Category Archives: Life Happens

Just everyday living!

Washington Husky Football, IBM Lotus Foundation Start and newz…

This past weekend myself, family and out-of-town guests had the honor of attending the 102nd Apple Cup between University of Washington (Go Huskies!) and Washington State University. On the water taxi to the game, one of the attendees and I spoke. He had recently retired from a career at IBM in it’s Global Services area. I spoke about my friendship with the IBM’s open source Lotus Foundations group. We both remarked how IBM stands as an example of a large Fortune One technology company reinventing itself to become relevent and exciting again.

So when today’s news crossed the wire that the Lotus Foundation Start solution is now protected by Engate’s proactive botnet, phish, virus and e-mail security solutions, I stopped what I was doing and read the press release with great interest. You may recall that many of the attendees at the SMB Nation Fall 2009 conference in Las Vegas truly enjoyed the engaging conversations with the Lotus Foundations representatives. For many, it was the first time to not only see an open-source SMB server solution BUT to take this solution under serious advisement and consideration.

For your reading benefit, I have reported the entire press release so you can learn more about the Engate and Lotus Foundations security partnership.

(PS – I will have a technical review of the Lotus Foundations Start product very soon!)

Engate and IBM Deliver Proactive Botnet, Phish, Virus and Email Security for IBM Lotus Foundations Start

Best-in-Class IP Reputation Solution Empowers Small and Medium Size Businesses with Ease of Management, Improved Productivity and Reduced Costs

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Engate Technology Corporation, leaders in next generation reputation network profiling technology and proactive botnet, phish, virus and email security solutions, today announced integration of Engate’s security software suite with IBM® Lotus® Foundations Start line of software appliances for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

Lotus Foundations Start ‘plug and play’ appliances help companies with little or no in-house technical resources to focus on running their business rather than managing their computer systems. This Linux-based IBM solution provides staple collaboration tools such as email, file sharing, and remote access and affords peace of mind through automated network security features, data protection, backup and recovery. With Engate, Lotus Foundations Start will offer an industry-leading security suite that proactively protects SMBs from a diversity of email-borne threats.

“Email remains one of the most widely-used attack vectors against small and medium size business users, making email security essential to IBM Lotus Foundations Start,” said Caleb Barlow, Integration Executive for Lotus Foundations, IBM Corporation. “Together with Engate, IBM Lotus Foundations Start offers SMB customers an easy-to-use, best-in-class security solution that protects from the growing number of email-borne botnet, phish, spam and virus threats.”

“Engate provides organizations with proactive protection against the growing threat of phish, spam and botnet attacks,” said Wil Cochran, CEO, Engate. “Working together, we are combining our connection-level protection with Lotus Foundations Start to deliver a solution that helps SMBs mitigate resource-intensive email security administration by stopping malicious threats outside their network before they compromise their privacy, productivity and resources.”

“Botnet-based email attacks are the most prominent malicious security threat to my business customers today. My clients were dissatisfied with their conventional security products as they struggled to keep up with the high volume of sophisticated attacks that were secretly bypassing their filters, spreading new infections and stealing sensitive data,” said John Gray, Partner, Bentor Technologies. “I’m excited to be working with Engate and IBM Lotus Foundations Start as their integrated functionality offers my business customers the innovation, flexibility and reliability necessary in stopping these dangerous attacks at the edge of the network before they have a chance to damage resources and disrupt business productivity.”

Award-winning IP Reputation Solution Empowers SMBs to Focus on Growth

Botnets are one of the most dangerous online security threats today, where an estimated 40% of the 800 million computers on the Internet unsuspectingly distribute spam, steal private data, launch dangerous attacks, and spread new infections. In particular, SMBs face unique security and IT resource challenges that leave them vulnerable to email-borne attacks and botnet threats that can disrupt business productivity.

As email-borne threats continue to double annually, Engate’s advanced botnet, phish, virus and email security protects companies with a powerful solution that proactively protects networks from illicit hosts that are distributing threats. Engate’s innovative security suite employs patented reputation network profiling, source verification, and anti-forgery techniques to identify and block email-borne botnet attacks at the connection level, before they have a chance to compromise IT resources, invade privacy, degrade network performance, and waste user productivity.

