Saturday, October 4, 2008

Las Dos Amys

Amy Babinchak and Amy Luby at SMB Nation's Saturday lunch

Two of the important ladies attending SMB Nation are both named Amy. Amy Babinchak is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who handles support services for IT professionals like me and others attending SMB Nation. She is considered an expert on firewall protection and has advocated very strongly for ISA Server under the Windows Small Business Server platforms. One of the interesting turns for IT professionals that has happened since the announcement of the release of Windows SBS Server 2008 has been the decision by Microsoft to no longer include ISA Server in its newest platform. That has translated into a number of hard decisions by IT consultants as to how to maintain ISA Server under a Windows SBS 2008 environment or whether to find a hardware device or software solution that might do the same job as ISA. Babinchak's talk titled "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions," dealt with many of these challenges for those IT professionals who protect networks from outside attacks or intrusions that might emanate from within. A remote operator who telecommutes from a home computer might not know that his or her son downloaded a malware last night while downloading a hip-hop. When he gets authentication to enter the workplace network, he has unwittingly allowed the malware to propagate on the network. Amy is one of those IT professionals who advises against such practices and she is paid well for her wise advice by her own clients who look to her for pearls of knowledge and best practices. Meanwhile, the IT industry has been going through a paradigm shift lately as a result of the managed services business model. Instead of the old business model of "break/fix," wherein a client notifies an IT professional that something is not working and that his or her services are needed, the managed services business model is proactive and robust. Amy Luby, the CEO of MSPSN (MSP Services Network) also caters to IT professionals who are looking to get a piece of a $42 billion industry. That's correct. $42 billion. Luby helps bring IT consultants the ability to manage their own businesses as well as to integrate them into managed services for their own clients. Being able to fix network problems remotely, back up data, prevent unwanted intrusions and report on this for clients is something that I am keenly interested in for my clients. Also, being able to better manage my own company resources is something that is also a high priority for me. So, the two Amys have quite a number of followers who respect what they do and say. It's fascinating that two lovely ladies can attract so many because of the charm of their business applications in addition to their pulchritude. 

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