past five years in his spare time. He was a banker once upon a time in a city far away, but he didn’t much like that. There’s even more to his story, but biographer is sadly not one of the many hats he wears.
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businessspeak 2.0 An Open Letter to the smb Community Why it makes Sense to Buy Local Now The following is a letter written from tribe member Tracy Anna Bader to Harry Brelsford, Chairman and Publisher, SMB Nation, on why it makes sense for the SMB community to start buying local—right at home.
by Tracy Anna Bader
Dear Harry: I am not sure if you have more speeches to give, but if you do, as a lifetime small business owner, I’d like to share my thoughts with you that I think are extremely relevant, especially given the ongoing economic recession. I truly believe we can all help to create a lasting economic recovery by taking small steps to make big changes. Since your attendees are tech support for small businesses, and derive their business (which includes their income and salaries) from small businesses in need of their expertise, products and services, it is crucial that they make a conscious effort to patronize and support small businesses—especially their customer base. If you want someone’s business—be sure to give him or her yours. So, when your readers need to make a purchase or seek services, ask them to put their dollars back into the local economy the best they can. Example: the small, independent, locally owned grocery store or grower co-op over the huge chain...the locally owned athletic shop, coffee shop, boutique, spa, bakery, over the huge mega-chains...etc. You get the picture: When making a purchase or seeking a service—think personal-buy local-support your local entrepreneur/small business owner if you can, and their product or service is, of course, comparable to what is offered by the chain. If their product or service is substandard, and you consciously chose not to patronize their business, then do them a favor and be honest. Help them by tactfully letting them know why they are not getting your business. If necessary, spend a little extra to help ensure the survival of small business. If something is less expensive because it is made overseas, then consider why it is less money. What are the true costs of incredibly cheap labor? Are you really getting “more” for your money by shopping at a major chain…can you get by with less quantity and more quality? Small business just cannot compete against the advertising power of the major chains. Also, consider the benefit of your money, no matter how small a purchase, being reinvested back into your community and ultimately the lives of those whom your own business may, in fact, depend on. By investing your dollars in your community businesses, you are building valuable relationships too. If your clients benefit from local business, be sure you make an honest effort to give them yours. When travel-
34 smb nation www.smbnation.com
ing, try to apply this strategy to the local economies you are visiting. Plus, supporting small businesses will make your travel experience richer, and more authentic, if you immerse yourself in the local culture rather than going to universal, uniform chains. Who would appreciate your individual dollar the most? Where will it make the biggest difference? With so many small businesses closing their doors, they are going to be greatly missed. They add flavor, pizazz, and uniqueness to a region and contribute in a positive way to the quality of life of a community. The perceived savings of a few cents on a product by going to a chain over a local independent business has a greater cost involved: the domino effect of business and the local economy. When you patronize and support a small locally owned business, you are supporting your community, contributing to the American Dream of independent small business ownership and the chance to have a meaningful life doing something you love to do, helping others make a positive contribution to the world. For, in small business ownership, there is tremendous responsibility, accountability, pride and sense of accomplishment and contribution. Harry, since your business at SMB Nation is geared toward helping small businesses, if there are fewer small businesses, this means fewer clients for your readers/ supporters to help, and so on. The bottom line: Make an investment in small business by supporting other small businesses, support your local economy and create a network. Just something to think about... sN
Tracy Anna Bader Tracy Anna Bader is an award winning artist and designer. A graduate of the University of California Davis she has been a business owner since 1985 while still attending college in Davis and then in San Francisco. Her one-of-a-kind, handmade art-towear jewelry was shown regionally and nationally and sold in over 200 galleries, boutiques and stores nationwide. She moved home to Alaska to re-establish her business in 1991 and from 1992-2009 owned and operated Tracy Anna Bader Design Studio and Denali Wear by Tracy Anna Bader in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, participating in local, regional and national shows. She was a recipient of the Heart of the City Award for Economic Developments, Small Projects; Top 40 Under 40 Leaders in Business Alaska Journal of Commerce. Currently attending graduate school full-time at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth awarded a Graduate and Teaching Assistantship to work on her MFA. q2 2012
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TechnewsWatch IDC: PC Market Returns to Positive Growth, but Gains are Small The worldwide PC market saw a slight increase in volume during the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter in 2011, with shipments rising 2.3%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. According to IDC, the results are slightly above the analyst firm’s February projections of a 0.9% year-on-year decline due to hard disk drive (HDD) supply constraints in addition to weak economic conditions, competition from other devices, and uncertainty about Windows 8. HDD supply remained a key constraint through most of the first quarter, although PC makers generally had better access to drives than customers in the retail and distribution channels. As a result, large PC vendors were able to maintain shipments by managing inventory or absorbing price increases, while the impact to shipments from smaller PC makers was in line with expectations. “Slow growth in the U.S. shows that despite interesting and new form factors like allin-one desktop PCs and Ultrabook– class notebook PCs, the market remains conservative and focused on replacements,” said Loren Loverde, IDC VP of Consumer Device Trackers. Commercial buyers are still cautious, while consumers are evaluating multiple products and may be waiting for the release of Microsoft Windows 8 later this year. sN
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Streaming Conferences du Jour How the Virtual Event Market is Taking Hold in our Space encourage you to take your head out of the sand, and take a fresh look at the events market. More and more events are streaming live so you can watch the content speakers from the comfort of your office, home office or living room. It has arrived, and it translates into no travel, airfare and hotel expenses, and the news gets better. Conference organizers are still *discounting* these virtual seats vs. the in-person admission ticket. On average, the online virtual seat is <50% the in-person listed price. I predict this is the wave of the future for events and I make my case below with a few examples.
