Say hello to our newest batch of lesser-known, up-and-coming, underappreciated providers of software and services for the SMB channel. You may not know them yet, but you’ll wish you’d found them sooner.By ChannelPro
Catbird Networks Inc.
Roughly 80 percent of server workloads globally are virtualized at present, according to Gartner Inc., and virtual networking is taking off as well. Catbird Networks, of Scotts Valley, Calif., specializes in safeguarding all of those virtual assets, or at least the ones running on VMware or OpenStack. Its Insight product automatically inventories virtual infrastructure components and helps you divvy them up into segments it calls “TrustZones.” The company’s Secure solution then lets you apply customized security policies to those segments. Both systems are software-defined themselves, so there are no local appliances to install. catbird.com
Founded by University of Cambridge mathematicians and ex-intelligence operatives, Darktrace (which has dual headquarters in Cambridge, England, and San Francisco) makes an “enterprise immune system” that uses machine learning technology to build an evolving picture of normal conditions for a given network so it can act immediately when anomalies occur. A physical appliance sits at the heart of the solution, but there are software-based appliances as well that extend Darktrace functionality into public clouds and virtualized infrastructures. darktrace.com
Like Darktrace, Israel and New York-based illusive networks was founded by veterans of the intelligence community, in this case former members of Israel’s elite Unit 8200 cybersecurity group. The product they created fills customer environments with constantly changing swarms of phony endpoints, users, and servers that stymie would-be attackers by making it impossible for them to tell what’s real and what’s fake. Authorized users only see legitimate resources, moreover, so if the system notices someone probing a fake they know immediately it’s an unauthorized visitor. Illusive offers deal registration, joint marketing funds, and training materials as well through its reseller partner program. illusivenetworks.com
Infinite Group Inc.
This Pittsford, N.Y.-based company makes a vulnerability management solution named Nodeware. Built around a small, plug-and-play appliance, the system automatically scans customer networks for connected devices and continually checks anything it finds for problems like missing software patches. Technicians can see the results of those inspections on the system’s dashboard, and receive immediate word of any problems via email or SMS alerts. Affordably priced, the system equips MSPs to turn vulnerability detection from an occasional fixed-fee service into an ongoing source of incremental recurring revenue. nodeware.com
Ignore the inevitable Big Brother cracks this Boston-based vendor’s solution is sure to inspire. Malicious and just plain clueless insiders are a hugely potent security threat, and ObserveIT’s software helps mitigate the dangers they pose by surreptitiously watching every employee’s computer activity, capturing anything suspicious on video, and alerting technicians when investigation is warranted. Behavior management functionality also lets you automatically warn negligent users when they’re inadvertently putting the business at risk and teach them safer ways to proceed. observeit.com
Cortado Mobile Solutions GmbH
Is it an administrative tool or a productivity solution? How about both? Cortado Corporate Server, from German software maker Cortado Mobile Solutions, with U.S. headquarters in Denver, combines mobile device and application management tools with file sync and share and mobile printing modules. The system’s latest edition also includes “virtual data room” functionality that lets you share content with customers, business partners, and other outsiders in safely sequestered spaces without providing access to the rest of the network. cortado.com
Nintex Global Ltd.
Building workflows that involve one application is relatively straightforward. Building workflows that link Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft OneDrive is a different story. Workflow Cloud, from Bellevue, Wash.-based Nintex, is designed to simplify that complex task. Hosted online, the system serves as a central hub for designing and running custom-tailored work processes incorporating both on-premises solutions and a steadily expanding list of cloud-based products. More a source of project income than recurring revenue, Workflow Cloud is a useful toolbox addition for any collaboration specialist that wants to branch out beyond Microsoft SharePoint. nintex.com
Clover Imaging Group
If you like the sound of adding managed print services but worry about venturing into a field you know little about, Clover Imaging Group, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has a solution worth investigating. Called Axess MPS, it’s a soup-to-nuts outsourced offering in which everything from site assessments and proposal drafting to contract management and supply fulfillment is handled on your behalf on a white-labeled basis. All you have to do is sell the service to new and existing clients, figure out how much margin you want to make, and charge your customers accordingly. Unlike traditional managed print services with per-page pricing, moreover, Clover charges the same recurring per-seat rates that most MSPs already use with customers. cloverimaging.com/axess-mps
Sure, you say you provide great service, but can you prove it? You can if you use SmileBack, the customer satisfaction measurement tool from Seattle, Wash.-based Nex.to. The system automatically sends an email every time you conclude a support process. One quick click is all it takes for your customers to tell you if they’re pleased, displeased, or somewhere in between. The system informs you immediately whenever a response arrives so you can follow up with unhappy customers before they tear up their contract, and provides a variety of reporting metrics. It even comes with a website widget displaying your (presumably excellent) real-time aggregate satisfaction score to potential clients. smileback.io
If you know you should be getting in on the Internet of Things revolution but don’t know how, Swift Sensors, of Austin, Texas, may be just the vendor you’re looking for. The company’s compact, integrated sensors and bridges feed encrypted data on temperature, humidity, vibration, speed, location, and more to a secure, ISO 27001-certified storage repository. Browser-based dashboards and mobile apps then let you view live readings, report on historical data, and set up real-time alerts based on customized rules and conditions. swiftsensors.com
Traction on Demand
While Traction Guest, a guest management solution from Burnaby, British Columbia-based Traction on Demand, may not make you a ton of money, it’s sure to earn you the gratitude—and hence loyalty—of customers who need to keep track of visitors, like medical practices, factory operators, and anyone else who requires that people sign in upon arrival. Entirely cloud-based, the system includes drag-and-drop design tools for creating customized registration processes, and can print name tags with or without photographs. For $180 per location per month you get unlimited sign-ins and data retention. tractionguest.com