Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Personal and data protection is key for those who have become reliant on their tiny gadgets.
Written by Katia Shabanova and Krishna Laudenslager   
Saturday, 12 April 2008 05:10

Today's mobile phones combine nearly all functionality offered by separate portable devices, making it a great advantage to the users who want to have everything at hand when on the go, and do not want to carry too many gadgets or be afraid of leaving something behind.

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The Upside to the Downturn: Seven Ways to Strengthen Your Business During Economic Tough Times.
Written by Dottie DeHart   
Thursday, 10 April 2008 07:19

The financial news of the past few weeks has left many a business owner panicked, anxious, and mentally writing their company's obituary. Chin up, says David Giannett You can actually use the economic downturn to create a better organization.

Read more... [The Upside to the Downturn: Seven Ways to Strengthen Your Business During Economic Tough Times.]
 
Security Titles From Paragon Software Group Offer Mobile Users Peace of Mind.
Written by Katia   
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 23:59

Today's mobile phones combine nearly all functionality offered by separate portable devices, making it a great advantage to the users who want to have everything at hand when on the go, and do not want to carry too many gadgets or be afraid of leaving something behind. But what threats do users encounter when they own and carry mobile phones? One of the biggest worries is loss or theft, and, most importantly, the loss of all personal data with it.

Read more... [Security Titles From Paragon Software Group Offer Mobile Users Peace of Mind.]
 
How SBS 2008 Will Save The World!
Written by Harry Brelsford   
Monday, 24 March 2008 16:47

There is good news right around the corner. Somewhere in the middle of summer, Microsoft will release a long-awaited update to its popular Windows Small Business Server product, known affectionately as SBS 2008.

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Return of Big BackOffice
Written by Harry Brelsford   
Monday, 24 March 2008 16:43

I received an interesting e-mail early today from a professional associate. He writes that We are going to transition to WEBS as soon as it is available, as our agency has grown by leaps and bounds since we implemented SBS. I haven't been this excited about a software release since... well, ever.

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Cut The Strings! A Small Business Telephone System That Works!
Written by Harry Brelsford   
Saturday, 08 March 2008 18:33

Microsoft has silently been rolling out a new product for customers that just might recast the software industry leader much the way the XBOX provided an entirely new line of work. This product, Microsoft Response Point, is a small business telephone system that supports up to 50 users. In this article, I will define the product and leave you with a consulting opportunity!

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Saving Your Business from the Cyber Security Hazards of 2008.
Written by Lester Pierre   
Sunday, 02 March 2008 18:44

The SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute recently debuted their top ten cyber security menaces for 2008. Twelve established white-hat veterans of security poured their knowledge and time into compiling this top ten list, which I will refer to as the CMW “Cyberspace Most Wanted”. I will provide a series of articles, each focusing on one of the hazards on the CMW. I will explain what they are and advise of practical solutions how to mitigate these risks in your small and medium business enterprise (SME). I will also focus on the business issues rather that the technical attributes of the technologies to mitigate these threats.

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What is Online Backup Without Customer Support? Not much.
Written by Sarah Dworak   
Thursday, 28 February 2008 16:47

Consider the following scenario: It's after ten p.m. You've stayed at work late to finish up a big presentation that could mean big things for your business. You make a few final edits, hit save, and head home for a few hours of sleep. In the morning you come in energized and ready to give a killer presentation, but when you step off the elevator, you're greeted by your frazzled secretary, Anne. Jack, we've got a major problem!” she says. “The server crashed and we can't get it back up and running!

Consider the following scenario:It’s after ten p.m.  You’ve stayed at work late to finish up a big presentation that could mean big things for your business.  You make a few final edits, hit save, and head home for a few hours of sleep.

In the morning you come in energized and ready to give a killer presentation, but when you step off the elevator, you’re greeted by your frazzled secretary, Anne.  “Jack, we’ve got a major problem!” she says.  “The server crashed and we can’t get it back up and running!”

