Over 18,000 Global Readers and Growing! November 8, 2011 - Issue 6-9 GeekSpeak
Hiya folks. We’re into the holiday shopping season so what better time than to introduce our geek gift guide for your consumption. We are also delighted to announce MVP Nation for March 2-3, 2012 at the Microsoft Redmond campus and if you are on the east coast – please join us for our November 16th BeerFest in Providence RI. And on an even more positive note – one of our long-time SMB Nation tribal members has hired a Sr. System Engineer! It’s great to see hiring again, eh?
Harry Brelsford, Founder of SMB Nation, Inc. and Cloud Nation.
SMB Nation Announces Dates, Theme for 2nd Annual MVP Nation Event
Magazine publishing company will host this year’s event at the Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond, Wash., March 2-3, 2012.
Bainbridge Island, Wash. – November 8, 2011 – SMB Nation announced today that it will hold its 2nd Annual MVP Nation event at the Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond, Wash., on March 2-3, 2012. Based on the theme “Best & Brightest,” the conference is being touted as one that is geared toward those who “have what it takes to be the Best and Brightest in the IT Industry.”
MVP Nation will offer attendees the rare opportunity to learn directly from the esteemed Microsoft MVPs in a deeply technical environment. With a focus on the new Windows 8 technology, the two-day event will allow attendees to create their Windows 8 road map.
The event is one that is a gathering of three well-established communities:
“After our first MVP Nation last year in Seattle, we’re back with a focused two-day deep dive on everything Windows 8,” said Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation. “The primary emphasis will be on server-side topics along with content on desktop, mobility and tablet issues. Windows 8 is a topic that impacts everyone--whether you are an IT pro, developer, user. This event is for everyone who wants a deeply technical experience, which we have likened to “graduate school for geeks.” We joke that no “wimps” are allowed at the two-day brain explosion!”
This year’s MVP Nation event will follow the long-standing private and closed annual Microsoft MVP Summit that traditionally brings in 2,000 MVPs. MVPs represent more than 100 product groups. The MVP Nation event will provide an opportunity for both attendees and sponsors to meet and learn from the MVPs. In addition, the speaker roster for this year’s event includes many MVPs who will possess the latest Windows 8 information, since they will have just come from briefings held at the Microsoft MVP Summit.
MVP Nation has already gained support from an enthusiastic and well-known sponsor community including: D&H Distributing, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, StorageCraft and many others that are well-known in the SMB community.
“First and foremost, we are community. We’re from the community producing a community event supported by the community and attended by community members. How cool is that,” Brelsford said. “Beyond the amazing SMB Nation staff and tribal membership, we have enjoyed fantastic support from like-minded similar communities including the MVPs, user groups, trade associations and other affinity entities. And most importantly, we really recognize and realize the warm welcome we’ve already received from Microsoft Redmond. For the first time in years, an SMB Nation event returns to the Microsoft campus at the amazing conference center. We hope that our efforts satisfy the Windows 8 hunger of the technology community!”
For more information and to register for MVP Nation 2012, please visit mvp.smbnation.com.
Hybrid quarantines: a rare option that gives you the best of both worlds
A good antispam solution comes with management tools: at the very least, a quarantine and a whitelist/blacklist system. ZEROSPAM’s client interface gives you much more and our approach to quarantines is completely unique. You see, when it comes to quarantines, most providers will either give you full granularity or none at all. Full granularity means that every user will automatically have access to an individual quarantine. As soon as an email goes through for them, POUF! an individual quarantine account is automatically created. No granularity means that individual users cannot have access to an individual quarantine.
At right: David Poellhuber, COO of ZeroSpam
Both of these options are less than ideal. Allowing everyone to have an individual quarantine account is a bad idea. The average user is a bad judge when it comes to discriminating between ham and spam. They will release spam, phishing email and even put their organizations at risk by releasing dangerous executable files. Furthermore, users tend to skim through their quarantine in search of a single email that they will want to release out of tens of thousands thereby wasting the time their antispam solution is supposed to save them.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be forced to manage the quarantine for every single person in your organization. What you want is the ability to enable a small set of trustworthy users to manage their own quarantines, especially people with a high level of traffic such as your marketing executives or top-level managers.
