Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Nov 05

And That’s a Wrap! Attendees Celebrate Most Successful CP Expo Ever

By | Managed Services News

The 2021 Channel Partners Conference and Expo is in the rearview mirror. But we’re already looking ahead to 2022.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. That being said, it’s a good tired! In fact, it’s a great tired. Four days of education and networking at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas are in the books. It’s a channel event that will go down in history considering what we’ve all been through the past two years.

That’s how long it had been since we gathered for the world’s largest independent channel event. And this was no small gathering. Nearly 6,200 participants just about equaled our number from 2019. That’s no small feat considering, although abated somewhat, we’re still in a pandemic. You came with mask in hand — nothing was going to stop much of the channel from going to their first big in-person event in a long time.

It wasn’t just the attendee number that was staggering; we set a record for exhibitors — more than 320 in all. So considering that there were still some hesitant to make the trip to Sin City, this bodes well for another huge event. That’s April 11-14, when we are back in Las Vegas; this time, at the Venetian Convention & Expo Center, always a crowd favorite. With the next big show just five months away, we’ve already opened up registration. And if you want to be on stage at the event, our call for speakers is open as well. Our theme, “The Best Is Yet to Come,” speaks to how the channel is poised for greatness with unprecedented growth opportunities.

A Look Back

But before we look ahead, let’s look back for just a moment. This year’s content was some of the best ever. It started with the MSP Summit Meet-Up on Halloween night ahead of our first-ever MSP Summit, Nov. 1-2. The conference was packed with sessions that we targeted specifically at the managed service provider community. It was a natural evolution, as our fall event – when live – has featured the star-studded MSP 501 gala for a few years now. Look for our photos from that event on this website next week.

CP Expo kicked into high gear Monday night with the traditional First-Time Attendee Reception and the Alliance of Channel Women’s networking and program. By the time Tuesday rolled around, keynoters hit the stage to a packed conference room. We were in full swing. Attendees heard from our Channel Influencer of the Year, Jay McBain; channel stalwart Tiffani Bova of Salesforce; a panel of CIOs, including top tech leaders at MGM Resorts and the Las Vegas Raiders; plus, all three big wireless companies — perhaps most notably our title sponsor, AT&T. We featured no fewer than 20 Nextiva-sponsored conference education sessions across a number of technology- and business-oriented tracks with nuggets you could take home to improve your business.

The week – for the most part – wrapped with our Circle of Excellence dinner (pictures of honorees here, photos from the event to follow); then, many of you headed out to the various vendor parties that evening. That was of course after two amazing days in the expo hall where many suppliers went all out with their booths to inspire prospective partners to sign up with them.

Those who weren’t too tired from the night before got a last-minute chance for meetings on the expo hall floor Thursday morning.

Not only that, we had Vegas-themed entertainment for the first time. LiveVox-sponsored Blue Man Group entertained us with a 90-minute show Monday morning. The Las Vegas Raiderettes performed at the expo hall’s opening reception. And Penn & Teller closed out our keynote sessions with 30 minutes of magic and gags.

To the Future!

While you raise a glass to the people you saw, what you learned and accomplished this week, it’s not too early to start thinking about April. And if you didn’t make it to this show, talk to those who did. We will dial it up again April 11-14, with more great content, networking and business opportunities. Can’t wait to see you there. It’ll be here before we know it.

Nov 05

Fusion Connect, Partners In ‘Grow, Grow, Grow’ Mode

By | Managed Services News

Fusion Connect wants to make it as easy as possible for partners to work with the company.

Fusion Connect partners can expect massive growth over the next two years and an increasing emphasis on ease of doing business.

That’s according to Mario DeRiggi, Fusion Connect’s chief revenue officer. He gave us a partner program update at this week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

DeRiggi said Fusion Connect plans to grow its channel by 130% over the next two years as it goes deeper in certain U.S. markets.

