I spent the day today at the CompuCom vendor fair in Dallas, TX.  CompuCom is one of Ipswitch’s sales channel partners, and the purpose of attending today’s event was to talk about Ipswitch File Transfer solutions with CompuCom’s team of account managers and sales representatives.

Today’s goal was to raise awareness, education level and excitement about  Ipswitch File Transfer solutions among CompuCom’s 130 or so software sales associates so that they, in turn, will proactively pitch our solutions to their accounts and ultimately close more deals.

I walk away having had dozens of conversations that align with our focus of solving real business problems.   The days of selling “feature feature feature” are over.  In past years, literally thousands of sales centered on a laundry list of features such as 256-bit AES encryption, FTPS, SHA-512 file integrity and administrative separation of duties.  Today, a large (and growing) number of sales conversations center on higher-level topics such as policy enforcement, risk mitigation, visibility into all internal and external file interactions, and how to give end users a simple and secure way to quickly transfer files with other people.

It was definitely a very worthwhile event to participate in and I believe that we successfully raised mindshare and interest level in our portfolio of secure managed file transfer solutions within CompuCom.  And it’s always nice to see some x-large belt buckles while hearing a few success stories from sales reps about how they recently closed some juicy deals.

I have entered many discussions with industry players arguing for MSP models as the future of network management for small and medium businesses.  For the record, I believe the MSP model is a good delivery vehicle for services to small businesses and even some medium sized businesses who have limited resources and / or inadequate technical competence in-house.  I also like the concept behind MSP delivery as a model for other business applications and migration into cloud environments.  For me, the MSP debate is not a discussion about technology as the delivery of monitoring and management technology is mature enough to handle most market and customer demands.  My doubt in the MSP model comes from the business model side which I find often lacks depth in thinking about pricing models that will enable the provider to stay in business while offering the end user business an affordable service.  Second, I attend webinars from leading MSP pure plays in the market and I am often disturbed by the reckless comments I hear.

Last week I attended a webinar for curiosity reasons and this Big 3 MSP provider claimed that ISV’s like Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold and SolarWinds had abandoned the SMB and mid-market and the only choice the SMB market would have over the next year is an MSP based offering.  Further he said the SMB business would be in danger of extinction because of the lack of products and services available to manage the SMB network. He said, “The only way small and medium businesses that rely on the internet for business will stay in business are to take a lifeline from an experienced MSP provider who can monitor and manage their assets and applications.   The more I listened the more I chuckled and worried about the sanity of this salesman.

As he spoke, he reminded me of an environmentalist interviewed last week regarding California’s diminishing population of steelhead trout.  In hopes of luring the endangered steelhead into the Santa Monica Mountains to prosper, California is planning to spend $1M to pave over part of a popular beach with cement and boulders to build a freeway of sorts for fish.  The project is the latest in a steelhead recovery attempt by government agencies that have spent $16 million dollars on concrete fish ladders and fish ways.   Problem is the trout don’t seem to be playing along – not the natural path they instinctively follow and in full disclosure, this public project like many others has real issues like an eight foot jump the trout are supposed to execute between two waterways.  I am no expert in steelhead trout but an eight foot jump seems ambitious.

Many of the lessons learned regarding the trout seems applicable to the MSP efforts.  The MSP model is a cluster of confusion today.  Within this one interactive seminar I attended both end-users and service providers from different companies were present and confusion between providers cost and end-user average cost was abundant.  By the end I estimated the sales person had mentioned traditional software like WhatsUp Gold as bad 10 times.  More interesting to me was that he labeled service-based offering like his as new and exciting but failed to specify the benefits that would make both end users and service providers react positively.

The lesson I took from this experience is one we all aspire to master as product and service providers; provide clear and actionable evidence why your offering is important to the audience you  address.   The recessionary times we are exiting from have made IT buyers smarter than they have been in 20 years.  Either because of economic pressure and or competitive threat, buyers are willing to explore alternatives to existing systems today but they are compelled by pain relief more than ever or solely claiming to be new and exciting will not get you there.  The same trend is handicapping the cloud movement.  Attend a WebEx on “the cloud” and you are inundated with reasons old process and systems are bad and then finally if you don’t close your browser prior; you’ll hear about the benefits the cloud brings.  I am hopeful cloud providers learn the lesson early.

