Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Oct 20

New Sungard AS Private Cloud Rounds Out Vendor’s Connected Cloud Ecosystem

By | Managed Services News

Post-bankruptcy, the company has shifted its main focus to cloud products. And the channel remains integral.

More than a year after exiting bankruptcy, Sungard Availability Services has launched a new product that should help the company better survive ever-changing technology demand. Sungard AS used to focus just on disaster recovery and colocation for enterprises. That worked until hyperscale cloud came along.

Now, Sungard AS is pinning much of its hopes on what it calls its Connected Cloud ecosystem. But that portfolio lacked one piece: private cloud. That’s not the case anymore. Earlier this month, Sungard AS debuted the private cloud piece of the puzzle. It’s what it calls the “centerpiece” of Connected Cloud. (The company already offered hosted private cloud and some public, the latter through Amazon Web Services.)

Built on Dell Technologies and VMware, the new private cloud solution features fully automated recovery, flexible minimum commitments on a pay-as-you-use basis with on-demand bursting that does not change the contract. Channel partners may administer the platform on a partly or fully managed basis for enterprises.

Steven Dumbleton is director of offer management and channel strategy at Sungard AS. He said the channel can expect unique support when selling the company’s private cloud.

“Sungard AS is part of the Dell Technologies Cloud Partner Connect Program, which allows us to assist solution providers, VARs and ITOs in creating profitable business relationships with Sungard AS and accelerate their ability to deliver class-leading cloud, DRaaS and other as-a-service solutions to their customers,” he told Channel Futures.

And partners won’t have to go it alone.

Connected Cloud

The “Connected Cloud” just got more complete at Sungard AS.

“We are positioned to support a variety of partner types,” Dumbleton said. “Sungard AS can help to expand product-only and managed service sales, add as-a-service type solutions, and provide a ‘sell with’ model, to provide expertise and resources to expand the partner’s current portfolio.”

In terms of hands-on help, Sungard provides lead generation, marketing materials and funds, sales-enablement tools and training, and technical training.

“We believe the best training is on the job and our ‘sell with’ model allows … partners that find an opportunity to work directly with our team throughout the sales cycle,” Dumbleton said. “For deployment, our private cloud portal makes it very easy for the partner to configure, run and manage cloud resources, as well as run the workloads and applications for end customers.”

What Makes Sungard AS’ Private Cloud Different?

What distinguishes Sungard AS’ private cloud platform from others on the market? Much of that comes down to the company’s foundation: recovery. The vendor says its 40 years of IT capabilities mean cloud users can recover applications all the way up the stack.

Other differentiators lie in Sungard AS’ capabilities, as Dumbleton pointed out. For example, the company holds the Dell Technologies Cloud Competency. This certification verifies that Sungard AS demonstrates expert understanding of how to help customers accelerate innovation, while maintaining autonomy and control, with hybrid cloud from Dell Technologies.

In addition, Dumbleton said, Sungard AS earned the “Powered by Dell Technologies” accreditation. For channel partners – and, therefore, their customers – this means the following:

  • Reduced risk and faster time to value. Dumbleton said Sungard AS can deliver as-a-service solutions on a full Dell Technologies stack, helping channel partners go into production more quickly.
  • Next-generation technology, because of reliance on Dell.

Yet there’s also that VMware component.

“Our private cloud is VMware Cloud Verified across all six sites where we offer our private cloud solution in North America, Canada and the U.K.,” Dumbleton said. “Earning this accreditation means we have followed VMware-validated designs in the development of our VMware Cloud-based services.”

Partners can, due to the opex nature of cloud, expect to earn …

Oct 20

‘Great Companies Are Built in Tough Times’: How Partners Are Thriving in 2020

By | Managed Services News

Some partners not just surviving but thriving in 2020. Here are secrets to their success.

Channel analyst Canalys reports a 4% growth in the EMEA channel in the first three quarters of 2020. This compares to an overall EMEA GDP decline of 9% during the same period.

