Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Oct 29

AMD to Acquire Xilinx in $35 Billion Deal, Followed by Marvell-Inphi Merger

By | Managed Services News

The two semiconductor deals target growth from edge to cloud.

Consolidation in the semiconductor industry continues to rise with this week’s AMD deal to acquire Xilinx for $35 billion. The acquisition promises to make AMD a considerably larger player, emboldening its expansion into equipping data center, cloud and edge infrastructure.

The AMD deal follows last month’s agreement by Nvidia to acquire Arm for $40 billion. Joining the fray, Marvell on Thursday announced a $10 billion deal to acquire Inphi, a provider of high-speed data movement processors.

All three deals must clear regulatory approvals and won’t likely close before the latter half of next year. Presuming they close, the newly combined semiconductor giants will become more formidable rivals to Intel, the market leader. Intel’s mounting competition is among the latest setbacks facing the company. Just as it faces intensified competition, Intel reported softness in its data center business in the third quarter.

The AMD deal brings technology and financial benefits, CEO Lisa Su said during an investor call.

“AMD will offer the strongest portfolio of high-performance and adaptive computing products in the industry, setting leadership in CPUs, GPUs, FGPAs and adaptive [system on chips],” Su said. “This will enable us to take a leading position, accelerating a diverse set of emerging workloads from AI, to smart networking, and software-defined infrastructure.”

FGPAs

Among various growth markets, the AMD-Xilinx deal puts the spotlight on the market for field programable gate arrays (FPGAs). FPGAs are programable integrated circuits (ICs) capable of parallel processing to allow faster execution of code. While manufacturers use FPGAs for various electrical and mechanical gear, cloud providers use them to boost performance of their infrastructures.

Intel jumped into the FPGA market in 2015 with its $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera.

Futurum Research's Daniel Newman

Futurum Research’s Daniel Newman

“This certainly brings new competitive pressure to Intel because Xilinx is undoubtedly the biggest competitor in the FPGA space,” said Daniel Newman, principal analyst with Futurum Research. Speaking on a podcast discussion with Moor Insights and Strategy principal analyst Patrick Moorhead, Newman added: “I’m wondering what AMD’s plan is to deliver that at scale, because they get the value back at $35 billion. We still remember how much criticism IBM has been getting for Red Hat at $34 billion.”

Besides FPGAs, Su sees growth in Xilinx new smart NIC technology, which will compliment AMD’s Epyc processors used in data center infrastructure and by cloud providers.

“Together, we will be a stronger strategic force powering the next generation data center,” she said.

Marvell-Iphi Deal

The Marvell deal to acquire Inphi dwarfs the AMD deal. But both promise to expand each company’s reach into cloud, edge and 5G networks. Likewise, all of the semiconductor manufacturers are targeting emerging industries. The industry knows Inphi for its electro-optics components that provide the connectivity backbones of cloud data centers and telecommunications infrastructure.

“Marvell’s vision is to move, store, process and secure the world’s data faster and more reliably than anyone else,” said Marvell CEO Matt Murphy, on an investor call. “This acquisition significantly accelerates the move element in our vision. The combined company will be the premier enabler of high-speed data movement; we formed the connective fabric of our global data infrastructure and enables the data economy.”

Moorhead noted on a separate podcast that Marvell’s networking technology operates primarily on copper networks. Inphi’s technology operates with DSPs for fiber optics.

“It’s much higher speed connections,” he said.

Oct 29

Cloud Channel Partners Busy Expanding Services Amid COVID-19

By | Managed Services News

In this news roundup, see what Accenture, 2nd Watch, ClearScale and Lemongrass are doing for organizations.

The various cloud vendors aren’t the only players in the channel leading adoption among organizations. Several cloud channel partners have been busy crafting new services for businesses. Perhaps surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a key contributor to enterprise demand — and partner opportunity. Companies have had to shift to cloud resources at an unexpectedly fast rate to accommodate work-from-home or work-from-anywhere employees. Various studies show that organizations’ digital transformation efforts have sped up amid the pandemic, despite budget concerns. On a practical level, end users cannot slow their own innovation and marketing efforts. And they need cloud tools now more than ever to combat the challenges posed by global lockdowns and restrictions. Cloud channel partners are responding. In this news roundup, find out what several partners are doing to meet customers’ cloud needs in unique ways.