Furthermore, Fusion Connect has been expanding its channel leadership. It recently added channel vets from Intelisys and TPx to the team. In March, Fusion Connect hired longtime Intelisys vet Rick Ribas as senior vice president of channels and alliances.

Moreover, Fusion Connect has strengthened its CCaaS offering to further enable organizations with a complete omnichannel contact center solution. Enhancements include increased flexibility, functionality and security.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, DeRiggi talks about what Fusion Connect partners can look forward to in the coming months.

Channel Futures: What’s prompting Fusion Connect’s channel expansion?

Vonage's Mario DeRiggi

Fusion Connect’s Mario DeRiggi

Mario DeRiggi: For us, it’s been about grow, grow, grow. We need to continue to grow our distribution channels, our partnership engagements and our revenue. We’ve made some massive investments over the last 18 months and it really started at what I call phase one. Phase one was really around how we solidify the experience for our current customer base. We’re at 27,000 customers and we really want to make sure they got the experience they were expecting.

As part of phase two, it was, how do we go out and really start growing our distribution channels? It’s really around expanding our channel to be closer to our partners so we can go out … and show them the value of the Fusion Connect technology stack and our differentiation. That stack is really focused around how we go out and really change the business outcomes for their customers so we get a really good, sticky customer that we share. Today we are national, but now we just need to get deeper in certain markets and we need some additional coverage.

CF: What’s prompting the channel team expansion?

MD: The focus there is how we just make it easy for Fusion Connect partners to do business with us. Some of that is around partner support. A lot of it is around training and enablement. How do we get out and really message to our partners? And then the other piece is around massive investments in a new portal. One of the things we’ve rolled out here at the show is the road map for our new portal and the first look at it. That portal is really around enabling our partners not only to look at their commissions … but how can they help use the portal to manage their customers.

CF: Are solutions fueling Fusion Connect’s channel growth?

MD: We spent the last 18 months really building out our solution set. So from the core application of our technology stack, our unified communications, our contact center, our Teams integrations, and at the managed level our managed SD-WAN and resilient network elements. The base is the core network infrastructure. And what we really did was take that infrastructure and invest on wrapping it in a security as a service.

When you look at that technology stack we built, it really opened up a huge opportunity for midmarket enterprise for us. We know that partners have relationships with midmarket enterprise. So we want to get in front of those partners and really engage them so we can show them our value. That way we can get in front of their customers to show them the value of working with not only the partner, which has the phenomenal relationship, but Fusion Connect as that technology provider at the application.

How do we go out, recruit more partners, engage more partners, enable and train them, and get them to understand …

Nov 05

High Wire Networks to Buy Wholesale Voice and Data Network Services Provider

By | Managed Services News

The acquisition of Secure Voice provides an additional recurring revenue stream and nearly 200 channel partners.

High Wire Networks, which provides technical, professional, electrical and cybersecurity services, is buying Secure Voice Corp. (SVC). The company is a wholesale network services provider with facilities in the Northeast and carrying traffic across the United States.

SVC’s network carries VoIP and data traffic for service providers. The deal is worth between $6.5 million and $9 million in cash, stock and assumption of debt.

Mark Porter is CEO of High Wire.

High Wire Networks’ Mark Porter

“We are extremely pleased to close this transaction and accelerate our growth trajectory by adding another key piece of our overall strategy to be a leading provider of technology services to our clients,” Porter said. “As we grow the portfolio and execute on our strategy, we continue to build shareholder value for the long term, while driving growth in the short term.”

This is among several recent deals for the Chicago-based High Wire. Earlier this year, the company merged with Spectrum Global Solutions. That company provides telecommunications engineering and infrastructure services. The deal led to High Wire becoming a publicly traded company. Last year, High Wire began the distribution of its Overwatch Managed Security solution through Synnex’s partner network. The Synnex network consists of more than 25,000 IT solution providers. Moreover, the alliance lets Synnex resellers deliver holistic security services to underserved small and medium businesses (SMBs).

