Small Business Product Watch Roundup

Try as we might, we can’t report on every product or service that passes over the editor’s desk here at Small Business Computing. But as any high-wire act can tell you, working without a net doesn’t make any sense. Our net is the Product Watch page, where we post press releases on products we think small business owners may find useful, but that we simply don’t have the time to investigate in detail.

From time to time, we’ll call out a few of the items that catch our eye and offer features suited for small business. Caveat emptor, dear readers: we haven’t reviewed most of these products. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find a gem that could make running your business a little bit easier. Here’s what’s looking good this week on Product Watch.

An online, subscription-based service designed to let people work together from different locations. This “virtual office” combines file sharing, collaboration and storage with diaries, contacts, tasks and e-mail, making it easier to work remotely with co-workers.The product also includes a version that runs on PDAs.

The Windows-based app runs over the Internet (and in “offline mode” without connecting to the Internet) and comes with the following features:

  • 30-Day Free Trial
  • 100MG free file storage (between up to five people)
  • Customizable user-defined fields
  • Free upgrades and free support
  • Diaries: An unlimited number that you can share them with colleagues
  • Contacts: Held in groups. You control who has access permission
  • E-mail: View sent and received e-mails no matter your location
  • Tasks: Share tasks with colleagues
  • File store: Access files from anywhere
  • Reminders: Via e-mail, SMS or pop up
  • Notes: The electronic equivalent of Post-Its

Pricing starts at $82 per year for one person. A five-person subscription costs $410.

MessageLabs Small Business Security Solutions
MessageLabs claims it offers “world-class protection from e-mail and Web threats at an affordable and predictable cost.” Its Small Business Solutions is a collection of managed services designed to provide anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-spyware and URL filtering without the need for investing in any software or hardware.

Small businesses can subscribe to services in any of these three main areas:

Email and Web Security
Protection against all e-mail and Web threats, including viruses, spam, phishing, trojans and spyware. It also includes URL filtering for setting and enforcing company Web usage policies.

E-mail Security
Provides protection against all e-mail threats including viruses, spam, phishing, trojans and other forms of malware.

Web Security
Protection against all Web-based threats including viruses, spyware, adware, phishing, trojans and other forms of downloadable malware. It also includes URL filtering.

When you subscribe to either of the first two options, you can upgrade to what MessageLabs calls Complete Security and Control. This is designed to let you set and enforce e-mail acceptable usage policies and provide inbound and outbound e-mail policy enforcement for both content and images.

Contact the company for information on pricing.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M
Gotta Mac? Need document management? Then Fujitsu’s got a scanner in mind for you. The ScanSnap S500M color scanner lets you convert paper documents to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files – which, says the company, are easier to organize, store and protect than hard copies.

The scanners many features include

  • 50-page automatic document feeder
  • Adobe Acrobat® 7.0 Standard software bundle
  • Optical resolution up to 600dpi
  • Compact design (6.2-x11.2-x6.2-inches)
  • Dual 600dpi color CCD optical array for scanning both sides of a page
  • Automatic color detection
  • Automatic blank-page detection and deletion
  • Automatic paper size detection
  • Automatic image de-skew
  • PDF thumbnail viewing
  • Automatic document-feed cover
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap Manager software
  • USB 2.0 support

The scanner sells for $495.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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