Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 13

PlanetOne Sentient Platform Creates ‘Completely New’ Partner Engagement Model

By | Managed Services News

PlanetOne wrapped a beta trial and has made the new business intelligence platform widely available to its agents.

PlanetOne has unveiled an intelligence platform that aims to show partners all aspects of their business.

The Arizona-based tech services distributor officially launched Sentient, which provides real-time data across the entire sales life cycle. Vice president Jake Schuman, who oversaw the two-year process of creating Sentient, said PlanetOne agents can log in to a dashboard where they can see all of this information.

PlanetOne’s Jake Schuman

Agents can access data pertaining to the full timeline of their deals, including prospecting, funnel velocity, provisioning, project management, activation and commissions. Moreover, Schuman said the platform brings data from multiple parties — including the agent, their customer, the vendor and PlanetOne.

“At a minimum there are four different companies involved in each engagement, and Sentient [aims to] connect all those parties together and enable real-time data flow that brings single-pane-of-glass visibility to the engagement and all the parties,” Schuman told Channel Futures.

PlanetOne chief operating officer Chris Werpy said he has worked with a variety of partner portals, platforms and demos in his career. He said they fall into three different categories.

PlanetOne's Chris Werpy

PlanetOne’s Chris Werpy

“There are the table stakes: We’ve got to have this because people need it. There’s the overly cool demo that doesn’t do anything but looks really cool. And then there are the platforms that actually are built to serve the end users in a way which has not been available before,” Werpy said.

The Life Cycle

Sentient’s lists deal information in three categories. “Pipeline” includes the initial pre-sales motions. For example, Sentient helps partners track their list of prospects. After the partner wins a deal, data goes into the “project management” category. Following activation, Sentient lists the deal in “commissioning.”

“It’s all on one platform, and it’s right at our partners fingertips in real-time at any any point throughout that entire process,” Schuman said.

Historically, agents would need to send emails to all of the different parties involved in order to track the process.

“The collaborative aspect of having those in one platform and the ability to efficiently respond at every step of the way is very critical,” Werpy said.

Analyzing the Base

Sentient also helps partners analyze their existing customers for upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Agents can track which customers have bought which technologies.

“At the end of the day, channel partners of all shapes and sizes have two parts of their business: prospecting new logos, and upselling and cross-selling their existing base,” Werpy said. “The business intelligence we give them allows them to create go-to-market motions based on readily available, up-to-date information on all their customers and the services they have sold them. So there’s no guesswork. There’s no rebuilding emails. There’s no tracking on old spreadsheets.”

Sentient also gives agents insights into their experiences with vendors. For example, they can see the statistical breakdown of vendors that comprise their business. They can see their hit rate on particular vendors and get a better sense of where they’re finding success. Vendors, on the other hand, can update their side of the platform with case studies and other information. Werpy said this two-way street creates a new business engagement model.

“It really does bring a bridge between the vendors and the agents. When PlanetOne is doing our quarterly business reviews with vendors, we’ve got real intelligent business data that we sit down with to become more and more strategic with them. The same thing works on the agent side,” Werpy said.

Werpy said the typical data partners and suppliers have historically …

Sep 13

Park Place Technologies Debuts Partner Program, Portal

By | Managed Services News

Park Place launches a formal partner program and portal to tap into channel’s “endless scale,” says its CEO.

Cleveland-based Park Place Technologies has unveiled a formal partner program and portal.

The Uptime Partner Program comprises three tiers: platinum, gold and authorized partner. It includes a variety of marketing and sales support resources, co-selling opportunities, training, access to program investment dollars, and other features.

Park Place, the third-party hardware maintenance and managed services provider, is also introducing a new partner specialization track — the network management specialist partner. This certifies partners that sell and invest in training for Park Place’s Entuity and ParkView network monitoring and management solutions. This offers partners the ability to sell co-branded services for these products.

The firm claims the new program “will enable and financially reward channel partners for their collaboration and customer advocacy.”

Chris Adams, Park Place Technologies president and CEO, says it demonstrates the firm’s “desire to invest in our partners’ success.”

Park Place's Chris Adams

Park Place’s Chris Adams

“Our channel offers us endless scale,” said Adams. “With a set of modern tools, we will be able to access that scale and help Park Place grow faster.”