“There is no question that channel has had a good pandemic,” noted Canalys CEO, Steve Brazier.

But what are partners’ secrets to success when it comes to surviving and thriving in the new environment? That was the topic of a recent discussion at CompTIA’s EMEA conference.

Tech Data UK & Ireland’s managing director, David Watts, said there are two aspects to consider.

Tech Data's David Watts

Tech Data’s David Watts

“The fourth emergency service” — that’s how Watts describes the channel in the first phase when lockdown started. He said the successful partners were those “who reacted fastest to support businesses and governments working from home. It was around mobility solutions, hardware – people running desktops, notebooks – and everything that enabled that to happen.”

Following that initial phase, it was “those who understood their customers’ needs beyond the basics,” said Watts. “Those who really understood the domain their customers are working in, they’re the ones that are thriving. MSPs and VARs especially supported their customers’ changing environments. I see great IoT solutions going in, analytics and better decision-making and moving workloads to the cloud.”

Helping Customers Make Better Decisions

Hollie Whittles, director of Purple Frog Systems, said the MSP leveraged technology to provide a business service to customers.

Purple Frog Systems' Hollie Whittles

Purple Frog Systems’ Hollie Whittles

“We provide data analytics solutions, working in many different verticals. [Some] clients have had a really hard time in lockdown,” she said.

Purple Frog was instrumental in getting its customers back to their physical workplaces safely.

“We used our advanced analytics solutions and tools like machine learning to plan, model and predict customer behaviour. We’ve been working with a national chain of gyms. They wanted to know the capacity limitations within each gym to know when they could open and how busy they [could be]. But the world’s constantly changing and we’re getting different requests daily. So, we help our clients use these models to help make better decisions.”

Sign up for Channel Futures’ new EMEA newsletter, where we feature news and analysis involving companies based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as those doing business in that region.

Astra Duke, customer experience director, EMEA, at LogicMonitor, said partners are adopting technologies not normally in their stack.

LogicMonitor's Astra Duke

LogicMonitor’s Astra Duke

“One was around supporting videoconferencing, where it was never at the forefront for some of our MSPs to deliver as a service. We saw a huge increase for Zoom monitoring capabilities as people were deployed to their homes to work. MSPs could also monitor that videoconferencing solution, making sure they could apply their SLAs accurately to these new technologies. This is of real importance, especially during times like this.”

‘Not the End of the World’

“Great companies are built in tough times,” said Watts. “The message we’re trying to give is, it’s …

Oct 19

The Path to Business Transformation

By | Managed Services News

Positive business transformation is going from your current state, taking what needs to be improved, setting a strategy to achieve those improvements, measuring along the way and evaluating the outcome.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with channel growth expert Erick Simpson about  business transformation, adapting to the COVID-19 reality, his upcoming sessions at Accelerate 2020 and why managed service providers (MSPs) should attend. Check it out below, and don’t forget to register for the virtual cloud event of the year.

Please note that this interview has been edited for clarity and readability.

You’re a pioneer in the managed services space—tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

In the late ‘90s I decided to start my own IT practice, Intelligent Enterprise, and transformed it into one of the first pure-play MSPs in the industry in 2005. I then co-founded MSP University. As one of the thought leaders and influencers early on for managed services, I devoted the next 10 years or so to educating and training IT providers on how to become profitable service providers in their practices.

Today I consult with MSPs and IT providers that want to improve their businesses. I work with vendors and distributors in the channel to try to build better awareness and connection between IT providers and their channel programs. I love supporting and fueling the entrepreneurial spirit and helping business owners improve.

Why did you decide to share your expertise?

Because Intelligent Enterprise was one of the very first in the MSP space, we made all the mistakes early. We figured out how to perfect the marketing and sales aspects of presenting these services. It was tough! We had to educate clients that didn’t want to pay in advance. They would say something like: ‘You guys just show up when it breaks, and I pay you then. Why do you want me to pay you in advance?’ We had to go through that whole evolution of how to add enough value into our portfolio and deliverables to get clients to say, ‘OK, yeah, that makes sense.’

