Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 14

Freedom Rider: A Lesson in What One Person Can Do

By | Managed Services News

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Today is the 80th birthday of Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. You’re probably more familiar with her face than her name. Maybe it was her 1961 mugshot for her participation in the Freedom Riders, a group of Black and white activists who challenged segregation in the south. Or the image of having food dumped over her head in 1963 as she and other activists staged a sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter.

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Arlington, Virginia, Mulholland knew from an early age that she wanted to be a part of the civil rights movement. This flew in the face of accepted behavior for a young Southern woman in that day and age. More than that, she was the great-granddaughter of slave owners and the daughter of segregationists. And although she was eventually disowned by her family, Mulholland (then Trumpauer) stayed the course.

“Rid Ourselves of this Evil”

Mulholland’s motivation was simple. “Segregation was unfair,” she said. “It was wrong, morally, religiously. As a Southerner — a white Southerner — I felt we should do what we could to make the South better and to rid ourselves of this evil.”

Alongside better-known civil rights activists such as Stokely Carmichael, Dr. Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, Mulholland participated in historic marches and dozens of sit-ins. She also helped kick over a number of racial barriers. She got in a lot of “good trouble” as John Lewis called it. She eventually went on to work for the Smithsonian, the Department of Commerce and the Justice Department, then began teaching English as a second language.

Although Mulholland made a living as a teacher, she has remained a civil rights activist and a living example of what one person can do. “Anyone can make a difference,” she said. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together and go fix it. Remember, you don’t have to change the world … just change your world.”

To learn more about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her incredible courage and dedication to civil rights, watch the documentary, “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland,” which was written and directed by her son Loki.

Scroll through the gallery above for a few of the highlights of Mulholland’s involvement in the 1960’s civil rights movement.



Sep 14

Nextiva Raises $200 Million to Fuel Innovation, Growth

By | Managed Services News

The outside funding caps a year of growth with $250 million in ARR.

Nextiva has raised $200 million in funding from Goldman Sachs Asset Management in its first external funding round, at a $2.7 billion valuation.

Nextiva will use the money to accelerate its innovation, go-to-market expansion and growth in global markets. The company’s first outside funding caps a year of growth with $250 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). It also logged continued product development.

The business communications provider plans to accelerate innovation for connected communications, including artificial intelligence (AI) and automation development.

Bringing Communications Together

Marc Stoll is Nextiva‘s president and COO.

Nextiva's Marc Stoll

Nextiva’s Marc Stoll

“The funding will help accelerate Nextiva’s vision for connected communications, which brings together communications, customer management, intelligence and automation into a single purpose-built solution,” he said. “With Nextiva, partners can help their customers do three things (better) to help businesses develop deeper relationships and optimize revenue.”

Those include bringing all communication together in one data stream, harvesting the content from customer conversations and turning it into usable insight, and providing tools and applications to deliver those insights directly to business users in real time, Stoll said.

“Everything is in one place,” he said. “This gives businesses the full set of tools to manage the customer journey. No one else is doing this. And this is something we think Nextiva partners will be excited about bringing to their customer base.”

Nextiva will continue its path of aggressive growth as a channel-first, connected communications provider, Stoll said.

“Nextiva is dedicated to helping businesses understand their customers, service them effectively and ensure their loyalty,” he said. “To do this, Nextiva will rely on its channel partners as a strategy for robust growth, supporting their needs with an increase in marketing programs, field sales participation and service.”

Bucking Industry View

The current industry views communication as “merely a utility,” just providing the connection between two parties or a group of people via voice, video and messaging, Stoll said.

“They are doing the same thing that all communications companies have done for 100 years — connecting parties,” he said. “Nextiva is bringing conversational intelligence to the forefront of native business applications to help businesses serve their customers better. We view communication as a gateway to customer understanding. The future of communications is to bring context to businesses and create connected experiences.”

Stephen Kerns is a vice president within Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

“As a native communications company, Nextiva is at the nexus of customer conversation and engagement,” he said. “They have built a market-leading business with an outstanding team. And we look forward to supporting Nextiva as they help companies discover the power of connected communications.”

Sep 14

Quantum Computing Unleashes New Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

Quantum Computing’s strategy has always been to expand its reach and range using industry partners.

