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Not growing as fast as you’d like, or spending too much time on email/client support? Hear our CEO’s thoughts on what is fueling our growth and how ESS is already playing a huge part in growth of managed services across our client base.

Posted by ExchangeDefender on Friday, April 13, 2018

Not growing as fast as you’d like, or spending too much time on email/client support? Hear our CEO’s thoughts on what is fueling our growth and how ESS is already playing a huge part in growth of managed services across our client base.

ExchangeDefender Become a Partner banner

As you may have noticed from the huge banner in our support portal, our new Service Manager user interface is live! I just recorded a webinar that will walk you through all the “behind the scenes” stuff you should know about the new portal and I encourage you to watch, but I want to sum it up for you in case you don’t have the 20 minutes:

ExchangeDefender is rebranding into a secure communications platform: We are the application that our clients use to securely communicate with clients and vendors. With all the new regulatory requirements, daily hacking/exploit nightmare news stories, lack of trust in social media platforms and data being used for commercial/ad gain – businesses require and demand better than a “consumer” solution to a business problem.

In order for companies to become more efficient (and for our partners to make money in the cloud) we are embedding our support and services into the actual product: so when there is an issue, it’s already being handled. No more middlemen, no more escalations or different vendors fighting over who broke things: It’s our product, our network – we will do the work for you.

How that is accomplished is in the video below:

image

Click here to download the video.

Click here to download the user manual.

We are very excited to announce the launch of the new XD Service Manager that will allow our partners and their clients a much friendlier way to manage their Exchange services. This is a complete rewrite of the code – frontend and backend – and we’ve taken all the feedback and made the beast much friendlier both for smaller accounts as well as for enterprise clients with tons of users to manage directly. The goal was to entirely remove the IT department and “the PowerShell guy” from the equation and put power user tools at your disposal to quickly and effectively make changes on the mass scale.

But first, the frontend – full rewrite – with new responsive UI and controls. Previous jQuery UI that has been hacked, tweaked and kicked along for years is being replaced by this UI that will work as well on the desktop as it does on any mobile device:

screenshot1

Navigation is in line with typical modern design you’ve seen in many other web applications with ability to filter, scope, search and quickly apply changes to multiple accounts.

Actions are context-based, meaning you will not be refreshing the entire page in order to get search results or do quick changes on multiple accounts. We’ve fully extended the Exchange feature set in the new UI giving you the ability to centrally manage all aspects of your Exchange service without having to go back and forth between different screens or modules (so in that regard, it’s even easier to deal with than an Exchange management console)

image

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the new service is very end-user friendly. While 90% of the feature requests for the new service manager came from our power users that expressed a lot of frustration with the speed and accessibility of the portal, we needed to recognize the reality of who manages IT in 2018 – it’s no longer the IT guy or the IT department – users want to be able to take control of their public folders, distribution groups, forwarding, password resets and so on – so our design had to take that into account as well:

screenshot3

As you can tell, the new Service Manager is far friendlier and uses the same wizard approach in the end-user mode that they are likely very familiar with. Because we’ve done very strict implementation on the backend (with all the regulations we are now responsible for), it’s virtually impossible for them to make a mistake. Unfortunately for some of our unskilled IT folks this means no more “Password1” or “NoSPAM” or “Princess1!” as a password going forward but everyone will be experiencing far fewer problems as a result of it.

Better reporting as well – you’ll be able to get the full overview of configuration, who uses what, where they are at and so on.

The new Service Manager goes into Beta next week (last week of March 2018) and will run in parallel with the existing Service Manager (on the same site as https://support.ownwebnow.com) as we get more feedback from our entire user base – so don’t worry about this springing up on you as a surprise. You will see the new link on the Dashboard and will have the ability to access the new infrastructure from there. Both will continue to work for at least a month.