We figured it out early on–we made all the mistakes and figured out how to price, position, sell and then deliver services efficiently. This was only possible because trouble-ticketing systems started coming around that were cost-effective for smaller IT providers, like the PSA solutions and RMM tools we’ve started seeing now. I had worked in enterprise IT and was used to these tools there, but when you go and start your own practice, you can’t afford a $100,000 tool to start delivering service.

Building service desks and NOCs was in my DNA already. So, when these tools became cost effective in our practice, rather than using the application that I coded and programmed myself to do trouble tickets, now we could use tools that were purpose-built for this. I built our own service desk and NOC, and we were able to deliver that as a service and configure it using our knowledge of KPIs, metrics, utilization and realization, as well as how to do incident management and escalation within a real service desk. This really gave us a leg up for delivering these services to clients.

Long story short, I was at an event, and a VP for the RMM tool we were using sought me out and said, “Hey! What is it that you guys are doing that none of our other partners are doing? You’re far out-pacing anybody else.”

He followed me around for three days, and I shared how we

Oct 19

White Hat Capital Partners: MobileIron Has ‘Bright Future’ Without Ivanti

By | Managed Services News

MobileIron’s standalone value exceeds the purchase price, White Capital Partners says.

White Hat Capital Partners, a long-term MobileIron investor, plans to vote against Ivanti’s planned acquisition of the company.

Late last month, Ivanti announced it’s shelling out $872 million for MobileIron and is acquiring Pulse Secure in a separate deal. Ivanti didn’t divulge the purchase price for Pulse Secure.

If it doesn’t see a better deal, White Hat Capital Partners will vote its shares against the MobileIron transaction.

MobileIron provides mobile-centric unified endpoint management products and services.

MobileIron’s board of directors unanimously approved the deal and recommended stockholders vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

When contacted, MobileIron didn’t comment on White Hat Capital Partners’ opposition to the deal.

MobileIron has ‘Standalone Potential’

White Hat Capital Partners' David Chanley

White Hat Capital Partners’ David Chanley

David Chanley and Mark Quinlan, White Hat Capital Partners managing partners, sent a letter to MobileIron‘s board of directors. In it, they said MobileIron is a “growth story with a bright future.”

Public shareholders deserve to participate in its “standalone potential, or, at a minimum, receive a change-in-control transaction price that fairly values it,” they said.

White Hat has been a MobileIron investor since June 2018. Its investment “rests on our independent analysis of the company’s future value and on management’s ability to deliver on that value,” it said.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

“As the management team at MobileIron should know, we seek to be collaborative, engaged partners with the companies in our portfolio, with the aim of developing productive and good faith relationships,” Chanley and Quinlan said. “Our expectation is that long-term value creation is the shared goal that forms the fundamental basis of these relationships. It was with significant surprise, therefore, that we read about the contemplated transaction with Ivanti.”

White Hat Capital Partners' Mark Quinlan

White Hat Capital Partners’ Mark Quinlan

Unlike many companies adversely affected by COVID-19, MobileIron’s senior management has publicly stated the company’s business clearly benefits from the transition to work from home, they said.

“This combination of strong operating results, optimism routinely and publicly expressed by the company’s senior management, and MobileIron’s strong balance sheet does not seem to square with the decision to sell the company at a disappointingly low price,” Chanley and Quinlan said.

They also said it appears Ivanti is dictating the timing and structure of the acquisition. And MobileIron’s board didn’t create a level playing field or a “competitive dynamic” among others interested in acquiring the company.

Purchase Price Too Low

MobileIron’s standalone value exceeds the purchase price, Chanley and Quinlan said. Its forecasts show significant value creation as an independent company. Its most recent earnings call highlighted solid record quarterly revenue. There was 20% year-over-year growth in cloud-based revenue and 13% year-over-year growth in subscription annual recurring revenue.

