SMB PC Mag & SMB Advisory Newsletter

February 23, 2009

Cutting over to the SMB Nation blog site for this blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — harrybrelsford @ 7:20 pm

Hiya folks – nearly one year later – I am cutting the SMB PC magazine blog site over the => BLOG so that I can consolidate and better manage. See ya on the other side…..harrybbbb


February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day – I am working!

Filed under: Uncategorized — harrybrelsford @ 5:22 pm

Howdy folks – I am working on the next release of the quarterly magazine – stay tuned 🙂

Have a good one!


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J

February 9, 2009

SMB Nation Spring 2009 show is now open for sign-up (May 2009, NYC area)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — harrybrelsford @ 2:19 am

Join me and other SMB consultants, SBSers and geeks for the fourth annual spring show – SMB Nation Spring! It’s the first full weekend of May 2009 just outside New York City….

Our traditional BusinessSpeak and GeekSpeak pathways include SBS, VoIP, data networks, cloud computing and virtualization.

See the full offering at 🙂

see you there….harrybbbb

February 6, 2009

MSN Groups Closing: 70-282 and 70-653 groups moving to SMB Nation

Filed under: Uncategorized — harrybrelsford @ 9:11 pm
Folks – the exam cram group we have hosted here for 2+ years ( is now moving here (
The reason for this move is that the MSN newsgroups are shutting down mid-Feb 2009. You will need to regsiter at the new site. Looking forward to new conversations at the new site!
Harry Brelsford
CEO, SMB Nation

SMB PC sponsoring a network assessment webinar on Feb 19th (read)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — harrybrelsford @ 4:27 pm
Hiya folks – harryb here – I am hosting a webinar in two weeks:
Thursday, February 19, 2009 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
Getting your foot in the door and bringing on new clients is the life blood of every business. Sales, however, does not come naturally to many of the tech jocks in the IT Services Provider community.  Join Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation and Bill Takacs, Dir. of Product Management at Untangle as they discuss how to leverage one of the most effective sales tools at your disposal – the network assessment.
The network assessment is the first step in becoming the trusted advisor.  It lets you build rapport with the prospect, focus the discussion on their business, and demonstrate your technical chops.  In this session, we will cover:
1. Generating sales leads with network assessments
2. Performing the assessment as part of the sales motion
3. What to cover in the assessment
4. The executive report
5. Closing the deal
If you are looking to grow your business in 2009, you will not want to miss this session.
Please note the start time in your time zone:
11am Pacific, 12pm Mountain, 1pm Central, 2pm Eastern
[UTC(GMT) time: Thurs, Feb. 19, 2009 at 19:00]
Sign up here:

February 2, 2009

RP SP2 released today (Microsoft Response Point)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — harrybrelsford @ 4:29 pm

Hi readers – Microsoft Response Point Service Pack #2

Today at IT Expo East 2009, Microsoft Response Point announced the immediate availability of their latest upgrade, Response Point Service Pack 2 (SP2) for its small business VoIP-enabled phone solution. The product is available today, Monday, February 2, as a free download at


Responding to customer and partner feedback –and quickly implementing those suggestions—is the main priority for the Response Point team. Coming just seven months after the previous upgrade, the new SP2 release adds many important enhancements including improved communication options through support for intercom and paging capabilities, support for analog phones, and greater deployment flexibility via new support for VPN, multi-subnets and additional trunk devices.


A recipient of InfoWorld’s “2009 Technology of the Year Award,” Response Point continues to provide small businesses with a cost effective phone system that is easy to use and manage, offering the ability to grow and evolve with their needs. 


Also of note is the growing list of Response Point partners, with the recent addition of two internet telephony service providers (ITSP): Covista/TotalTel and SMB Phone Inc.


If you would like to speak with a spokesperson about today’s news of SP2 or have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Additionally, an SP2 fact sheet and high resolution images are available upon request.



The Response Point Team


Send us your questions and feedback!

