Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 04

Make MSP Market Consolidation Work for You

By | Managed Services News

In the current environment, the impetus for market consolidation deals is more pressing than ever.

Joining forces for greater efficiencies, growing by gobbling up smaller competitors or complementary firms, cashing out when you can’t cover the bills … there are numerous reasons a company may go the mergers and acquisition route in any economy. But in the current topsy-turvy environment, the stakes are higher and the impetus for market consolidation deals more pressing than ever.

The MSP industry is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions. According to IT Glue’s 2020 Global MSP Benchmark Report, in 2019. But with COVID-19’s wide-ranging impact on MSPs and their customers, it’s no surprise to see many firms considering their options.

Meeting Increased Demand

Consolidation within a maturing market is nothing new. MSP offerings are in high demand, thanks to an increased reliance on IT services in every industry and the unfortunately growing need to protect firms from cyberthreats while meeting stringent compliance standards and regulations. That has fueled rapid growth as more organizations look to outsource some of their essential IT services to MSPs.

Although most MSPs are thrilled to increase their monthly recurring revenue (MRR), that doesn’t come for free. The broadening array of services MSPs offer can also make market consolidation through M&A more attractive. Endpoint management and looking after Office365 and cloud instances on behalf of clients is now just the tip of the iceberg.

From Dark Web monitoring to disaster recovery as a service to monitoring for footholds, MSP menus keep growing as customer environments become more complex and cybercriminals get craftier. This creates an ongoing challenge of identifying, hiring, and training talent for these roles and increasing the organizational overhead that comes with a higher headcount.

Continuing to diversify what MSPs offer; effectively communicating, marketing and selling those solutions; and then standing them up and supporting them takes time, training and expertise that is sometimes in short supply. Strategic acquisitions or mergers can accelerate an MSP’s ability to offer more and instantly expand its workforce.

Downward Pricing Pressure

Meanwhile, both new and established players are eager to grab their piece of the pie, which has increased competition and, in some cases, driven down prices. For those with more efficient operations, those economies of scale can support more aggressive pricing that might make the reduced margins untenable for smaller MSPs.

This puts smaller MSPs in a tough spot. Their hard-won accounts are ripe for poaching by more aggressive competitors, but they don’t have the wiggle room to drop their own prices or throw in extra services without taking a serious margin hit. Pre-COVID-19 strategies of taking on debt or accelerating hiring are also less viable now for some MSPs.

Capital Crunch

Pandemics aren’t picky when it comes to devastating previously prosperous businesses, and, depending on which verticals and geographic areas an MSP was operating in, plenty of accounts may be in jeopardy or unable to pay their bills.

Additionally, government-backed programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the United States that temporarily propped up businesses have run out–with no economic recovery in sight.

This uncertain future for MSPs and their clients could prove devastating in some corners of the industry; some MSPs may end up looking for an exit while others with deeper capital reserves might find themselves in a buyer’s market.

Increasing Demand

COVID-19 hasn’t been all bad news for the IT industry. The sudden shift to work from home slammed down the accelerator on the remote work revolution. Industries and companies previously reticent to permit this practice have had to embrace it–at least temporarily–and some may never go back to the way it was before.

Even if organizations don’t continue to offer remote work regularly, they must continue this practice for the immediate future and will likely retain some level of flexibility going forward. Maintaining a robust and secure IT environment with a distributed workforce should continue to be a good thing for MSPs for the foreseeable future.

Strength in Numbers

Buyers in this market are focused on

Sep 04

Snowflake IPO Stands to Yield Huge Market Cap ‘On Day One’

By | Managed Services News

Get the scoop on a big Wall Street mover. And, find out what’s new with Oracle and JEDI, and consultancy Infosys.

The year of COVID-19 has proven that cloud technology can save the day, enabling work from anywhere – and creating a lot of extra data to manage in the process. The upcoming Snowflake IPO intends to capitalize on that reality.

The data warehousing vendor soon will go public in what analysts expect will be a big, big deal. In the first part of this cloud news roundup, we explore what market experts are saying about the Snowflake IPO.