Meanwhile, the company describes the new Uptime partner portal as a global digital platform for enterprise channel partners. Benefits include simple deal registration and an on-demand library of co-brandable marketing assets. Dashboard functionality allows visual measurement of success against crucial KPIs. There are also overviews of Park Place’s solutions and services, including ParkView managed services, Entuity software and third-party maintenance support.

Park Place's Jeff McCullough

Park Place’s Jeff McCullough

“Our main goal is to bring choices to the table for our partners,” said Jeff McCullough, global VP of channel sales. “This access allows our partners to maximize uptime, create cost efficiencies, enable greater infrastructure control and visibility, and enhance asset performance.”


Park Place says it simplifies the management of complex technology environments and drives uptime for IT infrastructures worldwide. It is managed using an approach called DMSO (discover, monitor, support, optimize) that works across the entire IT infrastructure, including cloud computing environments.

The company provides a portfolio of data center maintenance, hardware monitoring and network performance analytics globally. It currently provides support for more than 21,500 customers in 154 countries, representing nearly 1.1 million individual devices in more than 110,000 data centers.

Last week it announced its latest acquisition, inventory and logistics management solution, NetSure+, developed by Charlotte, North Carolina-based SiteGrid. It is Park Place’s 17th acquisition since 2016.


Sep 10

9/11 20th Anniversary: The Channel Reflects

By | Managed Services News

The entire world changed that day. We asked some members of the channel to share their personal memories.

Tomorrow is the 9/11 20th anniversary. All of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about planes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the plane that crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers rushed the terrorists.

Nearly 3,000 innocent people died in those attacks: 246 in the four planes, 2,606 in and around the World Trade Center and 125 at the Pentagon. In addition, in the years since the attacks there have been more than 2,000 deaths attributed to 9/11 illnesses.

The attack on America changed the entire world. Our lifestyles, modes of communication, travel and work habits — and, sadly, the way we look at and treat one another — have never been the same.

Sept.11, 2001, was the second day of the inaugural Channel Partners Conference & Expo. It was being held at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.

Threatpoint's Tara Seals

Threatpoint’s Tara Seals

Tara Seals, then an editor with Channel Partners and now senior editor at Threatpost, was at that conference. A few weeks later she posted a blog on what that day had been like.

Because everyone at the show was essentially stranded due to the grounding of all airplanes, the decision was made to continue with the planned events. The Expo Hall remained open, panel discussions took place, session speakers (including Vince Bradley and PlanetOne’s Ted Schuman) made their presentations and keynotes were delivered.

“No Way to ‘Mark Yourself Safe’”

In looking back on that day, Seals recalls people gathering around televisions trying to learn what was happening, “In the era before smartphones, TV broadcast was the only conduit for information.”

People had cellphones, of course. We all remember the sad stories of last messages that victims left on loved ones’ phones. But this was before the day of phones that could take photos and videos or surf the internet. As Seals notes, “There was no Facebook or social media. No way to ‘mark yourself safe.’ Only a hope that someone would answer the phone.”

No Such Thing as Telecommuting

Seals also remembers that even after people were able to return home, many were unable to return to work. “We couldn’t work from home,” she said. “We didn’t have the technology in place. Eventually they put in VoIP and telecommuting, but this was long before that — and obviously long before working at home from your laptop, keeping in touch, collaborating and getting work done via the cloud and mobile devices and web-based apps.”

“The stark difference between how companies were able to deal with COVID and how companies in 2001 would have had to deal with terror-threat closures — different crisis, same level of risk in many ways — is really notable. Getting employees to agree to not be paid in the event of an issue was actually seen as a viable alternative to address business risk [in 2001]. And obviously the innovation that’s happened between now and then is head-spinning. And it translates directly to how the channel opportunity has changed — not just in terms of what channel partners sell, but how they sell it, the conversations they can have.”

Like Seals, many other members of the channel have vivid memories of that day and how it has impacted their lives. Scroll through the gallery above to share their stories.



Sep 10

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram Sees Open RAN 5G Fueling Growth

By | Managed Services News

Raghuram shared his observations after 100 days as CEO.