Next Generation Reputation Network Profiling Technology for OEM Partners

With more than seven years of operational experience collecting and analyzing data on global networks, Engate’s reputation network profiling technology empowers strategic OEM partners to take advantage of the reputation of over 400 million ‘good and bad’ IP’s in Engate’s 17,000 rules database – known as GlobalRules™. By profiling entire networks beyond infected hosts, Engate has built a repository of intelligence on potential and unknown hosts that may become infected. This unique intelligence on unknown threats is a critical component to enhancing an OEM partner’s security portfolio today – as well as in the future – particularly as unknown threats continue to rise due to the growth of botnets. Engate delivers incremental value to security software, appliance, secure web gateway, unified threat management, intrusion prevention, firewall, and router partners in the following ways:

(1) Enhance 3rd party threat scoring systems with an extra layer of threat intelligence proven to achieve an additional 10-15% unique catches on top of existing content scanning, Real-time Blacklists (RBL) and reputation technologies.

(2) Improve connection-level security and the efficiency of 3rd party email security filters by radically reducing the large volume of unwanted traffic and malicious payloads from reaching the gateway.

(3) Augment multi-layer security strategy with proactive protection from known and unknown threats. Engate’s unique network profiling functionality gives OEM partners preemptive defense against botnet-based attacks, phish, spam, viruses and blended web/email threats.

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Recession Dividend: MSFT report: Majority of Recession-Bred Entrepreneurs – 70 Percent – Left Full-Time Positions to Start Own Business

I’ve been searching for both the words and evidence for something I know to be true: many successful companies are started in a recession. I wrote a cover story a couple of magazine issues ago on this topic – see Issue 4-2 on SMB STARTUPS!

I recently had a conversation with Jeff Connally at CMIT (leading computer franchise organization) who communicated that this recession is a prime recruitment time for his selling of franchise territories to former Fortune 1000 employees who have left their jobs and are seeking to start a business. Other anecdotal evidence exists.

But late last week, Microsoft released one of the best studies on this topic that I have seen in sometime. Headlined Majority of Recession-Bred Entrepreneurs – 70 Percent – Left Full-Time Positions to Start Own Business”

this study really offers an optimistic view I found refreshing.

According to a recent survey conducted by Microsoft Corp., the majority of entrepreneurs who started their business during the recession were employed. Roughly 70 percent of recession-bred entrepreneurs left their jobs to start their own business.

Despite their relative fearlessness to strike out on their own in a rocky economy, nearly one in three new entrepreneurs credit technology as a key catalyst in driving their entrepreneurial spirit.

“Technology is critical to a business owner’s success. It helps increase cost savings, supports innovation and, ultimately, contributes to growth,” said Christoph Wilfert, general manager of SMB solutions for Microsoft. “Many newer technologies, such as the cloud-based offerings of Microsoft’s productivity applications, promise great value but still have limited awareness among SMBs.”

According to the research findings, entrepreneurs picked technology as one of the top three considerations when starting their business, along with marketing, advertising and public relations, and capital funding. Furthermore, affordability (71 percent), security (37 percent) and overall technological capability (35 percent) were identified as the top three most important factors when evaluating technology purchases for their business.

Microsoft offers free or low-cost options for entrepreneurs who are just getting started. For example, Microsoft Office Live Small Business is a set of Internet-based tools that provides everything needed to take a business online, including a free Web site and services to market and manage a small business.

Evaluating and incorporating newer subscription-based technologies, often referred to as software as a service (SaaS), is a low-cost or free option for small and midsize businesses seeking to simplify and alleviate workloads so they can focus on growing their business. For instance, the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite is an integrated set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft. It consists of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. These online services give businesses streamlined communications with high availability and comprehensive security without the cost or hassle of managing onsite hardware and software.

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, also addresses the business needs of SMBs with its new and enhanced features, including the following:

  --  HomeGroup enables small businesses without a server to build a basic
      network and easily share documents, printers and devices across
      multiple PCs.
  --  Advanced Backup schedules a periodic backup to save data or an entire
      system image to a network location or a local drive.
  --  Encrypting File System is a powerful encryption technology that
      encrypts files and folders and helps protect a business's confidential
      information, such as credit card numbers or employee information.
  --  Windows Aero enhancements (such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek and Aero
      Shake) help intuitively navigate, arrange and work with multiple open
      windows on the desktop.
  --  Windows Mobility Center makes mobile computing easier with access to
      all mobile settings in one place.
  --  Location-Aware Printing intuitively identifies and sends documents to
      the correct available network printer when working between home and
      office.

“Throughout the development of Windows 7, we asked small- and midsize-business owners what they regarded as their greatest technology considerations,” Wilfert said. “Overwhelmingly, we heard speed, reliability and security. Windows 7 delivers all those and much more. We are excited to say that we have responded to the needs of entrepreneurs and have taken the fear out of starting a business, regardless of the economic climate.”

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Going Rogue with VoIP!

A VoIP-ism a day keeps the H1N1 flu away in my eyes! Seriously – some news from our friends at Junction networks regarding rural exchanges and traffic pumping caught my eyes!!! Read on.