Accenture Buys Enimbos as Part of ‘Cloud First’ Initiative

Global professional services firm Accenture said this week it has acquired Enimbos. The deal marks the latest in Accenture’s 2020 spending spree.

The purchase adds another Amazon Web Services-centric cloud migration and services provider to Accenture. And because Enimbos serves Spain and Portugal, Accenture gains more foothold in Europe, too.

Accenture's Karthik Narain

Accenture’s Karthik Narain

“The acquisition of Enimbos brings more cloud-native skills and experience to our growing Cloud First organization,” said Karthik Narain, Accenture’s Cloud First lead. “We’ve learned from more than 34,000 cloud projects that a cloud-first strategy begins with creating a holistic cloud journey that influences many aspects of a client’s business, including their applications, infrastructure, talent and surrounding cloud ecosystem. Cloud-native capabilities are essential to designing next-generation systems that power the innovation that businesses need today at speed and at scale.”

Accenture’s strategy can serve as a template for fellow cloud channel partners seeking to expand. Indeed, the consultancy continues to broaden the cloud platforms on which it specializes, which speaks to a wider end-user demographic.

“Accenture’s acquisition of Enimbos helps clients access a greater breadth of services and capabilities,” an Accenture spokesperson told Channel Futures. “As a global system integrator for Accenture, Enimbos brings more than 130 AWS certifications and has strong relationships with other cloud providers — including Azure, Google, Oracle and Red Hat —  bringing a total of more than 260 cloud-related certifications.”

So far this year, Accenture has snapped up more than two dozen IT companies — Enimbos stands out as just the latest. Accenture did not disclose the transaction’s pricing or terms. The buying frenzy reflects Accenture’s intent to help organizations shift to “cloud-first” operating models. In September, the company announced its $3 billion “Cloud First” initiative.

“COVID-19 has created a new inflection point that requires every company to dramatically accelerate the move to the cloud as a foundation for digital transformation to build the resilience, new experiences and products, trust, speed and structural cost reduction that the ongoing health, economic and societal crisis demands — and that a better future for all requires,” Julie Sweet, Accenture CEO, said at the time. “Accenture Cloud First and our substantial investment demonstrate our commitment to delivering greater value to our clients when they need it most. Digital transformation requires cloud at scale, and post-COVID leadership requires that every business become a ‘cloud first’ business.”

To that end, Enimbos’s employees are joining Accenture’s Cloud First unit, comprising 70,000 cloud professionals from around the world.

“The addition of Enimbos is a significant step forward in our growth strategy in Spain and Portugal, and in our plans to continue enhancing Accenture’s specialized capabilities with each of the native ecosystem partners in the cloud world, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft,” said Domingo Mirón, who leads Accenture’s business in Iberia. “Most companies have not completed their digital transformation and urgently need to fast-track their innovation journeys. Cloud is the key enabler to complete their transformation, and COVID-19 has further accelerated this mandate. This accelerated transition will shift companies to about 80% cloud in the next three years, and Accenture can guide them to capture the strongest business outcomes possible.”

2nd Watch Takes Aim at Hybrid Cloud via Google Cloud Anthos

Meantime, 2nd Watch, a professional services and managed cloud company, is targeting enterprises that want to use more than one cloud platform.

To that end, the Seattle-based channel partner in late September debuted Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Anthos. Anthos is a Google Cloud-led service that works across on-premises, Google Cloud and other clouds. It lets users move and run applications where they are needed.

2nd Watch says its hybrid cloud solutions with Anthos include an Anthos workshop; Anthos setup and configuration; usage of Migrate for Anthos to containerize applications; deployment of Istio as the underlying service mesh; configuration management; optimization for security, observability and resiliency; and creation of a post-migration image update process.

“Enterprise IT leaders understand the value of modernizing their applications in order to increase agility and efficiency, jump-start growth…

Oct 29

SolarWinds MSP Business Spinoff Expected by Mid-2021

By | Managed Services News

SolarWinds also is searching for a new CEO to succeed Kevin Thompson.