That’s exactly what ZEROSPAM’s hybrid quarantines do. Administrators have access to a centralized quarantine but they also have the ability to manually create individual quarantine accounts for any number of individual users. That’s just the right level of granularity. It’s what you want both in terms of security and in terms of efficiency.
Your current antispam solution uses an either/or quarantine? There’s a way out… To find out more about ZEROSPAM, call 1 888 990-7726 or visit www.zerospam.ca.
What’s on your Holiday Gift List?
By Harry Brelsford, Chairman and Publisher, SMB Nation
Goodness gracious, it’s the gifting season. Regardless of your religious or cultural affiliation, we’re in the giving season. So welcome to our first gift guide for the inner “geeks” among us. In preparing this report, I realized I don’t have a corner on giving, so I reached out to the community to supplement my own primary research. Community members from different walks of life offered gift ideas. Let’s get started on a few of our “favorite things” here in the SMB Nation community
Amy Babinchak, Microsoft MVP
I was at SMB Nation Fall in Las Vegas, walked into the vendor hall and was mesmerized by the remote control shark-shaped dirigible. How cool is a floating remote control shark? Way cool! Every geek would love one, and you can get it at your local big box toy store. So maybe the shark isn’t exactly high-tech, but if there’s a time for fun stuff, it’s Christmas. If I’m thinking about fun tech stuff, then the Kinect still comes to mind. Maybe it’s so last year to some of you, but have you seen any of those YouTube videos on Kinect hacking? Talk about a geek out. Grab a Kinect now, and if you have the money to spend, update the TV to one with an Ethernet port and built-in apps. With that combination, your favorite geek will be entertained until next Christmas.
Susan Bradley, Microsoft MVP
Holidays to me are not about geeky computer stuff, but time spent with family, friends and cooking time in the kitchen. It’s the time of the year that I go from being “Susan the Geek,” to “Susan the Martha Stewart ‘Wanna-Be.’” But that’s not to say I throw all of my digital stuff out the window when I cook. One can never be without a good digital cooking thermometer to tell you when the bird is just at the proper cooking point, and cooked to a safe internal temperature (given that you only cook once a year during the holidays, and you are a bit rusty at it), so my first geek gadget to suggest for the Holiday season would be a Taylor digital thermometer from Williams Sonoma (http://tinyurl.com/3p3yn6z).
Next, nothing is better to give to your customers a bit of home baked goodness. I’m personally a fan of gingerbread cookies during the Holiday season, and I’d recommend you go the geek route this year, making “computer-shaped” cookies for your friends, family and most importantly, your clients. You can either mix up your favorite gingerbread cookie dough recipe – (http://tinyurl.com/68vh6bx) or outsource that part of the process by purchasing pre-made gingerbread cookie dough which should be in your local supermarket shortly.
Depending on your clients, you can hand out desktop-shaped cookies (c); laptop cookies (http://tinyurl.com/663grto), or cell phone cookies (http://tinyurl.com/6dcqxf7) to signify your specialty. Of course there are even Cloud cookie cutters (http://tinyurl.com/64esk6y) to signify you really are all in with the cloud this year. Decorate them with a bit of royal icing, wrap them up with a bit of clear cellophane bags, attach your business card, and you have Christmas cheer and unique advertising for your firm to hand out.
Last but not least, I’m looking forward to my pre-ordered Kindle fire (http://tinyurl.com/3ujplnm), and the first thing on it will be the newly released Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1.
Andy “HandyAndy” Goodman, Microsoft MVP
My current favorite geek gadget is my new SSD laptop drive. I had heard they are quicker than traditional hard drives, but the difference is incredible. The hard drive in my old laptop was starting to act up, so I purchased an Intel 320 Series120Gb SSD Drive; it dual boots between XP and Windows 7, so I got out my favorite geek tool, my ShadowProtect IT drive and imaged it, put the new Intel SSD in and re-applied the image. Of course I had to run EasyBCD to fix the dual boot problem, but the work-around is painless. All in all—just under an hour. The laptop used to boot in just 2 minutes from a cold start to a useable desktop. Sure, I know Microsoft worked their magic to deliver the desktop quickly, but I want to be able to use it, not just look at it. So to get to that same point, all of the system tray icons loaded, and the mouse useable with the new drive in 20 seconds. Yes…I said seconds. It is incredible how fast this thing is now. You know how when you start Outlook 2010 and you sit and watch the 10 to 12 plugins as they slowly load? Well now it just blinks one time, and Outlook opens.