VMware's Raghu Raghuram

VMware’s Raghu Raghuram

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram expects virtualizing distributed edge networks and 5G infrastructure from multiple providers will fuel the company’s growth. Raghuram shared his assessment with analysts and media Friday, after completing his first 100 days as VMware’s new CEO.

VMware's Sumit Dhawan

VMware’s Sumit Dhawan

The 18-year VMware veteran was COO and executive vice president when the company named him to replace longtime CEO Pat Gelsinger. VMware’s newly promoted president, Sumit Dhawan, joined Raghuram during Friday’s webcast, where the two fielded questions.

While the executives discussed VMware’s continued focus on vertical industry and validated solutions, they emphasized the telco service provider opportunity. Specifically, they see VMware playing a key role in enabling 5G interoperability as service providers move to Open Radio Area Networks (O-RAN).

Major global carriers are members of the O-RAN Alliance including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Verizon and Vodafone, among others. The VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN, launched in April, lets CSPs virtualize O-RAN capabilities and deploy open RAN architectures. Before it was available, DISH Network announced plans last year to build an Open RAN network based on VMware’s offering.

“One of our service provider customers once said: ‘we are the operating system for 5G,” Raghuram said. “That summarizes our position on how valuable this is as they build on these 5G networks.”

Dhawan emphasized the opportunity for 5G. “It’s going to bring in new applications, because of the power of software defined edge and software defined radio area networks, which are open, which is what our platform provides,” he said. It will provide “new innovations that we can’t even think about today.”

As service providers add support for Open RAN, Dhawan said it will have significant implications in making 5G accessible. “For the purpose of society, this creates digital equity for everyone, because now you have this open edge and open RAN solutions, which is just cell towers built on top of open technologies that build amazing applications accessible to everyone rather than few,” he said.

Multicloud and Application Modernization

Besides multicloud and 5G interoperability, the two executives said they see a continued march toward serverless infrastructure and application modernization. VMware’s Tanzu Kubernetes platform, its acquisition of Heptio and re-acquisition of Pivotal, will play a key role in that effort.

Raghuram also emphasized diversity and sustainability as both a corporate priority and a catalyst for growth. In the coming weeks, VMware will reveal more about the 2030 Agenda announced by the company last year. “This is something that is super critical to us,” he said.

VMware is expected to provide more details on its technology road maps at next month’s VMworld Conference. Set to take place starting Oct. 5, the event will once again be virtual.

Kit Colbert Named VMware’s CTO

VMware;'s Kit Colbert

VMware;’s Kit Colbert

Friday’s briefing came a day after VMware announced that it has named Kit Colbert as the company’s chief technology officer. Colbert is also a VMware veteran, having joined the company as an intern in 2002, according to his executive profile.

Colbert has served various technical roles at VMware including most recently as Cloud CTO. He also served as general manager of VMware’s cloud-native apps business and was CTO of its end-user computing business. Previously, he was lead architect for VMware vRealize Operations Suite and the technical lead for vMotion and Storage vMotion capabilities.


Sep 10

REvil Ransomware Group Reemerges, Already Wreaking Havoc

By | Managed Services News

There is no evidence suggesting there was a political link between the disappearance and reemergence of REvil.

The REvil ransomware group, which was behind the attack on Kaseya just before the July 4th weekend, is back after a brief disappearance.

Flashpoint’s threat intelligence team has observed new activity from the REvil ransomware group. The group posted twice on the illicit Russian-language forum Exploit to address and clarify what happened during the Kaseya-related key generation process and the human error that apparently caused the universal key to be leaked.

In the weeks following the attack, Kaseya said it acquired a universal decryptor allowing victims of the attack to unlock encrypted files for free.

In one of its Exploit posts, REvil explains how it lost control of the universal decryptor:

“Our encryption process allows us to generate either a universal decryptor key or individual keys for each machine. Then, in the process of generating the keys, we had to generate between 20 and 500 decryption keys for each [individual] victim [because the victims of the Kaseya attack all had networks of different sizes]. One of our coders misclicked and generated a universal key, and issued the universal decryptor key along with a bunch of keys for one machine.”

REvil Ransomware Group ‘Fully Operational’

According to Flashpoint, “for all intents and purposes, it appears that REvil is fully operational after its hiatus.”

“Evidence also points to the ransomware group making efforts to mend fences with former affiliates who have expressed unhappiness with the group’s disappearance,” it said.