Your stress level immediately goes through the roof.  You don’t need this now!  Your big meeting is only two hours away.  You take a deep breath and try to calm down.  You just need to focus on getting your data back, especially the presentation.  You saved your presentation on the company’s file server, which automatically backed up last night after you went home.  You’ll just call your backup company and restore the data to another machine.  Everything should be fine.

You ask Anne to get your online backup service provider on the phone, ASAP!  Half an hour later, you stop by her desk.  “I’m sorry,” she says, “I haven’t been able to reach anyone yet.  I left a voicemail and put in an email request for support.  They’re supposed to respond within three hours.”

You manage not to scream at her.  After all, it’s not her fault.  You were the one who decided to go with the $9.99 a month service so that you could save some money.  “Ok,” you say, “get our IT guy in here.”  “Sorry Jack, he’s in Bermuda,” is her reply.

There’s an hour left before you’re supposed to meet the potential client and deliver your presentation.  You decide to take matters into your own hands.  You’re a smart guy.  How hard can it be to recover one file?  Half an hour later, you think you’re close to figuring it out, but it’s still not working.

You realize it’s time to throw in the towel.  “Anne,” you mutter, “Please call and cancel the meeting.  And tell them I’m very, very sorry...”

“Sorry I chose the wrong online backup provider,” you think to yourself.

This is just one example of a scenario where customer support could have made all the difference.  Had Jack been able to reach someone on the phone right away, the situation could have gone from bad to better, rather than from bad to absolutely terrible.  As Jack discovered, having the right backup provider on your side is critical.

These days, most businesses are aware of the importance of protecting their critical data.  Unfortunately, many businesses only focus on the backup portion of the equation and don’t think about how things will play out when they need to recover data.   An online backup solution, where encrypted data is backed up and restored over the internet and stored in a secure, remote location, is a great option, but beware - not all online backup is created equal.

Some online backup providers offer services for a couple dollars a month, an attractive deal for businesses that are trying to keep costs to a minimum.  However, you should ask yourself the following:  If my monthly fee is barely enough to pay a customer support rep for an hour of work, how much support can I really expect to get from this provider?  Is this company even going to be in business tomorrow?  And how much will it cost me in the end if I can’t get my data back?

Support isn’t only related to incidents and emergencies, either.  Because online data backup often tends to be a “set it and forget it” type of scenario, users may have a false sense of security, thinking that everything is running smoothly, when in reality it may or may not be.  A good service will monitor backup activity to make sure that your backups are running properly and that your data will be there when you need to get it back.

Here are some things to look for in an online back up provider to ensure that you’ll receive the level of support your business needs:-Live Support – Automated phone systems and voice recordings won’t help you recover your data.  You should be able to reach a knowledgeable, helpful support engineer every time you call.

-24/7 Availability – Data loss can occur any time.  Sometimes you can’t wait until 8:00 a.m. to get your data back.

-Immediate Response Time – In an emergency, you don’t have a moment to wait to recover your data, let alone the three hours that’s standard for some providers.

-Daily Monitoring – If no one is looking after your backups, how can you be sure they are working the way they should?   A provider should be focused on ensuring that your data is always protected.

One provider that offers all of the above is Backup My Info!, a national online backup provider that has been serving small and midsized business since 2002.  At Backup My Info! we believe that there is nothing more important than supporting our customers every step of the way so that they no longer have to worry about whether or not their business is protected.

We are available 24/7 for support, and our customer support engineers have the expertise needed to solve any of your backup issues, from a simple file restore to a restore of an entire system.  We’ve seen our share of situations like the one Jack faced, and each time we’ve been able to successfully and quickly restore our clients’ data, saving them from the painful consequences of data loss.  This is just one of the many reasons 100% of our clients would refer us to other businesses.

For more information on Backup My Info!, please go to www.backupmyinfo.com or call 866.444.BUMI.

