|Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! November 22, 2011 - Issue 6-9 BusinessSpeak|
Happy Thanksgiving! Everyone at SMB Nation is wishing you the best for the upcoming holiday season!!!
With that said – we want to bring you good news. As part of our youth group movement coverage, the story moves to the east coast where I talked with Tech Collective, a Providence RI, not-for-profit bringing new entrants into the SMB community. Tech Collective’s story of a young man completing a 12-week boot camp and then gaining employment with a leading MSP! A follow-up piece expands on Tech Collective’s goodness with its scholarship program for girls. Then I have a great interview with David Hughes at Boston-based Reflexion where he shares good news.
Again – Happy Thanksgiving!
Harry Brelsford|Founder, SMB Nation, Inc.|www.smbnation.com
Connections – Tech Collective
Many in our community fondly remember Anne Stanton (@crmlady) as the great connector. For many years, Anne directed the Norwich Group in New Hampshire. Fast forward the movie a few years and she’s now in Providence RI and still active in the technology field. When I recently announced that SMB Nation would be hosting a “BeerFest” in Providence with VU Telepresence and D&H Distributing, Anne quickly raised her hand to help out. She connected me with the amazing ladies at Tech Collective (a shout out to Tech Collective for helping promote our successful “BeerFest” in the area.)
Tech Collective is a not-for-profit dedicated to raising technology awareness, excitement and opportunities in the Rhode Island area. Its primary focus is to benefit students, but I’d add that these students include experienced individuals from all walks of life. Its mission correlates perfectly to our SMB Nation initiative to help rebuild the SMB channel with new participants (with all due respect, the average SMB nation tribal member isn’t getting any younger). Then off I went to visit with Giselle Mahoney, Manager of Media Relations at Tech Collective, her colleagues and a couple of stakeholders. I was on a mission of hope to see that efforts to attract new participants in the technology field are underway and working. I was not disappointed.
Young Techie Made Good!
The first introduction concerned Guillermo Lopez, who recently landed a job as a technician at Brave River Solutions. Guillermo’s success story has a bit of truth to humor in it. Watch the video for the full story, but essentially Guillermo found Tech Collective and his opportunity by mistake, seeking directions to another opportunity. If you step back a moment, pause and reflect on your own career path, don’t you have a similar story – fate happening along the way leading to goodness.
Guillermo completed an intensive 12-week boot camp at Tech Collective that is both “BusinessSpeak” and “GeekSpeak.” It’s a program supported by his new employer, Brave River Solutions, a mid-sized MSP/ISV/Resellers and technology consulting practice based in Warwick, RI. Guillermo is coming up on one year of employment as a junior network administrator with client responsibilities.
Brave River Solutions has 23 employees, with a healthy mix of MSP recurring revenue and billable hour activity. That’s “reality” in the real world. It has been a founding member of Tech Collective for the past 12-years when both Blue River Solutions and Tech Collective were born. It has business units in technical support, could apps, VoIP (it teams with telecom providers) and CRM (such as ACT, SalesForce, etc.). Its e-business and software development practice focus on medical distribution, pharmaceuticals, and health care. Its thriving Internet marketing business unit provides SEO, SEA and social media consulting.
Business Continuity Planning 101: Don’t Plan to Fail in a Disaster, Plan to Succeed.
Let’s face it, insurance is a commodity that we all need, but it is an expense that most people do not appreciate until disaster strikes. Consequently, insurance companies resort to cute commercials starring talking lizards and famous beagles to sell us Life, Home, and Business insurance. Surprisingly, the least expensive insurance a small company can have is a good Business Continuity Plan. A good plan can not only save your company’s data, it can also save your reputation, preserve your market share and maintain your regulatory compliance.
Plan creation is fairly easy, costs nearly nothing, with many resources available to SMBs. Business Continuity plan templates are available as free downloads from many sources. These documents can help protect your business while complying with HIPAA, SOX and other regulations.
A good Business Continuity plan offers a robust backup and recovery section. While a template can tell you what you need to backup and restore, they don’t exactly spell out how to do it--don’t worry, we’ll do it here. Here’s a look at some of the basics of Backup and Recovery.