Flashpoint cybersecurity and threat intelligence analysts said there is no evidence suggesting there was a political link between the disappearance and reemergence of REvil.

Also, in its latest posts, REvil says victims of the Kaseya attack paid $10 million in ransoms.

What Reemergence Means

Flashpoint's Maria Gershuni

Flashpoint’s Maria Gershuni

So what does the reemergence of REvil mean? We spoke with Maria Gershuni, global intel analyst II with Flashpoint.

Chanel Futures: What does this reemergence of REvil mean? Is it surprising that REvil is back?

Maria Gershuni: While this development is significant, it is not surprising. Flashpoint analysts have long observed chatter on illicit forums discussing a possible reemergence of the group. However, most chatter believed that the group would reemerge under a new name. They were wrong.

After REvil first disappeared, discussion circulated on whether the disappearance had geopolitical implications. Prompted by REvil’s attack, U.S. President Biden issued an ultimatum to Russian President Putin in a July 2021 phone call, telling his Russian counterpart to step up and deal with the ransomware collectives that are operating within Russian territory.

Researchers commonly believe that cybercriminals who operate in Russia receive safe harbor from domestic law enforcement in exchange for the criminals’ tacit agreement to not attack Russian entities. REvil’s disappearance, less than a week after the Biden-Putin phone call, seemed to point to the Russian government’s cooperation with U.S. requests and may have signaled a potential cyber rapprochement in dealing with cybercriminal organizations. The reemergence of REvil, however, puts a damper on hopes that Russia and the U.S. would cooperate to combat cybercrime.

Scroll through our gallery above for more of Gershuni’s comments and more cybersecurity news.

Sep 10

Partners Weigh In On Biden Vaccine Mandate

By | Managed Services News

The proposed mandate will require businesses with 100 or more workers to either get vaccinated or get tested weekly.

The Department of Labor made an interesting move yesterday. The department proposed mandating that employees either must get vaccinated or face mandatory weekly testing. This applies to all businesses with 100 or more workers.

President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered the sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans. This includes private-sector employees, health care workers and federal contractors. The proposed mandate is an all-out attempt to curb the spiking COVID-19 delta variant.

A Presidential “Time Is Up”

According to AP News, the president directly addressed the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

Legal Insights

Keith Wilkes, a labor and employment partner/shareholder at the national law firm Hall Estill, has been fielding inquiries about the announcement. 

“The emergency OSHA rule will require all private sector employers with at least 100 employees to mandate vaccinations in their workforce or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis. [This] is expected to impact over 80 million private sector workers,” Wilkes says. 

“OSHA, which falls under the U.S. Department of Labor, will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement the new rule. Although the timing of when the ETS requirement will go into effect is not clear, it will likely not be a long wait. The federal government did its legal homework before implementing the same mandate, via Executive Order, for federal employees in July. Today, however, President Biden announced that he is removing the regular testing option for federal employees and employees of all federal contractors.”

To Get Vaccinated, or Not to Get Vaccinated

Employers impacted by the new OSHA rule will be required to explore their options. They will need to figure out whether reasonable accommodation exists for those employees who seek refuge from the vaccination mandate. This could be because of a sincerely held religious belief, or a disability-based reason. 

“Absent falling into one of those two categories, unvaccinated private sector employees who fall under this new rule will have no choice but to obtain full vaccination if they wish to keep their current job,” says Wilkes. 

With such a divisive decree on the table, we wanted to know what our partners think. What does this mean for the channel? What are the challenges that will occur as a result?

Click through our gallery above to see what partners had to say.

Sep 10

New Products, Services: Axcient, IBM, Kaseya, Lumen, Synnex, Verizon, Windstream

By | Managed Services News

UCaaS, disaster recovery, edge computing, fiber, data operations and augmented reality. It’s all here

Lumen, Verizon, FireEye and Avaya are among the latest companies to roll out new offerings for the channel to sell.

Nineteen companies made our list of head-turning products that can help partners meet their customers’ evolving technological demands. From cable companies like Spectrum Enterprise to MSP-focused vendors like Kaseya, this list features a wide variety of vendors. You’ll also find partners and distributors who have expanded their technology portfolios with new agreements. Take for instance Synnex, whose partners can now sell Nextiva in an agent model.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest offerings that channel partners can use and sell.