The spinoff of SolarWinds‘ MSP business into a separately traded public company is proceeding with completion anticipated in mid-2021.

That’s what president and CEO Kevin Thompson told investors during SolarWinds’ third-quarter earnings call. In August, SolarWinds said it was exploring a potential spinoff.

The standalone entity would provide IT service management to help MSPs deliver outsourced IT services to their SMB end customers.

SolarWinds would retain its core IT management business focused primarily on corporate IT organizations.

Both Companies Would be Market Leaders

SolarWinds' Kevin Thompson

SolarWinds’ Kevin Thompson

“Based on the additional work we have done over the last 90 days, we continue to believe in the rationale for the separation from strategic operational business growth and value creation perspective as the separation of the MSP business from SolarWinds will create two independent companies that are both market leaders, each focused on their different businesses, customers and strategic initiatives,” Thompson said.

Each business would have the “freedom” to develop investment plans unique to the dynamic and maturity of the markets which they serve, he said.

“It is our intent to proceed forward with the separation process, although the structure and timing of the transaction still must be finalized,” Thompson said.

Pending board approval, the separation would occur during the first half of 2021, he said

“However, there is still a number of legal, organizational and operational items that must be accomplished over the coming months to finalize the definitive proposal for final separation for approval by our board of directors,” Thompson said.

John Pagliuca, president of SolarWinds’ MSP business, will be CEO of the new MSP business.

New CEO

In addition, SolarWinds is searching for a new CEO to succeed Thompson. The new CEO will lead the core IT management business.

“We’ve engaged an outside executive search firm to lead this search,” Thompson said. “And they have presented a number of qualified and interested candidates to the search committee of our board of directors. The search committee has interviewed several candidates and believe that the pool of interested candidates is of high quality. Based on the quality of the candidates that have been interviewed thus far, we hope to be able to complete the search process in a relatively short period of time.”

MSPs use SolarWinds technology to manage the IT environment of over 500,000 SMBs in all parts of the world, Pagliuca said.

“While we saw a slight acceleration in our MSP business as a result of COVID-19, our most recent trends indicate that the MSP market is beginning to reaccelerate,” he said. “However, due to the deceleration we saw around our MSP business in the second quarter, we expect net retention rates to drop slightly in the fourth quarter before beginning to improve in early 2021.”

Last week, SolarWinds announced it’s acquiring SentryOne. SentryOne’s products will expand the support SolarWinds can offer for Microsoft and Microsoft Azure environments.

Oct 29

Reveille Software Launches New MSP Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

The program is designed to meet the unique needs of the MSP market and aid partners’ digital transformation initiatives.

Reveille Software just announced the launch of the Reveille MSP Partner Program. The company designed it specifically for partners who sell and manage IT services for their customers. 

The new MSP Partner Program is part of the Reveille Global Channel Partner Program which went live back in July, marking the company’s shift to selling its ECM management and monitoring solutions exclusively via the channel.

This program is important for partners because of a few key factors:

  • Helping MSPs to ride the digital transformation wave. There is a high correlation between organizations that have launched digital transformation initiatives and the adoption of managed services. That is according to a recent IDG survey. Reveille’s new program provides MSPs with a platform to accelerate these types of strategic initiatives.
  • COVID-19 has exposed the ’the Big Content’ challenge. More employees are logging in from home because of the pandemic. So the need to manage and monitor access to sensitive corporate assets has become a priority. The Reveille platform enables enterprise customers to gain critical visibility across all of their content management systems. This includes out-of-the-box integrations with OpenText, Box, Kofax, IBM and Microsoft.
  • A unique product & proven track record. Enterprises have long struggled to rein in their various ECM platforms, often having little choice but to cobble together their own management and dashboarding systems. Reveille says its is the only purpose-built ECM monitoring and management product on the market. 
Reveille Software's Rick Butgereit

Reveille Software’s Rick Butgereit

Rick Butgereit, CMO of Reveille Software, speaks to the importance of the program from a few different perspectives: 

On the Value to MSPs

“When we initially launched our global channel partner program, we knew the MSP market would be a major focus. Our solution can be easily integrated into an MSPs existing portfolio and begin to add immediate value. Of perhaps greater significance, we believe that the Reveille Solution provides a turnkey way to differentiate their offering in an increasingly competitive market. This comes at a time when organizations across every industry are struggling with managing and monitoring their content applications. Managed service providers who can offer superior monitoring visibility will also be better positioned to identify and reveal gaps in a customer’s infrastructure, providing them with incremental upsell opportunities.”