“We fully appreciate the industrial logic for combining Ivanti, MobileIron and Pulse,” they said. “The powerful and unique platform will surely benefit MobileIron’s continuing employees as well as the company’s customers. As a long-term shareholder, however, we are deeply frustrated that MobileIron’s board failed to negotiate a fair price for the sale of the business.”

MobileIron isn’t a “tired company ready to depart the public market,” Chanley and Quinlan said.

Oct 19

Pryfogle Leaves Pax8, Starts New CX Business

By | Managed Services News

Expect CX Effect to launch in a few weeks.

Andrew Pryfogle, the Intelisys and short-lived Pax8 veteran, is starting his own company. The former chief market development officer at Pax8 just founded CX Effect, according to a recent LinkedIn post.

The founder and CEO of CX Effect calls the company a master CX integrator. The company helps partners build full-stack customer experience solutions for their medium enterprise-size customers.

Pax8's Andrew Pryfogle

CX Effect’s Andrew Pryfogle

“I recently made a big decision to go all in on a really big idea,” Pryfogle said in a video. “The market is primed for it. The tech stack, the talent, the demand — it’s all converging at the perfect time. With tremendous support from my colleagues at Pax8, and a wife and daughter that push me to think big every single day, I’ve spun out of Pax8 to launch an exciting new venture.”

While Pryfogle has been working on the new company’s strategy, framework and team, he’s mum with more details about the new venture. Clearly, the customer experience opportunity is core to CX Effect.

“CX is key to building and growing relevance with your customers,” he said.

Building Anticipation

To build anticipation, expect the launch within the next few weeks. Want to know more? Sign up for a front row seat.

His team at Pax8 issued the following: “Pax8 is committed to partner education and enablement to empower new knowledge and growth. … We are grateful to Andrew for his contribution to Pax8 and how he helped us build a growth framework in network and communications. And we support his move and wish him all the best on his next venture.

On MSP-Channel Convergence

In July 2019, Pax8 announced that Pryfogle joined the company as chief market development officer. He was hired to help spur MSP-agent channel convergence.

Here’s what he told Channel Futures at the time: “I’m super excited about this opportunity. I think that it’s spot-on; this convergence of the channel is really starting to accelerate. Going forward, there’s not going to be a pure-play MSP or pure-play agent or VAR or integrator or whatever kind of title you want to use for that. I think that end user customers will dictate to partners – this is how I want to consume; this is how I want to buy – and partners of all stripes will have to be prepared to address those needs through a variety of business models.

“Customers don’t wake up and say, ‘I have this technology problem; maybe I should call and MSP or VAR or agent.’ Instead they’re asking, ‘I’ve got this technology problem, and who do I trust to help me solve it?’ Partners have to get good across a much broader breadth of services to be able to address that. That’s where Pax8 has some advantage.

“Agents have a tremendous opportunity to expand their capabilities and to leverage the intelligent platform that Pax8 has developed, which is phenomenal. And MSPs are going to open up new revenue opportunities with the categories just mentioned [networking and UCaaS]. There are a lot of MSPs that haven’t yet gone into the areas of UCaaS, cloud contact centers, and SD-WAN. That’s all money on the table that they can grab and garner a greater share of wallet with their customers.

We want to be the leading cloud distributor to make that process super easy and enable partners to grow their customer relationships.”

Next?

Pax8 didn’t respond to inquiries about who would fill the chief market developer officer position.

Pryfogle left Intelisys, where he worked for about seven years, to join Pax8. As senior vice president, cloud transformation, he led Intelisys’ cloud, marketing and corporate strategy efforts. Pryfogle stayed through the ScanSource acquisition in 2016.

Oct 19

Election 2020: 9 Ways Cybercriminals Are Trying to Steal Your Vote

By | Managed Services News

The election systems of countries around the world are not as secure as they should be.

It’s the big question on everyone’s mind during Election 2020: Is my vote safe?