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

Overwatch Recurring Revenue

The new assets and nearly 200 channel partners from Secure Voice Corp. will become part of High Wire’s Overwatch recurring revenue services line of business. High Wire’s Overwatch Managed Security Marketplace enables partners to deliver comprehensive cybersecurity that the company says is easy to sell at an affordable subscription.

David Hand, Hire Wire’s vice president of GSIs, spoke to Channel Futures in July about the company’s role with its partners.

“High Wire Networks has established a great track record over the past 20 years in support of technology partners delivering service to large enterprise customers. High Wire has the breadth, depth and experience to support these strategic partners around the world,” Hand said.

Nov 05

Schijns, DeLozier, McBain: Channel Futures Influencers Talk Impact

By | Managed Services News

It’s “no easy journey” but channel partners can, and should, do more to be an influencer.

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — The last three years of Channel Futures Influencers came together on stage Wednesday  to share “Lessons in Impact” with attendees.

JS Group's Janet Schijns

JS Group’s Janet Schijns

“It’s no easy journey for anyone to be an influencer,” said Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group. Schijns captured the 2019 Channel Futures Influencers award. But, she added, “Influence is the new currency in technology.”

Influence mainly happens through social media, Schijns said. In fact, companies now even evaluate potential new hires by their social footprint — do they have the connections and ability to network in ways that might benefit the employer?

“Update your profile if you haven’t already,” Schijns said. “It’s not a resume; it’s really a lead-generation tool. Post content, engage.”

And, in case anyone was worried, “I’m not asking you to be political,” Schijns emphasized. “I’m asking you to be interesting.”

That observation sparked a torrent of conversation.

Intelisys' John DeLozier

Intelisys’ John DeLozier

“I don’t think influence is something you decree,” said John DeLozier, president of Intelisys. DeLozier landed the 2020 Channel Futures Influencers honor. “Business is personal. Everything we do in this business is personal. … Everything you do, I do, will follow you, because it’s all recorded now. … You’re going to leave residue of some kind in this business and I would just encourage you to listen to people like Janet, like Jay. … Make it interesting.”

The aforementioned Jay is, of course, Jay McBain, principal analyst – channels, partnerships and ecosystems for Forrester. And McBain stands out as 2021’s Channel Futures Influencers recipient. McBain noted that sometimes influencing means reaching out to people in a community who wield the most sway over their peers. He used Malcolm Gladwell’s take on Paul Revere in “The Tipping Point” to paint his example. Revere knocked on the doors of towns’ chief leaders to tell them the British were coming. Otherwise, he would have spent too much time knocking on every door and people wouldn’t have taken him seriously, because they didn’t know him. In modern times, knock on Reddit, Clubhouse, Discord and other online outlets represent considerable “spheres of influence,” McBain said.

Forrester's Jay McBain

Forrester’s Jay McBain

“There are all these great watering holes in our industry,” he added.

Plus, the most successful channel partners are members of their local Chambers of Commerce, peer groups and meet-ups, McBain said.

“They’re everywhere; they’re larger than life.”

A Little Advice

Channel partners who are ready to get more social and influential might want to follow some of the suggestions the Channel Futures Influencers shared.

“Sometimes we’re so ready to broadcast our company so we all repeat the same thing,” Schijns said. “It’s all about being conversational.”

Plus, she said, business owners who think they don’t need to join the party are, frankly, wrong.

“You do need to do it … as much for your clients as for your own people,” Schijns said. “Your people are also listening and they need to hear you have a voice.”

DeLozier agreed.

“Write down your goals,” he recommended.

In terms of one piece of advice, the Channel Futures Influencers had to offer, consider these tidbits:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile and, when attending events, turn on LinkedIn finder so you can find other people in the crowd.
  • Write down a goal, such as creating 20 new relationships in your area of business, and act on it.
  • Influence the influencers in a new market, geography, industry, etc., and see where that takes you. Find the powerful people who have earned trust.