Backup is the act of copying files or data from a computer/server so that the copies can be restored in the event of data loss or a system failure. “Simple File Backup” as it is ironically called, can require many choices, like:
Simple File Backup also requires creation of Backup Sets, Backup Frequencies, Backup Media (tape, CD/DVD or hard drives) and software installation. As you can see, there are many choices.
One reason that many businesses do not backup is the perception and reality that backing up is just too hard. Although, this was once true, new advances in backup technology have removed many of the choices and barriers from backing up.
Today, Real-Time/Full-Server Replication is replacing “Simple File Backup.” With real-time replication, you simply plug an appliance onto your network locally or remotely from another location and it will automatically copy the full server (OS, programs and data) without creating backup sets or schedules—it just runs all of the time, even during business hours as changes occur. Best of all, when disaster strikes, the replication server assumes the role of the failed server and you just keep on working...from anywhere.
As you can see, creating a plan is the first step to solid Business Continuity. Choosing the right people to implement your plan is step two. Picking a backup method that replicates all of your sensitive data and makes it immediately available from anywhere, can make your life easier. Please contact us for help with your Business continuity Plan today.
HEROware, Inc. | +1.866.810.4376 | www.heroware.com
Go Grrls – GrrlTech
Another interesting twist to my “youth movement in the SMB channel” coverage is the story of Susan Woodard. Susan was last year’s recipient of a $111,000 scholarship to the well-respected Roger Williams University in Providence, RI to study technology and engineering. Her intentions are to capitalize on this opportunity that allowed her to attend college and then work overseas as an engineering capacity building bridges and infrastructure in underdeveloped countries. In the video herein, you can meet Susan and hear her story – in her own words! She heard a quote from an essay being read and couldn’t believe she had won the six figure educational scholarship! Susan bested 80 other essay entrants.
This award was made possible by Tech Collective, the Providence-based not-for-profit that supports numerous outreach programs to encourage youth to pursue technology opportunities. This specific scholarship was awarded at a recent GrrlTech event that has helped girls reach remarkable levels of technology achievement over the past 12-years. GrrlTech is a half-day interactive technology expo offering female high school students an up close look at dynamic and rewarding technology opportunities. It’s both an expo and content based event (24+ learning sessions) that draws over 400 girls. Susan completed the health care workshop plus a civil engineering session on a ski resort (how cool is that!).
Again – as SMB Nation engages the community to encourage new channel entrants, we’ll leave no stone unturned to get the story! Learn more about GrrlTech at www.tech-collective.org. And here is a link to another recent article about women in technology I believe that you will also find interesting.
Unleash Your Hardware with the CharTec Soft BDR
The CharTec BDR solution is now available to run on existing hardware you may already own. With an easy “10 click” installation process, you can deploy this solution in less than an hour. Plus, you receive all the features and benefits of our current award-winning BDR solution including:
Running on your hardware and deployed with little effort from a single USB key!
Now you can avoid the hassle of new hardware when transitioning from contracts or vendors.
Visit www.chartec.net/softbdr for more information or call us at 866.544.2772!
Reflecting on Reflexion
David Hughes, president and CEO of Reflexion (www.reflexion.net), graciously gave me much of his precious time last week to reflect on Reflexion, a long-time SMB Nation sponsor that provides a range of hosted email services that are differentiated by their ease of implementation and use, their unique features and effectiveness and their affordability. Specifically, Reflexion has its cloud-based compliance suite with the following product mix:
• e-mail security
The wide ranging conversation with David covered several areas including strategic partnerships, engineered integration with RMM and PSA products, improved operations and stellar financial performance.
I started the conversation noting the publicity that Reflexion has received for its announced partnerships. David assured me it’s more about results than press releases. We recently covered the Reflextion/Naverisk partnership in our blog at smbnation.com . David shared that strategic agreements have been reached with CharTec, Testudo Data, the Team Logic franchise, VARDynamics and Channel Cloud. With a wink and a nod, David intimated that you can expect more such announcements in 2012 as its growth path turns more strategic. But he cautioned that it’s not seeking to compete with its partners. For example – it has no intentions of being in the hosted e-mail business (such as being an Office 365 distributor or a reseller of Hosted Exchange).
