Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Oct 12

Zayo’s Edge Network Solutions: ‘Big Pivot’ for Company, Partners

By | Managed Services News

Agents selling to the midmarket will want to understand the new platform.

Zayo is stepping outside of its traditional comfort zone. On Wednesday, the fiber and connectivity provider unveiled Edge Network Solutions.

Both the platform and the target market represent “a big pivot for Zayo,” as Frank Cittadino, senior vice president of edge services, put it. That’s because Edge Network Solutions go beyond typical telecom connectivity to encompass cloud and edge computing, and it targets the midmarket, via the channel.

In the past, Zayo largely focused on provisioning fiber connectivity to huge buyers. It also didn’t have the most channel-friendly reputation.

That’s all changing. And Edge Network Solutions represents one outcome of Zayo’s recent efforts to make adjustments.

Recall that, in April of this year, Zayo sought to remove channel conflict. The shift came about with the hiring of Lynn Tinney as senior vice president of global partners.

“Zayo’s commitment to the channel isn’t a ‘nice to have’ — it’s a must,” Tinney told Channel Futures a few months ago. “Having a strong Zayo partner landscape is critical to meeting our goals and driving growth.”

That ethos is driving Zayo to develop different offerings for users it has not typically targeted. The new offer stands out as perhaps the first big example of that. Not only does Zayo see big demand from the midmarket, it also wanted to expand its channel reach. It just so happens that the midmarket is a segment where channel partners do especially well.

More on Edge Network Solutions

Zayo developed Edge Network Solutions after buying managed network service provider QOS Networks earlier this year. (Zayo has offered SD-WAN since 2018, though, using Versa, a company with which it still teams.) QOS brought particular expertise in SD-WAN and edge capabilities. Edge Network Solutions still relies on Versa, as well as Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, VMware and Cloudbrink, for low latency. This combination lets end users choose the vendors they want, rather than risking lock-in, Zayo said.

All in all, through Edge Network Solutions, Zayo aims to enable midmarket organizations’ digital transformation, hybrid and remote work efforts, and emerging-technology adoption (and largely through the channel).

Zayo's Frank Cittadino

Zayo’s Frank Cittadino

To achieve those goals, enterprises “need an agile and borderless network that fuels around-the-clock operations,” said Cittadino (who co-founded and served as CEO of QOS Networks). “By connecting the edge to the core to the cloud, we help relieve IT headaches and meet our customers’ business needs now and in the future.”

As such, six components make up Edge Network Solutions. Those are:

  • Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): These methods enhance application performance. Zayo says the SD-WAN and SASE also connect users and the cloud with unified security and network access, regardless of location or technology.
  • Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): The platform integrates voice, chat, meetings and video.
  • Security Options: Approaches include zero trust, edge SASE, cloud access security broker, network firewall and distributed denial of service protection.
  • Remote Access as a Service: This allows Zayo to secure enterprise applications, and monitor their performance and responsiveness, from anywhere.
  • Managed Circuit Aggregation: Zayo supports access to a range of service options (think LTE or 400G, for example) and locations. The provider puts the various service onto one bill and monitors from one network operations center.

Partner Keys

The key for partners is that they will simply resell Edge Network Solutions. Zayo fully manages customer deployments. That’s an ideal business model for agents and their brokerages. Note, though, that customers will have access to a portal where they can view everything that’s happening on their Edge Network Solutions deployment.

Zayo did not disclose the incentives or percentages partners can expect to earn from Edge Network Solutions sales. However, Cittadino said, called the compensation “orders of magnitude better” than in the past.

Cittadino said Zayo works with all the major public clouds. Edge Network Solutions will be available in 400 data centers around the world.

“If you think you know Zayo, it’s time to take another look,” Cittadino said. “Zayo is no longer just your typical telecom provider. … Starting with the user to the software-defined layer to the cloud, Zayo connects customers from edge to edge, edge to cloud, cloud to edge and everywhere in between.”