With voting already well under way, cyberattackers are working overtime to stop election workers from counting votes and to taint election results. Therefore, everyone’s worried if criminals will prevent accurate vote counts and impact the results of the Nov. 3 General Election.

Jerry Ray is COO of SecureAge.

SecureAge's Jerry Ray

SecureAge’s Jerry Ray

“Whatever the pathway or intended target within the realm of candidates, platforms, parties, voters and voting infrastructure, the most inevitable and effective cyberattacks will be subtle, unnoticed, misattributed and masked within the culture of doubt and suspicion cast upon the election for the sake of either plausible deniability by the victors or grounds for dispute by the vanquished,” he said. “With only a fraction of a percent of the voting population able to determine the outcome, the attackers need only work in the margins and against those least able to defend themselves or least likely to notice.

Multitude of Motivations

All manner of reasons can motivate a ransomware attack on a political organization in the runup to an election. That’s according to Doug Matthews, Veritas’ vice president of enterprise data protection and compliance. Political hacktivists may carry out election attacks. And they may believe there’s a moral imperative to stop an opposing candidate.

Veritas' Doug Matthews

Veritas’ Doug Matthews

“Or they’re purely financially motivated, where hackers believe organizations under the pressure of a voting deadline will be more likely to pay up,” he said. “Regardless of the motivation, a ransomware attack can be devastating to an organization. So political bodies must be acutely aware of and prepared for ransomware.”

Adam Levin is chairman and founder of CyberScout, and author of “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.

The election systems of countries around the world are not as secure as they should be, he said. And they don’t include defense against the kinds of bot-driven disinformation that increasingly decides outcomes.

CyberScout's Adam Levin

CyberScout’s Adam Levin

“We should continue to do everything in our power to ensure the integrity of the vote, which means proper funding and training for election systems and staffing,” Levin said.

Voters Don’t Necessarily Need to Worry

U.S. electoral systems are resilient, Ray said. Moreover, they can combat malicious activities related to voting infrastructure.

“While voters don’t necessarily need to be concerned about the security of the election, such as votes being manipulated or concerns over mail-in-ballots, the threat of misinformation will continue to be strong during and past a definitive election result,” he said. “ Recently, many networks and social media channels have taken steps to stop the spread of misinformation. These are strong steps in the right direction from the tech world.”

Many of the lessons learned from this election cycle will set precedent for future elections at all levels.

Our slideshow above shows nine ways cybercriminals are targeting the election.

Oct 19

Juniper Networks to Buy 128 Technology for AI-Driven WAN

By | Managed Services News

The acquisition’s price tag is $450 million.

Juniper Networks is buying 128 Technology in a deal it says signals the next evolution of SD-WAN. The price tag for the impending acquisition is $450 million.

Following the company’s strategic acquisition of next-gen, AI-led vendor Mist Systems a year ago, Juniper says its latest proposed acquisition is another game-changer. With 128 Technology, Juniper Networks is poised to disrupt network operations and SD-WAN. The company refers to this as user-centric, AI-driven WAN.

Juniper Networks' Rami Rahim

Juniper Networks’ Rami Rahim

“We believe this combination will create a powerful and differentiated solution that will not only deliver meaningful customer value but will accelerate the transition to AI-driven user-centric enterprise networks and complete our vision of being the leading provider of secure, AI-driven connectivity, client to cloud,” Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks, said on a conference call.

128 Technology Has the Right Stuff

What 128 Technology brings to the table is what the company calls Session Smart Routing. This technology enables enterprise customers and service providers to create a user experience-centric fabric for WAN connectivity. The vendor shifts the focus of routers from packets to services that align the network with requirements of distributed applications.

How it works?

According to 128 Technology, its platform includes the 128T Session Smart Router and 128T Conductor. Used together, the technologies form a single logical control plane that is highly distributed and session-aware. The 128T Conductor is a centralized management and policy engine. It provides orchestration, administration, zero-touch provisioning, monitoring and analytics for distributed 128T Session Smart Routers. It does this while maintaining a network-wide, multitenant service, and policy data model.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

Andy Ory is co-founder and CEO of 128 Technology.

