Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jul 21

COVID-19 Continues to Fuel Big Changes to Threat Landscape

By | Managed Services News

Malicious hackers are growing more sophisticated and their attempts more rampant amid the global pandemic.

Managed security service providers (MSSPs) already know COVID-19 has changed the threat landscape. Now, an update to Skybox Security’s 2020 Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report shows just how much bad actors have taken advantage of pandemic fears — and will continue to do so.

For starters, the cybersecurity management vendor, which runs a research lab, found that 2020 will be plagued by more than 20,000 new vulnerability reports. That blows away previous records, Skybox pointed out. Other new, key statistics MSSPs will want to know include:

  • Mobile vulnerabilities show a 50% increase, highlighting the dangers of blurring the lines between corporate and personal networks.
  • Ransomware is not just alive and well during COVID-19, it’s thriving. New samples increased by 72% in the first half of the year.
  • Malicious hackers continue to target critical infrastructure, including health care companies, adding to the chaos.

Android Crosses Dubious Threshold

As organizations worldwide have shifted to remote work, mobility has become perhaps the primary mode of communication. Hackers spotted that weakness right away. In the months since the pandemic began, the mobile threat landscape has seen 50% more vulnerabilities. And the Android operating system holds the sole blame.

New Android flaws grew 110% compared to the first half of 2019, topping 490, Skybox found. The number of new iOS vulnerabilities, meanwhile, dropped by 23%. MSSPs helping customers who rely on Google’s mobile operating system must take heed.

Microsoft deficiencies accounted for the second-highest growth in mobile problems, at 80%.

“The line separating personal and corporate environments has been blurred, with attackers now better able to take advantage of flaws within home networks to gain access to an organization’s critical assets,” Skybox wrote. “Securing a widened network perimeter has become a strategic priority for most businesses; managing the crossover between personal and professional devices and ensuring that the vulnerabilities that sit within both cannot be exploited is now a prime concern.”

Ransomware Gets Even Craftier

Throughout the world, ransomware attacks rose between January and June. They mainly arrived through email, the Android operating system and Microsoft Office, according to Skybox’s research. And the attacks have proven more successful as hackers craft more sophisticated traps.

“Organizations are not facing up to lone wolves anymore — they are having to stave off threats from well-coordinated criminals,” Skybox wrote.

Plus, as the coronavirus spread, people searched online for answers. Hackers noticed. Searching Google Trends public data, Skybox discovered that Google searches related to COVID-19 peaked in the United States on March 15. Attempts for malicious attacks surged, too, although not in parallel, with 78 reported campaigns related to the pandemic observed between March 1 and June 30, Skybox said.

“The focus and the capability of attackers is clear: they have the means to impart serious financial and reputational harm on organizations,” Sivan Nir, threat intelligence team leader for Skybox Security, said. “The need for focused remediation strategies that are informed by full network visibility and contextual, data-rich intelligence has never been more pressing.”

Hitting Critical Targets

In addition to distributing more sophisticated ransomware, hackers are going after national infrastructure, pharmaceutical firms and health care entities, among other targets, because they need to maintain operations. MSSPs protecting such important organizations might want to triple-check their cybersecurity management strategies and keep them from operating in silos. Transparency among the people charged with protecting customer networks will help MSSPs keep bad actors at bay.

“If organizations do not have full visibility over their entire security environment, and if they are unable to focus remediation on their most exposed vulnerabilities, then they could fall victim to attack at a time when business continuity, brand trust and fiscal stability are paramount,” Skybox aside.

Skybox Security's Ron Davidson

Skybox Security’s Ron Davidson

All in all, the ongoing pandemic means MSSPs will continue to face a new threat landscape on behalf of clients.

“With the majority of the workforce now working remotely, the network perimeter has significantly widened,” said Ron Davidson, vice president of R&D and CTO for Skybox Security. “Securing this perimeter now needs to be a top strategic priority. Organizations need to be able to identify the flaws that sit within both personal and professional devices. They also need to be able to model their expanded network so that they can understand all potential attack vectors. If they do not have these capabilities, then they will not be able to manage the mass of 20,000 new vulnerabilities, leaving them vulnerable to attack — something they cannot afford at a time of global financial uncertainty.”

Jul 21

Poor Privacy Practices Mean Higher Data Loss

By | Managed Services News

The report provides concrete evidence that good privacy practices can contribute to better security outcomes.

Companies with the worst privacy practices lose seven times the number of records when they suffer a data breach.

That’s according to a new report by Osano. It analyzed the Osano privacy score of 11,000 companies against 15 years of publicly available data from breach disclosures.