Then, get the latest on Oracle’s legal fight for a shot at the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. Needless to say, the cloud vendor may be at an end with its attempts to get a piece of the $10 billion project. And finally, global consultancy Infosys has unveiled its cloud platform for digital transformation.

Snowflake IPO Has ‘Potential for Significant Upside’

The upcoming Snowflake IPO could mean a market cap of $35 billion on the first day of trading.

That’s according to an MKM analyst via SeekingAlpha. Rohit Kulkarni predicts that Snowflake, because of its cloud-based data warehousing specialty, could blow away Wall Street. Kulkarni projects a Snowflake IPO valuation between $20 billion and $21 billion. He cites “potential for significant upside, given Snowflake’s rare-air growth rate, secular tailwinds and emerging use cases.”

Snowflake could see that vaunted $35 billion market cap “on day one” if investors apply a combination of “premium multiples,” Kulkarni said.

Last month, Snowflake filed its intent to go public. It hopes to raise $100 million. Donovan Jones, a SeekingAlpha analyst, appears to see that threshold as no issue.

“As enterprises transition to the cloud, complexity has increased markedly, putting pressure on IT groups and providing an opening for companies like ‘SNOW’ to provide a suite of capabilities that both simplifies and removes data siloing limitations,” Jones wrote in a Sept. 3 blog.

Analysts over at The Motley Fool agree. Snowflake, said Brian Feroldi on a Sept. 1 podcast, is “going to be the second-fastest growing SaaS company ever to IPO.”

Plus, he added, “it’s the No. 3 fastest public SaaS company to reach [$500 million]in annualized revenue. Those are impressive metrics.”

The Snowflake IPO is based on a reported $264.7 million in revenue and $348.5 million in net losses as of the company’s fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. Snowflake holds $886 million in cash and boasts 3,000 customers, double the number from a year ago, The Motley Fool noted.

Snowflake has not yet announced its IPO pricing date. The cloud data warehousing provider last year started ramping up its channel program. By all accounts, partners will remain integral to Snowflake’s growth plans.

Appeals Court Shoots Down Oracle’s JEDI Arguments

A U.S. appeals court has put the full kibosh on Oracle’s efforts to get a piece of the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.

The cloud vendor has argued since last year that it was wrongfully excluded from consideration for the project. It has insisted that the Department of Defense violated government rules by intending to award JEDI to just one contractor. Oracle also said the procurement process was flawed by …

Sep 04

KnowBe4 IPO Could Be An ‘Interesting,’ ‘Logical’ Move

By | Managed Services News

An IPO would raise KnowBe4’s profile significantly.

KnowBe4 reportedly is preparing for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) valued at more than $2 billion.

According to Reuters, KnowBe4 is planning the IPO, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has engaged investment banks to help with preparations for the IPO. It could come later this year or early next year, the sources said.

KnowBe4 isn’t commenting.

Rik Turner is principal analyst at Omdia. He said a KnowBe4 IPO could be interesting and logical.

KnowBe4 might still face an uphill battle to expand its customer base even after the IPO, he said. But the move will “certainly raise its profile significantly.”

And it may even put it on the radar of larger players, Turner said. They may want to add products for awareness training to their portfolio through a partnership.

Last year, KnowBe4 got a $300 million investment led by global investment firm KKR, with significant participation from existing investors Elephant and TenEleven Ventures. The investment raised the company’s value to $1 billion.

KnowBe4 planned to use the funding for global growth initiatives and platform development.

Email Security Market Changing

Turner said the whole email security awareness training market segment has undergone considerable change. For instance, Proofpoint acquired Wombat.. Also, PhishMe went private and changed its name to Cofense.

Cofense still offers awareness training and reporting. But it removed “phish” from its name to move to a broader email security offering, he said.

Ovum's Rik Turner

Omdia’s Rik Turner

“Meanwhile, one of Proofpoint’s most important competitors in email security – Mimecast – also bought a smaller awareness training vendor, Ataata,” Turner said. “All this activity raised the question in analysts’ minds whether awareness training technology was really destined to be a standalone business, or would ultimately become a branch of the products/services offered by broader security players, and particularly those offering email security in the form of secure email gateways like Proofpoint and Mimecast.”