This is also the new UI framework for Shockey Monkey: which we have been working on for a year now. The same infrastructure, MVC, UI and upgraded backend are going to be driving ExchangeDefender, SM, XD and all other services which means that you’ll very soon be managing everything from the same look and feel that will be extended to your site as well. What it ultimately means is that the new UI will follow your branding and your color schemes and no matter where in the ExchangeDefender universe your client ends up, they will be dealing directly with your brand.

And we’ll be there in a live chat to provide support and help them out with every service.

Thereby ultimately managing the entire communications, collaboration and business management platform end-to-end. Very exciting times ahead!

-Vlad

CEO, ExchangeDefender

Attachment download: New Service Manager Partner Guide (pdf).

We live in interesting times. With over 1.4 billion compromised accounts and users relying on the same password for every site, it’s nearly impossible to secure users that don’t want to set strong passwords. Nevertheless, that’s what you pay us for and we’re doing our best.

Until the new Service Manager is in and automatic service policies with full compliance are added in, we’ve been forced to institute lockouts on accounts that are being compromised or have suspicious activity. Unfortunately, when an attack on a mailbox is launched it doesn’t come from one IP address, it comes from hundreds, and blocking them is impossible.

But locking the account and making the client change the password to something that isn’t on the dark web.. that’s simpler. This is something that absolutely has to get done, if the account is used for spamming purposes it can blacklist that address, domain or worse.

sm_2

If your account gets locked out due to a security compromise, you can now unlock them and restore service automatically.

Just go to the Service Manager, find the user, reset the password and you should be all set.

P.S. In the event that you aren’t regularly changing your clients passwords, or you have ridiculously simple ones, we need to talk. Part of the issue is that your clients, regardless of size location or industry, are just SPAM zombies waiting to happen if you don’t set long and complex passwords that aren’t used anywhere else. If you don’t want to do that, we need to talk about two factor authentication. ExchangeDefender network has never been compromised – but individual accounts get popped all the time and it’s generally with a password that is well known and available in a simple Google search.

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

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.

Platform Upgrade

If you follow our NOC you’ll notice that earlier this week we had a hardware upgrade to our Windows Web Hosting platform. Our team put in extra hours to minimize the amount of down time you and your clients would experience. The key components of the upgrade were RAM and CPU. This resulted in better performance for you and your clients.

Do I as the partner need to do anything?

There is absolutely nothing that you need to do on your end.  The upgrade took place on the server side and no changes need to be made on your end. It was a seamless transition and everything from data to host IP addresses remain the same. You and your clients can use the same great product as you always have.

Additional Perks

An additional perk is on the backend of things. The new hardware allows us to perform backups and recoveries more efficiently than what was previously available. This means less down time for you and your clients in the event of a disaster.

Moving Forward

The hardware upgrade was smooth transition. Over the past few days we have seen increased performance. In addition to performance enhancements we now have a more efficient way of backing up your data. As technology is always changing we look forward to making more improvements for you across all of our platforms!

Here at ExchangeDefender we have a wide range of products and service offerings. With close to seven years with ExchangeDefender, I’ve designed and written a majority of the software that is offered as a part of continuously growing platform. This includes several of our key systems such as: Encryption, Compliance Archive, Web Sharing, LocalCloud and even our service ordering & account provisioning! The only areas that I don’t touch directly are mobile applications, we have additional developers who designs and tackles any issues that may arise on our mobile platforms.

Throughout the course of the day I find myself working on various bugs and communicating with our team to ensure that bugs and new feature requests are considered and placed within our internal development pipeline. Recently I’ve been going through our old documentation and working on updating that with fresh information detailing step, by step how to use our products.

Keep in mind that it takes a while to develop and test fixes to assure they don’t introduce other problems. There are no quick fixes or features, everything we implement needs to work well across web, desktop and mobile devices and our support staff needs to be trained and alerted of these upcoming features.  So if you have a bug or feature request that is absolutely something that we must fix and/or implement, we would love to hear about it! However, due to my schedule and workload I’m typically a very hard person to reach. So first open a ticket in our portal, our highly trained technicians will review your ticket and possibly collect further information. After which, they will then escalate the ticket into a bug or feature request. Once in this section, it will be reviewed every Friday to see just how we can make our services even better!