 

Oct 12

DTEN Pursues Microsoft Teams Certification

By | Managed Services News

Getting the certification means DTEN can be a single vendor provider of hardware, support and device management.

Conferencing solutions provider DTEN is pursuing Microsoft Teams certification on its most popular collaboration devices. The company expects the certification to help it potentially meet the demands of more than 270 million Teams users worldwide.

Getting the certification means DTEN can be a single vendor provider of hardware, support and device management in a customer’s Teams environment.

Wei Lui is founder and CEO of DTEN.

DTEN's Wei Liu

DTEN’s Wei Liu

“As DTEN solutions are increasingly more recognized in the marketplace, demand has steadily grown for cross-platform solutions,” said Liu. “To better serve our customers and advance solutions for the hybrid workplace, we are entering the process to certify select DTEN devices for Microsoft Teams.”

Specifically, DTEN is pursuing Microsoft Teams certification for its upcoming D7X 55-inch all-in-one Android device for Teams Rooms. Next up, the company will seek certification for Teams Rooms on Windows, as well as for Teams display devices.

“DTEN is built on the fundamental idea that collaboration should always be natural, immersive and meaningful,” Liu said. “We are pleased our signature DTEN experience will be available to more users than ever.”

Oct 11

Thoma Bravo Acquiring ForgeRock in $2.3 Billion Deal, Taking It Private

By | Managed Services News

This is the latest of numerous Thoma Bravo acquisitions in the channel.

Thoma Bravo is shelling out $2.3 billion for ForgeRock, an identity management company. The acquisition will take ForgeRock private.

The offer represents a premium of about 53% over ForgeRock’s closing share price on Oct. 10, the last full trading day prior to the transaction announcement.

Thoma Bravo most recently was interested in acquiring Darktrace. That would have taken Darktrace private. However, Thoma Bravo lost interest in pursuing a deal.

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

The all-cash transaction should close in the first half of 2023 pending customary closing conditions. Those include approval by ForgeRock’s shareholders and the receipt of required regulatory approvals. ForgeRock’s board of directors unanimously approved Thoma Bravo acquiring ForgeRock.

‘Exciting’ Chapter for ForgeRock Customers, Partners

Fran Rosch is ForgeRock‘s CEO.

ForgeRock's Fran Rosch

ForgeRock’s Fran Rosch

“We are pleased to partner with Thoma Bravo to build on the strength of our comprehensive platform,” he said. “The transaction offers a unique opportunity to create value for all of our stakeholders, and is a clear validation of our team’s outstanding work and the start of an exciting new chapter for ForgeRock, our customers and our partner ecosystem. We are confident that Thoma Bravo’s resources and insights will help us continue to drive innovation in our platform and deliver even more value for customers.”

Upon completion of the transaction, ForgeRock’s common stock will no longer be publicly listed and it will become a privately held company.

Chip Virnig is a partner at Thoma Bravo.

“Identity-centric cybersecurity solutions are a critical enabler for businesses to digitally transform their operations,” he said. “And ForgeRock’s solutions combine both the advanced security and customer usability needed in the market. We look forward to partnering with ForgeRock to leverage our deep sector expertise and support the company to capitalize on this tremendous market opportunity.”

Thoma Bravo is also buying Ping Identity in a $2.8 billion, all-cash deal, taking the enterprise identity management company private. Other Thoma Bravo cybersecurity acquisitions include Sophos, Proofpoint and Sailpoint Technologies.

Oct 11

Pro-Russian Hacktivist Groups Take Down Numerous U.S. Airport Websites

By | Managed Services News

More attacks on critical infrastructure could follow these attacks.

Pro-Russian hacktivist groups on Monday attacked numerous U.S. airport websites, causing temporary disruptions. Fortunately, there was no impact on flight operations.

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks overwhelmed the servers hosting these sites. That made it impossible for travelers to connect and get updates about their scheduled flights or book airport services.