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Discovering, Mapping, Displaying Virtual Machines with WhatsVirtualNetwork managers are always looking for ways to increase performance and simultaneously cut down on  costs. For this reason, the introduction of virtualization in the network was welcomed with open arms and implemented into IT infrastructures across the globe.

Of course, while virtualization has been considered an asset to most organizations’ IT infrastructures, it did not come without complications. In fact, it introduced a whole new set of issues for network administrators tasked with monitoring and managing their networks. A lot of network management solutions out there are not equipt to handle VMware virtualized environments. This forces network admins to employ multiple solutions, resulting in increased workloads and, in some cases, holes in their network topology.

Obviously the increasing migration companies are making towards more virtualized environments within their IT infrastructures has caused network management providers to begin addressing this and integrating it into their solutions. There is, however, a bit of a checklist that should be considered when evaluating virtualized server environment monitoring and management solutions:

  • Automatic discovery and mapping of VMware ESX/ESXI host and guest (virtual) machine roles
  • Native Integration with the Powerful VMware API
  • The ability to instantly execute as well as schedule recurring execution of management tasks of virtual machines
  • Workspace reports for instant visibility into both virtual and physical server environments
  • The ability to receive alerts and notifications when issues arise in your VMware virtualized environment

WhatsUp Gold WhatsVirtual delivers all of the above, and most importantly, allows you to monitor and manage both your physical and VMware virtualized environments from a single console. But don’t take my word for it, here is one of our expert WhatsUp Gold developers to give you some more information:

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It’s great to have a line that’s far above the rest. It’s great to see that in the Magic quadrant, it’s great to see that in a wave, it’s great to see that in any industry report. But what does it all mean? The technology provider I understand that corporate executives like dashboards, spreadsheets, charts and graphs. These are the tools that many of them used to run their businesses day-to-day. But what does it mean to see a spike in the line; or what does it mean to see a drop in the line? The key to any reporting capability is to have solid analysis and analytics. For instance a marketing executive needs to know why the dramatic spikes in news reference volume from some vendors and not others. That same executive would also want to consider why search trends don’t follow news volume.

read more “Looking Deeper Into The Data: Analysis and Analytics”

When we first started speaking with Don Markese, Technology Director of Freehold, New Jersey’s Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD), his network was “more or less a mess.”

His words, not ours.

The FRHSD was decentralized, making it a real challenge for Markese and his team to manage. Adding to that challenge was the absence of network management software in place to assist them.

“Our network was more or less a mess,” Markese told us. “Most of the switches were not manageable and I had no tool at all to help me keep everything up and running.”

A decision was made to overhaul the FRHSD network and luckily for Markese and his team, budget was put in place to purchase a network management solution. At the recommendation of TransNet Corporation (TransNet) – a trusted WhatsUp Gold partner – FRHSD decided to buy WhatsUp Gold Premium (recently given four stars for usability) to monitor their network.

“I was really amazed at just how much WhatsUp Gold can do. It really allowed me to customize the configuration of my alerts and notifications as well as my network maps,” Markese told us. “The product is very intuitive and really allows me to set it up in a way that works best for our network.”

Because of the affordability of WhatsUp Gold, Markese was able to purchase three of our plug-ins, one being our NetFlow Monitor (now Flow Monitor as its functionality has since been extended to monitor S Flow and J Flow). This decision later helped him and his team discover the root of an unauthorized bandwidth spike within one of the school buildings.

“If it weren’t for WhatsUp Gold and NetFlow monitor, that unauthorized usage of the network bandwidth likely would have gone unnoticed and continued to have a negative effect on the overall performance of the network,” Markese said.

Our job is to make the IT professional’s job less hectic . . . and to make this much-needed help accessible to businesses on any scale. We strive to deliver robust, easy-to-use and affordable IT management solutions and I’m proud to say we were able to do just that in the case of FRHSD.