Here at ExchangeDefender we want to help you fill your services portfolio with everything your client needs to operate their business successfully. We strive every day to be the absolute best for all of your service needs. So please (I cannot stress this enough) if you think we are falling short due to a software glitch or missing feature, let us know!

Hello partners, Vlad here, bringing you the latest news about the most anticipated launch we’ve had all year: Exchange Essentials. If you haven’t seen the webinar about the new service(s) please click here to watch it:

Exchange Essentials Relaunch

In short, we found that lots of people were using our Exchange Essentials to serve the segments of the market that we didn’t think would find Microsoft Exchange appealing. We were surprised both on the low end (for part time businesses, MSPs that were tired of supporting POP3/IMAP) and on the high end (bigger companies that wanted to save costs and didn’t need or want the full enterprise look and feel). So we decided to redo the product around our core strengths and help you put out a solution that made a lot more sense. With that, we feel like there are three core values that we bring above and beyond our competitors:

1. You will never go down. Exchange is Exchange, it will go down – when it does, you’ll still have Emergency and LiveArchive to send and receive mail.

2. You won’t have to compete with us. Service is only available through our partners, no direct sales.

3. You are getting the best regardless of how much you pay. There is no difference in terms of the infrastructure that is holding your data, you won’t be stuck on slow servers or old versions just because you didn’t pay for the top tier.

So we now have Exchange tiers that are priced below Microsoft and Google Apps and in our opinion offer a far better designed-for-business service. And we did not want to compromise on the solution – which complicates things a little with contracts, prepayments, commitments and different features coming at different price points. So I wanted to give you an idea of what will happen the next time you attempt to order Exchange Essentials from us.

I want to sign up my client for Exchange Essentials..

If you attempt to do so through the portal or over the phone, you will get a message that someone from our management needs to speak with you. I’m not going to sugar coat this: Reality is that we can only make money on these services if we all do our part. Consider the call as a part of presale consulting – we want to make sure you know exactly what the product differences are, how to market them, how to sell them, how to price and them and how to profit from it all.

How are we going to do that? Well, shortly after speaking with one of us you’ll get a welcome packet. Here is what’s in it:

Brandable Marketing Collateral – We’ve built client-facing marketing collateral that just needs your name and your logo (or change it up completely if you wish)

Pricing Guide – Detailed pricing, contracts, requirements and pricing breaks in an easy to understand guide.

ExchangeDefender Essentials Question Based Sales Guide – Sample questionnaire, question sequence and open ended questions that you can ask your prospects in order to determine the best solution for them.

Sample Proposal, Contract and Invoice – Proposal language, sample contracts and item descriptions for your invoice.

Web Site Collateral – Cut and paste info into your web site.

PowerPoint Presentation – Presentation covering Exchange services that can be delivered in under 3 minutes to a non-techie audience, just apply your company colors and logo.

Yes, that’s a lot of stuff but the more we can do to help you the less time you’ll have to spend trying to figure out how to describe this product on your web site or create from scratch.

It’s as simple as that. Exchange Essentials is already available for order in United States and Essentials service with mailbox servers in Australia and Europe will be available starting with June ‘14.

Let’s talk! If you aren’t profiting from the cloud you’re missing out.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek
CEO, ExchangeDefender

It’s important for our partners to understand what we are doing, how and why. We put more priority than most other companies mostly because we are small and the only way we succeed is if our partners do as well. With the MSP and IT marketplace wondering which vendors are going to make it through the year all you have to ask yourself is if you will – because if you do so will we. Everything we are doing at ExchangeDefender (and Shockey Monkey) is about helping our partners grow faster. To hear about it in detail please download the webinar we recorded yesterday:

ExchangeDefender 2014 Strategy Webinar

http://www.ExchangeDefender.com/media/XD2014Strategy.wmv

Growth

Every partner I talk to is focused on growing their revenues. Unfortunately growth, as predicted years ago, is coming at a more expensive rate than it did years ago. Not only is there a smaller pool of customers to pick from but the talent is scarce as well – so you will spend more on marketing and more on staffing.