128 Technology's Andy Ory

128 Technology’s Andy Ory

“128 Technology has brought to market a groundbreaking, session-based routing solution that gives rise to experience-based networking,” said Ory. “This allows our customers to realign their network with the requirements of a digital future that includes cloud, mobility and virtualization. The combination of our Session Smart Router with Juniper’s AI-driven enterprise portfolio, expansive channel and world-class support will dramatically accelerate our vision to transform networking and make a big impact on a very large, yet still highly underserved, WAN-edge market,” said Ory.

Putting It Together

Juniper Manoj Leelanivas, executive vice president and chief product officer, explains more about Juniper’s vision in a blog.

“Unlike legacy competitive SD-WAN solutions, intelligent decisions are based on real-time user sessions and agile business policies instead of static network policies determined on a per-tunnel basis. 128 Technology makes it much easier to scale WAN deployments and deliver superior performance for real-time traffic like voice over IP, 5G and collaboration applications. When session smart networking is deployed without tunnels, approximately 40% of WAN overhead is reduced automatically, which substantially lowers bandwidth utilization expenses and minimizes cloud hosting costs. In some instances, in fact, 128 Technology is 75% more cost-effective than traditional SD-WAN solutions.”

Juniper’s plan is to combine 128 Technology’s software with Juniper SD-WAN, WAN Assurance and Marvis Virtual Network Assistant, driven by Mist AI. Juniper also plans to combine 128 Technology software with its wired and wireless assurance. This will give customers a unified platform for AI-driven WLAN/LAN/WAN to optimize the user experience from client to cloud.

128 Technology executives Ory; Patrick MeLampy, co-founder and COO; and Sue Graham Johnson, president, will join Juniper Networks.

In September, Juniper released its State of the Network Automation Report.

Oct 19

Digital Transformation: Why There’s No Going Back

By | Managed Services News

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger: “Simply put, the lasting change of this period of time is digital transformation.”

Pat Gelsinger is VMware CEO and an enterprise technology pioneer. He’s also an inspiring tech-for-good advocate. Our staff recently sat down with Pat to hear his thoughts about how digital transformation impacts the world. For a video of the conversation, click here.

What are your thoughts about the events of 2020?

This has been maybe the most tumultuous period that many of us will see in human history. This is a dramatic shift in how we work, learn, live and worship in society together. Fundamentally, it has changed everything about the human experience in such a short period.

What can we learn from history?

Throughout history, pandemics have been a paradox. On the one hand, pain, turmoil and disruption. At the same time, they have repeatedly led to massive structural changes—often in ways that have benefitted the many versus just the privileged few.

It’s very clear the poor are suffering the worst consequences in this period. Yet, we have this rare opportunity to address the systemic inequalities that have been widening the gap between the rich and the poor for generations.

In fact, if we look back to the great influenza pandemic of 1918, almost every aspect of modern medicine emerged from that period of time. Spectacularly, almost all of biology, chemistry and the understanding of modern medical systems emerged from that terrible period of human history. And yet, we benefit from that in fundamental and dramatic ways today.

I’m confident that we’re going to look back on COVID-19 a decade or two from now and see fundamental, persistent changes that have improved humanity.

Will we ever go back to the way things were before?

We are never going back to the way things were. We’ve been induced to make changes. We’ve been relying on digital infrastructure as never before. We’re changing where and how we work, how we care for the sick. We’re changing how we educate, how we communicate and live in society. No, we’re not ever going back. We’re going forward.

And as we go forward, we may lose a few things. But we’re going to gain some powerful new things, as well, because we’re going to take this pandemic and make things better.

 What changes are here to stay?

Things like broadband for every community, every rural area and every child, enables us to deliver education for every human on the planet more effectively than ever. I truly believe that periods like this allow us not to see the gaps widen, but to take steps that structurally cause them to collapse.