Junction Networks Offers Alternative to Blocking Numbers in Response to “Traffic Pumping” Practices

“Free” conference calling, adult chat lines and similar services “pump” traffic to rural exchanges to split the high fees rural telcos get for delivering calls. Most carriers on the sending side prefer blocking those numbers to overpaying at the pump. Junction Networks will let customers choose.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) November 17, 2009 — Free conference calling services, adult chat lines and other “traffic pumping” services are often reached through the telephone exchanges of very small, rural operators. In a legal but questionable arbitrage scheme, these calling services choose these rural exchanges precisely for their high termination charges — the fees that sending carriers pay them to complete (terminate) the calls. Charging as much as twenty times the typical domestic termination rate, the rural telco then splits the profits with the service. While carriers have responded by blocking calls to those numbers, Junction Networks has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.

The move allows Junction Networks’ customers to continue using these services at their discretion. They have the option to control access to any call costing more than 2.9 cents per minute by simply completing an online extended dialing form.

“Free conference calling and other ‘traffic pumping’ services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls,” said Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. “As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate.”

“In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options and at the same time, allow our customers to call any number they choose, we have decided to charge the market rate for calls to the designated areas used by these services.”

“We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, Junction Networks has chosen to take the approach of providing access, but also has chosen not to lose money by providing it,” said Andy Abramson, author of VoIPWatch (http://andyabramson.blogs.com/), a widely read industry site that covers all things IP communications. “Each side gets what it wants, and as the carrier, Junction Networks eliminates the subsidization that had been at play. I think it’s a model more access providers will embrace, and it means no one gets hurt. It also levels the playing field, as the user knows exactly what they are paying, end to end.”

Junction Networks Offers Alternative to Blocking Numbers in Response to “Traffic Pumping” Practices

“Free” conference calling, adult chat lines and similar services “pump” traffic to rural exchanges to split the high fees rural telcos get for delivering calls. Most carriers on the sending side prefer blocking those numbers to overpaying at the pump. Junction Networks will let customers choose.

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New York, NY (PRWEB) November 17, 2009 — Free conference calling services, adult chat lines and other “traffic pumping” services are often reached through the telephone exchanges of very small, rural operators. In a legal but questionable arbitrage scheme, these calling services choose these rural exchanges precisely for their high termination charges — the fees that sending carriers pay them to complete (terminate) the calls. Charging as much as twenty times the typical domestic termination rate, the rural telco then splits the profits with the service. While carriers have responded by blocking calls to those numbers, Junction Networks has taken another tack, announcing that it will begin charging a higher fee for outbound calls to those exchanges.

The move allows Junction Networks’ customers to continue using these services at their discretion. They have the option to control access to any call costing more than 2.9 cents per minute by simply completing an online extended dialing form.

“Free conference calling and other ‘traffic pumping’ services exist because the current carrier compensation system allows rural carriers to pass extremely high fees on to other carriers, who often cannot come close to recovering the cost of calls,” said Rob Wolpov, president, Junction Networks. “As a result, we have been left with an overwhelming increase in fees for calls to a number of rural locations where these services operate.”

“In order to maintain our low-cost business VoIP options and at the same time, allow our customers to call any number they choose, we have decided to charge the market rate for calls to the designated areas used by these services.”

“We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, Junction Networks has chosen to take the approach of providing access, but also has chosen not to lose money by providing it,” said Andy Abramson, author of VoIPWatch (http://andyabramson.blogs.com/), a widely read industry site that covers all things IP communications. “Each side gets what it wants, and as the carrier, Junction Networks eliminates the subsidization that had been at play. I think it’s a model more access providers will embrace, and it means no one gets hurt. It also levels the playing field, as the user knows exactly what they are paying, end to end.”

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Seattle Mayor Boots Microsoft for Macintosh – Sign my RECALL PETITION!

Minutes before my Monday night yoga class started on Bainbridge Island (across from Seattle itself), my iPhone rang. It was a colleague shockingly informing me that Seattle Mayor-elect was part of a radio story playing on the air. The topic? Mayor McGinn’s is pulling the PCs out of City Hall and converting over to Macintosh. The significance? This isn’t some liberal town anywhere. This is uber-liberal Seattle and home to, you guessed it, Microsoft. The mayor’s first act – before he has assumed office – is just wrong!

And don’t get me wrong. I am the first to poke at Redmond when it’s warranted. But Seattle is a company town. We fly on Boeing jets, drink Starbucks coffee, read Amazon books and run Windows 7!

You can learn more about the Mayor’s decision from this other news outlets.

