Security is again on the radar with Microsoft offering micro-enterprises free copies of its Security Essentials solution, while Google says it is introducing compliant records management to Apps through software start-up RecMan. Meanwhile, research from Spiceworks shows SMB spending is on the rise.

Microsoft Offers Micro-Enterprise Security

Microsoft (news site) continues its foray into the SMB sector, this time with the offer of free security solutions that Microsoft says will cover all the bases.

The new solutions come in the shape of Microsoft Security Essentials, which will be offered to companies with up to 10 PCs for free.

As part of the offer, companies will not have to register the software, carry out trials or renewals, and is available for download directly from Microsoft from the beginning of October.

In case SMBs feel that they’re getting a lesser deal on this than larger enterprises get, Microsoft says Security Essentials is powered by the same core malware protection engine that drives all its enterprise solutions.

It uses advanced system scanning and removal technologies that employ a definitions database that details the characteristics and behaviors of known malware. Threats are collected every month from PCs around the world and are assessed by the Microsoft Malware Protection Center to provide security patches.

Microsoft has been very busy with SMBs recently. You may recall earlier in the month that Microsoft  confirmed that it will release a public beta of the SMB Server 7 by the end of the month, which will support up to 75 Client Access Licenses as well as provide backups and off-premise access to files and other items stored there.

Well there’s only a week to go so we should be hearing about this in the next few days too. The Security Essentials package will be available not long after that, probably the beginning of October, Microsoft says. Want to find out more?

Google Apps Gets Compliant Records Management

A couple of SMB related items from Google this week. The first is that RecMan has announced the availability of RecMan for Google Apps, web-based compliance and records management software designed to ensure policy and regulation compliance for Google Apps users.

Google says that at the moment there are more than 20 million users within businesses, government agencies, schools and other organizations using Apps, but that many others, particularly in the public sector can’t use it because it does not have any built-in document compliance or records management features.

Enter RecMan. With the release of RecMan for Google Apps this gap is filled. Even better, it conforms to the three main standards for compliance and electronic records management including ISO 15489, DoD 5015.2 and MoReq2.

RecMan for Google Apps enables records managers and compliance officers to easily and quickly apply organizational policies to all of the information stored in Google Apps. And it’s also easy to use. Once records management policies have been set up users can drag and drop their document into the appropriate shared folder or choose it from the folder menu of Google Docs.

The document then falls under the control of RecMan for Google Apps, enabling all of the access and retention policies of the organization to be applied automatically.

RecMan for Google Apps is available in the Google Apps Marketplace for US$ 18 per user annually.

Release of Google Docs Mobile Editor

Second piece of news from Google is that it has announced this week that that iPad and Android versions of Google Documents with mobile editing capabilities will be arriving "in the next few weeks."

There isn’t a lot more on the blog post from Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard, who says that the new editing capabilities for the Android-based and iPad-based Google Docs were showcased at the Google Atmosphere cloud computing event in Paris recently.

Although details on the update were sparse, Girouard confirmed the new versions for Android and iPad will be released in coming weeks. He did say, though:

In the next few weeks, co-workers around the world will soon be able to co-edit files simultaneously from an even wider array of devices,"

What happens with iPad and its iWork suite of apps is anyone’s guess. At the moment Google Docs users can view, but not edit files with the iPad in several Microsoft Office formats.

There’s no more detail on the release date but we’ll find out soon enough. If you want to read the blog post yourself check it out here.

SMB Spending Rising - SpiceWorks

And some more good news, this time from SpiceWorks (news, site) who in a report released recently says that IT related budgets at SMBs are up over 4% on figures announced for January through June 2010.

The high spending points are in the areas of virtualization as well as staffing increases, especially in companies with under 20 employees. Key highlights from the survey include:

  • The average annual IT budget for small and medium businesses is now US$ 121,770 up from US$ 117,200 in the first half of 2010.
  • 68% of IT professionals plan to utilize some form of virtualization by the end of 2010.
  • 20% of small to medium sized businesses plan to add full-time IT staff by the end of 2010 particularly in companies with less than 20 employees.
  • 35% of IT budgets for the second half of 2010 are allocated to software purchases.

There’s a lot more here and well worth a read. You can download a free copy of the report from the website.

CommVault Releases Cloud Disaster Recovery

Finally, for SMBs that are prepared to take the cloud jump, CommVault (news, site) is introducing a cloud disaster recovery service for the mid-market that will considerably reduce the costs of deploying such a system on-premise.

With CommVault's integrated cloud storage connector for Simpana software, users can move on-premise backup and archive data securely and reliably to Rackspace Cloud Files, which provides online storage for files and media.

The result gives customers the opportunity to reduce internal IT costs by moving infrequently accessed files and email data off expensive, tier-one storage to lower-cost cloud storage.