Category Archives: 5643

SMBNation – Keynote Day 2 – TrendMicro

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Dal and TJ from Trendmicro have the unenviable task of kicking off the day this morning with the keynote at 8am. This is after a couple of massive parties last night which I understand finished with an open bar sponsored by bandwidth.com. I’m sure that there would be MANY sore heads this morning. Myself – I was out of there by midnight and heading to bed. I’ve gotten a pretty sore throat over the last few days as I’m coming down with a cold or something – the upside is that it sounds like I’ve been partying hard, so I’m tempted not to tell anyone as they think I’m a legend of a party animal. Anyway – back on to the presentation.

Dal made the point that what you need to look for in a security partner are things that help you achieve the Trusted Advisor role with your customers. He explained that everything Trend do with their SMB products is designed to help improve our lives as consultants. They consider every single feature addition from the perspective of “What value will it add to the reseller”, and “What task will it make easier for the reseller to secure the customers network”.  All VERY excellent points.

TJ is now moving on to the cost of things in our industry. Did you know that for $50 you can “BUY” a bank account? Or for $100 / day you can conduct a distributed denial of service against a competitors website?  These are the realities of the world we live in and to be honest it’s just plain scarey. I was just talking to Rob Crane who is over here to present on Sharepoint Services and we both expressed the thought of “We don’t have a chance”. That’s not to say that we can NOT secure our customers, but it’s an expression of the fact that th ebad guys are getting smarter and it’s cheaper for them to do the bad stuff that they do. The threat landscape is changing and we as Trusted Advisors to the client need to be able to clearly respond accordingly. Security to me is not just any one product or procedure, it’s like an onion with many layers and involves the most important layer being the end user.

Dal has also announce that from October 15th, Trend will release a beta for their HOSTED version of WFBS – this will allow small sites without a server to have the same power and control over their Antivirus solutions as you would with the full features inhouse solution.

Category: Conferences
Published: 6/10/2008 3:04 AM

SMBNation – Session 4 – SBS 2008 Real World Requirements

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Lunch is over – and it was really nice food – good one HarryB.

Susan Bradley and Ofer Shimrat are now onstage presenting  a session on The Gotchas of SBS 2008. They have defined a gotcha as a “feature” of SBS 2008 that we may not have uncovered as yet. Ofer says “The biggest gotchas in SBS 2008 have NOTHING to do with technology – they are all about how you deal with the customer”. Interesting statement isn’t it. Our customers are the ones that are going to be some of the biggest issues with SBS 2008. It’s up to use to educate and consult with them correctly to ensure that we minimise the risk to the deployment and the relationship with the customer.

Some technical aspects that they think you need to consider…

  • CPU/Disk/RAM configuration
  • Knowledge of Windows Server 2008
  • Knowledge of Exchange 2007 Server
  • Knowledge of PowerShell

Start learning now. Play with it, Break it, Fix it, Break it again!

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/10/2008 9:01 AM

SMBNation – Session 3 – Firewalls – What to choose

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Session 3 brings with it the one and only Amy Babinchak – ISA Goddess. Amy’s extremely quiet manner often puts people at a sense of false impression. Her quiet voice makes them think she does not have much to say, nothing could be further from the truth. Amy has forgotten more than most of us know about ISA in the SMB space. Therefore her presentation on Selecting a Firewall in the SBS 2008 era is certainly one not to be missed.

She’s started off by giving a history lesson of the firewalls that have been in older versions of SBS, from SBS 4.0 with it’s Proxy 1.0 firewall… ahh yes – those were the good old days… the days of dialup internet access… She then brought us all the way through to SBS 2008 which has NO Internet facing firewall. With SBS 2008 you are required to use a third party firewall to secure your SBS server from the Internet. It does not mean though that SBS does not have a firewall – in fact it does, but it’s designed to protect the SBS 2008 server on the INSIDE of your network from attacks against it from compromised computers. Ok – so what are we looking for in a firewall? I don’t think it’s the same for all of us as we all serve different client requirements. Here’s my list of a few things that I want.

  • Based on Microsoft OS – I don’t want to have to learn Linux just for my firewall, and I don’t want to have yet another system that I need to patch that I can’t tie into WSUS.
  • Stateful packet inspection
  • Ability to monitor both inbound and outbound traffic
  • Ability to report on usage patterns and dig down into
  • Value for money – I’m not saying low cost here, I’m talking VALUE

One of the things Amy mentions though is that our role in this discussion with the clients is the Trusted Advisor. Achieving that level of of trust with a client is not something that happens overnight. It’s a result of you investing time to understand the clients business requirements and then providing solutions of VALUE to meet those needs. It does not involve spamming the customer with the latest special just because it’s there. It does not involve selling the client things they do not need. Those type of resellers are the ones that won’t be here tomorrow. Those types of resellers are the ones that you actually WANT to have around – YES – YOU WANT them around.  Sounds strange right? Well – if we don’t have the bad guys around, how does the customer know you are the good guy? When you pickup a customer that has been at the mercy of this type of bad guy for a while, they are initially suspicious of you. Take your time, earn their trust and do the right thing but them and you will find you have a customer for life. Not just a customer for life, you will earn the place of Trusted Advisor with them. They will in turn earn the place of Trusted Advocate with you – they will sell your reputation at every chance.  Cheap marketing really when you think about it.