One factor impacting the score is if a company sells, shares or licenses data to third parties or affiliates. Another factor is if a company knowingly collects data about children under the age of 13.

Arlo Gilbert is Osano’s CEO and co-founder. He said there’s a perception that privacy issues are similar to speeding in a car. You may get busted, but the downside is so small that it is a risk worth running, he said.

Osano's Arlo Gilbert

Osano’s Arlo Gilbert

“We’re now seeing that there are serious consequences for lax privacy practices that aren’t always obvious,” he said. “The level of contrast between different segments of privacy performers took our breath away. In hindsight, it isn’t entirely surprising that organizations with poor privacy practices experience more severe breaches, but a seven-times increase in records lost is a stunning difference. Similarly, we were surprised how much more likely government and educational sites were to experience security incidents compared to for-profit corporations.”

Eye-Opening Findings

Key findings from the report include:

  • Companies with the worst privacy practices are 80% more likely to experience a data breach than those with the best practices.
  • Those with the lowest of privacy scores lost 600% more records than companies with better privacy scores.
  • Companies with the best privacy practices lose an average of 7.7 million records in a breach. That compares to 53 million for the worst companies.
  • The worst privacy actors are the least likely to be able to retrospectively identify the root cause of a breach.
  • Educational and government websites are 15 times more likely to experience a breach than commercial sites.

The correlations between data breaches and Osano privacy scores stem from many causes. Those include willful ignorance, oversight of privacy best practices that increase risk exposure, and company culture around responsible data stewardship.

Another key link between data breaches and privacy practices is third party vendors. The average company shares its data with 750 different vendors, according to the Internal Auditors Research Foundation. Third parties were responsible for two out of every three data breaches.

“These findings are a great opportunity for MSSPs and other cybersecurity providers,” Gilbert said. “This is the first time we’ve seen such concrete evidence that good privacy practices can contribute to better security outcomes. Cybersecurity providers can reduce their client’s exposure with privacy tools or practices. We would expect to see a lot more partnerships between cybersecurity firms and privacy companies in the future.”

By prioritizing best-in-class privacy practices, companies can reduce the risk of security incidents and demonstrate their trustworthiness to customers.

“We haven’t seen clear trends across all companies observed, but there are many organizations making progress,” Gilbert said. “For example, Capital One … had a low privacy score and suffered a breach that exposed 100 million of its customers. Within 12 months, they made changes to their privacy practices and significantly improved their Osano privacy score.”

Jul 21

LeanIX Partners Get More Benefits, Project License Program

By | Managed Services News

LeanIX doubled its channel program in the past year to 54 partners globally.

LeanIX partners now have access to an expanded channel partner program that includes a new project license program.

Bonn, Germany-based LeanIX provides SaaS offerings in enterprise architecture management (EAM). The partner program also includes expanded support and partner certifications.

The company doubled its channel program in the past year to 54 partners globally. And it has now signed Wipro.

LeanIX's Hylton Southey

LeanIX’s Hylton Southey

Hylton Southey is the company‘s managing director for the United States.

“There is a real demand from our partners who not only want to resell our service, but see the power of our tool adding more value to their current selection of services,” he said. “… We mean LeanIX provides actionable insights consultants can use, supported by real data in a short space of time.”

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LeanIX’s enterprise architecture offering generates real-time views of the enterprise IT landscape and their dependent business processes.

Channel partners and consultancies use the LeanIX suite to help customers and clients assess IT technology risks. They also generate IT investment scenarios and road maps that partners can use in their strategic planning.

The program supports three tiers of collaborators: consultant partners, reseller partners and technology partners. LeanIX maintains an active partner portal and a partner academy. It provides co-marketing content, and hosts ongoing product and sales training certifications.

“We are very careful about listening to our partners when it comes not only to developing new features, but also new products,” Southey said. “This can be seen in the creation of our cloud-native suite, which was built based on a mix of customer and partner feedback.”

Project License Program

Project licenses are designed specifically for consultancies and global systems integrators (GSIs). They work with large enterprises with more than $300 million in annual revenue.

The project license program allows certified partners to use the full LeanIX tool suite for their short-term, time-based consulting projects. Partners can use the suite to deliver key insights and results for their consulting clients.

“A massive wave in consolidation across a multitude of industries has meant growth in M&A activity recently,” Southey said. “Many of our larger partners are involved in supporting these transitions. As these companies merge, there is a huge need for rapid application rationalization. Our data-driven approach means that we can support rapid integration and rationalization using actionable insights derived from the tool, reducing time, resources and ultimately the cost of each exercise.”