Cashing In

Through all this, KnowBe4 has remained a dedicated provider of email security awareness training technology, Turner said. With the IPO, KnowBe4 likely hopes to cash in on the heightened concern for security generally, and email security in particular. The pandemic and the move to work from home has intensified this concern.

“My take on the awareness training market is that it is not really a technology sector at all, but rather a media market,” he said. “Vendors compete on the excellence of their content, i.e. the films, how engaging they are and how well they promote involvement from the trainees. Some companies even use Hollywood writers to script them.”

Sep 04

Tumultuous 2020 Brings Revised Road Map for Cloud

By | Managed Services News

The pandemic’s effect shows the need for flexibility and the rise of hybrid computing.

Amdocs' Avishai SharlinA tumultuous 2020 is bringing big changes. In February, I shared a piece for Channel Futures that highlighted why 2020 would be a momentous year for containers, service mesh and cloud computing. Back then, nobody could have forecast today’s pandemic and its dramatic impact. Across all industries, it has changed the way consumers have digital experiences. And, it also made businesses realize their legacy IT infrastructure might not be able to keep pace with new demands.

Let’s revisit predictions from earlier in the year and map the changes.

Tumultuous 2020, What’s Changed

  • Hybrid cloud becomes more important than ever. I believe cloud was the lifesaver of our industry during COVID-19’s disruption.

As more businesses make a leap to cloud, hybrid environments will be a critical focus area as IT organizations prepare themselves to better work and operate with clouds, but many applications continue to run on-premise. While I predicted that hybrid would be a crucial technology in 2020, I did not expect its rapid pace of adoption, which has become much faster.

More organizations will adopt a hybrid cloud approach sooner than expected, as they’ll have no other choice to keep up with technology’s aggressive evolution. In fact, Flexera’s annual State of the Cloud report found that 87% of businesses have a hybrid cloud strategy, using an average of 2.2 public clouds and 2.2 private clouds. They must run legacy workloads or local cloud on-premise while also deploying on public clouds and managing workloads there; this is from both a VM and Kubernetes perspective. Companies will rely heavily on their third-party service providers for this accelerated transformation. This means channel partners should be able to offer expert counsel on Red Hat, VMware, AWS and other major cloud leaders. They also will be looking more to their channel partners for counsel on cloud design, integration, migration and data center modernization.

As COVID-19 severely impacts IT teams’ time and budget, those who provide solutions that are easier to run and integrate will win this space. Simplicity, known skill sets and familiar products with shorter time to integrate will be critical.

Acceleration for Containers

  • Container adoption should still run full-speed. In February, I predicted containers would become the de facto software packaging model, with application modernization taking an accelerated path. This still holds true today.

Container platforms have become an essential factor in the cloud landscape, accelerating cloud adoption in enterprises. Gartner predicts that by 2024, worldwide container management revenue will reach $944 million. Channel partners that can provide expertise in accelerating cloud-native transformation will become essential during this time. Many companies struggle with migrating legacy applications to the cloud. They also struggle with modernizing existing applications, and depend heavily on managed service providers (MSPs) for these capabilities. Despite the pandemic affecting day-to-day IT needs, the implementation of Kubernetes and container adoption are still priorities for businesses.

COVID-19 should not affect the adoption of containers for those already on a Kubernetes platform. Anyone who already started with Kubernetes uses containers already. And, organizations understand the value of Docker-based DevOps, local PC development and CI/CD pipelines based on containers.

More Changes

  • Serverless computing adoption slows down. I expected a move toward maturing best practices, security solutions and tooling around serverless computing as more IT organizations implemented it. I saw AWS Outposts as the likely chief disruptor here. Why? Because It blurs the lines between on-cloud and on-premise workloads and services. This is with Google Anthos and Microsoft Azure as its main competition.

However, we can now assume that …

Sep 03

Lenovo Data Center Group Debuts New Products with Nutanix, Microsoft, VMware

By | Managed Services News

It’s all about digital transformation and adapting to the new business normal.

