March 2013

We Hear You!Over the past 6 months Vlad and myself have been gathering a lot of feedback both positive and negative: positive (support’s effort is appreciated across the board, which makes me not have to inflict physical damage on anyone) and negative (development items from core engine stuff (which I can help with) and some GUI stuff (which I may be able to barter some live chickens in exchange for features, unless my hand is cut off during negotiations). This first quarter and going into the second quarter, we have undergone massive build outs and redesigns. For those of you that headed our heads up and stayed us, thank you for the bottom of our hearts. We understand that while we’re working on things the end user perceives it as “well I don’t care it’s still not working, when will it work like I want it to?” and it puts pressure on your teams and your staff. Over the next couple of few weeks I’m going to touch on some things we’ve done and others that are in the pipe line.

This week the one I’m going to focus on is probably a big one for your support staff, whitelist handling. In the past we’ve had issues caused by the increased adoption of BATV addressing and address handling in our engine. Here’s the bottom line, the  from address line can be spoofed so we’ve always toted the line that for the safety of your clients against spoofed phishing attacks we test against the envelope address. However, this became a problem as BATV grew in adoption because basically your clients would continually submit whitelists that were never ever going to work. Of course, this would give you and by association us a huge black eye, with the feeling that our software “doesn’t work”. We went back to the drawing board on this issue and made some core changes to our engine. We are no able to, without sacrificing security, evaluate and track these correctly. You should see a huge decrease in “the whitelists don’t work” complaints as long as the senders are using RFC compliant BATV address. We wrote the code based on this, so if their sender’s mail providers did not follow the guidelines there may be a handful of issues literally.

This does NOT affect SART addressing though, which is used for newsletters only and they’re formatted a bit differently. But your clients can rest assured that folks behind bounce address protection are being safely whitelisted now. Next week I’ll touch on another biggie. Thread whitelisting.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x737

hp-no-hardwareRemember the days when PC upgrades were big business? Adding RAM, upgrading hard drives, installing CD and DVD drives, setting up video cards for gamers, and adding those sound blaster audio cards. Well the days of add-ons and upgrades are all but gone. Today, the world of IT has changed drastically.

PC’s have evolved from build your own, to big brands, to now desktop replacements. With portability being a big factor for business users, and devices having fewer replaceable parts, hardware has become disposable. This has made the days of upgrades and add-ons, a thing of the past.

IT businesses are finding new ways to add-on and upgrade customer experiences without the need for expensive hardware upgrades. The key for IT service companies has been to find common needs and issues that plague customers and can be resolved through software or cloud services. There are a number of these issues that can be bundled into a suite of services or provided individually. Most of these products can provide recurring revenue to the business as well, which creates additional stickiness to customers.

Some of the common solutions are:

*Spam Filtering

*Backup Hosted

*Email Services


*Cloud Storage

*Hosting/Website Services

New and emerging solutions:

*Password Protection

*Social Media Marketing


*Mobile Device Management

*BYOD Policy Management

Treating these services and products just like the hardware upgrades and add-ons of the past, will provide a new source of revenue for those businesses looking to replace lost hardware upgrade sales. These types of upsells are not only easy, but they provide customers with much needed services that can help their productivity and bottom line.

Frank Gurnee
VP, Channel Services, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x4777

imageIntroducing the NEW Marketing Collateral section of our website!

We are constantly posting up new additions to our collateral page and now you can easily access them! It is now easier than ever to pick and choose what types of collateral that you would like to have branded just by browsing through the pictures. You have the choice to either download the materials and brand them yourself OR you can fill out the form at the bottom of each section and we will brand the collateral for you. All you have to do is reference the branding request title and you will have marketing collateral that is branded with your color scheme and logos within 24-48 hours.

The best part about the Marketing Collateral is that as a benefit of being a partner with ExchangeDefender it is completely FREE! Check it out!

Stephanie Hasenour
VP Marketing, ExchangeDefender

revenueIT companies and MSP’s are providing a number of services, support, and products to their customer base. For many, providing just what the client wants, provides a satisfying enough business experience. The one thing that most IT providers would most likely agree on, is that the customer does not always know what they want, or better yet, know what they need. In this, there is a good amount of opportunity for IT companies to educate customers as well as provide a standard suite of products and services to help protect customer businesses.