“We frequently begin our strategy and transformation engagements using LeanIX,” said David Kenner, Wipro‘s general manager and global head of CIO strategy and advisory. “LeanIX accelerates time to value for large transformation and enterprise architecture programs. It has become a part of our standard toolkit to help CIO(s) and other senior executives visualize complex solutions and gain insights into how to accelerate large initiatives.”

Jul 21

Automated Patching Provider Automox Launches First Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

The program addresses VARs, MSPs, technology alliances and embedded OEM integration partners.

Automox, the automated patching provider, just unveiled its first formal partner program appointed its leader.

Russell Eddleman is the company’s new VP of channel, tasked with leading the Automox partner program.

Automox's Russ Eddleman

Automox’s Russ Eddleman

The new program aims to meet increasing demand for the automated patching provider’s platform. It helps customers reduce their endpoint attack surface by up to 80%. It also addresses alert fatigue challenges caused by unpatched and misconfigured systems.

Eddleman previously was Resolve Systems’ global vice president of partner and alliances; before that, he was Ivanti‘s vice president of OEM and strategic alliances.

The new Automox program addresses VARs, MSPs, technology alliances and embedded OEM integration partners, he said.

“We have created new categories to support our customers and build indirect routes to market,” Eddleman said. “For example, MSPs now have a flexible licensing model that matches their business and fills the gap of securing systems for the customers they support. Resellers now have options for their customers to provide a cloud-native solution that is needed to secure remote workforces and cloud infrastructure.”

Program Features

Key elements of the program include:

  • Multiple tiers for resellers with “compelling” margins for deal registration and new sales.
  • Margins for renewals so resellers can create sustainable revenue streams from their customer base.
  • A new partner portal to support the sale of Automox products and services.
  • A dedicated MSP program that includes consumption-based monthly billing for the Automox Manage platform.
  • Extensible API and engineering support for both technology alliances and OEMs.

Eddleman said the company considered feedback from customers, who said they liked the support that VARs can offer.

MSPs also needed a way to offer patching that not only supports how they manage customer endpoints, but also how they bill for the service monthly, based on what customers consume,” said Eddleman.

Many organizations have existing relationships or technologies in use, and want better integration between technologies, he said.

“We have made it easier to integrate Automox, map to their existing business models in the case of MSPs and create a broader ecosystem for technologies to work better together,” Eddleman said.

Automox is creating a complete partner community to deliver a cloud-native cyber hygiene offering for everything from SMBs to large enterprises.

“Work has changed,” Eddleman said. “The world has changed. Partners will be better able to provide technology and packaged solutions with Automox to ensure organizations are secure without the need of additional infrastructure and/or onsite workers to carry out the task.”

“Russ brings a unique perspective and understanding of the limitations of on-premise patching solutions, and knows that the partner community is clamoring for programs that can provide rich margins and sustainable business they can build within their offerings,” said Jay Prassl, Automox’s CEO.

Jul 21

VMware Partners Get New Cloud Native MSC Competency

By | Managed Services News

The new competency supports VMware’s Tanzu portfolio.

VMware partners can invest in a new Kubernetes platform-related competency, VMware announced today. The VMware Cloud Native Master Services Competency (MSC) supports the vendor’s Tanzu portfolio.

VMware Tanzu is a portfolio of products and services to transform the way enterprises build, run and managed applications on Kubernetes.

VMware's Teri Bruns“VMware’s new Cloud Native MSC is designed to help partners expand their services capabilities and opportunities and recognize them for their Kubernetes and platform operations expertise,” said Teri Bruns, vice president, Tanzu ecosystem partners, VMware. “This competency will help VMware partners embrace the industry shift to Kubernetes and modern applications and enable partners to build new revenue streams as container usage skyrockets.”

VMware MSCs elevate partner expertise and knowledge. The MSC builds on a foundation of advanced-level technical certifications and proof of high-level service capability and expertise. The company introduced the VMware MSC in May 2018.

The MSC designation recognizes services-capable partners with delivery expertise and experience within a VMware solution area. These competencies now allow partners to differentiate in six key solution areas. They include cloud management and automation, cloud native, data center virtualization, digital workspace, network virtualization and VMware Cloud on AWS.

Cloud Native MSC Requirements

Here are the requirements for individuals – and also for the partner organization – to achieve the new Cloud Native MSC.

  • Three individuals must complete the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification and the VMware Cloud Native Master Specialist Badge.
  • The partner organization must submit one customer reference which validates that it has successfully completed an installation of the appropriate product. 