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/10/2008 5:01 AM

SMBNation – Session 2 – Migration – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Session #2 – Jeff Middleton, the self proclaimed King of Swing, is up on stage now talking about SBS 2008 migrations. He listed all the features of SBS 2003 and then in one click turned it into SBS 2008. He then blew away the myth for everyone that the migration process to SBS 2008 will be so simple.  Going back to my earlier post today on the SMBNation Keynote – if we continue to undersell ourselves to our customers, if we continue to underbid the VALUE that we provide to the customers business then we will be out of business.

Migrations to SBS 2008 will NOT be simple. Sure the SBS team have provided a “migration wizard”, but having been through this process with one of my clients already, I have to admit – it is NOT a no brainer.  It requires good planning, preparation of the existing environment and patience. It will require minimal down time, and a large portion of it can be done remotely, but it will require TIME. Time translates to $$ for us all. Time translates also to potential RISK. Risk to the customer, risk to ourselves.  You will want to seriously look at how you plan to move to SBS 2008, you will want to plan it accordingly. You will ALSO want to consider that a FRESH INSTALL might be the best solution for you and the customer. Clearly this is something that you need to think about. Make sure that you do not undervalue the things that you can do and make sure that you do not just do the same as you did yesterday because it might not be the right thing for tomorrow.

Jeff will offer his own variation of Swing Migration as well as supporting what Microsoft have done.  I’m actually writing a book at the moment on SBS and one section of that will deal with how I have optimised the Microsoft methods myself and what I am doing for my customers. having been through the process I plan to not only focus on the technical aspects of it, but also on the business side of things, the timeline, the planning, the preparation.

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/10/2008 2:56 AM

SMBNation – Keynote

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Ok – so it’s 8am on Saturday morning here in rainy Seattle. The legendary HarryB has opened the keynote with a overview of what’s happening and passed the baton over to the Intel Dude (sorry missed his name). They started with a video in which they took a the actual silicon from a CPU and showed it to user. Users had no idea that the brains of their computer was “this little thing”, and made comments that “wow it looks complicated”. These are typical comments that most users make about IT and the services that we offer. However whilst they recognise that “its complicated” they often do not give any credit to the amount of effort that we go to to make the complicated things look so simple. They do not realise the value that we as IT professionals bring to the table. Often though I think it’s OUR FAULT.  It’s OUR FAULT when we fix something really hard and then say to them “Oh it was nothing”. They get the impression that yes indeed – it was nothing for us to fix.  That might be despite the hours of effort we’ve put into investigating the issue. Then they get our bill for the time and protest… “but you said it was simple…”  you see – we make a rod for our own back when we flick comments like “oh it’s nothing” We give the impression that we as IT professionals KNOW EVERYTHING. We do not VALUE the things that WE do ourselves. We write off time and then do not get the real value for our efforts. Stop being so modest guys. Take credit where it’s due. Bill for the time you invest in solving a problem.

More on this later…

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/10/2008 1:43 AM

Small Business Marketing Unleashed – Review

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The Grand Poobar of Search Engine Guide – Jennifer Laycock has posted a summary of the recent Small Business Marketing Unleashed event in Columbus, Ohio.  http://www.searchengineguide.com/jennifer-laycock/recapping-fall-small-business-marketing.php 

Now her view might well be biased by the fact that she was the key person responsible for the event, or it might well be reflective of the others that attended the event. Talking to the many that were present at the event, I believe it’s the later 🙂  At any rate, I’ll be watching out for the dates for the next event in April and hoping it lines up REAL close with other travel to the USA so I can come again and learn more. I feel I’m really getting a handle on how to get my websites up there in the eyes of the people that I want to target. Now that I’ve got the ideas, the next step is to put the plan into action. Thats the task for October / November!

Anyway – enough for now – time to head out for dinner with my SBS friends here in Seattle!

Category: Conferences
Published: 1/10/2008 11:25 AM

How to make friends and influence people

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image Today is Wednesday here in Columbus, Ohio, and I’m sitting here by the pool doing some work after the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference wrapped up last night. This is the second time I’ve been to this event, the last time was in Houston in April this year. I decided to come back to attend the event a second time round as I really felt like I had missed out on a lot of content the first time round. Typical of most events, there were multiple streams and as always you can not be in both streams at once hence the comment about missing out on things. I was not disappointed in my investment of time or $$ to be here.