Lenovo Data Center Group (DCG) on Thursday introduced new and updated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offers that address the new business normal. The new solutions include technology partners Nutanix, Microsoft, VMware and Diamanti. The company also announced Lenovo Cloud Services.

The vendor’s new normal product strategy responds to accelerated business transformation. This acceleration demands offers that address business resiliency, agility and modernization. This vision also demands adaptation of hybrid cloud and data center infrastructure.

Lenovo's Kamran Amini

Lenovo’s Kamran Amini

“Customers are looking for choice. They’re looking for flexibility of a different infrastructure solution that gives them maximum value,” Kamran Amini, vice president and general manager of server, storage and software defined infrastructure, Lenovo DCG, said in a product briefing. “Choice is key. At Lenovo, we’re not pushing a single agenda like our competitors.”

Partnership and Choice

More specifically, Lenovo Data Center Group introduced ThinkAgile HX powered by AMD EPYC processors and Nutanix; Lenovo ThinkAgile MX and Microsoft Azure Stack; Lenovo ThinkAgile VX and VMware; and Diamanti SR630 Kubernetes.

The ThinkAgile HX HCI series enables customers to run their virtual desktop workloads and maintain consistent performance in a 1U form factor. And, that’s using up to half the number of servers. Here are some features:

  • Improved TCO. The Lenovo ThinkAgile HX AMD two-socket delivers a wide range of core counts to match application needs and enable excellent performance for virtualization and VDI consolidation, the company said.
  • Nutanix software increases flexibility for customers continuing their multicloud adoption journeys. It provides simplified operations, increased workload density, stronger data protection and seamless application across clouds for a true hybrid architecture.
  • Expect availability in late November as an appliance or a certified node.

Microsoft and VMware

The new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center solutions, in collaboration with Microsoft, allow customers to rapidly deploy a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

  • The new ThinkAgile MX appliances provide easy deployment, management and scalability of Azure services from edge-to-core-to-cloud. In addition, Lenovo plans to offers consumption-based, pay-as-you-go, pricing of Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Hub.
  • ThinkAgile MX has a single, simplified console for life cycle management and delivers an enhanced customer experience, said Lenovo.

In collaboration with VMware, the new Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Series  aims to improve agility and reliability for SAP HANA database deployments.

  • Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions are 4S certified nodes that address modernization of infrastructure for high-end database solutions and SAP HANA. They improve agility and simplify life cycle management of vSAN environments via the integration of Lenovo XClarity Management software and the new vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) tools.
  • Lenovo XClarity is the management console for Lenovo ThinkAgile HCI solutions. It provides auto-discovery and asset management, policy-based firmware updates across hardware and software, and is the integration interface to leading ISV management tools, including vLCM.
  • The Lenovo ThinkAgile VX 4S solution offers double the SAP HANA database memory and direct connect NVMe, for accelerated response times, speed to business insights and improves TCO.
  • Availability is scheduled for later this month.

For ISV Partners

Lenovo also announced an OEM On Demand program. This program enables ISV partners to offer turnkey, integrated IT infrastructure solutions to market through their respective brands.

For example, Lenovo, working with Diamanti, introduced Diamanti SR630, available now. This solution is powered by Lenovo ThinkSystem servers. Diamanti specializes in Kubernetes deployments.

The new Lenovo Cloud Lifecycle Services aim to help customers find the right solution as they transition to the new normal. They address workshop and assessment, design and implementation, management and support, and Lenovo TruScale infrastructure services.

So, what does this mean to partners?

“If you think about these new solutions, at the end of the day we are taking out a lot of risk around integration and validation for our channel partners. And, our strategy has always been channel-first,” said Shekhar Mishra, director of software defined infrastructure, Lenovo DCG.

Partners can bring their solutions for a specific environment and add their own services.

“That’s a motion we do see as being very successful,” he said.

Sep 03

Microsoft One Commercial Partner Organization GM Leaves for Intuit

By | Managed Services News

Microsoft’s loss is Intuit’s gain.

The Microsoft One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization is losing veteran Gavin Orleow. A 19-year Microsoft employee, Orleow is taking a job, beginning Sept. 8, as Intuit vice president of global partner channels.

