Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How is your business outlook for 2009?

Thanks to all for their support of our webcast yesterday for Microsoft’s 5W/50 program.

One informal poll that we had for computer companies out there was to see how business looks for 2009.

We had about 65 attendees and here’s the results we got:

The same as 2008: 17 - 47%

Worse than 2008: 12 - 33%

Better than 2008: 7 - 19%

So what does that tell me?  For one thing the old 80/20 rule applies.  80% think it won’t be such a great year.  20% do.  Isn’t it funny how that always appears in business? 

Secondly, most people are being realistic.  I think we’ve got to be with the current economic climate.  Only 19-20% think they will generate more revenue in 2009.  Count me in the 19%.  I think we will do better but will it match 2007 and 2008.  No it won’t.  I know that right now in January.

Around 80% see either the same or worse figures than 2008.  That’s a BIG number.  No doubt to continue to grow in this economic climate will require more work not less.  It will require dedication and it will require being better justified with each and every dollar you spend.

I think that’s where we come in as IT providers.  We can definitely provide most folks out there with better spending of their dollar so they can get $5 back or more with every one they spend.

A prime example is our unified communications offering.  Just having that allowing for remote teleworkers or remote branches to be tied in over the Internet could mean serious dollars to the bottom line of those monthly recurring bills.

Our computer care advantage program is another area to save money.  I know that no one wants to see someone lose their job but if people are and you can replace an individual with an entire fleet of techs for less than the cost of a part time person would you do it?  I know I would.  I have my family to think about.  It may sound mean but realistically we have to be as lean as we can otherwise your business won’t be around very long.

So are you in the 80% or the 20%.  Funny how the 80/20 rule always applies in just about everything in life.  Hopefully this can be the year you’re in the 20%.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Need a Web Content Management Solution? Try Joomla

OK so I’m definitely not a web guru but I have to admit that trying to keep web content in order can be a true hassle.  And making easy edits and adds to a website can be a major anxiety for most people and business owners.

If you’re in this boat then I suggest trying out Joomla.  Recommended to me by one of my HTG peers I’m checking it out as an Open Source alternative to the myriads of items out there.  It has strong support and is pretty cool under the covers.

FTP Server not working externally in Windows Server 2008

One of the great things now about Windows Server 2008 is the included advanced firewall.  It is very granular and better security is always appreciated.

 

However as with more security usually comes more difficulty is getting rules correct and services working.

Recently we moved our website over to Server 2008 and also our FTP server.  FTP was working fine from the server but any external clients couldn’t browse the contents of the FTP directory.

FTP is kind of one of those funky protocols that really is useful but horrible for security and configuration. 

First thing I recommend is going and getting IIS 7 FTP from Microsoft.  It’s not included in the DVD’s for Windows Server 2008.

The next step is to read the firewall document.

You’ll notice down the doc the part about stateful FTP filtering for data connections…that was our problem.

We needed to issue the following command to get it right:

netsh advfirewall set global StatefulFtp enable

So keep those Windows Firewalls on, don’t just disable them and forget em but dig in a little and keep yourself secure.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Vista Sync Center and Offline Partnership after Migration

OK folks so we did our Small Business Server 2008 migration this past week during the down time when everybody else takes off work.  (Yeah we took off a couple of days as well so it’s not all violin music)  I’ll present my findings in another post but I wanted to send out something that has been bugging me since the migration.

On my Vista Business laptop I had our company share directory enabled for offline use via the familiar “Always Available Offline” item that Vista gives you the option for.  This was great and allowed me to take company information with me and even function as an up to date backup if need be….security risks and storage aside.

But now after the migration and we’ve moved the data I didn’t stop those partnerships.  Now I have all this data and a dead partnership that I don’t need anymore.  And worse yet since I couldn’t connect Vista in it’s wise functioning won’t let me stop the syncing or the partnership.

So what does a wise computer user do?

Thankfully I found a little known reg hack that will allow you to blow away the sync center database upon reboot and start afresh.  Here’s the steps:

In registry, create a DWORD value called FormatDatabase under
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC\Parameters. To this value, assign the value of 1.

Then restart the computer.

Now make sure that you don’t need anything else in the sync center and that you’ve updated anything offline already as it will indeed blow away everything and start fresh.

For me it did the trick.  I restarted logged in a little longer than normal and it automatically set up my sync for my desktop and My documents to the new redirectedfolders area on our new SBS 2008.

Maximizing Success in Troubled Times Webinar

Hey folks and hope you’re having a great start to 2009.  If you’re a Microsoft Partner please join me as my buddies Karl Palachuk and Scott Mallet and I present on Maximizing Success in Troubled Times.  We’ll go over current things to consider in the solution provider arena and how to prevent problems in 2009.

When:

Monday January 12th.  12 PM EST.

To Register:

https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=259605