Seattle PI

Stranger

And here is where the weird get strange. The City of Seattle will also replace BlackBerry devices with iPhones. I love my iPhone *but* the BlackBerry is a fantastic and capable business-class mobile device. Somehow doing a “rip and replace” seems so ’90s in the era of big IT budgets but somehow out of line with recession thinking.

If you’re not aware, the Seattle Mayor election was very close. Rest assured that McGinn’s narrow victory would have been a large defeat if he had disclosed his IT intentions prior to election day in Microsoft’s home town.

So add an agreeable comment as your signature to my “electronic recall petition” and I’ll lead the charge out here on the “left coast!”

cheers…harrybbbbb

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That’s just cool – airline travel itinerary scanner from TSA reads your mobile phone screen!

It’s Friday after a long and busy week. I was curios about what topic I would write about today. Then the topic jumped out at me. I was clearing TSA security last night at the Las Vegas airport after the Windows Connections conference and heading back to Seattle. At the checkpoint, there was a scanner device and I asked what was it for. This device scans the screen of your mobile telephone where you are displaying your boarding pass. So you can clear security and board your flight without a printer boarding pass!

I actually had an old fashioned printed boarding pass on this occasion, so I didn’t use this new gizmo techno.ogy but I will try it next time!

You can read more about this ticket scanner HERE.

TGIF!

cheers….harrybbbbb

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Reader mail – I love hearing from readers! ISA and SBS 2008

Today is Monday and it is the administrative day at work – sales meetings, operations meetings, accounting meetings, etc. So to break up the day, I did two things. First – I started streaming some public radio music so I could rock on. Second – I answered a reader’s e-mail regarding ISA and Small Business Server 2008 (SBS).

The reader wrote:

Hi Harry,

Do you have any idea why Microsoft removed ISA from SBS Premium?  I guess I was the minority but I ONLY sold SBS 2003 Premium because of ISA and loved it.  I did not have 1 installation hacked or any serious incidents and I attribute it to ISA.  Do they have any plans to reincorporate it or it’s newer version into SBS 2008?

Do you happen to have the Product Manager’s name and e-mail address for SBS 2008?  I’d like to give them my 2 cents worth!

Thanks in advance for your time….Vince

And I answered:

Hi Vince and thank you so much for the e-mail. I greatly appreciate it.

The short story on the ISA matter is that Microsoft really turned that over to 3rd parties – and I support that. To be honest – a firewall on the edge such as Cisco, Untangle, SonicWall, etc. is much better than a dual-NIC scenario from the legacy SBS world. :)

If you’d like to communicate with Microsoft about this – and I encourage you to – your community manager is Kevin Beares at kbeares@microsoft.com and tell him Harryb sent ya!

cheers…harrybbbb

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Sources report “End of Life” for MSFT Office Accounting

Sources close to the top have reported Microsoft has “end of lifed” the Office Accounting (OA) product aimed at the small business customer effective november 16, 2009. It is also closing its Microsoft Professional Accounting Network (MPAN) community program. I fondly remember OA and MPAN being big players in our 4th annual SMB Nation fall conference at the Microsoft Redmond campus, giving out amazing Eddie Bauer jackets (like $200 each) and holding an MPAN conference right before our event in order to “leverage up” the SMB channel partner community. For that, I am saddened.

Here is what was shared with me minutes ago:

Dear valued MPAN member:

 

We are writing to let you know that Microsoft® Office Accounting will no longer be distributed by Microsoft after November 16, 2009. As such, MPAN membership will also be closed to new members effective November 16, 2009 and the complimentary download of Office Accounting Professional 2009 and the Office Accounting Customization will be discontinued November 16, 2009. Some existing MPAN benefits, such as online on demand training, will remain.

 

We would like to thank the many dedicated users and partners who have been enthusiastic supporters of Microsoft Office Accounting and MPAN over the years.

 

As a registered Office Accounting user, you may continue to use Office Accounting after November 16, 2009 and Microsoft will continue to offer product support for Office Accounting in accordance with the terms of the support policy. Your current MPAN membership entitles you to unlimited phone support through January 15, 2011.

 

To learn more about other Microsoft offerings that can be useful to your business, please visit the following:

-   Microsoft’s Small Business site is a great resource for small businesses.

-   Microsoft Office is a great tool for small businesses, especially when used with our easy-to-use templates.

-   Microsoft Dynamics products offer adaptable business management solutions, and we invite you to visit the Microsoft Dynamics Community Web site, which offers role-based content, including a Finance sub-community, product forums and networking functionality.

 

Please refer to MPAN FAQs for more information on MPAN benefits going forward.

 

If you have further questions about Office Accounting changes, including changes to add-on services, additional information can be found on the Office Accounting FAQ page.

 

Again, we thank you for your support of MPAN and Office Accounting.

 

MPAN US Team

 

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