Intuit's Gavin Orleow

Intuit’s Gavin Orleow

In his new role, Orleow is responsible for expanding the company’s global partner channel and offerings into the midmarket. The role is a new one at Intuit.

“At Microsoft, I had amazing opportunities and experiences, helping to build global partner ecosystems across Microsoft’s cloud businesses. Now I get to take my passion for building global partner channels and apply it to small businesses via QuickBooks. QuickBooks has been the partner of small businesses for more than 20 years, helping customers achieve success,” said Orleow.

In his most recent role at Microsoft as general manager, solutions strategy, One Commercial Partner group, Orleow led the global team accountable for building and managing Microsoft’s cloud computing partner ecosystem. He’s been in this role since March 2018. Before that, he was senior director, partner strategy and channel development at Microsoft for almost eight years.

New Channel Strategy

Intuit’s channel strategy to date has been primarily through resellers and accounting firms. However, as the vendor’s QuickBooks product and service capabilities have grown, it has seen a market fit outside of its traditional SMB space.

“This traction gives us confidence that now is the time to leverage the scale of a strong partner ecosystem to expand our reach, and power prosperity in the midmarket,” Bobby Morrison, chief sales officer, Intuit QuickBooks, told Channel Futures. “As our QuickBooks strategy has evolved to include more of the small business midmarket and product-based businesses, Gavin will evolve and lead our partner strategy to help meet these objectives on a global scale.”

Orleow will focus on building a new world-class partner channel at Intuit. There are several basic tenets for the company’s channel program. Those are ease of doing business; robust enablement and support; go-to-market investment; and integrated co-sell sales plays.

“He will leverage the best of what he has learned in his career and apply those insights to build a competitive advantage for our partners. Success is achieved at the intersection of our solutions, partners and customers,” said Morrison.

Microsoft-Intuit History

In an interesting tidbit of M&A history, Microsoft, in 1994, agreed to buy Intuit, founded in 1983. However, the $2.3 billion deal, under Microsoft founder Bill Gates, fell victim to a U.S. Dept. of Justice antitrust complaint blocking the acquisition.

The challenge had to do with Microsoft’s Money software introduced in 1991, an Intuit competitor. The U.S. Department of Justice feared that Microsoft’s acquisition of Intuit would give it too much control over the emerging personal finance management market. Quicken had a 70% share at the time

Microsoft discontinued selling Microsoft Money in 2009.

Sasan Goodarzi has been Intuit’s CEO since January 2019. He is a 16-year veteran of the company.

Sep 03

Here’s What You Need to Build a Multi-level Security Services Offering

By | Managed Services News

A multi-level security approach not only protects your customers to the max, but also boosts your valued partner proposition significantly.

Cybercrime damage costs are predicted to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 … Your customers need you. Some MSPs are daunted by selling cybersecurity, while others underestimate it. The fact is, the cyberthreat landscape has never been more volatile or diverse, and now is a great time for MSPs to broaden their product portfolio and build a multi-level security services offering.

Most threats are commodity threats involving tools and techniques that are easy to use, cheap and readily available to buy online. Protection against these threats should be a given. But what about advanced threats involving tools and techniques developed by highly skilled specialists, with focused intent and purpose, that require significant expertise to deal with? Protecting against these requires a 360-degree view into the advanced tactics and tools used by skilled cybercriminals.

If they’re not already doing so, MSPs should be thinking very seriously about the advanced solutions they should be offering their customers: A multi-level security services approach not only protects your customers to the max, but also boosts your value proposition.

Here are some of the key technologies and capabilities that help deliver the 360-degree view your customers need, and that should form part of any intelligent multi-level security services offering.