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Happy Birthday YouTube!

Did you know that while the online video giant’s official birthday is February 14, 2005, it was exactly five years ago today that the very first video was uploaded? Well if you didn’t, now you do.

The video was titled “Me at the Zoo,” shot by Yakov Lapitsky. It was just 19 seconds long and featured one of YouTube’s founders, Jawed Karim, at the San Diego Zoo . . . and it marked the beginning of a new way to share and view video online.

As a business, Ipswitch, Inc. has come to rely heavily on YouTube to help distribute content – from tutorial videos to viral videos – about our WhatsUp Gold product.

If you haven’t already, check out our library of video on the IpswitchWhatsUpGold Channel. You’ll find an extensive list of tutorial videos walking you through nearly every aspect of our product.

As always, we rely on your feedback to make all aspects of WhatsUp Gold the best IT management solution  we can – so if you have an opinion, don’t hold back and comment here!

This month I was working with a large U.S.-based bank on a file transfer eDiscovery project.  In the past, when people thought about eDiscovery, they though about email only, or maybe also instant messages.  Now, however, it’s dawned on IT and risk management groups that business documents, plans, sale figures and other files are being sent by their employees to other people outside the company using file transfer capabilities.

In some cases, these “send file” capabilities are being provided by hosted SaaS solutions.  Other times, they are being provided by on-premises software.  Ipswitch provides both hosted and on-premises solutions that allow people to exchange files using browsers, Outlook or other clients, so this topic comes up in many conversations.

The project I was working on with the bank was around the archives of previously sent packages of files.  To bridge the final gaps between their eDiscovery software and our file transfer archives, they needed to see archived packages of files represented as Microsoft MSG and PST files, so we undertook a project to close that gap while preserving the integrity and complete context of the original file send.

I only see this kind of work continuing to be in demand in the sectors we serve, but I’m curious if eDiscovery has had an impact on YOUR file transfer workflows or archiving procedures too.    Please comment below or send me a message if you’d like to share some of your experiences with file transfer and eDiscovery.

Ipswitch File Transfer takes pride in the fact that our solutions are installed and configured quickly by customers.  A key differentiator of ours in the marketplace is that our solutions are deployed much quicker than other vendor products, resulting in our customers seeing very rapid time-to-value from their investment.

However, we’ve been getting requests from some customers and prospects asking for assistance in either deploying or customizing their Ipswitch File Transfer solution – Not because doing it themselves would be overwhelming, overly complicated or time-consuming, rather they simply don’t have the internal resources or expertise to do it themselves.

As a result, Ipswitch File Transfer is pleased to announce the launch of our new portfolio of Professional Services offering for new and existing customers which complement our innovative suite of secure and managed file transfer solutions.

read more “New professional services to complement innovative managed file transfer solutions”

A big frustration of many employees is that they have problems sending very large files to other people, both inside and outside of their company.  Often times IT has placed file size restrictions on email without providing an alternate solution for getting that really big (and often company-confidential) file to someone else.

So while IT has successfully relieved the burden from the email server, they have subsequently created a situation where employees need to scramble to find their own method for sending that large file such as USB drive, DVD, personal email accounts or file sharing website – All of which are outside of the control and visibility of IT, not to mention this adds extra security risk to the company.

In fact, Ipswitch’s recent survey uncovered that over 90% of IT and security executives admitted to using thumb drives and other external devices to move data.  And nearly 70% said that they have no visibility into files outside of their organization.

The new MOVEit DMZ Ad Hoc Transfer module enables secure person-to-person file transfer using a Web browser or Microsoft Outlook.  Unlike other software and services that are currently in the market today, Ipswitch’s Ad Hoc Transfer module not only allows users to seamlessly share information without sacrificing productivity, it also allows companies to stay firmly within compliance of their auditing policies particularly those around email/email attachment retention and discovery.

Please watch a short webcast where Tony Perri, CISSP and Senior Solutions Architect at Ipswitch File Transfer, showcase the new version of MOVEit DMZ and our exciting new Ad Hoc Transfer module

Ipswitch, Inc. hasn’t forgotten its humble beginnings. In fact, we’re proud of our past.