Standardization is a pretty well implemented practice for most MSP’s and helps drive profitability in termed contracts by creating predictability, prevention, and ease of troubleshooting. When most customer contract networks are similar or alike, they are much easier to manage and allows for your staff to gain more experience and knowledge.

Now imagine if you apply these same standardization practices to any network you encounter. By believing and knowing that this standard set of products and services is needed by all companies it becomes less of a sale and more of a passion. We know that there are a number of standard solutions that businesses need to be efficient, safe, and secure.

*Security – Antivirus, AntiSPAM, Firewall

*Backup –Archiving, Compliance, BDR, Offsite/Cloud Storage

*Network – Switching, Battery Backup

*And many many more…

Create a set of business core minimums that you can discuss with your customers. These minimums will set the standard for any network you encounter and can provide a baseline for the serviceability of any environment. Your goal should be to bring any network up to these baseline standards whether they are a contract customer or not.

It may be surprising how many customers have not implemented minimum standards due to lack of education. Many IT companies are afraid to discuss additional needs based on the fear of customer rejection. Just remember it is always better to educate and have a customer say no, than to never provide the information and have the customer ask why you did not inform them.

Frank Gurnee
VP, Channel Services, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x4777

We hope that everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day!!! Don’t forget about our St. Patrick’s promotion!

Until the end of March we are running a promotion for Compliance Archiving for 50% off! Please take advantage of this! The promotion will be valid on any new account that is signed up within the promotional period.

Simply use the coupon code that is located on the postcard that you will receive in the mail or email me, to receive the code. If you have any questions just let us know!


Stephanie Hasenour
VP Marketing, ExchangeDefender

reo-inventory-down-freddie-mac-graph-decreasing-housing-inventory-gseExchange 2007 is beyond the Standard support life cycle of Microsoft. With that in mind, we have to ensure that we continue to support the most redundant and supported platform(s) we can. Continuing to provide Exchange 2007 has been more of a courtesy to not put the burden of migrations on our partners because that’s something we always pride ourselves in. If we can avoid costing you time, we will, every time.

However, as we saw with Australia the 2007 technology just does not offer the level of redundancy we like to provide to our clients, so we have to make some changes to ensure that we’re providing the redundancy you and your clients deserve. As such, we’ll be migrating all users off of Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Europe. We will be providing an opportunity to remain on 2007 on Dewey in an as is format. We’ll support it, but the recovery process due to an outage is not going to resemble what we can offer on the 2010 clusters.

If you have clients that need to remain on 2007 please reach out to me or my team within the support portal so we can start keeping a record of exclusions. Unless you’re on DEWEY and want 2007 you’ll be migrating.

We are going to make the migration process as easy as we can. So far we have have it down to (if you have an autodiscover record) all you have to do is click “Repair” within outlook and run a tool we’ll provide and that’s it so this shouldn’t be an earth shattering process cost producing process.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x737

CustomerServiceIf you own a business, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the objective of your company is to make money. To do so, you must focus in on a majority of factors. One of which, is providing customers with satisfaction. Creating customer satisfaction with your base is the first step to making those customers loyal to your company. If you browse a bookstore long enough, you can find no less than hundred “how-to” books on customer satisfaction. This is because the authors of these books understand one key foundation in every business: Without customers, you have no business! With that said, there are simple pieces of advice that may seem trivial, but nevertheless, are the keystones to providing great customer satisfaction:

Be Nice

Listen to the Customer

Be Empathic to Customer Issues

Present Solutions to the Customer

This list may sound like common sense to you, but most of these items are neglected and are the top four complaints of customers. Good customer service is essentially a variation on the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. If people believe that they’re being remembered and are recognized by the business, this will have a positive impact on the way they feel toward your business.

So why is this important to marketing? Because it is well known that it is five times more profitable to spend your marketing dollars to retain the customers that you have than to use the dollars to beat the bushes for new customers. Marketing to loyal customers makes selling your new ideas, services, and products much easier than if you had to obtain new business. This is one of the main reasons we closed down our Partner Program to new business. We wanted to concentrate of our partners who have been with us for a very long time. This is not to say that you should never expand your customer base, just remember who brought you to the dance in the first place.

The way companies can cultivate a strong customer relationship is simple: Keep in touch with the customer! Too many times, businesses do not take advantage of information provided by their customer base. This information can consist of email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, etc. These are customers who have had a great experience in the past shopping with your business, and no one ever contacts them again. One of the most common phrases around our office is: ‘Pick up the phone and give the guy a call.’ Maintain a strong communication with your customer base. Let them know what your company is planning for the future. Let customers in on special sneak peak offers, future products, or ideas that are in the pipeline. Get them excited!