  • EPP and an appropriate EDR: Endpoint protection is a must. At the same time, EDR is a hot topic right now, and with good reason–it’s closely linked with endpoint protection, and endpoints are still the main target for cybercriminals. While EDR is a powerful tool that helps highly skilled security professionals hunt for advanced threats in networks they protect or provide a managed service for, it’s not great for businesses that don’t have this level of expertise in-house. These businesses need an EDR tool that acts as an extension of the EPP, with complementary workflow and a unified web-based console and simple-yet-effective tools. Key EDR capabilities in this class include deep visibility, simplified root cause analysis and comprehensive automated response actions. Whatever your different customers’ level of security maturity, they need EDR–just make sure it’s the right kind for them.
  • Sandbox: Antivirus engines can only stop known threats, and sophisticated threat actors use state-of-the-art techniques to dodge them. Immediate threat detection capabilities are crucial for rapid, effective response. Sandbox helps to make intelligent decisions based on a file’s behavior while simultaneously analyzing process memory, network activity, Sandbox is a super-efficient way for your customers to get a handle on advanced, targeted threats–and its technologies have the added benefit of increasing the cost for an attacker of carrying out an attack, which is a big deterrent. Giving your customers the choice of on-premises or cloud sandbox is another way to ensure they get exactly what works best for them.
  • Up-to-the-minute threat data feeds: Without context and actionable intelligence, data is of limited value. Near real-time, immediately actionable cyberthreat data from threat data feeds significantly improves your customers’ forensic capability to deal with known, unknown and developing threats.
  • Tailored MDR: Businesses have never been more reliant on IT, but not every organization has the resources or in-house expertise to monitor and hunt for threats, let alone respond to them. A fully managed and personalized MDR solution gives your customers peace of mind, taking responsibility for handling the growing volume of threats from detection through to remediation. It substantially reduces the overall impact of any incident and also reduces security costs.

 Security awareness training: Even the most advanced protection technologies need humans to play ball at least some of the time. But without the necessary changes in behavior, human error will continue to be a thorn in the side of your customers whose staff behave carelessly. The right security awareness training ensures that costly security mistakes at work are avoided, and training that’s easy to implement and manage is a great “door opener” with new customers.

All your customers are different and have varying levels of security maturity. By offering multi-level security services, you open up new revenue streams and become a trusted security advisor. The onus is on you to talk to your vendor partners and see how many of these boxes they tick.

If these security capabilities are relevant to your customers, get in touch with Kaspersky to find out how we can add value to your MSP practice.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Sep 03

Netskope’s Cloud Threat Exchange Features VMware Carbon Black, CrowdStrike, More

By | Managed Services News

The Cloud Threat Exchange is free and open to Netskope partners, vendors and customers.

Netskope‘s new Cloud Threat Exchange allows partners, vendors and customers to share cloud threat intelligence with each other to improve response time.

The Cloud Threat Exchange is free and users collaborate on sharing indicators of compromise (IOCs). They can use it to automate the delivery and distribution of threat intelligence. This reduces the time to protect and eliminate gaps in coverage.

Cloud Threat Exchange is supported by members certified by Netskope. They include VMWare Carbon Black, CrowdStrike, Cybereason, Mimecast, SentinelOne and ThreatQuotient.

Together, they help mutual customers maximize the benefit of their protections by leveraging threat intelligence across multiple enforcement points, the company said.

Help for MSPs and MSSPs

Krishna Narayanaswamy is Netskope’s CTO.

Netskope's Krishna Narayanaswamy

Netskope’s Krishna Narayanaswamy

“The Cloud Threat Exchange (CTE) helps MSP/MSSP providers improve their security posture,” he said. “The MSP/MSSP providers support multiple security solutions to address different types of threats. The threat detection capabilities vary among different solutions. So the ability to leverage the IOCs from one solution to another provides broader coverage for threats across all the solutions compared to just using the native detection capabilities of the individual solutions.”

Cloud Threat Exchange’s flexibility makes it possible for a relationship directly between peers that doesn’t require intermediation by Netskope.

“The CTE will provide a competitive edge to organizations using it,” Narayanaswamy said. “The benefit of deploying CTE is to have a much more effective threat detection capability compared to not using it.”

More effective and timely threat detection will reduce the chances of data breaches, he said. Data breaches affect brand reputation and potentially causes hefty fines imposed by data regulations.

It also increases users’ productivity. That’s because they don’t have to deal with down time needed to remediate and clean infected systems.