The hacktivist groups targeted airports in 24 states.

According to a Radware cybersecurity alert, following a series of DDoS attacks targeting government websites in the United States last week, Killnet’s founder, KillMilk, announced via an interview with Russia Today that the threat group would target civilian network infrastructure in the United States over the coming days. Less than 48 hours later, pro-Russian hacktivist groups began listing targets and announcing outages related to their DDoS attacks on websites of U.S. airports.

Daniel Smith is head of research for Radware’s Cyber Threat Intelligence.

Radware's Daniel Smith

Radware’s Daniel Smith

“DDoS attacks against civilian infrastructures, such as informative airport websites, are designed to cause panic and discord among the victims, but are often performed by low-level threat actors who cannot drive more significant outages,” he said. “While there is always a possibility of a cyberattack resulting in flight disruption, the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) of pro-Russian hacktivists KillNet, NoName057(16), and Anonymous Russia present a low-to-moderate level of risk for targeted organizations. DDoS attacks launched by these groups are only effective against unprotected assets or misconfigured devices.”

With that said, pro-Russian hacktivists have shown a desire over the last few months to match the successes of pro-Ukrainian DDoS campaigns by groups like the IT Army, Smith said.

“If successful in reaching their ability, the pro-Russian hacktivists could pose a more significant threat to targeted organizations,” he said.

KillNet and NoName057(16)

Killnet is a pro-Russian threat group known for launching DDoS attacks against those in public and private sectors that directly and indirectly support Ukraine or have in some way offended Russia, according to Radware. The group formed in January, selling DDoS services. However, it quickly transitioned into a hacktivist group following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The security industry knows NoName057(16) for launching defacement and DDoS attacks against Ukraine, and those directly and indirectly supporting Ukraine. The group formed in March on Telegram and became a notable threat group by June. Since then, the group has gathered a following of nearly 13,000 subscribers. It has been seen operating in support of Killnet operations.

The hacktivist groups deny any association with the Russian government, Radware said.

During the attacks, Chicago’s air travel website was inaccessible. Following the outage in Chicago, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) websites were all offline.

The hacktivist groups present a moderate threat to the current landscape, according to Radware. However, these threat groups have recently demonstrated the ability to evolve into a more advanced threat.

Scroll through our slideshow above for more about the attacks on U.S. airport websites.

Oct 11

CEO Joyce Mullen: ‘Insight Will Become the Leading Solutions Integrator’

By | Managed Services News

Mullen and Insight’s top executives talked 5-year growth strategy at company investor event.

Top Insight Enterprises executives are outlining an aggressive five-year strategy to transform how the company sells and delivers IT solutions. At Insight’s Investor Day in New York, CEO Joyce Mullen explained the company’s plan to become a “solutions integrator.”

Mullen said Insight is creating this new solutions integrator partner category. The strategy, already in progress, leverages one of the largest IT product reselling businesses with its global systems integration capabilities. Further, Mullen is promising to lead it at an accelerated growth rate of 200 basis points faster than the market.

Insight's Joyce Mullen

Insight’s Joyce Mullen

“Insight will become the leading solutions integrator, setting the pace and defining a new category in our industry,” Mullen said. “We really do believe we are defining a new category in this industry, because that is exactly what clients need.”

The plan calls for aggressive changes, prioritizing the solutions it emphasizes. But Mullen underscored that Insight isn’t dialing back on its core businesses.

“We are not abandoning our traditional technology business far from it,” she said. “We’re building on that capitalizing on that it’s an incredibly strong foundation.”

Mullen also noted that despite deteriorating economic conditions, the plan poises Insight for growth.

“We are accelerating our strategy and deepening our client relationships, so that we can outperform the market no matter what the macro environment,” she said. “We actually have unwavering confidence that our value proposition is resilient, and relevant and compelling in any economic cycle.”

