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Sometimes perspective matters. Allow me to offer you mine as the CEO of ExchangeDefender.

Last week we held a huge webinar to announce the biggest addition to our business in over a decade. One that will see our business grow exponentially over the next few years. The response from the people that have attended the webinar has been fantastic. But if we’re being honest, we had more partners apologize for not being able to attend the webinar and ask for the recording than we had in attendance for the webinar. As always, we provide a direct link to it a few days after the event but this time we did something different.

Recognizing that our partners are swamped and busy running their business, we went a few extra steps. We called every single attendee that came to the webinar. Less than 5% answered the phone or returned the voicemail. We shot a quick 5 minute video to summarize the content of the webinar for people that are too busy. We created flyers.

Today I wrote up a bullet list summary of our webinar, again for everyone’s convenience, but I buried the big announcement as a single line bullet point half the way through the writeup and asked the marketing department to use half the newsletter to highlight our marketing and advertising efforts.

Why?

I have no doubt our new support service will be a smash hit. In fact, we’ve already been overwhelmed with the response to it. Not only will it make partners that offer these services instantly more profitable (because we’re doing the work) but it will open up a marketplace for partners that didn’t have an expertise in email security, compliance, encryption and other “real business concerns” a venue to provide the service now that someone else is going to stand behind it. I’m not worried about us, we’re doing great.

I am, however, worried about many of you. I totally understand not being able to get to a webinar, an hour is too much to ask. But if you can’t answer the phone or return a voicemail.. what are you doing to give yourself a chance to grow a business? If you’re too busy to answer the phone or see what the vendor you already work with can do to make you more effective and profitable, how are you going to implement and promote those solutions that are designed to help you? If you’re too busy with work to actually improve your work and to make it profitable, then how do you grow? How do you improve your odds to survive and thrive in an environment where big players are working tirelessly to eliminate and displace you? How do you learn about delivering the new services clients need and how do you talk to them before someone else reaches them?

We owe our business to our partners. Loyalty is a pretty big thing for me personally because I’m here thanks to the thousands of people that chose to trust us. Our business responsibility is to have your best interest in mind.

And with that, I wanted to highlight marketing. The IT world is changing and the concerns businesses face with their technology are going beyond uptime and reliability. I have assembled a great team at ExchangeDefender not just to help you deliver these services but to educate you and to help you promote that service to the business community you serve. Helping you double profits on our services next year is a short term goal. Making sure you remain relevant, profitable and successful 3-5 years from now – that’s where my mind is at.

-Vlad

P.S. I don’t mean to criticize anyone; I understand the time is scarce and you have a million webinars, phone calls, emails, voicemails and social media notifications. You know best how to spend your time and the last thing on my mind is trying to offend or guilt you about not attending the webinar – if you read this that way I apologize and I hope you give it another shot. Truth is, we track this stuff: partners that show up for our webinars, that take the time to consider the solutions and work with us to implement them do 23x better financially a year out (from Aug 2016 to Aug 2017) than those that don’t show up or answer the phone. Those are the numbers I know and the numbers I can track. I want that kind of success for all my partners. I have no doubt we’ll be killing it with support next year – but I feel like my responsibility to you, to all of our partners, is to help you grow. And I can do that much better through marketing efforts than we are doing right now. Hence the highlight.

As many of you know, ExchangeDefender HQ is in Orlando, FL and as of noon today that office is closed until further notice. As of the latest hurricane projection, Orlando is likely facing the worst case scenario of being in the NE quadrant very close to the eye of the storm that will roll over the county next to us. Best case scenario, we will be returning to our Orlando offices on Tuesday, Septembrer 12th. Our capacity at that point is obviously questionable because roads, infrastructure and staff may be impacted.

ExchangeDefender is a global business and we have made several contingency plans and do not expect any interruption to our services. Although the majority of our staff is in Florida, we don’t have a single piece of computer/network infrastructure here so the show will go on as usual. The SLA for normal support cases will still be within 4 hours, we will still answer support tickets and phone calls. You should not be able to tell the difference for ordinary issues.