 
Events and Education: Fighting the Recession Blues!
Written by Harry Brelsford   
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 16:07

Been watching too much TV lately? If so, you are likely freakin’ about the news reporting on the economic situation. Truth be told, the technology sector is, by all appearances, doing well whereas the housing sector is struggling. But it is possible you are anxious as you hear about a slowing economy. What steps can you take to prepare for a possible recession and still have success as a small and medium business (SMB) technology consultant? Economic business cycles have been with us since the start of time.

Been watching too much TV lately? If so, you are likely freakin’ about the news reporting on the economic situation. Truth be told, the technology sector is, by all appearances, doing well whereas the housing sector is struggling. But it is possible you are anxious as you hear about a slowing economy. What steps can you take to prepare for a possible recession and still have success as a small and medium business (SMB) technology consultant?

Economic business cycles have been with us since the start of time. Always have been; always will. It is your ability to adjust and adapt that will make you successful in the long-term. The low hanging fruit in a downturn to turn yourself around is EDUCATION. Education takes many forms but this article will focus on upcoming events that you can attend to improve your professional skills sets, learn about new technology and meet fellow professional peers in the same walk of life. Future articles will discuss longer-term education opportunities include college degrees and certificates.

I was talking with a fellow peer recently and he noted that it is a busy spring. There are many events targeting SMB consultants and I will highlight a few here. Consider the following.

SMB Nation East, March 29-30, 2008, Montclair, NJ

With all due respect, my company, SMB Nation, is hosting its third-annual spring workshop in the NYC area. We anticipate over 150 SMB consultants at this event, located an easy 14-miles from downtown Manhattan! The content agenda, which should be your first consideration when any professional event, is focused on the new Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) release (a FirstLook), Microsoft Response Point (the new small business telephone system) and traditional IT consulting topics such as selling manage services, running a consultancy and even a Web 2.0 lecture! And did I mention that we have A LOT OF FUN for over two days geeking out? Details at www.smbnation.com

IT Pro Conference 2008 – Transition Strategies: Migrations, Upgrades, Services

Event: May 9-11, 2008

Cruise (optional): May 12-17, 2008

Long-time SMB consulting player and power broker Jeff Middleton, a SBS-MVP for Microsoft, is hosting his second annual conference focused on the important IT transition topic. Jeff brings creativity to the event format with an emphasis on same room sessions (as much as possible) so everyone hears the same lecture at the same time. This has the effect of increasing participation, introductions and preventing the long song of “there were two great sessions at the same time and I didn’t know which one to attend!” Find out more at http://www.conference.sbsmigration.com/.

SMB Nation Toronto

May 3-4, 2008

This two day event, a first for the hard-core SBS crowd in Toronto, promises to elevate the professionalism of those SMB consultants attending. For example, the Microsoft Response Point telephone system will be shown, even though it is not for sale in Canada yet. Why would a Canadian attendee care about Response Point? Because it will be for sale SOON in Canada and this is a great way to get ahead of the curve and learn something cool in advance of release! That is how you survive and thrive in a downturn. Enough said!

Harry Brelsford is the CEO of SMB Nation and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
What does Technology Consulting have to do with Employability?
Written by By Beatrice Mulzer and Harry Brelsford   
Saturday, 09 February 2008 15:43

Most of us joined the entrepreneurial movement. of technology consulting with the notion that once we are a our own small business owner, we are free of the perils put upon us by ‘regular’ employment. Finally you get to be our own boss, make your own decisions and no one gets to tell you what to do anymore!. Little does it cross our minds, that in reality we now have multiple employers with diverse needs, and we now have to become more employable then ever.

Read more... [What does Technology Consulting have to do with Employability?]
 
Half-and-Half: SMB consultants must know the business and technical sides
Written by Harry Brelsford   
Tuesday, 05 February 2008 21:09

Fortifying a cup of gourmet coffee with half-and-half can increase your enjoyment. A different kind of half-and-half can maximize your value as a SMB consultant. The nature of being a SMB consultant is to be “half-business” and “half-technical.”

Read more... [Half-and-Half: SMB consultants must know the business and technical sides]
 
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