I really must congratulate Jennifer Laycock, Rachel Philips and their team for putting on an amazing event. The food was fantastic, the speakers were spot on target and the attendees represented a mixture across the board from other SEO gods and goddesses to small business owners trying to grow their business using smart ways online. My ONLY negative comment from this whole event was that the Internet access sucked. Having said that I will make two further comments – 1 being that they were reliant on the venue’s Internet access facilities and based on what I saw they didn’t even know how to secure the wireless access points from the default configurations, and 2 being that I’ve seen bigger events run by Microsoft such as TechEd Australia with 2000 attendees where even MS could not make the Internet access work reliably.

I was pleased to be able to help with a donation to the Charity Auction of an Aussie Gift Pack – this was comprised of some things I brought from home including an Aussie BBQ apron, Aussie Slang T-Shirt, Aussie stubbie holder (they call them coozies here) a large pack of Tim Tams, and a number of packs of Freddo Frogs, Caramello Koalas, and Cherry Ripes.  Jackie Baker from SiteLogic was the highest bidder of the pack and promptly refused to share it with all and sundry (and I really can’t blame her cos I would not either ;-)).

One of the other things that I brought with me was Ken – Ken Garoux is his full name – he’s an inflatable Kangaroo that travels with me on my international jaunts. Ken is a great Ice Breaker and it’s really a way to break down the initial "hellos" very quickly. Ken was a bit of a star and appeared around the place in various sessions and even took part in the Speed Networking event prior to the start of the conference itself. Being that this event was all about online marketing, Ken quickly established himself with a Facebook page, a Twitter account (@kengaroux) and a Gmail account (kengaroux@gmail.com). Basically it was a novel way to break the ice and provided some fun "alter ego’s" for a few of Ken’s minders over the event. Also it’s one sure way that I – Wayne Small will be remembered amongst this crowd of people as more than just "that crazy aussie" – see – that’s all part of my marketing plan really. 

The question is what is your marketing plan? What are you doing today, tomorrow and next week to market your business and make people remember your name? Think it’s too hard? Think again.  Over the next few weeks i’ll assemble a few great links on how you can build your marketing plan quickly, and cost effectively.

STOP PRESS: I just found out that Ken Garoux has been mentioned by Anita Campbell on her Small Business Trends website http://www.smallbiztrends.com/2008/09/top-ten-online-marketing.html/ Thanks Anita – I’m glad you enjoyed the fun 🙂

Category: Conferences
Published: 25/09/2008 1:32 AM

I’m on my way….

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In a few moments, I board my first of three flights today to get from Sydney, Australia through to Columbus, Ohio.  This is the start of a 3 week trip in which I’ll be attending 2 conferences and 2 weeks of solid long day training on the new SBS and EBS products.  I’m in Ohio for the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference and I’m really looking forward to catch up with the people I met earlier this year and also to learn even more about how we can promote / market our business online.  Then next Thursday, I fly to Seattle for training on SBS, then SMBNation and then training on EBS.

Looking forward to it all, just not looking forward to all the plane travel.

Category: Conferences
Published: 19/09/2008 12:13 PM

Small Business Marketing Unleashed Event

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image Ok – so we all know about Microsoft investing $300M to promote their new products.  We in the SMB space don’t have that kind of money which is why I’m going to the 2nd Small Business Marketing Unleashed event in 2 weeks time in Columbus, Ohio.

I attended this conference in Houston, TX earlier this year and am going back for a 2nd round in Columbus, Ohio in a few weeks. This event is focused on how we as SMB people can get the most bang for our buck in terms of online marketing. This is an SMB focused marketing event that teaches you how to optimise your website and online marketing programs to build more business for you. The way I see it, we as SMB resellers need to know more about how our customers find us and I believe that given most are looking online now. Anyway – the event URL is here http://unleashed.smallbusinessanswers.com/2008/columbus/index.php

I’m sending this out to let you know about an event I’ll be attending in 2 weeks in Columbus, Ohio. I am NOT the organiser of the event and I get nothing in return if you go to it. I’ve paid for my own ticket to it and have no financial interest in it at all. If you decide to go to it then email jennifer@searchengineguide.com tell her Wayne Small sent you and she will give you a discount code that means you can get in for the early bird rate. I understand they only have a few spots left so make it quick.

Category: Conferences
Published: 9/09/2008 12:06 AM

SBS 2008 / EBS 2008 Training and TechEd Australia

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Well guys – it’s the end of an insane week this week. TechEd is finally over – well for me at least. I’ve been preparing for TechEd and the SMB PreDay now for a number of weeks and I think by and large it was successful. I know that there is a lot of great feedback and I’ll be going over this next week with Robbie to see what we can do better.