Aggressive Growth Plan

Considering a possible recession in 2023, Mullen promises sustained growth through 2027. Insight’s plan calls to expand EBITA margin by 7% while delivering a 20% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), Mullen said.

CFO Glynis Bryan acknowledged that Insight’s cash flow has been erratic in recent years. But she reiterated the company’s earlier forecast that the company will report positive cash flow for the current quarter. Bryan attributed that to issues surrounding hardware growth.

Insight's Glynis Bryan

Insight’s Glynis Bryan

“When hardware is growing in the 25-plus range, it uses a lot of cash; a lot of our working capital is tied up,” Bryan said. “When hardware grows more normally, in the mid-single-digit range, as is forecast for the next several years, we generate cash.”

Mullen told investors and analysts that she knows what customers want in a partner. As Dell Technologies’ channel chief, Mullen said she oversaw 170,000 partners. In all, she spent nearly 22 years at Dell before Insight tapped her as president and CEO two years ago.

“I have learned a lot about what clients need,” Mullen said. “They need somebody who’s going to deliver results fast. They need a partner who’s going to guide them from traditional IT to modern cloud. They need a partner who actually bring solutions, a combination of hardware, software and services that can be integrated into their environment and produce meaningful results.”

But similarly, the focus on growing Insight’s cloud and services businesses will also drive more profitable growth, she said.

“This is the direction that we’re headed in,” Bryan said. “And the direction that we’re headed in says that services and the cloud can grow more than double the rate of hardware.”

Technical Experts

Mullen also emphasized the company’s 5,300 technical experts worldwide, with specialties in AI, cybersecurity and digital enablement, among other areas. Many are longtime Insight employees, and others came to the company through acquisition.

Last month, Mullen noted that Insight acquired Hanu, a Microsoft Azure migration services provider.

“They’re really good at what they do around cloud and help us build out more scale in this really critical area of the business,” she said.

Optimizing Insight’s Portfolio

Mullen introduced Dee Burger, a Capgemini veteran who joined Insight five months ago as president of North America. Burger said a key priority is rationalizing the portfolio and aligning sales and technical resources accordingly.

Insight's Dee Burger

Insight’s Dee Burger

“We’re going to be very proactive about our portfolio, and less reactive, and be very disciplined,” Burger said. “These are long-term ways to anchor ourselves in these customers and build long-term relationships. We also are going to have scaled, highly cost-effective managed services that go with that. And these will take a range of flavors, ranging from a single service that we do for many clients and multitenant types of deals, to going into a single client or small group of clients and providing services at scale.”

Burger said that Insight plans to change how it compensates its people by incentivizing them more to sell solutions and driving margins. Bryan added that this effort started with a small pilot in 2021, which Insight expanded this year. The plan calls to have salespeople have fewer accounts, but for them to go deeper with each one.

“We know we can deliver higher value to our clients when we sell services,” Mullen said. “So we are providing the appropriate incentives to make sure our sellers are focused on that as well.”

 

Oct 11

ConnectWise Gets New CTO Focused on Building Modern Products

By | Managed Services News

He most recently was SVP of engineering at Global Payments.

ConnectWise, the channel stalwart that delivers IT management software to MSPs, has a new chief technology officer (CTO).

It’s Raghu Ram Bongula, who most recently was senior vice president of engineering at Global Payments. There, he led a team that built new payment technology products and platforms. Overall, he has 20 years of experience focusing on cloud transformation and modernizing legacy platforms.

Bongula’s background includes leading cloud migration teams, and building mobile and web solutions. He also has delivered APIs and “real-time, event-driven solutions” for the financial services industry.

ConnectWise's Raghu Ram Bongula

ConnectWise’s Raghu Ram Bongula

“There is a massive opportunity to bring even more modernized and optimized products and solutions through our technology, driving growth and value throughout our partner ecosystem,” said Bongula. “I especially look forward to meeting partners as they share their ideas, feedback and visions for how we can further help them succeed.”