We believe the shift in education won’t ever have us go back to the approach of the past. But we must now use it to reach and educate every student on the planet. We’re going to break down the regulatory barriers of healthcare and embrace telemedicine.

New workplace policies are allowing us to embrace a more diverse workforce than ever before. We need to start the hiring process and reaching into new communities worldwide. And new distributed workforce tools simply become part of how we work every day.

These changes are rapidly settling into society. We need governments and policies to support them. And these changes will become part of the permanent, better future for all of us.

How can digital transformation help accelerate change?

The world is now relying on digital infrastructure more than ever. The role that we as technologists play for the planet has become mission-critical for every aspect of life. Every home delivery of a grocery or a meal. Every educational class. Every minute spent remote working. Every telemedicine visit that occurs.

We are now mission-critical for society, for the planet. Never before has the role of the technologist been held up in as high esteem, but also more critical to the progress of humankind. This is our day. Carpe diem! If you’re in technology, this is the greatest opportunity of your entire career.

What lasting change can we expect?

Simply put, the lasting change of this period of time is digital transformation. In a few short weeks, we accomplished what would’ve taken decades before. Not for a business, but for all of society, for all of humanity. We truly will have leapt forward as a result of a painful pandemic that will have created persistent progress for all of us.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Oct 19

SMB Cybersecurity Still Lacking Due to Misperception About Attacks

By | Managed Services News

Many SMBs still think cybercriminals will target larger organizations instead of them.

A new SMB cybersecurity survey shows many SMBs still believe larger companies are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Software developer Devolutions polled 182 SMBs from a variety of industries, including IT, health care, education and finance for its SMB cybersecurity survey.

Revenue from global cybercrime is now more than $1.5 trillion per year. Furthermore, the average price tag of a data breach is now $3.9 million per incident, according to IBM.

Despite these staggering figures, there’s a common and inaccurate belief among many SMBs that the greatest security vulnerabilities exist in large companies. However, there is mounting evidence that SMBs are more vulnerable than enterprises to cyberthreats, and the complacency regarding this reality can have disastrous consequences.

Among the most notable SMB cybersecurity survey’s findings, 78% of SMBs said having a privileged access management (PAM) solution in place is important to a cybersecurity program. However, 76% haven’t fully deployed one.

Key SMB cybersecurity findings include:

  • Sixty-two percent of SMBs do not conduct a security audit at least once a year. Fourteen percent never conduct one.
  • Fifty-seven percent said they have experienced a phishing attack in the last three years.
  • Forty-seven percent allow end users to reuse passwords across personal and professional accounts.

Max Trottier is Devolutions’ vice president of sales and marketing. We spoke with him to find out more about what the SMB cybersecurity survey says.

Channel Futures: Has the pandemic impacted SMBs in terms of them being concerned that they could be targeted by cybercriminals?

Devolutions' Maxime Trottier

Devolutions’ Max Trottier

Max Trottier: Yes, the pandemic has increased the cyberattack concern level for many SMBs, particularly when it comes to threats targeting remote workers. While all tactics are in play, eight in particular are proving to be especially profitable for hackers and costly for SMBs. Those are phishing, third-party attacks, XSS attacks, database hacks, endpoint attacks, ransomware, cryptojacking and insider attacks carried out by rogue employees and contractors.

Unfortunately, even when the COVID-19 crisis ends, we do not expect things to get easier for SMBs. On the contrary, we anticipate that cybercriminals will keep increasing their attacks, since SMBs are typically more vulnerable than large enterprises.

CF: What aren’t SMBs doing that they should be doing to protect themselves?

MT: There are a few things that SMBs should be doing to protect themselves but have not done — or at least not done effectively. All SMBs should have a PAM solution in place to monitor and control elevated accounts. In addition, SMBs as a whole need to focus more on good password management policies and practices. Also, SMBs must realize that security audits are not optional — they are essential and should be performed at least twice a year. Lastly, SMBs need to pay much closer attention to their internal users, who may deliberately or accidentally cause a data breach.