On the Big Content Challenge

“While most of us are familiar with the big data challenge, there’s also a big content management problem that doesn’t get enough attention. The average enterprise generates a staggering volume of content on a daily basis. This ranges from documents and multimedia files to the vast sea of unstructured data not easily catalogued and parsed. This is especially true for the legal, health care and financial services industries, which are mired in paper-bound documents and manual workflows. 

The current pandemic has made these challenges even more pronounced. Remote workers are struggling to securely access sensitive content that might be subject to regulatory controls. Of course, big challenges like this represent big opportunities. Forward-thinking MSPs who can create customized and industry-specific solutions will go a long way in distinguishing them from their competitors.”

On Digital Transformation

“We also believe that you’re going to see a deeper emphasis on digital transformation initiatives over the next five years. MSPs will clearly play a significant role in helping companies along their IT modernization journeys. A recent survey conducted by IDG revealed that 84% of organizations are outsourcing cloud management to a managed service provider. Consequently, MSPs that can pivot their offerings and position themselves as a digital transformation enablement vehicle will be at an advantage long term.”

Oct 29

MSSPs with Health Care Clients: Act Now to Mitigate Cybercrime Attempts

By | Managed Services News

The U.S. government warns a group out of Eastern Europe is on the attack. At least five hospitals are victims so far.

Managed security service providers serving health care clients are on high alert on the heels of a warning from the federal government. The FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday they have “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.”

The agencies said malicious groups based in Eastern Europe are targeting the U.S. health care system. They are seeking to steal data and disrupt services. They are using Trickbot malware and Ryuk ransomware. Trickbot transmits Ryuk. NBC reports that Microsoft and, reportedly, the U.S. Cyber Command, have both tried to disrupt Trickbot. However, those attempts appear not to have worked.

And as Associated Press noted, cybercrime stands to hurt medical efforts, and even risk lives, as cases of COVID-19 are again on the rise. To that point, independent security experts told AP the cyberattacks, which involve ransomware, already have hampered at least five hospitals so far this week. Reuters said the FBI is investigating incidents in California, New York and Oregon. NBC reported later on Thursday that a health care system in Vermont also has been hit.

One doctor told Reuters an entire facility was using paper because its systems were down and medical teams could not transfer patients.

“We can still watch vitals and get imaging done, but all results are being communicated via paper only,” the doctor told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Take Steps to Prevent Cybercrime

Government officials are telling hospitals to do their utmost to prevent cybercrime. They need to have their backup systems in order, to disconnect systems from the internet wherever possible and not to use personal email accounts. MSSPs with health care clients should lead these efforts, and make sure to also do the following:

  • Patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as manufacturers release updates.
  • Check configurations for every operating system version for HPH organization-owned assets to prevent issues from arising that local users are unable to fix because local administration is disabled.
  • Regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts and avoid reusing passwords for different accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication where possible.
  • Disable unused remote access/Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports and monitor remote access/RDP logs.
  • Implement application and remote access to only allow systems to execute programs known and permitted by the established security policy.
  • Audit user accounts with administrative privileges and configure access controls with least privilege in mind.
  • Audit logs to ensure new accounts are legitimate.
  • Scan for open or listening ports and mediate those that are not needed.
  • Identify critical assets such as patient database servers, medical records, and telehealth and telework infrastructure; create backups of these systems and house the backups offline from the network.
  • Implement network segmentation. Sensitive data should not reside on the same server and network segment as the email environment.
  • Set antivirus and anti-malware solutions to automatically update; conduct regular scans.
Mandiant's Charles Carmakal

Mandiant’s Charles Carmakal

The feds say the cybercriminal group called Wizard Spider or UNC1878 is responsible for the attacks. Charles Carmakal, senior vice president for U.S. cyber incident response firm Mandiant, told Reuters UNC1878 is “one of the most brazen, heartless and disruptive threat actors I’ve observed over my career.”

