There have been some interesting moves in the SMB voice technology market this week with Google making Google Voice freely available and the release of eVocie’s Blackberry App. From a security point of view, research from CDW indicates that many companies are not going secure their data until the very worst happens.

Google Voice Available For All

It’s now more than a year since Google went into beta with Google Voice, but as of this week it is now officially open to everyone (in the US and Canada). The new service adds another tool to the already comprehensive list of tools available to SMBs, this one adding single phone number communication that rings a user's multiple lines, including home, office and cell phones.

Originally available only to people who were invited onto the network it offers a web-based voicemail inbox as well as free calls across the US and Canada, and between the two countries.

While the service is open to all, this will be particularly attractive to SMBs who cannot afford to invest in entire communication infrastrutuctures across all the different elements of their business nor the human resources to have all business points manned by an employee.

In effect, by making this available -- no dates yet for outside the US and Canada but it's sure to come -- Google has closed the circle of business apps needed by SMBs to carry out most of their business functions for free, or very cheaply, depending on which one of its apps you decide to use.

Chances are that as Microsoft (news, site) and Google battle it out with Web Apps and Google Docs respectively, with this service many SMBs are likely to opt to run with Google if only for the simplicity of having all services and apps coming from the same provider.

There are a couple of problems with Voice. In particular the fact that companies can’t take their existing phone with them to Google Voice, but it’s unlikely that these problems will persist. Check out this video if you're interested in more.

eVoice Releases Blackberry Voice App

And speaking of voice, eVoice has just announced the availability of its new BlackBerry mobile phone app as a free download.

The BlackBerry app enables users to answer and route calls and convert voice mails to text. A brand of technology provider j2 Global Communications, the new app is currently available online as a six-month free trial.

In effect, it does much the same as the Google Voice app, but for Blackberry, enabling mobile workers to route incoming business calls to multiple phone numbers, including cell, home office and home phone. Other features include

  • Click to Call/Caller ID: Enables users return calls directly from within the message
  • Message Search
  • Enhanced Speed Dialling

After the initial six month trial period, eVoice has three pricing plans starting at US $12.95 per month with all kinds of combinations of different services.

Zoho Offers Wiki 2.0 To SMBs

Last week Zoho (news, site) released Zoho Wiki 2.0 that with the benefit of Zoho's lost cost pricing, will give SMBs better information management as well as software for group collaboration. New in Zoho Wiki 2.0 are:

  • Workspaces: Fully customizable workspaces exclusively for their departments, teams or branches.
  • Enterprise Wiki Permissions: Multiple group permissions for better access controls with easily defined edit or view permissions.
  • Business Support: Organizations that have bought Zoho Business can now seamlessly integrate Zoho Wiki.
  • Improved Wiki Home Page: The wiki home page is better organized with wikis classified as organizational, your own and those you are subscribed to.

Check out the following slide show to find out more.

Waiting For Data Attacks!

What would a week be with something about security and current threats? Technology developer CDW, has recently released the results of its IT Threat Prevention Straw Poll, based on a survey of 200 information technology (IT) security managers and decision makers at medium and large businesses across the US.

Nothing really new here, but it re-enforces what we have seen time and time again. The results show:

  • 37% of business IT security managers believe that data loss from internal threats, negligence and/or accidents (e.g., loss of devices) are the major security issue.
  • 24% believed evolved forms of current threats (e.g., breaches, viruses or worms) as their biggest threat.
  • 18% believed malicious attacks or targeted intrusions as the biggest threat.
  • 14% said autonomous or untargeted robotic networks were the biggest threat.

Bottom line folks, is that IT managers are losing most sleep over human error and malice. Even worse than that, only 17% said that nothing at all would convince their companies to invest in higher levels of threat prevention, and 18% said no new security until something really, really bad happens.

The full IT Threat Prevention Straw Poll report and be downloaded from the CDW site.

Chatter-ing For SMBs

Finally, after roughly half a year of waiting, Salesforce (news, site) finally took Chatter, a collaboration platform commonly referred to as "Facebook for the enterprise," out of beta.

Chatter takes the fundamental communication and collaboration features we've come to expect in our online social lives and hooks them into the platform.

Chatter's been given a few new features since last we looked at it, including a Groups tool for users who want to create public or private groups for sharing information.

And, because it's based on the system, applications and extensions can be built with Chatter-explicit functions. This also means Chatter is accessible from all other core Salesforce products, and the 160,000+ applications built on the platform. Looking for more? Check it out here.