So now you see why this is my current favorite geek gadget–well until the next new quicker thing comes along–as always.
SMB Nation Staff Picks:
Chris Bangs, Business Development Manager
*The Cooler Master Sentinel ZERO -G HD Twin Laser Human Interface Device. A Mouse is a Mouse, is a Mouse? I think NOT! Check out the Cooler Master Sentinel ZERO-G HD. This “mouse” introduces the latest innovations in cutting-edge technology: 5600 DPI twin laser, rapid fire mode, internal Sentinel-X memory and security, Storm Guard, 8 control buttons, and more. From gamers to graphic designers, they will be blown away by this hi-tech HID! Read the full details of this amazing device on Cooler Master’s web site at http://coolermaster.com/
*Bonus: Currently Shipping with FULL VERSION of “Shattered Horizon.”
Regina Ciardiello, Editor
The iPhone 4 or 4S is my pick for this year’s holiday gift guide. If you have been following my blog posts on www.SMBNation.com, you might have noticed that I have chronicled my journey toward purchasing a new iPhone 4. With my Sprint upgrade it was an investment of $99.95, and I have been using it nonstop. Where else can I store all of my wedding photos, videos, books and music via just one device?
While it might be a little pricey for some who don’t have the luxury of an upgrade discount, an alternative is opting for the iPhone 4 instead of the 4S, which is “back-ordered” on back-order. There are more similarities than differences between the iPhone 4 and 4S; for instance, the real difference is the updated operating system, which can also be downloaded to your phone via Apple.com. The other is the camera, which is a few more mega pixels than the iPhone 4’s 5 MP count. For me, I have never owned a phone that shot clear “mobile uploads” so anything is a welcome change!
Harrybbb, Chairman and Publisher
I like to give and receive gifts with the best of them. So I looked around at some of my favorite stores to see what strikes my fancy. At Fry’s I noticed the range of flat-screen TV wall mounts. What I’ve witnessed is that many people now have their flat screen TVs, but can use a wall mount. The prices range from $19.95 after rebate to several hundred dollars. As trivial as it seems, I’m also a big fan of giving everyone (who doesn’t have one) a GPS. You are now seeing Garmin Nuvi as low as $49.95. Flash cards from the likes of SanDisk are welcome stocking stuffers for anyone. But my favorite gift this year will be to give an updated remote car keychain device. The logic is this. The battery power of these devices tends to decline over time. Whereas you could open your car door from more than 100 yards when new, later you have to be within ten feet. It’s a gift my friends and family will use every day!
Be sure to check out this article and many more in our latest issue of the SMB Nation Magazine. You may download the online version here.
Customer Cloud Consternation? Let’s talk “Hybrid”
Are your customers a little Cloudy on the benefits of remote storage? Do they worry about the speed of recovering their files if something happened? Are they comfortable that the cloud storage provider really has their data, and that it will be available when they need it? These lingering doubts can be obstacles to ‘cloud backup’ sales.
Perhaps it’s time to consider taking your customers ‘a half-step’ into the cloud.
Hybrid Online Vaulting approaches are quickly gaining popularity for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is your customer’s peace of mind. In today’s world of hybrid online backup, both a local storage target and a remote (cloud storage) target are used in conjunction to offer the strongest possible data protection architecture. Let’s quickly explore the benefits of both local and remote components to get a better picture of their combined value.
Local Backup to a NAS or disk based target delivers reliability and speed. File or database changes are captured quickly across the LAN for near-continuous backups. Restores are done quickly over the network to recover from any failure… and having your customer’s data right in their office definitely raises everyone’s comfort level.
Cloud Backup Systems are slower for backup and restore due to Internet constraints. But they offer a simple approach to storing another copy of data at a safe distance from the source. And, the proliferation of cloud backup vendors over the past 5 years has made it a very affordable option.
Intelligently combining a local backup target with an online vault really has no trade-offs! Your customers can recover from any system or site disaster with speed, reliability, and most importantly, peace of mind – all at an affordable cost.