Learn more! Microsoft Response Point SP2 Features and Benefits

January 28, 2009

Managed Services webinar – Jan 29th at 8AM PST with harrybbbb

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — harrybrelsford @ 1:41 am

How to Profitably Manage the Hybrid Support Model, Break-Fix, Maintenance, and Managed Services all Under One Roof

Join Harrybbbb and Matt Nachtrab for this amazing managed services webinar!

All client relationships are not ready for Managed Services. Some want to pay per hour and some just want proactive maintenance. All existing clients are not ready to transition to managed services upon implementation. So how do we make “Managed Service” margins with the technologies we have created despite the model of support the client has subscribed? For the answers, come to this presentation. Our recommendations can help maximize profits possible across the various support models.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST

Sign-up HERE


SMB Advisory Issue 3-2: BusinessSpeak: Geekonomics, SMB VoIP

Filed under: Uncategorized — harrybrelsford @ 1:21 am



SMB Advisory Newsletter 


Over 18,000 Global Readers!

January 27, 2009

Issue 3-2

D&H Rocks As Your SMB Distributor!
  SMB Nation Uses Divinsa for online backup!
The Consultant's Coach!
Response Point Rules!
TS2 Rocks
Reflexion Software
Microsoft Small Business Specialist Program

 Blackberry is the mobile choice for SMBs

Dear Harry,

You are receiving this newsletter as a tribal member at SMB Nation.

It’s a new world order in the economy. I call it Geekonomics.
Seriously – I mean I have a gut feeling things might be changing slowly, but surely for the positive. A recent article in the local Seattle paper underscored this sense. With record low interest rates and low housing prices, there are folks on the “sidelines” just waiting to buy. That is, there is pent-up demand and much like the decline hit us quickly, it’s possible the recovery will hit us faster than we all realized! Think about it – potential buyers are engaging in Geekonomics. They are running mathematical algorithms and calculating the best time to BUY into the market. This was confirmed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal in an article explaining how  price cuts spur sales and December sales were the largest monthly sales GAIN over the prior month (November) since 2002 (in the depths of the tech wreck). Read this article HERE. The point is, that it’s easy to go up fast when you are starting at the bottom. 
And there are hot spots as you will see in my article on Geekonomics below.  Think medical, education and technology. I also speak about a just concluded VoIP survey, a SME definition and Harrybbbb in RCP Magazine and Channel Pro Magazine.

SMB Nation team watching Presidential inaguration

Back on Bainbridge Island, the SMB Nation team watched the Presidential Inauguration last week. Astro in the center with Harry Jr.

Harry Brelsford

CEO  |  SMB Nation, Inc. |  Bainbridge Island, WA USA

Read my new blog! SMB Dude



How to Profitably Manage the Hybrid Support Model, Break-Fix, Maintenance, and Managed Services all Under One Roof


Join Harrybbbb and Matt Nachtrab for this amazing managed services webinar!

All client relationships are not ready for Managed Services. Some want to pay per hour and some just want proactive maintenance. All existing clients are not ready to transition to managed services upon implementation. So how do we make “Managed Service” margins with the technologies we have created despite the model of support the client has subscribed? For the answers, come to this presentation. Our recommendations can help maximize profits possible across the various support models.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST

Sign-up HERE

VoIP Power!

SMB VoIP Survey Results

Writers like to play on words as part of their craft. With the winter cold and flu season upon us, I have received numerous meeting cancellations on my schedule because colleagues have “lost their voice.” And that got me thinking. If their voice isn’t working, is their VoIP working in the economic winter storm? That is, how is the VoIP segment of the technology sector holding up in the Great Recession?

So I created a VoIP survey with a twist. Over 260 readers answered a dozen questions about VoIP in the SMB area. Most folks provided contact details in order to be entered into the prize drawing for an Apple iPod giveaway. The winner of the iPod was Bob Pogue, who is now happily listening to his playlist. And what is the twist on this survey? Simply this. In new and emerging technologies, often the most qualified individuals-known as subject matter experts-work in the private sector at ISVs, vendor companies, and the like. So I teamed up with New Global Telcom’s Julie Buchanan and Matt Wilson, and we designed a valuable VoIP survey.