And, he told AP, “We are experiencing the most significant cyber security threat we’ve ever seen in the United States.”

Increasing Cybercrime Comes as No Surprise

Earlier this year, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that, globally, businesses in 2021 will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. And the estimated cost to businesses will top $20 billion in 2021. Worldwide, cybercrime damages will reach $6 trillion, the cybersecurity firm found.

West Monroe's Sean Curran

West Monroe’s Sean Curran

Sean Curran, senior director of technology and cybersecurity lead at West Monroe, a national consulting firm, says it’s no shock the health care industry is attracting hackers’ attention.

“One of the main reasons prioritizing cybersecurity is an issue at health care organizations, especially at hospitals and health care providers, is that their stretched resources are always prioritized to provide the best care,” Curran said. “If an executive is faced with spending money to improve health outcomes or spend more on cybersecurity, the choice, understandably, errs towards patient care. In healthcare, unlike most other industries, it truly can be the difference between life and death.”

Kaseya's Mike Puglia

Kaseya’s Mike Puglia

Mike Puglia, chief strategy officer at IT management and security solutions provider Kaseya, agreed.

“There is also a continued lack of awareness of the need for SaaS backup in health care IT,” he said. “Health care organizations and their IT leaders need to recognize that platforms like G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce do not guarantee full restoration of lost data if an issue occurs on their end, either through an honest mistake or…

Oct 29

McAfee MPower: Partners ‘Excited’ About Company’s Evolution

By | Managed Services News

McAfee became a public company last week, raising more than $700 million in its IPO.

McAfee's Peter Leav

McAfee’s Peter Leav

McAfee MPower 2020 kicked off with CEO Peter Leav saying the company’s in a strong position to lead and innovate during these uncertain times.

Leav replaced Chris Young as CEO in January. McAfee also became a public company last week, raising more than $700 million in its IPO.

During the digital conference, McAfee unveiled new offerings, including:

  • Extended detection and response capabilities with MVision XDR;
  • MVision Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP); and
  • New features and functionality for McAfee MVision Unified Cloud Edge (UCE).

Organic and Inorganic Innovation

McAfee is in a very strong position with a very strong financial foundation, a strong record of innovation and a superb team to help innovate and lead during these uncertain times,” Leav said. “Our strength powers deep investment in both organic and inorganic innovation to help you protect what matters most to your organization. Which is why McAfee is building new capabilities to win on this front.”

In the past year, McAfee has acquired Uplevel Security, NanoSec and Light Point Security. They underscore the expansion of McAfee’s portfolio, Leav said.

“Specifically, those acquisitions deliver foundational technologies for our secure access security edge (SASE), for unified cloud edge solutions, which combine our cloud access security broker (CASB), data loss prevention (DLP) and next-gen secure web gateway solutions in a single offering,” he said.

McAfee's Lynne Doherty

McAfee’s Lynne Doherty

Lynne Doherty is McAfee’s executive vice president of global sales and marketing.

“While this year has been filled with lots of uncertainty, there are some things that have remained a constant for us,” she said. “First, it’s the need to accelerate transformation. Second, the need to stop threats and stop them quickly is critical. Third is the need to drive efficiency, to work smarter with your security solutions. And if these challenges weren’t already difficult and complex to manage, in the past few months they’ve become even more critical to our organizations.”

Brazen Cybercriminals

The cybercriminal has grown stronger and used COVID-19 as a lure globally, Leav said.

“There is no doubt that we have an energized adversary,” he said. “And we have seen an increase of more than 40% in publicly disclosed incidents in the first half of 2020. The tools adversaries are using with the pandemic as a launching pad include the usual suspects with a pandemic twist. External attacks on cloud services grew more than 600% from January to April. [Education saw] the second-highest spike given the sudden learn-from-home model put in place overnight in March as COVID-19 themed ransomware entered the threatscape.”

Adversaries are consulting an old playbook that says never waste a crisis, Leav said. Expanding cyberthreats, the changing marketplace and changing technology environments are key in helping to inform McAfee’s choices and investments.

Many McAfee partners are excited by the company’s “evolution,” he said.