Did you miss our previous new services roundup? Check out the July edition.

Sep 10

COVID-19 Update: Intelisys, TBI Postpone Events as Sandler, Avant Stay the Course

By | Managed Services News

Some companies, like Datto, have chosen to go virtual with their conferences.

Channel companies are taking different approaches to event planning as COVID-19 cases rise with the delta variant.

Some event hosts have postponed their fall events, others have moved them to a virtual format and still others are keeping their in-person plans in place. Channel partners are putting their fall travel plans together as positive coronavirus tests rise and the federal government mulls vaccine mandates.

The national 7-day average dropped as low as 11,237 in June according to the New York Times, but that number has skyrocketed in August and September due to the highly transmissible nature of the delta variant. The national 7-day average reached 166,105 on Sept. 1, the highest number. Although the current number of cases dwarfs in comparison to last fall and winter (and also appears to be dropping), it has risen high enough to worry event promoters.

covid chart

Source: New York Times: Coronavirus in the United States: Latest Map and Case Count

Intelisys Makes the Call

Intelisys surprised the agent channel earlier this week with the announcement that it would postpone its Channel Connect event. The services distributor would have held the event in Oct. 11 through Oct. 14 in Monterey California. California is currently sitting at a 7-day positive case average of 10,071.

“The fluid state of the COVID pandemic and regulations in the State of California precludes us from hosting an event with pure enjoyment at the size and scale we need, absent of any fear or worry,” Intelisys said in a statement. “The health and safety of our partners, suppliers and employees is our number one priority. While we were planning to implement protocols to mitigate potential health issues, the risk associated with just one person becoming dangerously ill or possibly worse currently eclipses the benefits of getting together in person.”

Intelisys has not decided on a new date. Intelisys President John DeLozier said the event will reconvene in the future “at the best, earliest, convenient time.”


TBI Follows Suit

Chicago-based competitor competitor TBI has officially postponed its Oct. 6 Big Event. Their team reported “increasing concerns of COVID-19’s delta variant.” They will monitor state and federal guidelines to set a new date. The new event will take place in the spring, according to the event website.

“This was not a decision we have taken lightly, and our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our partners and our provider sponsors, who fund the event,” TBI said in a statement.

On the other hand, two tech services distributor events are continuing as usual. Sandler Partners is hosting its National Summit Sept. 13 in Huntington Beach. In addition, Avant will host its Special Forces Summit in Austin, Texas Sept. 27-29.

Furthermore, the Channel Partners Conference & Expo and MSP Summit will take place Nov. 1-4. We previewed the show in an article today.

Peter Radizeski

Rad-Info’s Peter Radizeski

Partner Perspective

Peter Radizeski, founder and president of Rad-Info, does not travel to as many events as the average agent.

“There is a section of the channel, of the market, that is eager to get back out there. Back to the hustle and bustle, meeting people face to face and schmoozing. I have always been remote. I rarely meet my clients face to face. So for me it has been business close to usual,” he told Channel Futures.

He said for him the risk of attending shows in 2021 still…

Sep 10

Significant M&A Activity Amongst MSPs Continues in Third Quarter

By | Managed Services News

Recent frenzy of MSP M&A activity saw companies such as The Synetek Group and ​​Netsurit expanding their capabilities.

Managed services mergers and acquisitions have spiked again recently, with at least eight deals disclosed within a few weeks.

Motivated by a range of factors, the deals capture a lot of what we’re seeing in the industry. These include the need for integrated voice technology solutions, greater geographic reach, access to network managed services, and the ability to drive better security solutions.

Click through our gallery above to view the rundown.

Sep 10

Significant M&A Activity Amongst MSPs Continues in Third Quarter

By | Managed Services News

Recent frenzy of MSP M&A activity saw companies such as The Synetek Group and ​​Netsurit expanding their capabilities.

Managed services mergers and acquisitions have spiked again recently, with at least eight deals disclosed within a few weeks.

Motivated by a range of factors, the deals capture a lot of what we’re seeing in the industry. These include the need for integrated voice technology solutions, greater geographic reach, access to network managed services, and the ability to drive better security solutions.

Click through our gallery above to view the rundown.