CF: Can you give some examples of how MSSPs can help with SMB cybersecurity?

MT: Because SMBs do not typically have huge IT departments like their enterprise counterparts, they often look to outside resources for assistance in a number of areas, including cybersecurity. MSSPs can play a pivotal role in providing cybersecurity solutions, implementation, training and best practices to SMBs.

Here are five key ways that MSSPs can help SMBs improve their security posture:

  • Implement a PAM solution.
  • Enforce strong password management policies.
  • Implement the principle of least privilege (POLP). End users are given only the amount of access they need to carry out their day-to-day jobs.
  • Implement segregation of duties (SoD) … to prevent conflict of interest, wrongful acts, fraud, abuse and the building of secretive silos around activities.
  • Provide end users with adequate cybersecurity training.

CF: Can you point to any progress being made by SMBs to better protect themselves?

MT: Yes, there is some progress being made by SMBs to …

Oct 16

Cybersecurity Toolkit: ISAO Analyses and Threat Intelligence Feeds

By | Managed Services News

Protecting customers from attacks should start with an incident response strategy that includes threat intelligence.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an annual effort by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to inform individuals and organizations about the importance of cybersecurity.

This year’s theme—Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.—encourages organizations to own their part in protecting their cyberspace and taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.

Why? Cyberspace is a scary place with ghouls plotting to prey on your customers’ data for financial and political gain. In fact, the top cyberattacks we’ll likely see this year include phishing, business email compromise (BEC), ransomware, password-related, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), and IoT- and AI-based attacks. And then there are the soulless, remotely controlled zombies.

Protecting your customers from these attacks should start with an incident response strategy that includes threat intelligence.

A Community-Based Approach to Threat Intelligence

There are too many threats, threat actors and new threat vectors for any organization to fend off alone, particularly with a looming worldwide cybersecurity skills gap.

As a result, the CISA established, by Presidential order, Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) in 2015. ISAO communities allow companies, local governments, and security professionals to collaborate, share intelligence and provide training under the auspices of mutual non-disclosure agreements.

In other words, information about past, current and future threats is collected and analyzed, enabling community members to freely share timely, highly relevant analyses with each other and mount a defense against potential attacks.

The Value of Analysis to a Proper Defense

An effective defense requires real-time visibility into and analyses of the looming threats that pose a risk to your customers’ infrastructures. It also enables you to distinguish between false positives and advanced threats so you can effectively respond, isolate the risk and shore up your customer’s security systems before an attack occurs.

The goal is to provide insights into various threat vectors, enabling you to help your customers mitigate risk and protect their networks with the right defenses.

 Benefits of ISAOs for Your Customers

We’ve already hinted at the value that ISAOs deliver. Organizations can stay focused on their core business, while relying on expert cybersecurity professionals who use a threat intelligence solution like Tech Data’s RECON ISAO to provide:

  • Cost-effective threat intelligence – Ensure that your customers have access to the most comprehensive threat intelligence, not expensive threat intelligence feeds that draw from a small pool of collaborators.
  • Real-time indicators of compromise (IOCs) – Reliably deliver attacker IP addresses, hashes of malware, phishing, and spam infrastructure directly to your customers or to their SIEM or firewalls—without false positives.
  • Secure and private communications – Share and collaborate on intelligence and ask questions via a secure and confidential communications platform.
  • Education and technical resources – Provide customers with a private portal filled with educational references, technical documents and other resources, including exclusive access to technical workshops and conferences.

How You Benefit

As your customer’s managed security services provider (MSSP), you can extend your portfolio with a security competency or expand the sale with ISAO membership and potentially earn recurring revenue and higher margins for your business.

Talk to your customers about their incident response plans and let them know the value of adding comprehensive threat intelligence. Download this infographic to learn more about community-based ISAOs and how they enable threat intelligence that mitigates business risk. Or, visit techdata.com/security.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

 

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