NGT sponsored the SMB VoIP Survey!

I will now present the results and offer analysis.

  1. What services are you currently providing?
  • Networking infrastructure (91.1%)
  • Mobility sales, services, support (52.7%)
  • VoIP-specific sales, services, support (44.2%)
  • Telephony sales, services, and support (35.3%)
  • Line of business applications (35.7%)
  • Database development/programming/development (32.6%)
  • Web hosting (27.5%)
  • Host e-mail (26.7%)

Analysis: The above question allowed multiple response because SMB consultants wear multiple hats. The results also show that we are a bunch of computer guys and gals still deeply committed to the local area network/wide area network world. Fair enough-that’s an honorable past, present, and future.

  1. Are there additional services you plan to add to your portfolio to grow your services in the coming year?
  • Yes (66.7%)
  • No (33.3%)

Mother of invention time. The interesting thing about challenging times is that it forces you to re-create yourself real quick! So folks are eager to learn about new opportunities and then deliver those opportunities.

  1. If “yes” to Question 2 (above), what new services are you considering offering in 2009?
  • VoIP sales, service, support (56.2%)
  • Security (36.6%)
  • Telephony sales, services, and support (28.1%)
  • Web hosting, hosted services (25.5%)

Talk about VoIP velocity! Earlier I asked how the future for VoIP looks. In Question 3, I believe you have your answer. A solid majority view VoIP as a near-term opportunity.

(this article continues HERE)


If you had it to do over again… 

Imagine a fresh start. How would you “do it” if you had a “do over?” You would likely be much more efficient and get “there” twice is fast. With that in mind, meet TelAssistant an IdeaWide, Inc. company.TelAssistantbrings immediate results with increased operational efficiency on moment one of day one! Does this appeal to you? If so – consider the following.
“Have ALL of your calls answered and work orders filled out without being interrupted.”

TelAssistant is a live virtual receptionist service targeted towards SMB consultants and resellers. Our courteous professional receptionists will handle your inbound calls professionally and can even answer basic questions for callers or fill out service request information. They appear to your customers as though they have long been a part of your company.

Why TelAssistant?

ü  More time to concentrate on at-hand tasks

ü  Organized and Professional Call Handling

ü  Increased Productivity Through Organized Call Tracking

ü  Generate More Revenue

ü  No More Taking Calls On Your Cell

What image does it send about your company when you are answering your own calls? 

With a program specifically designed for small and growing IT companies, our receptionist will answer all of your calls live, announce the calls to you, ask qualifying questions, transfer calls to your office or mobile number, take accurate messages, FILL OUT WORK ORDERS and schedule appointments if you like.  All of this with flexible service packages to choose from. 

We utilize Autotask, a well-known SMB community partner, to ensure professional and organized issue tracking. This helps your business stay on top of your work orders and handle your clients the way they deserve to be handled.

Get Signed-Up Today in 4 Easy Steps!

Call 866-514-4555 and ask for Jason or click


A few us of well remember the “tech wreck” in the early part of the century when the technology sector lead the way down. As the attached chart shows, the under-performing sectors in this dip are housing, manufacturing, business services (read banking) and retail. The technology sector, denoted as information, has a minor dip of under 85,000 jobs lost.

Medical and Education Segments OUT PERFORM!

So what’s hot and what’s not? I have a new speech I am traveling with called “SMB Saints and Sinners” where I outline my top ten list of hot sectors in cold times. On the saints-side, I have education and medical on my top ten list. On the sinners-side, I have segments like casinos and liquor (see this article in today’s Seattle PI about increased drinking. As you can see in the above chart, reprinted from the Wall Street Journal, education and health care are two segments that are very strong!

The strength of the education and health care segments are further validated in the SMB VoIP survey. The figure below shows a direct correlation with the medical industries first and the education segment second. My advice? Solicit clients in health care and education to grow your SMB technology consulting practice.