Engineering Integration and RMM and PSA integration
David briefly spoke about Reflexion’s recent engineering accomplishments. This includes direct integrations with the RMM and PSA offerings in our channel, improved uptime than in the past and an infrastructure migration to VMWare. As part of it investment in engineering, Reflexion launched its ZVZL program that amounts to a clustered architecture in a new data center. In my opinion, this is in response to Reflexion’s downtime on May 18, 2010 nearly 18-months ago. MSP Mentor detailed that situation here: http://www.mspmentor.net/2010/05/19/how-to-over-communicate-during-a-saas-outage/. On the product side, Reflexion has added a configuration scanner that reports all is well with your MX record, LDAP, SMTP configurations.
The Best for Last
Let’s talk money, honey! David shared outstanding financial results with me. Revenue is up 47% year over year. The last three quarters were records. Reflexion has turned cash flow positive. Its goal of registering partners has been exceeded. The goal was one-per-day (with the understanding that half of these will be productive partners). Reflexion is reporting that it registered over 400 partners in the last year. “I credit our team at Reflexion for this success. For example, Scott Barlow is the public face of Reflexion but there are a lot of people in the background making this success happen.
Reflexion’s customer base now exceeds 8,000 end user organizations. The rate of end user growth is 3X the rate of customer entity growth, reflecting that Reflexion partners are recruiting larger partners. Its upsell strategy is also working well. There is uptick in the upsell strategy with the lite version of Radar up 125% and the full Radar solution is up 65% (Radar is a email compliance achieving program). Its encryption sales are up 57%. It all amounts to one of David’s favorite stats: average revenue per customer which is increasing reflecting the success of the upsell strategy.All told, this award-winning company has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week!
Server Backup & Recovery doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive!
Today’s Server backup products are either light on substance or heavy on features. Cloud backup options are slow going up and even slower on recovery. Other solutions can be unwieldy and expensive, requiring a ‘rocket scientist’ to operate them.
Rebit’s Server offerings are designed for companies that have 1-3 servers, where cost and ease of use are important criteria and no IT staff are on payroll.
A frog of a different color
Rebit is a different kind of backup software company, making backup “ridiculously simple.” To deliver a simpler user experience, we put all the sophistication “under the hood”. In place of a scheduler/synch agent, we built a full database and object store implementation with continuous journaling technology. This enables near-continuous data protection with versioning and recovery points as well as Bare Metal Recovery points every 24 hours. For Exchange/SQL recovery, a full VSS implementation captures time-consistent images.
One reviewer called Rebit the “Time Machine for Windows” based on simplicity and ability to rewind the system to any point in time. Since 2005, Rebit has delivered unparalleled ease of use to consumers and NOW includes small businesses!
Putting the cloud in its place
Rebit’s architecture supports multiple simultaneous backup targets, including USB hard drives, network shares, or cloud storage, allowing your customers to meet data protection requirements.
Cloud backup provides handy remote storage locations for single-site businesses. But trying to recover a server from the cloud, one can grow a very long beard. Local storage has much faster backup/restore characteristics, but taking tapes offsite is cumbersome and error prone.
Rebit artfully combines BOTH local and remote storage in a simple to use backup package that is engineered to minimize operational impact and offer the best protection in the pond.
Great New Line from Cooler Master!
Continuing with its tradition of revolutionary design and cutting edge technology, CM Storm surpasses the competition with the Trooper chassis. The CM Storm Trooper contains a wealth of features coveted by most gaming enthusiasts, including USB 3.0, external 2.5” and two 90 degree rotatable HDD cages for easier hard-drive installation. The CM Storm Trooper is the first full tower with a carrying handle for easy transport. For more information, please go to http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=1665&product_id=3054 to get the latest information, review and support. CM Storm Trooper Model# SGC-5000-KKN1.
Cooler Master also just launched two new coolers into the market. Hyper 212 Evo and GeminII S524. If you are looking for reliability and performance cooler for your processor (AMD or Intel), come check out the Hyper 212 Evo, Model# RR-212E-20PK-R1 and GeminII S524 Model# RR-G524-18PK-R1.
