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Solution providers are turning to recession-resistant
technologies to weather the current economic storm. Technologies such as voice
over IP, security and remote access are becoming the solutions of choice to
create revenue in challenging times. But there are still significant challenges
ahead for those solution providers, ranging from training to product selection
to identifying target markets. In other words, it’s going to take a lot more
than selling a better mouse trap to succeed today and tomorrow.

For solution providers pursuing the small and
midsize business market, the challenges are even greater, competition is fierce,
and products are many. Critical Links has some questions for those stressed
solution providers—what if there were a product that could do it all and then
some, without being hard to implement, support or sell? What if there were a
product that worked as well for startups as it did for established businesses?
What if that same product fit both horizontal and vertical markets? And
finally, what if the product could work as part of an MSP solution, or as part
of a premises solution or even be a sell-and-forget solution? Would solution
providers be interested? Of course, the answer here is academic, hell, yes,
solution providers would be interested.

Critical Links is offering the ultimate answer to
all of those questions with the EdgeBox series of appliances, which defy
traditional categorization. One might call the EdgeBox an office in a box,
while another might claim the EdgeBox is the perfect add-on appliance for a small
business, and neither would be wrong.

So, what exactly is the EdgeBox? The answer is not
that simple. The EdgeBox is a storage, security, VOIP (PBX), remote access,
VPN, unified communications, hosted application appliance that can be
configured to do many additional tasks, easily and quickly.

The advantages to that customizable appliance are
many. First off, solution providers can highlight the VOIP PBX functionality to
sell the appliance into small businesses hungry for advance PBX features as
well as for saving money on phone bills. Or solution providers can sell the
appliance based on its unified communications capabilities, where it can be
used to replace expensive Microsoft Exchange-based solutions. The list of
scenarios goes on and on, which speaks volumes about the EdgeBox appliance
flexibility and adaptability to the SMB market.

Vendors such as Cisco, Adtran, 3Com and others
serving the SMB VOIP market, as well as traditional PBX vendors and some VOIP
service providers, should be worried.