Posts tagged "smb"

Zoho Partners with Go Daddy for Domain Registrations

Zoho has added a domain registration module to Zoho Business, powered by GoDaddy.com so that users can buy and register their domains.

For US$ 10, domains with .com, .org, .net, .biz, .info, and .us extensions are available with no limit to the number of domains registered and hosted in Zoho Business.

Once a domain is registered, users are able to immediately access all of the Zoho Business features. However, you don’t need to buy or register a domain to take full advantage of Zoho Business applications.

Yet, Zoho Domains provides many persuasive features that will encourage business owners to sign up, including:

  • Free email hosting – For businesses, Zoho provides free email hosting for the first three users. The new domain is automatically configured to work with Zoho mail servers, so users can send and receive email via the new domain within minutes of registration through Zoho Mail.
  • Unlimited email aliases – Zoho supports unlimited aliases for each of the first three email accounts, at no extra charge. If a user has multiple domains registered, email aliases can be created for any of those domains.
  • Complete administrative control – Through Go Daddy, users have complete control over their DNS control panel. Users can change mail records, name servers, A Records, and other details.

Zoho and Go Daddy are committed to helping small businesses grow without taking on gigantic costs, something we can all appreciate in these unsteady economic times.

CA Buys Nimsoft for US $350 Million, Sets Sights on Cloud Midmarket

T management software company CA (site)  has announced that it has just closed a cash deal worth US$ 350 million to buy monitoring solutions provider Nimsoft.

The Islandia, NY-based giant says this acquisition will open up a whole new customer base of midmarket/emerging enterprises and management service providers (MSPs).

The all-in-cash transaction will give it a stronger foothold with organizations with annual turnovers of between US $300 million and US $2 billion and which operate principally in the cloud computing market place. CA estimates that by 2013 these companies will account for up to 25% of spending in CA’s space.

In a statement issued at the time the deal was announced, Chris O’Malley, CA’s VP for cloud products and solutions, said the deal would also target not just enterprises, but whole national economies:

…CA will be equipped to capture several important growth market segments — including emerging enterprises, emerging national economies and the MSPs who are providing these customers with IT management services via the cloud … and complement our existing strength with large enterprise customers.

Nimsoft's Spot in CA's Recent Acquisitions

CA has been splurging a bit recently with two other acquisitions already this year — 3tera and Oblicore. Last year,  they bought NetQoS and Cassatt — all aimed at extending its cloud management services.

According to technology consultancy 451 group, this acquisition will have the most impact as it gives CA access to the Nimsoft marketplace, which consists of developers and vendors of network, service level, application and cloud management software products.

While Nimsoft’s operations will report under CA’s cloud products and solutions business line, CA intends to keep Nimsoft intact and independently run in the midmarket/emerging enterprise space and MSP segment, giving CA presence in that sector for the first time.

Nimsoft Unified Monitoring Solution

So what is CA getting? Released in October 2009, Nimsoft’s Unified Monitoring (UM) aims to give MSPs complete visibility of application performance and availability in both internal and external IT infrastructures.

While this is not unique, UM is easy to deploy, has little need for maintenance and streamlines the monitoring of business applications for multiple users. The result is a solution that will optimize the performance of applications by improving services and identifying gaps.

And it appears to be doing this quite successfully. In recent years, it has developed solutions for public and private clouds including Google Apps, the Rackspace Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com.

Currently, CA is competing with IBM (site), Hewlett-Packard (site) and business service management provider BMC. To date, only IBM has targeted this midmarket segment with products like Tivoli Monitoring Express, which provides management and monitoring to SMBs.

 
SMB Tech Roll-up: Social Media Is Good And Bad For Business, With Security Top of Mind

We have a mixed bag of news for SMBs with conflicting views on whether social media is good or bad for business. There was a lot of other research published this week giving a considerable amount to think about for companies in, or thinking about entering the tech fray.

Social Media is good for Business?

American SMBs are turning to social media in an effort to boost their customer base, according to the recently released, Small Business Success Index.

Sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, the report shows that over the past year alone social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24%.

The research showed that nearly one out of five small business owners is actively using social media in their business with many of them investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement with 61% of the respondents indicating that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.