Where we expect to have the most significant challenge is in the areas of projects and special “courtesy” assistance that we typically go well above and beyond the call of duty – things like exporting mail, adding accounts by hand, reaching out directly to clients on your behalf, sales engineering and proposal writing, legal advisory services, compliance officer training, marketing collateral design and event support services are highly dependant on manpower which is something we may be lacking. We will still not say no but we do hope you’ll extend us some extra patience as we go on.

I feel it is my responsibility to be honest and up front about our priority process as we go through next week. This is the typical disaster priority schedule our entire staff is briefed and drilled on but with obvious bias towards Florida and the hurricane.

1. Most important priority will be given to the US and Florida government organizations that are coordinating efforts in the disaster zone. Staff is directed to drop literally anything else they may be doing to assist them.

2. Urgent tickets, system outages and performance issues will be treated as a secondary priority.

3. Ordinary support tickets will still be resolved within the SLA 4 hour window.

We understand that any issue impacting our service is a critical issue to those unable to go about their work because of something in our realm of responsibility. We have made numerous contingencies, failover and backup plans and expect to execute the plan accordingly. We do not employ warm bodies and people that do not care – everyone that is a part of a team understads service delivery is a team effort and wants to see everything continue to work for you as flawlessly and transparently as possible. Hopefully this blog post gives you additional insight as to how we will be handling that with regards to Irma. Personally, I understand that many of our partners in Texas are reeling, that many of our partners and clients in Florida/Alabama/Georgia/Carolinas are scared and we have been working unprecedented hours to make sure everyone has their contingency and failover plans implemented, tested and documented. To everyone in the way, we’re in this together. There is no hurricane party or a 5 day weekend for us, it’s all hands on deck with that deck now spanning 4 states. We’ll get through this. We may move a bit slower than usual, but we will get through this.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek, CEO.

With the events at the end of April / beginning of May behind us, we’re getting back to the new features and client requests in our core products. We executed a massive upgrade to the core of the ExchangeDefender network which now gives us the capacity to start implementing more layers of protection and functionality in email. Here are some news and a request.

.US tld – Over the past month we have seen a massive and coordinated SPAM storm using .us and new extended/vanity top level domains. They all follow the same pattern: all use .us tld, all are registered with a foreign agent/contact, all have properly setup rDNS, SPF records and DKIM auth (which even few legitimate .us mail servers have) and all come within a 24 hour window until the domain and VPS the storm originated from is destroyed. One interesting catch is that they do not process or acknowledge non-delivery receipts. We’ve had an unusual spike in complaints about SPAM levels all linked to the .US tld and since May 9th, 2017 we have rolled out a new set of rules to filter this content out. We are not blacklisting the tld, legitimate mail will still pass.

TLS issues on ExchangeDefender – We have finally decomissioned the TLS v.1 / SSL v.3 protocols on our inbound network and implemented more strict SPF record checking. This means that those old, unpached servers if any are still left will be forced to either send mail in plain text or upgrade their SSL implementation.

Public Folders, Shared Mailbox, etc – What do you hate about them? This is an open ended question, please feel free to send an email to vlad@ownwebnow.com with subject “Public Folders” and tell us what you’d like to see. As you may imagine, everyone uses and manages stuff differently so we want to see what we could change in our approach and control panels to allow for this to be done easier and quicker. We have folks using Outlook to manage them, we have folks using our control panel, we still have people that try to create a folder and give the whole world access to it (bad!) so if you’ve been frustrated by what we’re currently offering or if you’d just like to see something added, we’d love to hear about it.

EasterWe’re hoping our partners are enjoying leap into Spring and on behalf of everyone at ExchangeDefender we wish all the best to those observing Passover and Easter holidays. In this season where things come back to life, ExchangeDefender is enjoying a very exciting rebirth of its own and I wanted to have a honest explanation of what we’re up to.