Michael D. Alligood
Partner Sales & Support, ExchangeDefender & Shockey Monkey
(877) 546-0316 x707

As a pioneer and proponent in the hardware as a Service (HaaS) game for many years, one thing that was very apparent to me was the sheer profitability and revenue that can be generated from financing. In HaaS, the biggest problem is the amount of capitol it takes to provide that financing and the risks can be quite high.

The expectation in the model is to have a high enough percentage of interest to offset any potential failures, while still providing a hefty amount of profit. This model worked well as the HaaS vendor, but sometimes left very little, if any profit for the MSP if a deal went south. This could often times leave MSP’s holding the bag and responsible for the debt created.

Since the peak and slow decline of hardware sales, the MSP landscape has changed quite a bit. With cloud, services, installation, and support becoming more prevalent, the opportunity to revisit in-house financing has never been more apparent.

No different than the way we sold solutions in the HaaS game, the real value for the customer is bundling all needed components into a single payment option. This should include needed cloud products, services, all installation, as well as future support. By bundling the entire solution into a manageable payment, customers are more willing to sign termed or multiyear contracts, providing you a stream of recurring revenue to the business.

Most cloud solutions are subscription models, which takes much of the burden off the solution provider where financing is concerned. This leaves installation and support as the responsibility of the MSP. A good rule of thumb in calculating what to add to your bundled price is to take any costs you have a dividing them by a number. First determine your term, 12 months, 24months, or 36 months. Once you have this determine your comfortable payback, this can be anywhere between 6 and 24months depending on your contract term and comfort level. The equation should look something like this…


Add this determined number to any marked up subscriptions to determine your total customer monthly payment. In the above example you will break even at month 10. From there it is all profit. The same equation can be used for any hardware needs such as firewalls or BDR devices. It is a good idea to get a down payment at the time of signing a deal. Many MSP’s ask for a down payment equal to one month’s total payment but this can be anything you would like.

Becoming your own financing engine can be highly profitable and can help you close more deals. Make sure to consult with your accountant about any tax implications or requirements before providing any in-house financing.

Frank Gurnee
VP, Channel Services, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x4777

Break the rules.By definition, behavior is the actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli. Behavior is both innate and learned. This is why individuals can function is a civilized society while remain unique at the same time. Learned behavior comes as a result of experience. When an individual encounters an external or internal stimulus; the innate behavior is many times trumped by learned behavior—such as following rules.

The behavior that controls whether or not we follow or break rules greatly depends on the stimuli. If the stimulus is greater than the rule, we break the rule. There are times when rules outlived their usefulness. Or it may be that the end result outweighs the need to follow a rule that stifles progress. Although the majority may frown upon rule breaking, without such behavior the business environment (and humanity) would not progress.

Recently, I read an article titled, “Breaking the Rules” by Paul Sloane, author and founder of Destination-Innovation. In this article, he describes how businesses operate with boundaries and restrictions that are self-imposed and accepted without questioning. He further describes that often it is the newcomer to an industry who can ask the question, “What would happen if we broke the rules?” Mr. Sloane gives examples of companies such as Swatch, Virgin Atlantic, and Oticon who rewrote the rules of their respected industries to gain a competitive edge over their competition. Furthermore, Sloane touches on how Picasso broke the rules on what a face should look like and how Gaudi broke the rules on what buildings should look like.

In many ways, rule breaking allows companies to stand out from the competition, and innovate products and services, and make themselves endearing. Think Apple—pun intended. However, companies need to have its share of balance. Too much rule breaking can be worse than complete obedience to the norms. Let me be clear, I am not referring to moral, ethical, or legal rules; but to business rules only. You may need to examine your own business rules to determine if such rules are slowing productivity or halting it altogether.

Michael D. Alligood
Partner Sales & Support, ExchangeDefender & Shockey Monkey
(877) 546-0316 x707

Yesterday we held our huge ExchangeDefender Spring webinar – thank you for the record attendance. If you missed it don’t worry, the recording is available here and all our webinars are available at the ExchangeDefender Social site.

But let’s talk about one of the highlights from our presentation yesterday.. Shockey Monkey.