Amongst the findings:

  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months
  • 72% have found ways to operate more efficiently

However, it also showed that there were still some concerns about using social media with:

  • 50% saying it takes more time than expected
  • 17% saying it gives people a chance to criticize their business in a public forum

Only 6% felt that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it.

Download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success from the growsmartbusiness.com website.

Social Media Is Bad For Business?

The flip side of the Small Business Success Index is the report from Webroot, which was also published this week showing that IT managers in small and medium-sized organizations believe malware spread through social networks, Web 2.0 applications and other Web-based vectors will pose the most serious risk to information security in 2010.

The data is part of a new survey of 803 IT professionals in companies with 100 to 5,000 employees in the United States, the UK and Australia.

The vast majority of respondents (80%) say Web 2.0-based malware will be a problem in 2010. In fact, seven out of 10 (73%) said Web-based threats are more difficult to manage than email-based threats. Survey respondents also identified data security and confidentiality, data loss prevention and securing mobile and laptop users as the top three priorities for Web security in 2010.

Webroot commissioned the survey to identify the threats security professionals most anticipate in 2010, the weakest links in Web security and how companies are addressing these issues.

Key findings include the fact that nearly one quarter of those surveyed believe their company is very or extremely vulnerable to threats from:

  • Microsoft operating system vulnerabilities (25%)
  • Unpatched client-side software (24%)
  • Browser vulnerabilities (24%)
  • Web 2.0 applications (23%)

The majority (73%) of respondents agree that managing Web-based threats is more challenging than managing email-based threats.

And while many believe they are under threat, many others have already been compromised. These included:

  • 23% compromised by employees who accessed personal Webmail accounts
  • 24% used social networking sites
  • 25% used P2P networking
  • 32% downloaded media

If you’re interested in more check it out on the Webroot blog.

SMBs Maintaining Not Upgrading Software

SMBs are spending more than half their budgets on maintaining existing software than they are on new or upgraded software, according to the latest Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Software Survey.

The survey of nearly 2,200 IT executives and technology decision-makers at enterprise and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in North America and Europe is part of Forrester's Business Data Services (BDS) series, which helps Vendor Strategy professionals profile their target market's budget allocation and technology adoption.

The survey shows that the poor economic environment has created a backlog of business application software upgrade activities for firms, and many plan to address the issue this year.

Amongst the areas companies will be spending on are:

  • 21 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade existing finance and accounting software,
  • 19 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade their customer relationship management (CRM) applications,
  • 18 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade industry-specific software.

In addition, more than 20 percent of all SMBs have concrete plans to implement CRM or information and knowledge management (I&KM) software in 2010 or later, representing the fastest-growing SMB software markets in 2010.

While cloud computing has many enterprises interested, growth of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications is driving the market more, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is still slow, the report also shows.

More information about Forrester's Business Data Services is available at the Forrester website.

UK SMBs Save By Not Using WiFi

Instead of relying on Wi-Fi hotspots, small enterprises’ employees should use mobile broadband USB sticks and datacards when traveling to save their businesses an average of UK£ 2145 (US$ 3368) each year depending on the number of employees on the road, according to research by UK telecoms, technology and media consultancy Analysys Mason.

Entitled Small Enterprises Save Money With Mobile broadband, published ahead of Mobile World Congress 2010 just finishing in Barcelona, it shows that each employee who travels throughout the year can accumulate Wi-Fi hotspot charges of up to UK£ 700 (US$ 1099).

All in all, the quality of service, simplicity and performance of mobile broadband in the UK is very good. SMEs can choose highly competitive offerings, with or without contracts from different providers.

This short report is part of Analysys Mason’s Research Enterprise program on the global enterprise and SME sectors.

If you’re interested in more, details of the report can be found on the website.

SMB Tech Rollup: Security Concerns, Cloud Integrations, Collab Tools

Microsoft and Intuit are getting together in the cloud, HP and Cisco could be helping SMBs with new pricing arrangements, and Spigit is focusing on better collaboration tools.