If you’ve kept up with us over the past few years you’ve noticed that we’ve been developing more and more of a service infrastructure and a service business. Some of that is due out of necessity because partners are unwilling or incapable of rolling out complex consulting and encryption services, some of it is out of opportunity where partners have rushed to outsource migrations and management to us. Over the past few years we merely began to scratch the surface of what we’re capable of delivering in the messaging and security space and with that came certain opportunities and challenges.

Our primary challenge was that of infrastructure and management policies. Who cannot relate to that? In order to make us a process oriented machine, Shockey Monkey had to grow and have entire sections rewritten from scratch. So much so that towards fall Shockey Monkey (under new name, brand and model) will come out as it’s own standalone business. We added data centers, power, infrastructure – all at the same time that we’ve been upgrading and migrating to the latest and the greatest all around a new process that has truly changed the organization at it’s very core.

Which leads me to the biggest challenge we’ve had to overcome: Deeply skilled and long tenured staff really loves new processes, changes and sudden urge to move faster than ever before to take an advantage of new business opportunities. I wish. We lost a great deal of talent that had unfortunately grown comfortable in their roles – but as you know, opportunity waits for no one. After several months of brutal schedules, deadlines, changes and audits I am happy to say that we have the most talented staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

This winter has been long, dark and full of challenges. But we’ve sprung forward in a way that I haven’t seen this company move in nearly two decades that I’ve ran it. Our opportunity, and our unique skill set, are making it possible for us to provide solutions to problems I never dreamed we could fix.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reconnect with you. If we haven’t spoken in a while, call. If we haven’t seen each other or chatted on Facebook, connect with me there. I’m excited about what we’re up to and look forward to showing you what we’ve been up to. But most of all, I wish you as successful of a spring season as we’ve had here. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Sincerely,

Vlad Mazek, CEO

As some of you may have noticed with emailed notices, there is an issue with the billing this month. We are addressing this issue at the moment, updating invoices and correcting charges at the moment and expect to have it resolved by tomorrow.

We will update this blog post with the details of the issues that caused the problem and will be following up directly with the partners that were affected.

Update 3:22 PM EST: At this point we have correct invoices in the system and will be restoring order processing shortly. We are leaving both the correct and the voided invoice in the system for the benefit of those that were charged incorrectly so you can match up refunds with the correct charges.

ExchangeDefender is excited to announce a redesigned Exchange Hosting Essentials service aimed at entry level market. By providing an affordable and hassle-free way to purchase, provision and budget Exchange services we are hoping to give our partners a better way to design solutions for small business email problems.

. . .

When we first introduced Exchange Essentials a few years ago, we created an offering with cost reduction in mind, by allowing the users to compromise on support, redundancy and features in order to get the product that fit their budget. What we found out with the product matrix is that interest is primarily polar – client either demands the lowest price or the highest set of features for the buck but nothing in between. In numerous discussions with our most successful partners we’ve come up with a better plan that more closely matches the way service providers offer Exchange services within their plans.

Matrix1

This old matrix is now history.

We agreed with our partners that the model needs to be simpler – to budget, to position and to customize with clients specific needs in mind.

We’re starting off with the low entry level price of $3.99 per user, billable monthly with no contract, commitment, minimum or maximum and a powerful Exchange platform to run their business on. This gives our partners a competitive pricing point to offer an entry level service and keep them under their control, brand, management and centralized billing.

We’re making additional features simple and easy to add on as well. As each client has unique demands and requirements, we’ve made each functionality easy to add on as necessary giving them predictable costs that are easy to budget as the business grows and needs more sophisticated solutions. Don’t want to deal with SPAM or want to keep vulgar content out? That’s just $1. Business continuity in the event of an outage? Just another $1 more. Compliance Archiving? Encryption? As the business demands grow these additional features can be added and removed as necessary giving our partners unprecedented control.

NewExchangeEssentials. . .

Our agenda is simple: We want to deliver the most affordable, most flexible way to get businesses running on Exchange in the cloud. We have a lot of partners that are still managing their own on-premise Exchange deployments that will need massive upgrades with low ROI and we believe that many will take advantage of this affordable way to get into the cloud while maintaining the profit margin and client control. We believe that many of our partners serve small business clients on older infrastructure that may have hesitated pulling the trigger on the cloud migration because of upgrade requirements, long contracts and commitments.