“As I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you since joining McAfee, you have confirmed that you are seeing positive changes quickly both in our steadfast commitment to quality, as well as our focus on innovation,” Leav said. “As our 30-year history proves, constant evolution is in our DNA. So stay tuned for even more innovations in the future.”

New Tools

MVision XDR improves security operations center (SOC) effectiveness, the company said. It does so with MVision Insight’s proactive threat analytics.

MVision CNAPP delivers data protection, threat prevention, governance and compliance throughout the cloud-native application lifecycle. That includes container and OS-based workloads.

And MVision UCE provides a more comprehensive converged approach to security within the SASE framework. Furthermore it reduces the costs and complexity associated with enterprise security while enabling maximum business agility from the cloud.

McAfee's Kathleen Curry

McAfee’s Kathleen Curry

Kathleen Curry is McAfee’s senior vice president of global enterprise channels, OEMs and strategic alliances.

“These technologies, of course, give partners solutions that we feel are the best in the industry for up-leveling endpoint protection to more comprehensive detection and response across the entire IT environment, from your own devices all the way out to a public cloud,” she said. “But that is just the beginning. These solutions are all SaaS-delivered, so they meet customers’ changing needs for convenience and manageability while transitioning to the cloud. Secondly, these technologies are award-winning for not only DLP of on-premises data but data in the cloud, which is an exploding need with so many workers connecting remotely. Third, McAfee’s channel-first revolution means partners will see new rules of engagement resulting in partner-led services around these solutions.”

In addition, McAfee just announced a significant increase in deal registration discounting on these and many other McAfee products, Curry said.

Protecting Remote Workers

“It’s become increasingly apparent in this work-from-anywhere environment that a new paradigm is needed to ensure that remote employees, partners, contractors, etc., are protected from…

Oct 29

Top Gun 51 Profile: Cytracom’s Meredith Caram on Developing Impactful Relationships

By | Managed Services News

Caram shares her philosophies for leading through a crisis, while maintaining focus on business constants.

Meredith Caram, vice president of sales for Cytracom, is an industry vet who has been described as a “visionary leader with a track record of hypergrowth in the channel.”

The 20-year information technology and communications pioneer is a Top Gun 51 award winner because of her extraordinary approach to leadership. Thus, Caram firmly believes that leaders need to understand flexibility, and in times of enormous change, perspective is vital. It is also critical to remember what needs to remain constant. 

Meredith Caram of Cytracom

Cytracom’s Meredith Caram

Furthermore, her passion in developing impactful relationships speaks through her work. This is a challenging time for leaders across all industries, and Caram is most certainly one who inspires greatness.

Those are the things distributors, master agents and industry analysts are saying about her. We solicited input from these industry players to compile our Top Gun 51 for 2020. That’s because they know channel executives best.

Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. The criteria includes advocacy for the channel and commitment to partners’ business success. There’s also dedication to earning the channel’s trust.

Channel Futures: What attributes do you think next-gen channel leaders must have?

Meredith Caram: A leader can be amazing at overseeing one phase of a company — the startup phase, the cleanup phase, the first-burst-of-growth phase. They fashion themselves as the right leader for the moment, and they serve it perfectly. But, when the company enters a new phase and needs the leader to be a new kind of leader, it can sometimes be difficult to adapt. Great and enduring leaders, therefore, are the ones that can change along with their company. Next-gen channel leaders need to be the new kind of leader at every stage.  

CF: You obviously focus on developing impactful relationships and delivering significant results. So can you speak to that?  

MC: Being over nine months into this pandemic, there is certainly not an immediate end in sight. This is a challenging time for all leaders across all industries. None of us was taught in business school how to lead our teams through a pandemic; no one was given a playbook. Leaders have to apply a lot of good common sense principles and basically ask “what do people need?” 

Cytracom’s Meredith Caram is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

First comes safety. A company cannot function if everyone is ill. So of course, a leader needs to be able to rapidly enable everyone who could work from home to do so. For people who couldn’t work from home, a leader must apply strict protective measures to make workplaces as safe as they could be. We must be conscious that people have needs in terms of communication, connection and support. With my team, we check in with one another much more frequently than we might have normally because it’s a different challenging situation for everyone. It is important to acknowledge the differences and be supportive. 