Roger Greene founded Ipswitch, Inc. in 1991.  We started off small, but thanks to his vision and business savvy and the support of our customers, it’s been nearly twenty years and we’re still private and profitable!

MoxieStarting a small business takes moxie. As passionate people ourselves we appreciate that trait in anyone.

It’s for that reason we’re proud to announce that Ipswitch Network Management will donate $1 for every download of its WhatsUp Gold software to Accion USA through May 31st. 2010.

Accion USA, a leader in U.S. microfinance, provides affordable small business loans to microentrepreneurs.

If you’ve been putting off giving WhatsUp Gold a try, Stop and download today. Not only will you make your life easier, you’ll be making the life of a small business owner somewhere in the U.S. easier too!

Software should make your life simpler.

That’s been the mantra of our WhatsUp Gold developers from year one, nearly 20 years ago.Today, this dilegence and commitment to our customers was vindicated by NetworkManagementSoftware scribe, Aaron Leskiw.

Leskiw conducted an in-depth review of WhatsUp Gold Premium, focusing on the usability and simplicity of the product in relation to the robust feature set that it delivers.

Leskiw’s bottom line on the review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition was: “The big question is: Does WhatsUp Gold deliver on its promise of making your job easier? Yes it does – and very well! All of the features tested performed superbly and the software was simple to install.

Share in our success (afterall, it’s with your feedback that we’ve successfully developed our user-friendly IT Managemetn solution!) and check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

Check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

A recent review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition from Aaron Leskiw on networkmanagementsoftware.com poses the question: Does network management have to be complicated?

Obviously, we think it should be just the opposite, and build our network management solutions with the goal of making the life of a network administrator that much easier. Leskiw conducted a pretty in-depth review of WhatsUp Gold Premium, focusing on the usability and simplicity of the product in relation to the robust feature set that it delivers.

The bottom line on the review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition? Well Leskiw had this to say: “The big question is: Does WhatsUp Gold deliver on its promise of making your job easier? Yes it does – and very well! All of the features tested performed superbly and the software was simple to install.

Check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

With all the news around the Apple iPad, I was determined that I would not buy one until the second generation became available. With the second generation, prices will undoubtedly come down and I’ll get more functionality than what’s available in the first generation. I learned my lesson with the first iPhone and the first iPod.

As I sat around on Sunday feeling very smug, I looked over at my five-year-old son who was playing with his iPod Touch. It hit me that not only do I have to base the decision of when to buy an iPad on my technology geekness, I have to base it on my son’s needs and desires. Simply put, the iPad, and similar gadgets, were not built for my generation…but built for my son’s.

With more and more digital natives entering the workplace and procuring executive positions in companies all over the world, the traditional methodologies, mechanisms, and technologies for dealing with risk will have to change. The reason for this is simple: digital natives place a different level of risk on personal and enterprise intellectual property and information. In a world where everyone can be found on Facebook and the intimate details of every company can be found via blog sites, forum discussions, and on a company’s website itself, determining how much risk should be assigned to any individual piece of information is changing and in fact becoming more dynamic.

Let’s expand this thought. What do we need to do to ensure that our technology is being built for use by “Generation I” (ones who always had iPods) and digital natives? If issues around security and trust dramatically change, as we see them already, what does the future WS_FTP client and WS_FTP server  look like? What are the expectations that our future customers will have for this technology? Is it just a new experience, e.g. GUI change? Or do we assume that many of the basics around security and management are taken care of? What does it mean for portability and mobility? Should a user be able to carry around their WS_FTP license for use on any machine? This begs an answer to the question…are Google, Apple and Microsoft my real competitors or are they just enabling the underlying infrastructure that will be and should be commoditized?

These are real questions that need real answers…and we need to have those answers very soon. As we embark on delivering technology and services that are aligned with our next-generation architecture, issues such as what to do about “Generation I” and digital natives must be addressed.

Just a few thoughts…