Nov 05

CP Expo Thunderdome: SD-WAN Not Replacing MPLS Anytime Soon

By | Managed Services News

That’s according to most of a panel of top SD-WAN suppliers who participated in this week’s SD-WAN Thunderdome at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Matthew Toth, founder/president of C3 Technology Advisors, moderated the panel.

The panelists included:

  • Matt Douglass, CBTS‘s senior director of solution engineering.
  • Bryn Norton, Lumen Technologies‘ vice president of IT solutions sales.
  • Mike Wood, Versa Networks‘ chief marketing officer.
  • Ryan Livesay, Aryaka‘s senior vice president of strategic sales and engineering.


C3's Matthew Toth

Matthew Toth

Toth said he’s surprised that, when asked about SD-WAN versus MPLS, there are still supporters of MPLS.

“I thought that had died a death or was on life support,” he said. “But some of these guys think there are still scenarios where that could be useful.”

Many enterprises are resistant to change and have heavily invested in MPLS over the years.

“And it takes some years to roll out the technology itself,” added Toth. “So I think it’s going to be around for awhile. I think it’s going to be a slow, trickle down to nothing. But for some of those enterprise organizations that are resistant to change, it could be around for a bit.”

Norton said there are still customers who will buy MPLS and layer SD-WAN on top of it. Douglass also said it’s an “emotional decision,” and it’s not possible to convince everyone to move away from MPLS.

Wood said many service providers Versa works with made major investments in networks, and MPLS is working really well for them. Moreover, MPLS offers diversity.

“Believe it or not, MPLS is still growing,” he said. “There’s room for both. MPLS will continue for some time.”

However, Livesay said MPLS should die. None of Aryaka‘s customers uses MPLS.

“MPLS replacement is definitely our No. 1 use case,” he said.

Packet vs. Session Routing

Toth said he was also surprised when the panelists didn’t agree that packet-based routing is better than session-based routing.

“I’ve always been under the impression that packet-based routing is better than session-based routing,” he said. “So when people tell me,  ‘Well, it kind of depends, if one is better than the other, then I’m just going to throw all of my traffic over one.’ I thought that would be more packet-based versus session-based.”

Douglass said there’s room for both packet-based and session-based routing depending on what the customer wants. Norton said it depends on use case, and Wood said there are cases to be made for the benefits of both.

“At Aryaka, it’s largely both,” Livesay said. “We have a combination of packet-and session-based routing.”

When asked whether they have been negatively impacted by the ongoing chip shortage, the panelists agreed it hasn’t disrupted their business, although Douglass said there’s “been some pain” on the Cisco side. CBTS’ communications practice portfolio includes Cisco SD-WAN as a service.

Nov 05

When Battling Ransomware, the Most Successful Cyber Hunters Use a Cheat Code

By | Managed Services News

Pre-attack zero trust segmentation reduces attack time and helps speed detection and response.

Illumio's John Skinner

John Skinner

The past year has been challenging for teams that hunt and detect threats. Forensic analysis of many breaches reveals that such attacks proceeded unfettered and undetected for months, if not years. Many in the IT community sounded the death knell for threat hunting and detection, to which I say, “Not so fast!” We need to ensure hunters and detectors use the cyber-equivalent of a video game “cheat code.” The most well-proven yet underutilized cheat code against attackers is readily available. In fact, this cheat code was included in recent ransomware alerts and advisories issued by the United States’ FBI, CISA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Preventive Measure Hackers Hate

In addition to these recommendations by white hat authorities, the black hat community has also acknowledged the effectiveness of this cheat code. The online Russian newspaper website Lenta[.]ru recently published an anonymous interview with a threat actor who claims to work with REvil, which is a dominant player on the ransomware scene, and other sophisticated ransomware collectives. The interview subject admitted that one specific, preventive defense works against ransomware. This proven yet underutilized “cheat code” is network segmentation, according to the principle of zero trust.