Since we weren’t going to bump into each other at the espresso machine, we incorporated intentional huddles — coming together to share and to be open and honest about their feelings with what is going on. The opportunity for …

Oct 29

Pure Storage Partner Program Enhancements Elevate Partner Experience

By | Managed Services News

Pure Storage wants to empower partners in a virtual world.

Pure Storage continues to do better by its partners with new enhancements to its Pure Partner Program, the company said on Thursday.

The vendor also introduced the new Pure WaveMakers program.

Pure Storage's Wendy Stusrud

Pure Storage’s Wendy Stusrud

“We always try to improve the partner experience. So, every time we speak with our partners about their pain points, what we can do better, and what makes their job easier every day, those are the improvements we try to deliver to our partners,” said Wendy Stusrud, vice president, Americas channel sales. “We are developing new programs, incentives, and the portal is streamlined and easier for the partner to use. We want to be easy to do business with.”

Pure is a 100% channel-led company.

Partner Portal for a Virtual World

Beginning with the improved and redesigned partner portal, it includes easier access to the latest sales and technical resources, training, personalized marketing campaigns, a digital asset library, social selling content and more.

Something as simple as easier access to resources during the pandemic is critical. It empowers partners when working virtually is the norm.

“We all recognize that we’re at-home sellers today. We might not be in the future, but how we make more things easier to access on the portal is important,” said Stusrud.

To that end, Pure expanded its Pure Sizer Tool, the platform used for FlashArray//X sizing activity that highlights recommended configurations and provides additional models to consider based on Pure1’s backend analytics. Partners now have access to the Pure Sizer Tool for the FlashArray//X70 and //X90 models. It provides them with instant access to performance and capacity-sizing information for the entire FlashArray//X portfolio. Partners can size configurations based on capacity and performance needs using input gathered from the customer’s environment, and understand the capacity and environmental specifications for a FlashArray.

“Using the tool, partners can create their own configurations, their own designs, create their own proposals for their customers and respond quickly to them in this online world,” said Stusrud.

Today, partners don’t have the luxury of face-to-face meetings with customers or taking tours of the data center, making it more difficult to sell.

Training, Incentives and WaveMakers

Pure added new training online accessible through the partner portal. These new training courses focus on selling subscriptions and new use cases for file and object storage, as well as enhancements to training.

“We’re developing new tracks to meet where our partners are going. One of the things they’ve asked for is about services. So we’re asking partners to build their own services offerings around their Pure practice,” said Stusrud. “This will help differentiate who they are and the value they can deliver to the customers.”

Regarding incentives, Pure is a doubling down on incentives for partners who bring in new customers. The goal is to is to drive Pure-as-a-Service, an opex model. In the company’s second quarter, which ended in July, Pure saw …

Oct 29

MSP 501 Profile: Fidelis Keeps Customer Experience at Heart of Expanding Business

By | Managed Services News

More lead generation from vendor partners is more than welcome.

Company Name: Fidelis Inc. 

Company MSP 501 Rank: 275 

CTO: Paul Zimmerman 

Headquarters: Seattle, WA 

Primary Services:

  • Security
  • Cloud
  • Business phone systems support
  • Network cabling 

LinkedIn: Fidelis Inc.

MSP 501 company Fidelis Inc. has a strong focus on the customer experience. In fact, “fidelis” in Latin means faithful. The company takes a co-managed approach with customers to build long-lasting and enduring relationships. This strategy helps the partner navigate through the pandemic.

Fidelis offers IT, managed services, networking and network infrastructure, communications, cybersecurity, cloud services, as well as technology consulting. It supports customer technology and helps develop a technology road map.

“It’s about basics. Taking care of the customer is about how I want to be taken care of. How I take care of my employees is about how I want to be taken care of,” said CEO Scott Wittstock, who founded the company in 2008.

Here, Paul Zimmerman, who joined Fidelis in 2012 with the acquisition of POS Core Technologies, talks about the challenges and opportunities exposed by the pandemic. He also talks about how vendors can help partners and the upside of being an entrepreneur.

The 2020 MSP 501 recognizes the top managed service providers in the world. See the full list. Then check out our brand-new Hot 101.

Channel Futures: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?