Quantum Computing has rolled out its new QCI Partner Program. It offers channel partners and VARs what the company says is a low-risk, high-reward path to use quantum computing to solve customers’ optimization problems.

Partners can offer their customers immediate access to the company’s Qatalyst as a service in the cloud. It offers classical and quantum computing from IonQ, Rigetti and D-Wave via Amazon Braket.

Quantum Computing also offers partners technical training, assistance with Qatalyst optimization problem solving, and sales and marketing support.

Quantum says Qatalyst improves decision-making, providing more accurate, diverse results to solve complex business problems. Qatalyst software helps customers explore and benefit from quantum computing right now thanks to no quantum expertise required.

Expanding Reach and Range with Partners

Rebel Brown is Quantum Computing’s vice president of strategy and marketing.

Quantum Computing's Rebel Brown

Quantum Computing’s Rebel Brown

“Our strategy has always been to expand our reach and range using industry partners,” she said. “This is a natural step in our evolution as a business. Partners have established relationships with many customers who want to explore the value of quantum computing, yet do not want to invest in the high cost of quantum programming expertise to explore the value these systems will bring. Partners share the same focus. They want to help their customers create a path to quantum, yet don’t want to risk the same high investments, given the new quantum paradigm.”

Qatalyst is the ideal solution for these partners and their customers, Brown said.

“The program is defined based on our experience to date with our featured partner, Setmovision, as well as other partners we are working with in a variety of industries,” she said. “It follows a fairly standard industry format for partner programs, tuned to meet the more specific needs of our partners who are focused on both classical and quantum computations, as well as complex applications for their customer base.”

The company’s partners have a variety of customers who are actively investigating quantum computing, Brown said.

“These opportunities range from national government and research laboratories, to large banking and finance operations, to global manufacturers, and their supply chain and logistics operations,” she said.

In the case of governments, it’s often operational logistics, Brown said. For laboratories, it’s research across a variety of applications ranging from next-generation technologies to drug discovery.

For manufacturers and retailers, it’s critical to upgrade their supply chain and logistics operations to respond to changing customer demands.

Competitive Advantage

Early partners say the program gives them a competitive advantage, Brown said.

“The cost of hiring and training a quantum programming staff is enormous, as is the length of time to actually define, code and test a program,” she said. “These partners work with large customers who want to actively explore quantum computing.”

Marcel Ozinga is CEO of Setmovision.

“The [partner program] will help us unleash the power of quantum technology for government and business sectors, driving innovation, better performance and our own increased financial results,” he said  “Quantum computing is the next great opportunity, and challenge, for our clients.”

Sep 14

New Palo Alto SASE Solution Adds 5G-Friendly SD-WAN

By | Managed Services News

Palo Alto bought bought CloudGenix and its SD-WAN offering last year.

Palo Alto Networks‘ new secure access service edge (SASE) takes advantage of its CloudGenix SD-WAN acquisition.

The cybersecurity vendor on Tuesday unveiled its new Prisma SASE solution. The offering brings together Palo Alto’s Prisma Access offering and SD-WAN offering. As a result, hybrid workers can access the internet and their cloud-based applications more fluidly and securely.

Palo Alto’s Anand Oswal

“Hybrid work is here to stay, and organizations are in need of a solution that enables them to secure access to all applications used by their employees on their network regardless of location — remote, mobile or from the office,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president of products at Palo Alto. “Prisma SASE is a massively distributed cloud service that provides the industry’s most complete SASE solution on the market, making it extremely easy for organizations to scale and secure their hybrid workforce while delivering an exceptional user experience.”

New Features

Palo Alto last year acquired SD-WAN provider CloudGenix. Later that year Palo Alto unveiled a new “Next-Generation SD-WAN” offering, which integrated the CloudGenix solution with Prisma Access.

Now Palo Alto has launched a new SD-WAN appliance that caters to 5G. The ION 1200 allows branch networks to use 5G as connectivity source.

In addition, Palo Alto has added autonomous digital experience management (ADEM) and an integrated cloud security web gateway. It also expanded integrations for its branch infrastructure platform, CloudBlades, to include ServiceNow, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

From a security perspective, the offering bundles together cloud secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and firewall as a service (FWaaS).

Customers can start buying Prisma SASE on Sept. 30. They can buy the ION 1200 starting Oct. 31. Palo Alto reports that 2,500 customers use its SASE solution.

