February and we just can’t seem to get away from the dual obsessions of hosted solutions and security. Particularly telling in the SMB sector, it looks like these are two areas we are going to be hearing a lot about over the course of the year.

SMBs Moving to Hosted Solutions

Remember the Forrester report that said companies were reluctant to store data in the cloud? Well another report -- from Microsoft  (news, site)  this time -- says that while that may be the case, SMBs that are using hosted solutions in the business activity appear to be faring better financially.

The global SMB IT and Hosted IT Index 2010, which investigates how SMBs across multiple segments fared during the recession, shows that more SMBs surveyed in 2010 reported an increase in revenue than in 2008 with IT seen as critical to their business success.

The 2010 index indicates SMBs are beginning to see the benefits of cloud computing; more than 40 percent of the respondents that use hosted or cloud technology reported revenue rises of 30 percent or more compared with 90 percent of respondents not using hosted technology that saw decreases in revenue.

Carried out by Vanson Bourne for Microsoft, a specialist research-based technology marketing consultancy, between November 2009 and January 2010, t he research questioned 3,193 small and midsize businesses SMBs s worldwide.

There are some really interesting figures here including:

  • 65 percent of SMBs are using hosted software to some extent, with 73 percent of the remainder considering it, compared with only 44 percent in the 2008 Index.
  • 36 percent said a pay-as-you-go model would be attractive.

The full report gives a breakdown of areas studied as well as a global view of where SMBs are going with hosted solutions. If you’re interested you can send a request by e-mail for it.

McAfee to Protect SMBs?

Maybe it’s in response to the recent McAfee sponsored research into data security that we highlighted recently, or indications that security was high on the list of SMBs must haves, but whatever it is, the company has just announced the launch of McAfee Security Quickstart Services.

Targeted specifically at SMB IT departments, the services are designed to deliver full lifecycle service support from implementation assistance to user training and ongoing maintenance, to optimization of security management best practices.

Available as standalone services or in bundles, the standalone services include:

  • McAfee Security Quickstart Training: A one-year unlimited access to a large library of McAfee product and technology video training modules.
  • Quickstart HealthCheck: Helps to automatically assess the security readiness of a SMB’s security policies with the click-of-a-button by interpreting security policy settings
  • Quickstart Experts-On-Demand: McAfee remote expert consultants that guide companies through the implementation, optimization and configuration of McAfee-based security solutions.

The company says its research shows that organizations that put more effort into preventing attacks can end up spending less than a third as much as those that allow themselves to be at risk. True or not, do you really want to risk it?

Kofax Still Targeting SMB Market

In the buzz of the recent release of Kofax Capture v9.0 and MarkView 6.5, the upgrade to Kofax Express to v2.0, targeted specifically at the SMB sector has happened relatively quietly.

The open source document management vendor has upgraded the all in one scan to archive software package for image capture applications with a list of new features that are designed to improve usability and expand its functionality.

Kofax Express was released in 2008 as a batch scanning application aimed at the SMB segment of the capture market where the company said it had been losing ground at the time.

The recent release of v2.0, Kofax (news, site)  said, underlines its commitment to this part of the market, which always on the look- out for solutions are easy on the pocket but also work effectively.

There are a number of enhancements here particularly with the automatic image file import, the new PDF support, and advanced database support capabilities.

Microsoft Outlook and DocuWare Integrate

DocuWare (news, site)  which provides document management software for SMBs , has just announced that it has integrated with Microsoft Outlook to enable its document management software access and use archived e-mail and documents straight out of Microsoft Outlook.

In addition, any number of attached files can be displayed, further processed and sent out in their original format or as a PDF. Users never have to leave their familiar Outlook environment.

In future, Outlook can directly access archived e-mail and documents from the central document pool. Attachments in a variety of formats can be seamlessly displayed and edited in the Microsoft application as well as sent in an original format or as a PDF.

It will also enable the integration of DocuWare result and task lists into Outlook. Users can then monitor deadlines and documents such as invoices awaiting authorization -- without ever leaving the Microsoft Outlook application. Self-defined search masks facilitate the streamlining of processes.