We have spent an insane amount of time improving the product and have completely rewritten certain sections that have the “web app” behave like an actual desktop application. First of all, we have a lot of new eye candy and new themes that elegantly blend in all the elements of the UI.


As far as the UI goes, things are several times faster than they were before.

Additionally, we have some really cool transitions in place when you go from one module to another that give the browser a chance to catch up and render the page before displaying elements. As stuff gets loaded it fades into view and removes the old-school jumbled look.


We have redesigned the dashboard to focus on what is important. Your announcements on the left and your agenda, schedule, tickets and tasks on the right. Instead of crowding the dashboard and making you dizzy with charts, you start with what is important and everything is just a click away. All the elements can be quickly touched, modified and updated – allowing you to slice through your daily agenda without having to go back and forth just to get started with your day.


Speaking of your day.. we have a beautiful and powerful new calendar function that is in my humble opinion better than anything else out there – spanking even Outlook. My whole team is right there, all the appointments are dynamic and everything integrates with Exchange on the backend so all our iPhones, iPads, Outlook and even Android are completely in sync no matter where we are.


The dispatch center has taken a massive step forward while remaining simple and easy to use. Just assign the ticket to someone and then drop it on their calendar. Done.


Speaking of support, we are helping you organize that better. As we get more and more different businesses powering their operations with Shockey Monkey, the need to keep multiple service boards is there. As an IT company we used to only handle support tickets but then as other departments joined in the fun we started breaking out product boards, service boards, project boards.. even an internal service board just for staff to deal with me.


We have had a lot of customization requests to the look and feel of the service board ticket listing. Ton of it. But most of it is difficult to categorize and keep the level of simplicity in our setup… so everything you wish is being added and we are putting some more quirky features under the Experimental / Custom Features section of the setup and you can tweak the portal to your own content without making it complex at all.


For example, our advanced settings now allow you to highlight tickets that are assigned to you, stop your clients from being able to close tickets (if you keep them open for review or billing purposes) include ticket number in the ticket listing as well as who the ticket is assigned to.


Speaking of better organization… the key is to keep everything in Shockey Monkey. But what is the point of keeping it all in one place if you can’t find it? Well, Shockey Monkey now centralizes and filters your search results. So if you search for Vlad it will show you all the tickets, services, subscriptions, knowledge base articles – everything – in an easy to categorize and locate way. Not a huge meaningless list of contacts jumbled with companies and services if you know that you’re just looking for a knowledge base article.


Of course, ExchangeDefender Unicorn is now live and embedded into the product for all our partners. Yes, still free!


It’s gotten more powerful as well, supporting event templates, alert templates, escalation, workflows and remote desktop access.


Now while these features are great and tons of you have been asking for them… they are nothing compared to the biggest enhancement we have – a brand new Business/Corporate module.

It solves a need that no other solution out there has and it is uniquely small business.

Our employee portal allows employees and employers to manage goals, expectations, time off, time sheets, education, hardware that is being issued and far more.

For example, instead of dealing with employee reviews as an annual chore, you now have a way to create an ongoing automated way to set goals, track accomplishments and make career progress a part of the game.


You can also track all of employees education, certifications, licenses, titles or degrees.


Your employees can easily submit for time off and automatically land on the calendar upon approval.


Likewise, timesheets are automated and accountable – we tie in our checkin punchclock to keep the employees accountable for when they show up and when they leave and assure they report accurate time. Employers also have a way to see who is putting in more than they are expected to and that leads to rewards Smile



The biggest pain that nobody seems to manage well is the people we pay – our vendors.

We all do a great job of helping our clients and tracking our interaction with them because that is what we are paid to do. But shouldn’t we be doing an even better job – providing a more prudent process – making sure we get the most out of the $ we pay our vendors? Without tracking, notes and an audit process you just don’t know.

Say hello to Shockey Monkey’s vendor section.

Track passwords, resources, notes, vendor personnel, web sites, youtube training videos, howto documents, forum threads with fixes and workarounds, links to download sites, training collateral login information. You name it.. then track it. In a centralized environment.


Shockey Monkey is all about small business. From IT to far and beyond IT, the product we have designed and delivered is running our partners businesses and is now branching out to provide reporting, recording and accountability to new industries. If you’d like to partner with us and deploy Shockey Monkey for businesses we would love to talk to you!


Vlad Mazek
CEO, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x500