Retailer Aaron’s has been using Prisma SD-WAN. Chief information officer Tommy Meek said the combination of Prisma SD-WAN with Prisma Access will speed up Aaron’s digital transformation.

“With Prisma SD-WAN, we’ve been able to transform our retail stores and enable completely new ways to engage with our customers, providing a fluid experience between online and in-store shopping,” Meek said.

Analyst Perspective

ESG said organizations view the integration of network and security as their top priority in 2021.

“Organizations are actively deploying applications across data centers, public clouds and edge locations for workers at home, corporate or remote locations,” ESG senior analyst Bob Laliberte said. “These highly distributed environments are driving the need for secure connectivity.”

ESG's Bob Laliberte

ESG’s Bob Laliberte

AT&T is using the offering.

“Palo Alto Networks’ release of Prisma SASE aligns with our strategy to connect and protect users at scale to drive innovation at the edge,” said Rupesh Chokshi, vice president of AT&T Cybersecurity.


Sep 14

5 Challenges to Successful M&A

By | Managed Services News

There are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Karen Thomas-Bland is a global board-level adviser, partner level management consultant and non-executive director. She has significant transformational, successful M&A experience, including in the tech sector.

Karen Thomas-Bland

Karen Thomas-Bland

She says there are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Check out our slideshow above for the five big challenges to successful M&A in the tech sector.


Sep 14

5 Hot Takeaways from Tuesday’s Interop Digital Event

By | Managed Services News

Discussion centered around hybrid cloud, ransomware, data management and disaster recovery.

INTEROP DIGITAL — The shift to hybrid cloud and the ramped-up threat of ransomware took center stage at Interop Digital on Tuesday. (The event is run by Informa Tech, the parent company of Channel Futures.)

Sandwiched in between those big topics lay discussion of storage, data management and disaster recovery. Above all, IT professionals – which include managed service providers, VARs and other channel partners – have to consider the best setups for themselves and their clients. Then they have to make sure everything is as impenetrable as possible, including employee education. That’s where hybrid cloud dominated the agenda, alongside the equally important topic of cybersecurity.

The slideshow above features the most prescient takeaways from today’s Interop Digital event.


Sep 14

Big iPhone, iPad Security Threat: Apple Update Blocks Sinister Spyware

By | Managed Services News

The spyware could infect anyone’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac computer.

Apple has issued an emergency software update to plug a security flaw allowing spyware that could potentially infect all Apple devices.

The spyware could infect anyone’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac computer.

Researchers from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the flaw was exploited to infect the iPhone of a Saudi activist with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. Citizen Lab calls the exploit FORCEDENTRY.

“In March 2021, we examined the phone of a Saudi activist who has chosen to remain anonymous, and determined that they had been hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware,” Citizen Lab said.

Israeli firm NSO Group made the spyware. Cybercriminals allegedly used the spyware to surveil journalists and human rights advocates in multiple countries.

The Apple software update plugs a hole in the iMessage software that allowed hackers to infiltrate a user’s phone with spyware without the user clicking on any links, according to Citizen Lab.

Jerry Ray is COO of Secureage. He said users, whether individuals or companies, should most definitely update their devices as soon as practical.

“The entire game changes the moment these zero-day vulnerabilities become publicly known,” he said. “Even if Apple and others believe that the usefulness of the exploit comes only for targeting select individuals, the public awareness of the vulnerability gives other cybercriminals and hackers the opportunity to consider and create other exploits. They’ll send these exploits far and wide even knowing that Apple has patched the vulnerability, banking on the notion that enough people have not updated their devices and the vulnerability remains.”

Ray said it’s not surprising spyware could infiltrate a tech giant like Apple.

“It’s unlikely that Apple can prevent everything that could possibly be done to exploit MacOS on PCs or iOS on its mobile devices,” he said.

Pegasus Continues to Evolve

Hank Schless is senior manager of security solutions at Lookout. He said Lookout and Citizen Lab first discovered Pegasus back in 2016. Since then, it as has continued to evolve and take on new capabilities.

Lookout's Hank Schless

Lookout’s Hank Schless

“Many apps will automatically create a preview or cache of links in order to improve the user experience,” he said. “Pegasus takes advantage of this functionality to silently infect the device.”