SMB VoIP Survey Results showing strong Medical


BEST PRACTICE: Attitude matters. Late last week I attended the Microsoft Local Engagement Team (LET) Partner Advisory Committee meeting for the Seattle area. This meeting was led by Microsofties Paul Jensen and Jessica Smith. At that committee meeting, shown in the photo below, Joe Kennedy, the publisher of the Eastside Business Journal commented that he no longer reads press release that talk down the economy. He’s gone positive and it’s making a difference.

Seattle Local Engagement Team Committee for MS

Joe Kennedy is the long hair dude in the center. Paul Jensen from Microsoft is in the blue shirt to the left.

Defining Small and Medium Enterprises
Closely related to my Geekonomics discussion above, is the definition of the sector we serve. Commonly known as the Small and Medium Business (SMB) space in North America, the same sector is known as the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) space in Europe. I have spent many hours in business meetings and compromising social situations debating how you measure the small business (e.g. under 100 employees). I submit for your consider this Wikipedia entry on SME’s and you can post up to my SMB Dude blog your feeling on marketing measurements.

D&H Stimulus


Here are a couple Harrybbbb-isms:

Redmond Channel Partner Magazine economics article 

Channel Pro magazine and Harry’s forecast 
Party with Harrybbb at the ITEXPO show NEXT WEEK in Miami. HINT: Look at Mango’s on South Beach late at night.  

SMB consultants: are you offering your clients the best online backup solution?
by David Minns
SMBs are demanding premium backup services as data volumes increase, security/regulation requirements demand more rigorous data handling, and internal IT departments hit the limit on what they can accomplish in-house. Remote backup is recommended by all experts as an essential ingredient of a comprehensive data loss prevention strategy.
If you’re considering online backup services for your clients, here are five must-haves to ensure you’re offering a comprehensive, flexible, enterprise-grade service.
1)  Does it eliminate duplicate files? The latest remote backup systems use “send once technology” that detects duplicate files and reduces the cost of the service. 
2) Is it secure? Nowadays, security is the #1 concern of most CIOs, and that means online backup is also under scrutiny. Make sure you specify ultra-secure online backup technology that uses (at a minimum) AES 256-bit encryption PLUS hardware authentication. 
3) Make sure your solution can restore individual mail boxes and contacts from MS Exchange and Outlook. Even better, check to see it can correctly restore .PST files (which may have been originally backed up while “open & locked”). Another convenience feature: can it keep a data snapshot both locally as well as offsite?
4) Fast-start/fast-restore. Look for solutions that let you perform the initial backup on an external drive that is shipped to the datacenter – online transfers of huge amounts of data can take days or weeks. Similarly, if a major restore is needed, look for a provider that can overnight-courier an external drive containing crucial data.
5) Convenience and flexibility are two crucial considerations when it comes to doing a major data restore. The ability to perform a “bare metal restore” to a completely different computer after disaster recovery can be a lifesaver.
For more information on how you can offer your SMB clients the best online backup solution, visit HERE.

Growing Up: Telephonation!

We are delighted to report we are generating significant traffic to our Telephonation site that supports the SMB VoIP community. Big fun at awaits you. Here is a counter from yesterday showing some big traffic numbers!

Teleponation is drawing a large crowd!

SBS 2008 Book On Sale!                                                                                        
You can buy it now HERE and it will ship end-of-month!

SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Blended Portfolio! SMB PC Magazine
The new issue (Issue 3-3) is out and ready to read.

 SMB PC Issue 3-3
Read about:
·         The ECONOMY!
·         Going Lean and Green!
·         SBS 2008 H/W Levels (TECHNICAL)
·           RP and VPN (TECHNICAL)
·         SMB Nation 2008 Fall Conference Summary
·         Defining TS2 and SB2
Let me expand on the lean and green concept. The print media world has lost several players in the past 45 days including PC Magazine, US News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor, Reseller Advocate Magazine (RAM) and even Maxim! At SMB PC, we believe a well-balanced portfolio should include both print and digital. So to achieve that optimal mix, we have right-sized our magazine and have several articles that CONTINUE on our magazine blog site. It’s prudent, responsible, hip and allows us to continue to serve the community as we are able. Thanks for your support and readership. READ ISSUE 3-3 HERE



January 23, 2009

SBS 2008 book is here!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — harrybrelsford @ 4:18 am

With great pleasure – I am delighted to announce my Small Business Server 2008 book (SBS) is here. This was once again a labor of love for the SBS community and I hope that you enjoy it!