Many SMBs Concerned With IT Security

Nearly finished with the outlooks for 2010, but still one or two more in relation to SMBs worth noting. The latest set of trends is from Forrester Research (site)  which shows that a large percentage of SMBs will significantly increase their spending on new IT security technologies in 2010.

The findings are contained in two reports: The State Of Enterprise IT Security And Emerging Trends: 2009 To 2010 and The State Of SMB IT Security And Emerging Trends: 2009 to 2010

They show that 37% of SMBs expect to increase investment in security focused technologies. While data security is the largest budget item for IT organizations, the greatest spending increases are in the area of network security, where 40% of enterprises and 36% of SMBs expect to spend more in 2010.

Nearly half of all enterprises (46%) were concerned about smartphones, while 38% were concerned about Web 2.0 technologies. More than 80% — large and small — identified managing vulnerabilities and complex threats as a high priority in the coming year.

Forrester's survey of nearly 2,200 enterprise and SMB business executives and technology decision-makers in North America and Europe is part of Forrester's Business Data Services (BDS) series.

And SMBs Are Also Embracing The Cloud

SMBs are becoming more sophisticated in their technology purchases and are buying into solutions like SaaS and managed services, new research from The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) reveals.

The survey of more than 400 SMBs across the United States found that nearly 30% of them plan to implement SaaS solutions in 2010 to lower costs and maintain their competitive edge. That’s up from 22% and 14% respectively in the two prior years.

Thirty percent of SMBs say they intend to implement managed services solutions in 2010. It also showed that 42% of SMBs do not have a formal IT department, relying instead on workers handling IT needs on a part-time basis.

The CompTIA study also indicates SMBs are placing increasing importance on technology solutions that drive revenues and have a direct, positive impact on the customer’s experience. This is reflected in their growing adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and other such solutions in 2009.

CompTIA’s Third Annual SMB IT Spending Trends study is available at no cost to CompTIA member companies here.

Microsoft And Intuit Integrate Cloud Services 

Intuit (site) and Microsoft (site) have recently announced that they plan to integrate the capabilities of their cloud services platforms and create new opportunities for software developers to deliver and market Web applications to small business customers through the Intuit App Center.

Integrating the Intuit Partner Platform and Microsoft Windows Azure platform will enable developers and channel partners to deliver solutions to the millions of employees within businesses that use QuickBooks financial software.

In addition, the two companies will provide small businesses with Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity applications via the Intuit App Center. Intuit will name Windows Azure as a “preferred platform” for small business cloud application development on the Intuit Partner Platform. The free Windows Azure software development kit (SDK) for Intuit Partner Platform is available today.

Cisco And HP Go Head To Head For SMBs

Cisco Capital has just announced a three-year, zero-percent financing offer for SMBs in the United States for all Cisco products and services from US$ 1,000 up to US$ 250,000.

The zero-percent financing is available for U.S SMBs to help make technology investments in Cisco (site)  hardware, software and bundled services, and allows qualifying customers lease what they want from Cisco, financed for a 36-month period with no interest, and then own it after that.

The day Cisco announced it, HP (site) said that it would be extending its three-year, zero percent financing program for SMBs another quarter, past its end date of January 31. HP's three-year SMB financing program was first announced in January 2009. Like Cisco's program, it covers financing for 36 months at zero percent interest rate.

HP's program, however, extends to US$ 150,000, and doesn't cover services or software it also requires implementations to be 100% HP equipment to qualify.

Spigit Offers SaaS Collaboration For SMBs

California-based Spigit (site) has just launched WE by Spigit, a SaaS collaboration platform specifically for SMBs that the company hopes will give their clients a tool to reduce new product’s time to market through easy idea sharing.

WE by Spigit enables up to 500 employees to share, collaborate on and refine ideas in a common innovation space. Visibility within the space is enhanced with tracking mechanisms for top-rated and new ideas, as well as ideas meeting each individual's specific criteria.

It also comes with an analytics engine that shows both the top ideas and top contributors based on 360 degree community feedback, while workflow features ensures that everyone can have their say in regards ideas and projects.

In effect, what it does is to integrate social collaboration with traditional workflow and analytics and expanding companies' sources of innovation and reducing time to implementation for good ideas.