It’s important for both individuals and enterprise organizations to have visibility into the risks their mobile devices present, Schless said.

“Pegasus is an extreme, but easily understandable example,” he said. “From an enterprise perspective, leaving mobile devices out of the greater security strategy can represent a major gap in the ability to protect the entire infrastructure from malicious actors.”

More Emphasis on Mobile Devices Needed

Kevin Dunne is president of Pathlock. He said businesses often focus on their servers and workstations as the primary targets for hacking and espionage. However, businesses now use mobile devices broadly. Moreover, these devices contain sensitive information that needs to be protected.

Pathlock's Kevin Dunne

Pathlock’s Kevin Dunne

“Spyware is primarily targeting these mobile devices and providing critical information to unauthorized parties.” he said. “To protect themselves against spyware, businesses should look at their mobile device security strategy.”

Purandar Das is co-founder and chief security evangelist with Sotero.

Sotero Software's Purandar Das

Sotero’s Purandar Das

“The money in the underground economy has reached levels where criminals are organizing at scale to capitalize on the unique opportunity,” he said.

The organization funding these hackers likely stood to make million in profits, Das said.

Sep 14

Major Enhancements Coming to Cisco Partner Experience Platform

By | Managed Services News

Cisco is adding more AI and automation to PXP and a cloud-native platform with APIs for partners.

A year after launching its Partner Experience Platform (PXP), Cisco is readying significant enhancements, including the new PX Cloud. Cisco now has revealed new PXP capabilities which the company plans to launch this fall.

The upgraded PXP features will debut at the Cisco Partner Summit, a virtual event in November. Cisco is adding AI and machine learning capabilities to PXP that will provide “actionable insights and recommendations,” the company said. PXP will also gain enhanced partner planning tools, simplified renewal management and partner-to-partner collaboration capabilities. PX Cloud will bring PXP to a cloud-native architecture designed to integrate legacy systems tied to different products and services.

PXP’s Focus

PXP is the outgrowth of a major effort by Cisco to simplify customer and partner engagement with a unified interface. The core focus of PXP is to reduce complexity and improve partner productivity, therefore making them more profitable. Now that partners must support multiple routes to market, Cisco channel chief Oliver Tuszik emphasized that simplicity is key to profitability.

Cisco's Oliver Tuszik

Cisco’s Oliver Tuszik

“Where in the past we had to manage one route to market, we now need to manage four or five different routes, which means also for our partners, life is getting much more complex, and complexity is the one thing that is destroying their profitability,” Tuszik said.

Other than customer satisfaction, Tuszik said that partner profitability remains his organization’s primary priority.

“When we look at profitability, this is a thing that we can actively influence,” he said. “We’re not talking about the front-end sales profitability; we are talking mainly about how to transact, how to find out where the business is going, and how to drive activities within the partner side, to drive your back-end profitability.”

Cisco's José Van Dijk

Cisco’s José Van Dijk

Tuszik emphasized this priority isn’t new — he prefaced his announcement at the last live Cisco Partner Summit two years ago. It was at that event in 2019 that Tuszik signaled the development of PXP.

During a briefing with media and analysts, José van Dijk, vice president, partner performance and Global Partner Organization (GPO) operations, outlined the four new features coming to PXP. Tony Colon, SVP of customer and partner experience engineering demonstrated the new PX Cloud.

Cisco's Tony Colon

Cisco’s Tony Colon

A breakdown of key new capabilities to PXP and features of PX Cloud is in the slideshow above.


Sep 14

5 Challenges to Successful M&A

By | Managed Services News

There are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Karen Thomas-Bland is a global board-level adviser, partner level management consultant and non-executive director. She has significant transformational, successful M&A experience, including in the tech sector.

Karen Thomas-Bland

Karen Thomas-Bland

She says there are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Check out our slideshow above for the five big challenges to successful M&A in the tech sector.


Sep 14

5 Challenges to Successful M&A

By | Managed Services News

There are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Karen Thomas-Bland is a global board-level adviser, partner level management consultant and non-executive director. She has significant transformational, successful M&A experience, including in the tech sector.

Karen Thomas-Bland

Karen Thomas-Bland

She says there are five big integration challenges for technology acquirers.

Check out our slideshow above for the five big challenges to successful M&A in the tech sector.