Zero trust segmentation is an effective, preventive measure against threats. The pre-attack use of zero trust segmentation, and, more specifically, modern host-based segmentation, simultaneously delivers three advantages to threat hunters:

1) Before the next attacker shows up, it quickly discovers, visualizes and removes all unnecessary east-west, node-to-node network pathways. What remains is a significantly reduced attack surface, i.e., a smaller hunting ground. This resizing of the hunting ground permanently shifts the advantage from the attacker to the hunter.

2) It also allows segmentation and division of the remaining least-privileged network into containment areas, similar to the compartmentalization built into Navy ships. This pre-attack segmentation of the east-west network imposes restraints on every would-be attacker. Most of the attacker’s node-to-node communication and lateral-propagation pathways will be fitted with a roadblock. Before any attack can proceed, the attacker is “cornered” by network segmentation barriers.

3) It supports instrumenting the east-west network with lateral movement tripwires and other telemetry that doesn’t exist in endpoint detection and response (EDR) and similar detection tools. We pre-integrate zero trust segmentation tripwires and telemetry with security information and event management (SIEM), analytics and real-time response systems.

How Does Zero Trust Segmentation Stymie Ransomware Attackers?

Prior to deploying its catastrophic encryption, and as described in the MITRE ATT&CK kill chain, ransomware tries to conduct reconnaissance. It will attempt to move laterally across the east-west network, while deleting the footprints it creates inside each endpoint. This establishes a signal-persistence problem for EDR systems. Ransomware may also attempt to communicate with a command-and-control server, to exchange intelligence on files to be targeted for encryption and to obtain the most current encryption key.

Its lateral movement and communication attempts will immediately generate real-time policy violation events and other previously unavailable real-time signals. These indicators of compromise, which occur much earlier and more persistently than the signals on which EDR systems rely, spell the difference between immediate, decisive action (e.g., blocking specific lateral movement ports or quarantining high-value nodes), and a failure to detect and respond quickly.

In the battle against ransomware and other threats, the most successful cyberthreat hunters and detectors impose a preemptive set of restraints to thwart future attackers, before attacks begin. They simultaneously deploy trip wires that function as the earliest and most persistent warning system for hunters, detectors and responders. They reduce attack dwell time and help “corner” each attacker, accelerating detection and response.

That’s why pre-attack zero trust segmentation is the successful modern cyber-hunter’s cheat code.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll describe how a secondary zero trust segmentation control set can be predefined, pretested and placed into standby mode, and then triggered as an “emergency ransomware containment switch” in incidence response runbooks.

John Skinner is vice president of business development at Illumio, the pioneer of zero trust segmentation. Previously, he was VP of global business development and APAC sales at Shape Security, served as the VP of business development at HyTrust and led several technology integration teams at Intel. He holds an MBA from Rutgers, a certificate in AI from DeepLearning, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical/computer engineering from Cornell, where he is a guest lecturer on technology monetization. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @illumio on Twitter.

Nov 05

Ingram Micro Rolls Out Flexible Subscription Engine for Recurring Services

By | Managed Services News

Ingram Micro promises partners a frictionless experience for subscriptions and licensing.

Ingram Micro on Friday announced its new Flexible Subscription Engine to help partners manage their recurring services revenues.

The distributor says it is a fully automated subscription life cycle platform for Ingram Micro vendors and partners. The online computing engine has been designed to offer a frictionless experience for subscriptions and licensing.

The new platform provides Ingram Micro channel partners a digital journey “from quote to cash.” This will enable them to proactively manage and better grow their recurring revenue business, says Ingram Micro.

The solution provides both vendors and partners with real-time visibility of the subscription contract life cycle. It also offers quoting and automated service validation for ordering, provisioning and billing. Additionally, it enables subscription renewal notifications for all services and licenses.

Ingram Micro says that it also increases value-building with upgrades and add-on services for full product solutions.

Paul Bay, EVP and president, Global Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro, notes the rapid shift to an “everything as a service” model.