Cloud Threats Spike During Pandemic

According to Netskope’s August 2020 Cloud and Threat Report, cybercriminals continue to use the cloud as an attack vector in new ways. And this has been exacerbated by the surge in remote working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, cloud malware delivery and cloud phishing were the two most common types of cloud threats. These challenges require multiple defenses with unique capabilities and focus points to share timely threat intelligence.

For example, a threat actor might combine multiple types of attacks including phishing, malware and data theft. An organization improves its capabilities to stop such an attack by sharing details of the threats across all of their protections.

“We believe that the future of timely and effective security controls is going to be driven by automation,” Narayanaswamy said. “Security solution vendors are increasingly exposing APIs to share and ingest threat intelligence data. This in turn drives the need for solutions like CTE to help connect these disparate systems to achieve an end result that is much greater than the sum of what the individual security systems can provide.”

“The sharing of threat data between solutions is paramount in the fight against the growing onslaught of attacks our customers face on a daily basis,” said Julian Martin, Mimecast‘s vice president of business development. “Mimecast will now be able to identify an attack at the email gateway and by utilizing Cloud Threat Exchange, can immediately notify the other solutions within the security architecture. This will vastly improve joint customers’ speed of response and alleviate any potential risk to the business.”

Sep 02

Samsung Launches Z Fold2 5G Device as Microsoft Delivers Foldable Surface Duo

By | Managed Services News

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold2 5G foldable phone is set to ship Sept. 18 and will cost a hefty $1,999.

The big-ticket phone, launched this week, will arrive just a week after Microsoft is set to deliver its new Surface Duo. While both are similar in size and function, the Galaxy Z Fold2 boasts more modern specs than the Microsoft Duo. Notably, the Surface Duo, announced last month, will not support 5G networks or Wi-Fi 6 wireless LANs.

Microsoft has acknowledged that the Surface Duo, its inaugural Android device and first foldable, won’t have the latest technologies. Consequently, it costs less than Samsung Z Fold2, but starting at $1,399, the Surface Duo is also considerably expensive.

Given their cost and the fact that foldables are still novel, they’re not yet expected to have broad appeal. But early buyers will likely determine if there is a future market for them and what use cases are sustainable. Likewise, foldables will give the app ecosystem new opportunities to create new user experiences.

While the Surface Duo and the Galaxy Z Fold2 are competing devices, Samsung and Microsoft also have extensive partnerships. Both companies are working closely to extend Windows and Office on Galaxy devices. Panos Panay, who leads Microsoft’s Surface group, has stated that the Surface Duo isn’t a phone. Nevertheless, because the Surface Duo has calling capabilities, it could replace a phone. For Samsung, the Galaxy Z Fold is its third foldable dual-display phone.

Both companies, and others, are trying to create a new category of devices.

“It gives people the opportunity to do things in a different way than they’ve done in the past,” said TECHnalysis analyst Bob O’Donnell, in a podcast discussing the Surface Duo.

“With the extended screen of a tablet, and the portability of a smartphone, the foldable devices are poised to transform the experiences that matter most to our users,” Samsung corporate VP Patrick Chomet said Tuesday during the company’s brief Fall Unpacked 2 launch event.

Last month, Samsung held its main Fall Unpacked event, when the company announced its new Galaxy Note20 phones and Galaxy Tab S7 tablets. During that event, Samsung previewed the Galaxy Z Fold2, promising to reveal more details on Sept. 1.

Improvements to the Galaxy Z Fold2

The Galaxy Z Fold2 has a narrower gap than the prior version, making the hinges more durable and less conspicuous. The device offers a new Multi-Active Window, which lets users open multiple files from the same app simultaneously. It also has an enhanced Multi-Window Tray that lets users open multiple apps at once. The Galaxy Z Fold2 also supports drag and drop between apps.

It also supports the new Samsung DeX wireless connections to smart TVs and displays, which the company introduced last month for its new phones and tablets.

Samsung is offering both an unlocked version and a version only for AT&T, which started taking pre-orders Wednesday. Samsung will release a version that supports Verizon’s mmWave 5G network in the coming weeks.

