Small Business News Briefs

Friday Aug 15th 2003 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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Paychex and ACCPAC team up to beef up Small Business Accounting 2003 payroll options, interMute transforms its ad-blocking software into a worm-killing solution, and McLeodUSA debuts a high-speed Internet access program that includes voice services for small businesses.

Paychex Teams Up with ACCPAC
Paychex, a national provider of payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses, formed a new partnership this week with ACCPAC, a subsidiary of Computer Associates. As a result of the deal, Paychex's payroll processing services are now offered as a full-service option to small business owners who use ACCPAC's popular Simply Accounting 2003 program.

Walter Turek, Paychex senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the partnership is a natural for the Rochester, N.Y.-based firm because its shares ACCPAC's commitment to serving smaller businesses.

"ACCPAC is a leading provider of business management applications for small- and mid-size businesses, and we believe the combination of Paychex with Simply Accounting 2003 offers small businesses a very effective payroll and accounting package at an affordable price," Turek said.

Through the partnership, Paychex is integrated as a payroll option for Simply Accounting 2003 users. For payroll, Simply Accounting 2003 users now have a choice between the do-it-yourself payroll features already part of Simply Accounting and a fully integrated but outsourced payroll service from Paychex.

Scott Garell, ACCPAC Small Business Group senior vice president, said research indicates that Simply Accounting users want just such an integrated and outsourced payroll service.

"Our research found that many Simply Accounting users want the benefits of a fully outsourced payroll solution, but they did not want to enter their payroll data twice," Garell said Scott Garell. "The partnership of ACCPAC with a top company like Paychex combines two great products into one solution that will ensure our clients have real choice in managing their payroll needs."

Simply Accounting 2003 comes in two editions, Basic and Pro, which carry a suggested retail price of $49.99 and $99.99, respectively. The programs are available direct from ACCPAC, as well as software retailers throughout the U.S., including Office Depot and Best Buy. The programs are also available online at Staples.com, Amazon.com, and Buy.com.

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interMute Debuts SpySubtract Software
Call it a timely introduction — interMute is one of many PC security firms that quickly responded to the spread of the "Blaster Worm this week. The Braintree, Mass.-based software maker released SpySubtract, an easy to-use program that detects and safely removes spyware and security threats from PCs.

Already, SpySubtract is protecting users from the malicious Blaster worm attacking Windows-based PCs. Known by a variety of names — including W32.Blaster, MSBlast and W32/Lovsan — the virus-like program first appeared on Monday. Since then, thousands of PC users have downloaded SpySubtract for protection, peaking at a rate of one download per minute.

interMute received advanced warning about the malicious worm because it infects a PC at the same port that interMute's AdSubtract program is positioned. AdSubtract is interMute's best-selling software, which is designed to block pop-up and pop-under advertisements. Because the program also cleans up "cookies," it automatically treated the new worm as an error and alerted users to the threat. interMute essentially uses a similar type of technology in SpySubtract to hunt for worms and viruses rather than unwanted advertisements. interMute quickly SpySubtract available to the general public in order to help stop the worm from spreading.

Available for free, SpySubtract users can halt the Blaster worm's attack before any damage is done. Microsoft disclosed the vulnerability and offered a protective software patch on its website to safeguard vulnerable computers. However, many users neglected to install Microsoft's patch and already have the worm present on their computers.

interMute's SpySubtract software protects Web users' not only from the Blaster worm, but also from all sorts of malicious spyware. Spyware can be a menace to PC privacy and security, affecting anyone who uses a computer. Spyware is different from adware in that adware cookies are harmless — they simply capture specific data so fresh advertisements are served with each visit to a specific website. But malicious spyware programs can monitor computer activities while gathering and transmitting users' personal information. Some popular freeware and music programs quietly install spyware along with their software. interMute's SpySubtract continuously monitors for such invasive software and alerts users when spyware is detected, allowing them to easily and quickly destroy it or leave it be.

The free version of SpySubtract allows users to continually scan and remove spyware. For $29.95, users can upgrade to the Pro version that provides spyware database updates to protect against newly discovered spyware and worms. interMute's products are distributed worldwide in partnership with leading manufacturers of personal computers and Internet connectivity devices. In North America, interMute's products are available at major retail outlets and office superstores.

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McLeodUSA Launches ADSL Service for Small Businesses
Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, McLeodUSA, is one of the nation's largest independent telecommunications service providers. This week the competitive telecom company expanded its digital subscriber line (DSL) services to include a cost-effective offering for small businesses located through its 25-state footprint.

McLeodUSA launched its Preferred Advantage Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) program to allow small business to integrate voice services with broadband Internet access. McLeodUSA can offer the service for less, because ADSL is designed to operate faster on the downstream when receiving data, then on the upstream when sending data.

McLeodUSA's Preferred Advantage ADSL combines always-on high-speed Internet access with local calling services. With the addition of the new ADSL service, McLeodUSA now offers a complete suite of DSL services, ranging from Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) and integrated services digital network DSL (ISDN DSL) for large- to medium-sized businesses, to ADSL for small business and residential customers. Small businesses can sign-up for the program immediately, but residential ADSL services to home offices will not be available until September 2003.

Chris A. Davis, McLeodUSA chairman and chief executive officer, said the market demands high-speed Internet services — especially for small businesses and home offices.

"With the addition of ADSL to our Preferred Advantage product portfolio, small business customers will now be able to enjoy the speed and power of a cost effective, high-speed connection," Davis said.

Preferred Advantage ADSL provides connection speeds up to 45 times faster than traditional dial-up connections, which means no more waiting for downloads or large files to transfer. With ADSL, voice and Internet are combined over one line so customers can surf the Web and make phone calls simultaneously — without having to add a costly second line. The connection is "always-on," meaning users do not have to wait for a dial tone or a modem connection to the Internet.

McLeodUSA's ADSL service includes a choice of speeds and add-on options so that small businesses can customize their Internet plan to meet both their operational and cost requirements. Customers who sign up for the service pay one flat monthly rate, which includes both the ADSL high-speed connection and Internet access using the McLeod.net service. Rates begin as low as $37.95 a month for ADSL 384kb service. Business customers who sign up prior to September 30, 2003 also receive a free broadband router and activation.

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