With our announcement today, ExchangeDefender is making a tremendous offer – come to the cloud and we’ll pay for the first year. No minimums, contracts, commitments or prepayments. The faster you act, the more you’ll save.  

Get in touch with your account manager today and let’s come up with a plan to get your clients to the cloud you own.

 

Link: Webinar: New Exchange Essentials 2017

What a better way to celebrate the summer than with deals and discounts? Our featured product is Compliance archiving. Compliance archiving allows your company the ability to maintain control over your access to certain emails and attachments up to a period of ten years. ExchangeDefender Compliance Archive ensures the integrity of your messages, by automatically copying the message to the archiving system as soon as the mail enters your system. With the journaling technology accompanied with the program, ExchangeDefender is able to provide a full archive that keeps track of all messages, inbound, outbound, and even internal messages. Compliance Archive is complete with searchable templates that allow you to quickly detect messages that may contain certain identifiable and critical information such as a social security number or credit card number. Because there is no charge for Compliance Archive and you only pay for the storage space you use, Compliance Archive is affordable and therefore available to smaller businesses as well. If Compliance Archive seems right for you or your clients, please contact us so that we may get you started and continue to provide the best service to you.

Click the video to learn more about our Compliance promotion valid from June 27th- July 11th. Contact us to obtain the code to use when opening Hosted Exchange+ Compliance users, and receive $3 off Exchange and $2 off Compliance Archiving after opening 5 sets. Contact us at partners@exchangedefender.com or 877-546-0316 to obtain the code.

Disclaimer: In order to receive the $2 off Compliance Archiving and $3 off Hosted Exchange, you must purchase Full Hosted Exchange of 5 mailboxes or more. The compliance accounts will then correspond to those 5 mailboxes. Maximum order of 50 mailboxes per partner.

We’ve recently made some changes to the Invoice System to make things more clear and easier  for our clients who bill their clients individually.  We now have a csv generator for invoices. If you navigate to your company in the support portal then click on the Invoice tab you will find all of your invoices going back to when your services started with us.

invoice4

Simply click on the csv next to a specific invoice it will generate a csv for your use that can be opened in Excel. It’s generated to group the categories of service types together.

Invoice3

This is a cleaner alternative to the old way of copying the invoice from the portal and pasting it into excel that we’ve seen some of our service providers do in the past. Now you can split, subdivide, categorize with ease. If you would like even greater control over individual accounts so they can always exist within their own company, provision accounts directly through your own Shockey Monkey portal.

If you have any questions regarding this feature email me at cody@ownwebnow.com

-Cody Savage

A major feature folks have been requesting from ExchangeDefender for a long time is better password policies. The first step in that direction is going to be having the ability to support password expiration. We have moved forward with this request as we realize the importance of forcing password changes on a security platform. One feature that was implemented recently that you guys might have seen pop up in your admin portal is domain Password Expiration.

passexp1

If you navigate to a specific domain’s configuration you can see you now have the option to implement 30, 60, or 90 day password expiration for all the users on a domain. Initially when the feature is enabled it will tag all the current accounts on the domain / domain aliases, then depending on what option you selected 30,60,90 days out upon logging into the admin portal it’ll require the user’s to change their password before allowing any other functionality. Clients can be proactive about changing their password regularly and avoid the prompt by using the Password Change in their own settings after logging into the portal.

passexp3

However, I think we know that that will not generally be the case. Once their password has expired upon logging into the Admin Portal they will be redirected to change their password before they will be allowed to login.

passexp2

If you have any questions regarding this feature email me at cody@ownwebnow.com

-Cody Savage

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our promotion going on, starting March 17th and ending April 17th. We are offering $3.00 off Full Hosted Exchange with an order of 5 mailboxes or more. Just use the code: XDLUCKY16 when ordering your mailboxes. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free emailing us at partners@exchangedefender.com or calling us at (877) 546-0316.

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