Side by Side Comparison of the Surface Duo and Samsung Z Fold2

 Microsoft Surface DuoSamsung Fold
  • Unfolded: 5.7 x 7.36 x 0.10 inches
  • Folded: 3.67 x 7.36 x 0.39 inches
  • Unfolded: 5.05 x 6.27×0.24 inches
  • Folded: 2.7 x 6.27×0.54 inches
Weight0.55 pounds0.62 pounds
  • LTE: 4×4 MIMO, Cat.18 DL / Cat 5 UL, 5CA, LAA. Up to 1.2Gbps Download / Up to 150Mbps Upload
  • Unlocked version for AT&T without eSIM slot, Unlocked with eSIM slot for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon
  • T-Mobile customers coming from Sprint’s network require a T-Mobile SIM card
5G: Non-Standalone (NSA), Standalone (SA), Sub6 / mmWave
  • Wi-Fi 5 (2.4/5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5


  • Wi-Fi 6, HE80 MIMO, 1024QAM
  • Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps)
  • USB type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)
Operating SystemAndroid 10Android 10
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 855 optimized for the dual screen devicesSamsung 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
DisplaysDual AMOLED PixelSense Fusion Displays


  • Each is 5.6-inches with 1800 x1 350 (401 PPI) resolution
  • Used together as a single 8.1” screen, resolution is 2700 x 1800
  • Display Material: Corning Gorilla Glass




  • Main Screen: 7.6” QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display (22.5:18) Infinity Flex Display (2208 x 1768), 373ppi
  • Cover Screen: – 6.2” HD+ Super AMOLED Display (25:9), (2260 x 816), 386ppi
CamerasAdaptive camera 11MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm, PDAF and 84.0° diagonal FOV optimized with AI for front and rear


  • Front: 10MP Selfie Camera: F2.2, Pixel size: 1.22μm, FOV: 80˚
  • Rear: Triple camera, 12MP Ultra Wide Camera : F2.2 ,Pixel size: 1.12μm, FOV : 123˚
  • 12MP Wide-angle Camera: Super Speed Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.8, Pixel size: 1.8μm, FOV: 83˚
  • 12MP Telephoto Camera : PDAF, F2.4, OIS, Pixel size: 1.0μm, FOV: 45˚
  • Dual OIS, 0.5x out and 2x in optical zoom, Up to 10x digital zoom, HDR10+ recording, Tracking AF
  • Cover: 10MP Selfie Camera: F2.2, Pixel size: 1.22μm, FOV: 80˚
Base price$1,300$2,000

Source: Company spec sheets

Sep 02

It’s 501 Somewhere: Mayka Rosales-Peterson on Diversity and Inclusion in the Channel

By | Managed Services News

Rosales-Peterson talks about diversity, what the channel can do, and how partners can better their business.

Mayka Rosales-Peterson, channel marketing coordinator at Telesystem, is truly a force of nature. Not only is she is responsible for marketing activities and partner development across all areas of Telesystem’s indirect sales channel, she also serves as co-chair of the communications committee for the Alliance of Channel Women, and is a member of Channel Partners/Channel Futures Allies of the Channel Council and Xposure Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Telesystem's Mayka Rosales-Peterson

Telesystem’s Mayka Rosales-Peterson

Rosales-Peterson will speak at Channel Partners Virtual this year alongside international speaker Risha Grant and founder of the Xposure Inclusion & Diversity Council, Kelli E. Ballou-McMillan. The session, entitled “Get Rid of the Unconscious BS,” diversity and inclusion thought leader Grant will share her perspectives as a woman of color and her prescriptions as a diversity expert. She’ll share truths about unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and other actions that perpetuate discrimination and inequality. The panel will offer some practical advice for finding respect, understanding and inclusion.

We at Channel Partners and Channel Futures are strong supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we recently came out with a statement outlining that support. We know it takes much more than words to express not only our dedication to equality, but also to inclusion and diversity in the technology industry and the channel as a whole.

It is more important than ever to amplify diverse sets of voices, so in this installment of “It’s 501 Somewhere,” we sat down with Mayka to have a candid and honest conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion in the channel.