Bongula’s focus at ConnectWise will be on building and modernizing products that are secure, flexible and scalable. If successful, partners will be able to  manage operations and deliver good solutions to end users.

Jason Magee is ConnectWise’s CEO.

“Bringing on a transformative CTO will ensure that we continue to meet our partners’ technology needs as they look to achieve their most ambitious vision of success,” said Magee. “Raghu’s experience and leadership will help drive ConnectWise’s ongoing efforts to optimize, unify and scale our technology stack to enhance our products and partner experience while also executing on opportunities to expand our portfolio.”

Steve Cochran has been interim CTO at ConnectWise. He will stay with the company as an adviser.

Oct 11

Expanded HP DaaS Managed Service Launches, But Only Direct for Now

By | Managed Services News

HP is expanding its device-as-a-service offering with HP DaaS+ Hybrid. The IT giant is gearing the offer to customers with distributed workforces. The new managed service, introduced on Tuesday, is available immediately but sold and delivered only directly from HP.

HP launched its original DaaS offering in 2016 to provide customers with an opex alternative to PC procurement. The new HP DaaS+ Hybrid is a managed service optimized for the increasing number of customers with remote workforces. Channel partners can offer the service “sometime in 2023,” though HP did not elaborate.

Last year, organizations accommodating hybrid work environments grew 38%, according to HP, citing Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trends Index. Sumeer Chandra, general manager and global head of HP’s personal systems services business, said the new offering is more customizable.

HP's Sumeer Chandra

HP’s Sumeer Chandra

“We have designed a robust managed services framework powered by data insights and automation that offers customers solutions they can customize to meet their specific business outcomes,” Chandra noted in the announcement.

During a brief pre-recorded briefing for media, Chandra added: “With employees working from home, there is now a compelling need to take a holistic view of the digital workplace and manage it in a way that optimizes device performance and experience, regardless of their location.”

3 Core Services

HP DaaS+ Hybrid consists of three components. First is the shipping of PCs to employees’ homes, configured for their work environments. Second, it includes HP’s Proactive Insights Experience Management Service.

“This service improves employee experience using telemetry, insights and automation to optimize the performance of devices, applications and networks,” Chandra said.

HP will provide telemetry and management services for its PCs and non-HP computers. But the home delivery and PC exchange are only for HP hardware.

The third component is that HP DaaS+ Hybrid is a modular service for different business requirements.

“HP DaaS+ Hybrid streamlines IT remote operations through cloud-based automation, insights and alerts that provide IT or HP service experts with deep visibility into hardware and application performance,” Chandra said. “This allows the administrators to initiate important actions, respond proactively to critical alerts, and coordinate support to help optimize fleet performance regardless of where the devices are located.”

HP can also use telemetry to provide contextual sentiment analysis, which Chandra said can help optimize the user experience. Using the telemetry, users can highlight and prioritize performance improvements, he said.

The new service also offers a unified services portal and “enterprise-grade ITSM integration,” Chandra said.

“We’re doubling down on operational excellence through [with] IT practices that are supported by experts in ITIL,” he added.

The offering is for PCs, though customers can add printers and print services, according to a company spokesperson. It doesn’t include any hardware from Poly, which HP recently acquired.

Security Services

While HP added security services to HP DaaS in 2019, Chandra said the new offering delivers a more modern approach. However, HP is not offering Aon’s Cyber Quotient Evaluation (CyQu), an online assessment tool previously announced for HP DaaS.

“With DaaS+ Hybrid, our service experts can monitor an organization’s device security posture from anywhere and help keep devices compliant and up to date,” Chandra said.

He noted that HP also offers added endpoint security that starts at the hardware level and extends across software and services.

 

Oct 11

Merger/Acquisition Train Keeps Chugging: IBM, Telarus, Google, T-Mobile, More

By | Managed Services News

We also highlight deals by Telesystem, Accenture, Arctic Wolf, Schneider Electric and more.