SMB PreDay – We had around 250 people at SMB PreDay and it was really great to see the turnout. Based on the show of hands, I thought that Melbourne people were almost as many in number as the Sydney people – well done! 

Robbie took a lot of guidance from me as to the sessions and content for the day and I feel very responsible to ensure that we get out to the SMB community what they need to do business better and to do better business.  I heard a few people saying that they felt the level of content was not level 300 that they were expecting. I also heard a number of people giving some very positive feedback about the level and content. Now it’s great to hear the positives, but it’s hard to improve on anything if you don’t hear the negatives and as such I’m really keen to hear more about what people want and need.  In thinking about the negatives "we didn’t get level 300 content" I try to put that in context with a few things.

#1 – Microsoft Internally rate the content using a scale along the lines as below.

L 100 – Introductory / Overview

L 200 – Sales & Marketing

L 300 – Technical

L 400 – Advanced Technical

The slides used in the presentations that Lingan and I did were actually drawn from Level 300 and 400 slide decks and therefore it makes me a little surprised at the comments we got.  I can certainly agree that if people are not aware of the way that Microsoft rate their content that they might feel that the level was not quite right so maybe we need to do a better job of clearing saying what level is what and what to expect.

Tell me though – what additional content would you have liked to see in these sessions? Specifically would you have liked to review the registry settings or XML files that go into the configuration of the wizards and scripts? Would you have liked me to show the PowerShell scripting that is used to move SBS data folders around? Give me some ideas here guys to help me understand.

#2 – Dean Calverts’ sessions on selling into the SBS and EBS market – a few people told me that they felt that this sales/business content had no real place at TechEd – and normally I would agree with them on this. However a few things that I think are relevant are that this was a PreDay to TechEd – not TechEd itself and therefore I wanted to provide content that was relevant to us the SMB Resellers and that needs to include the type of content that Dean presented.  Also something to bear in mind is that we really are selling into different markets here and those that have dealt with both will realise that so very clearly.  Those that have not sold into the M market before will not be so proficient with this and I was hoping that Dean’s talks would help make people more aware of the different angles that need to be taken to be able to sell better into those markets.  Furthermore – I ask – if we didn’t do Dean’s talks when we did, then when would the average SMB reseller actually put some time aside to look at this type of information?  I know myself that we are almost ALWAYS bouncing from problem to problem and often never get a chance to work ON the business.  I hope that this explains a little more the background behind my thoughts in including Deans content and his presences in this event. 

#3 – Did we do too good a job in the 5 city Australia wide SBS/EBS Deep Dives in June?  Given that TechEd was just 8 weeks after Robbie and I did a 5 city tour on SBS and EBS, was it too close or did we give away too much information in that tour to make this event not as valuable as you would have liked?

#4 – Is there too much info out there already about SBS and EBS? There’s currently a series of Webcasts going on about SBS and EBS and is this a case of there being too much information or the wrong type of information already out there?

#5 – Too much content for one day?  I’m reviewing right now a 3 day Hands On Lab for SBS and another 3 day on EBS – these are one of the training course that will be run around Australia. Separate to this is upcoming MOC training on SBS and EBS – again 3 days each.  That gives you an idea of just how much content there really is on SBS and EBS – How could we fit that better into 1 day?

I’m heading to the US on 19th September and as part of that I am fortunate as an MVP to be sitting through the internal Microsoft CSS courses on SBS and EBS – these courses are 5 days each and I’m sure full of amazing content that will make my head spin.  I’m not sure as to how we can redeliver this content – or even IF I can redeliver this content in the same way as it is given to us as there may be things I learn under NDA that I can’t share.  One way or the other though, I will know a lot more about SBS and EBS when I return.

I know that Robbie and I are looking to be visiting each of the major capital cities before the end of November so it’s going to be one heck of a challenge to deliver even more content to you guys, but we will do our best to live up to that challenge.

If we were to do it again we would likely style the event differently.  I would consider looking to have one session by Dean and combine the content he presented into a 45 minute session.  I would look to have a different arrangement for the SBS/EBS tech sessions too.

One way or another, we will do better, but it’s only possible for us to do better if the community gives us feedback that we can use. Telling us that "this sucks" is one thing, but telling us "this sucks and I think you should have done this or that" is really constructive and helps us improve.  Feel free to give me feedback anytime – you can get me at wayne@sbsfaq.com and I do my best to respond quickly to all emails.

Thanks for all your support with the SMB PreDay and the TechEd sessions that we conducted on SBS and EBS.

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/09/2008 2:01 PM