MVP Nation, March 2012
Chairman and Publisher SMB Nation
We enjoyed a robust audience of 200 virtual attendees tuning in from every major continent except Antarctica. With the assistance of Zenith Infotech, we were able to stream our content sessions to this coveted worldwide audience. You can see a valuable example of this here as we’ve made the Windows 8 Expert Panel session available for free via video at www.smbnation.tv. Better yet – you can attend the entire early March 2012 MVP Nation conference, focused on Windows 8, in arrears, for $99. That includes 12+ content sessions in our OVERTIME format to watch what you want, when you want! Call 1-888-SMB-NAT1.
Super Hero Robin Robins “Big Seminar,” April 2012 I need my annual dose of Vitamin RR, and in the past, I’ve attended Robin’s annual spring boot camp live in Nashville, TN. For a number of reasons, including busily raising my two teenage boyz, it wasn’t possible to attend live this year. So instead, I attended the four-day boot camp virtually and loved it to death. The RR virtual experience even allowed me to view the presentations of the seven finalists from Robin’s Producers’ Club that competed for a shiny new Audi and designation as Robin’s official spokesperson for the next year. While I am sure it was a tough call for all of the judges to decide, Robin made the announcement on the afternoon of Friday, April 13 (following a presentation by Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno) that she had chosen a runner-up and winner. This year’s runner-up, (who also received a pretty cool Rolex watch) was Fred Reck, President, InnoTek Computer Consulting, and the winner of the Grand Prize Audi was John Motazedi, CEO, SNC Squared. Congrats to both John and Fred from all of us at SMB Nation! 38 smb nation www.smbnation.com
The Small Business Tour April 12, Bellevue, WA Frank Coker, a serial entrepreneur from CoreConnex, held his first “The Small Business Tour” in Seattle this past week. His intention with this kick-off (to be followed by an additional 10 cities over the next few months; details at www.thesmallbusinesstour.com) was to explore the areas confronted by small business owners each and every day: money, growth, customers and people. Never one to miss a free lunch, I attended this event for the second half of the day. Why? There was an unfortunate technology event collision between Robin Robins’ boot camp and this event. But have no fear – harrybbb was “here” at both events. While in-person at Frank’s event, I double-dipped and watched Robin’s event stream to my netbook laptop.
SMB Online Conference, June 2012 Karl Palachuk, himself a notable entrepreneur, is hosting “the first all-online conference for computer consultants, MSPs and IT. Professionals of all kinds.” This will be a threeday online ONLY format using a podcast approach (no video) June 26-28, 2012. My intention is to attend this and write up a summary for you at a future date. Learn more at the site: http://www.smbonlineconference.com/.
Analysis I’m in the events business, and my 12+ years of experience, I believe, allows me to make the following observations about the new-new conferencing approach. I like it a lot, and you can expect SMB Nation to embrace this attendee content delivery model at all events moving forward. Hybrid. I truly believe you have to have a hybrid setting. I’m not convinced you can have a virtual-only show. I’ve seen many virtual tradeshows, (including ours in June 2008), fall flat with cartoon characters lecturing via audio and more cartoon characters trying to roam an empty tradeshow hall. You need the gestures, visual affirmation and participation of a live audience to create some “there there” for the virtual attendees who can’t be “here here.” Virtual audience questions. At MVP Nation, I made an extra special effort to ask the “virtual questions” from the remote worldwide audience to the live speakers. It was actually a cool buzz builder. I’d remark that Leen in the Netherlands wants to know more about the SMB protocol in NAS 2.x in Windows 8. Granted, I looked like an old man squinting at Hootsuite on my iPhone to see the questions up on Twitter using the #mvpnation tag. Next time I’ll use my BlackBerry PlayBook so I can read in larger text (folks – I got old!). sN q2 2012
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