By taking care of migrations, customer service, billing and even marketing assistance ExchangeDefender can help partners acquire more business and deliver more solutions faster. While that sounds like middle management lingo the truth is that you can grow faster if you can deliver more because you aren’t doing all the work yourself.

This is why we are doing what we are doing – our partners look to us to take care of the time consuming, schedule inconvenient, error prone and delicate parts of managing email and cloud solutions. They look to ExchangeDefender to create accounts, move email, configure Outlook clients – all simple and trivial activities that are remarkably time consuming and take lucrative projects into barely breakeven business. If ExchangeDefender can do it for you for free, why would you want to do it yourself?

Limited Time Opportunity

SBS is dead. Microsoft has priced out the rest of it’s solution stack way out of the typical IT budget of a small or medium sized business and when you layer on the cost of management and the cost of IT talent you see why the change is so significant. Even sophisticated IT providers are looking at the onsite infrastructure as a pain point because talent to manage those devices and servers is so expensive and so difficult to replace, combined with the incessant marketing for the cloud it is a losing proposition on multiple levels.

Don’t misunderstand what we are saying – the “move to the cloud” is not something that will go on for years. Last massively deployed SBS version launched in 2008 and those servers are well out of warranty by now. Over the next 2-3 years most of those customers will make it to the cloud and past that point the “move” will no longer have a significant amount of clients to make it worth while holding 6 figure Exchange and SharePoint specialists on staff.

This is why we are doing what we are doing – providing migration and support assistance to help you get your clients to the cloud is our embrace of the marketing and the pressing need in the marketplace. At the time that everyone is demanding it. If you aren’t talking to your clients about the cloud someone else is and the time to move them is now – but should you hire people just for a short term project to get this done? We feel like we can help there as well.

Success Beyond Traditional IT

I am always asked by partners and IT folks what I would do if I were in their shoes right now. What would I focus on?

I, Vlad Mazek, would focus on building up a larger revenue stream. The more money you have coming in and the more profitable you become the more bets you can make. I don’t sit in your shoes and I don’t know which specific terrific opportunities you may have in your local region – but I know that the only way you can take advantage of them is if you have the funds to market yourself and the time (read: employees) to convert the opportunity into cash.

This is why we are doing what we are doing – our smartest and biggest partners realize that the bottom of the traditional IT is going to fall out from the profitability chain and will no longer drive value. However, if you hold on to your clients and help them with the mobile, cloud, devices and so on there is a way to sustain margins and move on up.

Tune in, join up

Download the webinar and hear us out – it’s remarkably easy to get into the cloud with ExchangeDefender and so many people are already marketing the solution to your customers that the sales and value proposition is already clear to them: They just need to know how you’re going to help them do it.

We are at the greatest point of SMB IT – you’ve never been able to build a more sophisticated IT environment for less – and many small businesses are jumping on the opportunity. This is your chance to be a part of it without having to do a lot of work, without having to hire a ton of people, without having to work weekends and most importantly: Without having to lose your clients to a third party or pricing power.

We believe that the opportunity in SMB IT has never been bigger than it is now: It should be evident by the fact that we are providing these services without any additional costs. We are literally putting our money where our mouth is: We want to reward our partners for years of loyalty and give you an advantage in the marketplace. Eventually we will start charging for the migration services as bigger and bigger projects show up but right now you have nothing to lose and lots of new business to gain. Call us and let’s get this started.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek
CEO, ExchangeDefender

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