More details at and I’ve posted some stuff here:

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 Blueprint

By Philip Elder and Harry Brelsford

SMB Nation Press, January 2009

ISBN10: 0-9770949-9-5

ISBN13: 978-0-9770949-9-8

Price $59.95

Pages 600



This ready guide to Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) product, now part of the Windows Essential Server Solutions family, is grounded in the real world and based on practical experience.  As your blueprint, this book teaches you the “SBS” way! By using a structured deployment methodology and completing the step-by-step procedures, you will set up a secure SBS 2008 network for a sample small business – the perfect way to properly implement SBS 2008.


This introductory/intermediate volume allows you to gain competency as an SBSer in:

·         Windows Server 2008

·         Exchange Server 2007

·         Third-party security solutions: firewall, anti-virus, and more

·         Remote Web Workplace

·         SQL Server 2008

·         Windows SharePoint Services

·         Faxing

·         SBS 2008 administration and troubleshooting

·         SBS Consoles

·         Monitoring SBS 2008

·         Office Live and other hosted components

·         Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Annual SBS 2008 tasks


You will also learn how to centrally control and manage Windows Vista and Windows XP desktops.


Blueprint Pathways


Follow these fundamental blueprint paths to insure maximum SBS 2008 success using the content in this book:

·         Plan, deploy, configure, and customize SBS 2008 using a tested methodology

·         Support collaboration between workers

·         Implement and encourage the use of remote working and mobility

·         Protect the SBS 2008 network from security threats

·         Back up and protect data using native and third-party tools

·         Encourage and foster better communications with e-mail based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

·         Automate management by using Group Policy Objects


Chapter Description


1.       Welcome to SBS 2008

2.       Small Business Server 2008 Design and Planning

3.       Small Business Server 2008 Installation

4.       Introduction to the SBS Consoles

5.       SBS 2008 Deployment


Small Business Server 2008 Photo Essay



6.       Standard Security in SBS 2008

7.       Messaging with Exchange Server 2007 and Outlook 2007

8.       Collaboration with Windows SharePoint Services

9.       Mobility and Remote Connectivity

10.   Faxing and Print

11.   Internet and the Web (RWW, Office Live)



12.   Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Annual Tasks

13.   Monitoring Small Business Server 2008



14.   Advanced Security

15.   Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition (LOB, SQL)


Front Matter



Appendix A: SBS Resources

Appendix Z: Book Configurations


Back Cover Test



Small Business Server 2008 Blueprint is written from a strong, third-party viewpoint.  This independent view insures you get the straight story on the popular SBS product, now in its 5th major release as the 2008 version.  You also benefit from the author’s broader SBS 2008 ecosystem conversation, which allows you to make the best decisions when you supplement your SBS 2008 network with third-party security, managed services and monitoring solutions.


About the Authors

Two authors have teamed together to deliver Small Business Server 2008 Blueprint into your hands:


·         Canadian Philip Elder, a well-known SBSer and a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for SBS, is cofounder of MPECS, Inc. in Saint Albert, Calgary.


·         Harry Brelsford is the CEO of SMB Nation and the author of more than 15 books relating to small- and medium-business technology consulting – including several books on past versions of SBS.


Both authors have extensive SBS experience dating back to the start of the product life cycle in 1997.


Change your life with SBS 2008

Technology is often responsible for making businesses more efficient and profitable.  SBS 2008 takes small businesses to the next level of productivity.  Read this book and catch the SBS 2008 wave!


Ships early February – Reserve your copy now!

Price: $59.95

January 20, 2009

What are you doing for the Inauguration?

Filed under: Uncategorized — harrybrelsford @ 3:19 pm

I am hosting a breakfast for my staff. What are you doing today? Are you watching the

Inauguration ?


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