Ingram Micro's Paul Bay

Ingram Micro’s Paul Bay

This raises “expectations around the experience and demanding organizations embrace digitization and innovate to benefit all stakeholders,” he said.

“We’ve invested in the talent and the technology to reimagine the experience our vendors and partners have with Ingram Micro to help ensure we are continuously advancing our strategy to become an ‘as a service’ technology company,” added Bay.

Global Digital Transformation

Flexible Subscription Engine is available now to U.S. partners and is “coming soon” to partners globally. However, Ingram Micro is providing a first look at the new Flexible Subscription Engine during its ONE Ingram Micro  virtual event next week.

Bay describes the Flexible Subscription Engine as “an exciting milestone within our global digital transformation journey … [It is] a huge testament to the relentless efforts and focus of our team.

“We are differentiating and increasing the value Ingram Micro brings to market and further enabling the success of our associates, our customers, partners and providers.”


Nov 05

Security Operations Center: Build It or Buy It

By | Managed Services News

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is the backbone of any cybersecurity program. From inside a SOC, researchers monitor networks 24/7/365 in search of any signs of suspicious or anomalous activity that indicate a threat may be trying to break into your network – or that it already has.

The researchers and analysts in the SOC specialize in security, and do nothing else but look for, detect, contain, and remediate threats. Their experience, training, and work environment make all the difference between a low-functioning SOC that misses threats and a high-functioning one that detects and responds to threats immediately.

Armor’s white paper looks at the types of tools, people, and financial resources needed to operate a highly functioning SOC, and the qualities needed for either an in-house or outsourced SOC to be effective.

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Nov 04

GTDC: IT Distributors Are Rapidly Transforming

By | Managed Services News

Global Technology Distribution Council’s (GTDC) CEO applauds IT distributors’ response To global events.

IT distributors are responding to global events, economies and changes in consumer and B2B demand with unprecedented initiatives and investments.

That was the message from the Global Technology Distribution Council’s (GTDC) annual GTDC Forum 2021 Wednesday.

GTDC's Frank Vitagliano

GTDC’s Frank Vitagliano

“Technology distributors continue to rapidly transform with the times,” said GTDC CEO, Frank Vitagliano.

Vitagliano noted the “increasingly vital role” of IT distributors in XaaS markets, cloud and cybersecurity.

“We know IT distributors have effectively adapted to what’s transpired over the past couple of years as well as through many years of industry transformation. It’s been a hallmark of distribution for decades – the ability to continuously deliver new value and thrive regardless of how products, solutions, technologies, business models and services change.”

In North America, distributor cloud business grew 27% in 2020 over the previous year, and 25% in EMEA. In its 2021 report, The XaaS Revolution, the GTDC said the role distributors play in an XaaS-dominant industry is evolving.

“The world’s distributors of ICT goods and services are experts at helping their partners find their way through the fog created by this massive interruption. Distributors, vendors and channel partners have ample opportunity to elevate their game in the XaaS economy.”

Shifts in Demand, Availability Constraints and Other Challenges

Vitagliano said the virtual event centered on helping vendors “learn more about distribution advantages to leverage, emerging technology developments to keep top of mind.” Also it covered “what channel solution providers and end customers require in the emerging new norm.”

“We are grateful for all the hard work that went into making GTDC Forum 2021 highly informative and impactful.”

He said it “takes an especially deft digital touch to bring such a powerful group of leaders and influencers together from across the world.” This is particularly relevant given that the industry “is responding to extraordinary shifts in demand, availability constraints as well as other challenges.”

IT distributors annually drive more than $150 billion in product and services revenue worldwide.



Nov 04

Growing Your MSP Business with Cybersecurity: Top Questions to Ask Before Starting

By | Managed Services News

Managed service providers (MSPs) encounter increased pressure to deliver greater value, take on more responsibilities, and improve cybersecurity and compliance capabilities.

Before you start ramping up expansions in the cybersecurity side of your MSP business, you should devise a well-thought-out plan. Armor details three key questions to help you come up with that plan.

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