Fidelis' Paul Zimmerman

Fidelis’ Paul Zimmerman

Paul Zimmerman: Lead generation via marketing efforts to be given to strategic partners. Most vendors try to do this, but the amount of leads that they generate pales compared to the leads we generate from our website. If we’re a top-tier partner, it would be great if their marketing efforts helped to create brand awareness in the decision-maker target audience, and effective online marketing could generate warm leads to be parsed out to the most trusted and reliable partners in the geographic region for the lead.

CF: What new opportunities and challenges came with the global COVID-19 pandemic? 

PZ: Many organizations pivoted to work-from-home but did it in a less-than-secure way just to continue business operations. Now that it looks like many businesses will have a big portion of their staff working from home, there are opportunities for managed service providers to help secure those remote devices and help with migration of systems to “the cloud” to make them accessible from anywhere.

Some businesses are going to be hit very hard, and some will fail because of the pandemic. Others will thrive. Our job will be to help those most impacted to minimize the chances that they fail. And for those organizations that are trying to figure out how to best support folks who are no longer in the office, that is a good conversation for us as managed service providers to be having with them. We have the tools, we know how to do remote support, and we can help support users remotely at scale. 

CF: If applicable, why are you a business owner instead of working for someone else? What is the allure of entrepreneurship to you?

PZ: I’m a business owner because I love what I do, and I want to be able to do right by my clients. We reinvest heavily in our company so that we have the right people, tools and processes to serve our community. It is gratifying to be able to help support our local nonprofits, and to help our for-profit clients thrive. Having control over how we work with customers, and frankly, what customers we work with, is really important to me. It’s also nice to be able to pick the people you work with.

Longer-term, hopefully there’s a handsome reward for all of the hard work we put into nurturing and growing our business!

Oct 28

SolarWinds RMM Merges with Endpoint Detection and Response Capabilities

By | Managed Services News

Users are now able to mitigate risk by monitoring and managing endpoint security from a single dashboard.

SolarWinds on Wednesday said SolarWinds Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is now fully integrated within SolarWinds Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM). This allows users to configure and manage endpoint security more efficiently while helping mitigate security risk for customers and their business. 

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) are more than tools; they’ve become a way of life for many managed service providers. SolarWinds Endpoint Detection and Response (powered by SentinelOne) helps defend endpoints against a variety of attacks in real-time, across the threat life cycle. It gives partners a glimpse at threat and incident data, providing visibility into suspicious activity and attacks from one dashboard. If a breach occurs, automated quarantine and rollback help ensure fast recovery and minimal customer downtime.  

What the Integration Will Do

The EDR integration gives SolarWinds partners the ability to deploy and manage the agent on RMM-managed Windows devices. This provides enterprise-ready endpoint protection and security. Partners can access the EDR dashboard, threat management and policy configuration. They can do this without leaving the RMM interface, alongside agent deployment and automated upgrades. So users can get up and running quickly with EDR. 

SolarWinds MSP's Alex Quilter

SolarWinds MSP’s Alex Quilter

“Finding loopholes in defenses, flaws in systems, or new paths of attack such as unprotected work-from-home environments means cybercriminals can turn a profit for their activities,” Alex Quilter, vice president of product strategy, SolarWinds MSP, told Channel Futures. “As a result, cyberthreats continuously evolve, often faster than humans can keep up. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools exist to deal with this dynamic. MSPs should continuously be looking for ways to help ensure end users and businesses are protected from these threats.” 

Quilter says that many already know the importance of a layered security offering. That should include having an EDR solution for advanced endpoint protection. With EDR’s advanced AI, partners not only have deep levels of insight, but can restore endpoints to pre-attack state quickly. This decreases any negative impact on customer data and ensuring business continuity.

The Increased Sophistication of Attacks

“The bad guys will continue to combine new threats with a more relaxed security posture of a work-from-home environment. This can result in higher risk of compromise to user data and credentials,” continues Quilter. “With EDR, MSPs can protect their business and their customers’ data from ransomware and zero-day attacks. It also increases customer loyalty. This allows an MSP’s customer base to have more time to focus on running and growing their business. They can do so with the peace of mind that their trusted MSP is managing their systems and keeping them secure.”

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