Merger and acquisition activity came to a grinding halt in September. What, you didn’t buy that?

Of course it didn’t. The channel-impacting deals kept on coming.

Take, for instance, Google Cloud closing its acquisition of Mandiant, which at first we thought was going Microsoft’s way. Speaking of security, KnowBe4 is in talks to be acquired by a private equity firm. And when one high profile deal fell through, it wasn’t good for one security company’s value.

In September, we watched as Telarus made its second big deal of the year. And T-Mobile got a not-so-profitable monkey off its back.

You can read about each merger and acquisition we’ve featured in the slideshow above. It includes 11 deals that had the channel talking last month — and beyond.

Miss last month’s M&A roundup? It’s here. Looking to keep up with our merger and acquisition stories nearly 24/7? You can do that here.

Oct 11

Google Cloud Next 2022: The Top 8 Announcements You Need to Know

By | Managed Services News

From cybersecurity and data protection to Accenture and Google Workspaces, there’s a ton of news to digest.

Google Cloud Next 2022 kicks off Tuesday. The world’s third-largest public cloud provider is hosting its annual event in person and virtually. And, as always, it’s making announcements that pertain to the channel.

Regardless, Next will feature a significant amount of activity and updates. Indeed, Tuesday’s opening keynote with Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian will mark the start of 24 hours of live broadcasts from New York, Sunnyvale, Tokyo, Bengaluru and Munich.

Overall, look for Google Cloud to emphasize data protection, cybersecurity, hybrid work and more. With that in mind, see the slideshow above for a first glimpse into new offerings coming out of the event with partners including Accenture and many others.

 

Oct 11

Endor Labs Emerges from Stealth, Formal Partner Program Coming

By | Managed Services News

Its new funding will support partner efforts in all territories.

Endor Labs has emerged from stealth and raised $25 million in funding. It plans to launch channel-first go-to-market (GTM) programs in the coming months.

Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dell Technologies Capital and Sierra Ventures provided the funding. CEOs and executives from Palo Alto Networks, Zoom, Snowflake, Zscaler, Netskope, Rubrik, Databricks, Microsoft and more also contributed.

Endor Labs helps developers spend less time dealing with security issues and more time accelerating development through safe open-source software (OSS) adoption. Its Dependency Lifecycle Management solution helps organizations maximize software reuse. The company does so by enabling security and development teams to select, secure and maintain OSS at scale.

Over the last year, more than 75 “major” organizations have provided feedback that has been incorporated into the the company‘s product. It’s currently in private beta with companies ranging from 200 to 35,000 employees.

Working with Channel Partners Since Day 1

Varun Badhwar is the company’s co-founder and CEO. He said Endor Labs has been working with select channel partners since day one. It is engaging with several dozen organizations through partner relationships.

Endor Labs' Varun Badhwar

Endor Labs’ Varun Badhwar

“Currently, Endor Labs is working with partners who can help accelerate growth through direct introductions, and strong relationships with CISOs and CTOs of large companies,” he said.

The new funding means the company can rapidly scale GTM efforts, Badhwar said. In addition, it can support partner efforts in all territories, and invest resources to enable and onboard partners.

Endor Labs was founded by veteran entrepreneurs who have run channel-first GTM programs to generate hundreds of millions in revenue, he said.

“This company launch is an opportunity for the channel to help their customers solve one of today’s most crucial engineering and security challenges, supply-chain and open-source security, with a platform already backed and vetted by the world’s strictest security teams,” Badhwar said.

In the coming months, Endor Labs will be launching its formal partner program for both technology and channel programs, he said.

Serving a Critical Need

Arif Janmohamed is a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“Endor Labs serves a critical need,” he said. “They have carved out a market that is both massive and underserved, and have assembled a world-class team to take on this challenge. These are exactly the qualities we seek to add to our portfolio. And we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Endor Labs.”

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