Consternate no further… Rebit is here!
This Beerfest is partnered by D&H Distributing and Vu Telepresence.
A Balanced Approach to Backup & Disaster Recovery
A balanced Backup & Disaster Recovery plan takes into consideration several factors. Factors like, how important is your data, how many copies should you make and keep, and how much can you afford to for a backup solution. Another question a small business should ask itself is how much revenue will you lose for every hour, day or week without your data? From these questions come the basis of a plan that considers a business’s needs, budget, and the amount of downtime they can tolerate.
Local, Remote, and Cloud backup as the three components that make up a balanced Backup and Disaster Recovery plan for businesses of all sizes. Smaller businesses from small amounts or less valuable data will benefit from a simple and local backup. Small businesses with larger amounts of more critical data will find comfort in more redundancy or a combination of local and remote backup devices. Finally, there is a combination of local, remote and cloud based backup for a business that cannot risk losing their data for even the smallest amount of time.
MSPs, VARS, and System Integrators are in a unique position of being able to help their customers achieve any and all levels of the balanced Backup & Disaster Recovery plan. Through creative offerings that consider a customer’s needs, budget, and tolerance for downtime, service providers have an opportunity to become a trusted advisor before, during, and after a disaster. In fact, you can be a real HERO.
“As an MSP I am always working to find function and great value in the products that I use for serving my clients. With HEROware and their fantastic line of business continuity solutions, I found both.
Thanks to HEROware’s timely HERO-Defender+ Stimulus Program, not only did they match my invoice from my current supplier Zenith, but I received my first month for FREE!!! Just like those car insurance commercials, I can say that I saved a bundle of money by switching to HEROware from Zenith. But, the savings didn’t stop at there, HEROware also saved me a ton of time with their simple setup and easy to operate products.
I highly recommend HEROware to anyone looking for reliable, cost-effective, and simple to use backup & disaster recovery solution with 100% US-based support.”
-- John Albee, Active Computing, Inc. | www.MyActiveIT.com
Give HEROware a call today to find out about our Partner Program and demo our “all-in one” Backup & Disaster Recovery appliance, The HERO-Defender™ or the latest addition, HERO-Defender+ BYOB (Bring Your Own Hardware) Replication Stack, and the HERO-Cloud™ Suite (FILE, SERVER, and MAIL). Find out why customers are calling this, “The Fastest, Most Cost-Effective, and Easiest backup solution in the known universe.”
Happy Tuesday, ladies and gentlemen! I heard good news from our friend Ed Correia at Sagacent Technologies: they have selected and welcomed a new Senior Engineer!
Kevin Haralson joined Sagacent technologies last month, much to the delight of the staff. Kevin brings his 20 years of technology experience at companies such as Apple, NASA, Netscape and many SMBs. He has worn many hats over the years, working as a helpdesk technician, network admin and engineer, configuration technician, and project manager.
Kevin is married to a wonderful lady named Poppy, and they have two lovely children. Congratulations on your new position, Kevin! We wish you many happy years at Sagacent!
Generating Monthly Revenue with Unique Service Offerings
In today’s changing IT landscape, the need for service providers to differentiate offerings from their peers is now more important and competitive than ever. Further, the average SMB’s network is becoming more and more sophisticated due in large part to the rapid adoption rates of migrating to cloud and virtual environments. As a result, managed service providers also carry added responsibilities in terms of executing effective services to assist in the growing needs of their customers.
We here at PacketTrap have been exploring the daunting challenges that face IT service providers today. Some of what we have found is the following:
Many MSPs have made investments in 3rd party technology to install in end user environments. While this is an acceptable revenue generator, many miss out on an opportunity to layer services on top of the technology. The challenge is how to package benefits of technology to create ongoing revenue. Some specific recommendation revolve around offering clients around-the-clock network monitoring as a value added service that will deliver clients peace of mind so that they can concentrate on their business without worrying about their IT environment. This new concept offering, titled “The Availability Heartbeat Solution”, was conceptualized to outline a value added service model that MSPs could offer to clients. Services that MSPs could provide through this solution include:
For more information about PacketTrap MSP and the MSP Acceleration Program, please go to www.packettrap.com
|SMB Nation Magazine Nov/Dec 2011 is now available for download!
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