All Products are available through D&H Distributing. Your one stop shops for all Cooler Master Products and components needs.
Stop Leaving Money on the Table!
By Tim Brien, Director of Managed Print Services for OKI Data Americas
According to a recent article in MSP Mentor, only 20 percent of the top 100 managed service providers currently offer managed print services (MPS). That fact reveals two things: 1) There is limited awareness among MSPs about the unique advantages and revenue-generating opportunities inherent in including managed print as part of their suite of services, and 2) there is plenty of room – and tremendous opportunity – for MSPs to establish themselves and stake their claim within the MPS arena.
Many MSPs hesitate to employ MPS because they believe that managing printers, copiers and document output seems like a lot of work and expense with minimal associated profit. In actuality, managed print solutions provide partners with the means to increase margins and revenue streams quickly while generating real and quantifiable savings for their customers. It’s truly a win-win situation!
There are a number of MPS solutions featuring a broad range of offerings from which to choose. A cloud-based solution provides a cost-effective, complete MPS business model that can also be utilized at the individual component level to augment the MSP portfolio of IT offerings. This type of flexible, modular solution gives MSPs a unique and competitive edge by providing a wave of new opportunities for developing both immediate and long-term, recurring revenue streams while maximizing workflow efficiencies for their customers.
The remaining 80 percent of top MSPs should understand that if they’re not offering MPS as part of their overall service offerings, they’re leaving money on the table – money that their competitors will gladly pick up. Consider these statistics:
One final statistic: MSPs will miss out on 100 percent of the benefits of MPS if they continue to hesitate in committing to this cost-effective, revenue-generating, easy-to-use solution. Why wait? Act now and quit leaving money on the table! For more information visit http://www.okidata.com/tmp or email me at email@example.com.
Cisco UC-320 Rocks!
Blast from the past! The Toronto pre-day hands-on lab in June was a hit! Known as SMB Spring, over 20 IT Consultants fully setup the CISCO UC 320 in under an hour without a hitch. (15 had never installed a phone system) This system was the easiest install I have ever seen on a full featured UC product. There is a special website for you to engage with the UC 320 here. You can sign up to be a partner that will get you free training on the system and other goodies. There is no fee or certification cost for this program yet, so we urge you to be an early bird.
Here is what folks learned at the hands-on lab:
• For under $800 the UC 320 is a front runner for the very small business that wants to enjoy cost savings and a robust feature set.
• Fully installs, from opening the box to making calls, in under an hour
• Support for 24 users
• SIP trunking support to deliver clear, high-quality voice over IP services
• Interoperability with up to 12 public switched telephone network (PSTN) analog lines (4 FXO ports)
• Voicemail and automated attendant and Voicemail to email notification
• 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with VLAN support, to connect devices or expand
• Gigabit Ethernet WAN port that can be designated as the network edge
• Integrated 802.11n wireless access point for voice and data, so that employees can connect to the network while away from their desks
Why Do You Need to Partner with Cisco, Today?
Teaming with Cisco can be a profitable proposition. Here are the top five reasons to become a Cisco Registered Partner and benefits from the Cisco Small Business Advantage:
• Products: We have the broadest portfolio of solutions to help you meet your customers' needs.
• Profitability: You have the potential to realize greater profits when selling Cisco Small Business products by earning rebates with Partner Development Funds and taking advantage of rewards, promotions, and incentives, offered from programs such as Fast Track 2.
• Support: Get the help you need to sell, deliver, and support Cisco solutions with pre- and post-sales support and customized tools like SMART Designs.
• Marketing: Use co-branded materials to help drive sales; having ready access to free customizable marketing materials can help put more money in your pocket.
• Financing: We have EasyLease options for those who qualify. EasyLease may help you overcome customer budget objections and help eligible customers acquire technology solutions based on business needs.
It's easy to join. No training courses, exams, or additional costs required. Visit HERE.
Nov/Dec SMB Nation Magazine is HERE! Download NOW!
You can download
|Copyright 2011 SMB Nation, Inc. 9727 Coppertop Loop NE, Building 8, Suite 203, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 -
PH: 206-201-2943 Fax: 360-824- 6042