In March, VMware gave sight to its Kubernetes container management vision with a robust set of Kubernetes-related releases.

More recently, VMware released its report, The State of Kubernetes 2020. More than half of the organizations surveyed have fewer than 10 clusters deployed; however, 59% use Kubernetes in production and 20% of those organizations have 50 or more clusters.

Benefits realized include better use of resources (56%), shorter software development cycles (53%), containerized monolithic applications (50%), enabled company’s move to the cloud (42%) and reduced public cloud costs (33%). Only 5% of respondents didn’t realize any benefits.

VMware commissioned Dimensional Research for the study of nearly 250 people with responsibility over Kubernetes.

Jul 21

Focus on EMEA: 10 Stories to Watch

By | Managed Services News

Technology is bringing us closer worldwide. That means IT and telecommunications products, services and their respective indirect sales channels are expanding globally as well.

Recognizing the importance of the EMEA market and its partners, Channel Futures and Channel Partners in 2019 began including the region in their events, news and insights. During the past year they have introduced the Channel Evolution Europe event, a new EMEA newsletter and dedicated EMEA coverage in their news feeds.

This digital issue contains 10 of the top EMEA stories from the Channel Futures and Channel Partners editors. Content that covers what’s most important to channel partners and the industry as a whole.

Download this issue to find out what we’ve learned, our analysis of recent events and where we think we’re headed in the months and years ahead.


Jul 21

Pressure from Customers for Sustainable Business Drives Channel Effort

By | Managed Services News

Sustainability has evolved from a “nice-to-have” to a business priority for customers, IDC research shows.

The IT channel must make room to make sustainable business a strategic priority — or risk losing customers.

That’s according to new research from IDC. The study indicates that having a sustainable business has evolved from a “nice to have” to a priority for customers. Indeed, organisations increasingly say the environmental impact of their IT is now as important as factors such as pricing.

IDC recently surveyed 700 IT buyers and executives across Europe as part of its new practice, European Technology for Sustainability and Social Impact. Six out of 10 European businesses cited sustainability as a very or extremely important business priority for 2020.

Important for the channel, sustainability is becoming a competitive differentiator. Close to 60% of organisations in Europe now include sustainability objectives into requests for proposal (RFP).

Two in five (41%) companies want help from their IT service partners to incorporate sustainability targets into products, services and solutions they deliver. Three in five (60%) see them as playing a crucial role in helping them achieve their sustainability goals.

Moreover, almost all (99%) recognize sustainability plays a role in selection of channel partners by both customers and by their business partners. Almost half (45%) believe this plays a critical role in that decision-making process. Fifty-four percent believe it plays a slightly important role. Only 1% believe it not to be important.

IDC Europe's Margaret Adam

IDC Europe’s Margaret Adam

“Technology is and will be the means to achieve sustainability KPIs,” said Margaret Adam, associate VP, IDC Europe. “Over 50% of European companies state explicitly that they are currently investing into technologies to improve sustainability performance. Our research also showed us that there is a causal relationship between sustainability-targeted governance/investments and strong financial performance.”

Sustainable Business

The good news is that the partner ecosystem’s responses are encouraging, says Adam.

“In research conducted with 150 channel partners across Europe, we found 75% have recognized the importance of sustainability to their business strategy. Encouragingly, close to 40% are making significant investments to improve their profile as a sustainable business, with 35% implementing some measures to contribute to sustainable business practices.”

However, she notes that only 7% believe that sustainability is fully integrated into how they operate as a business.

“Given how much of a role sustainability is playing decision making, partners who are committed to being more sustainable need to ensure this is front and centre in how they position themselves. Of course, this needs to be backed with facts and credible propositions.

“They should think about how they can help customers embrace the circular economy, particularly those partners who are supplying IT equipment. Providing options for recycling of equipment should form part of their portfolio of services.”

Meanings Vary

Justin Harling, CEO at UK channel firm CAE Technology Services, believes what sustainability means in practice varies.

CAE Technology Services' Justin Harling

CAE Technology Services’ Justin Harling

“There is a level where sustainability appears to be included within decision making as a tick-box exercise,” he said. “This is either a tick for having ISO 14001 (the international standard for environmental management systems) and demonstrating the existence of the relevant supply chain policies, or for providing data on specific products and their inevitable improved performance. Neither are bad things to review, but greater action is required to ensure that a sustainability goal is achieved opposed to ‘green washing’ an RFP process.”

Harling believes you can measure the greater sustainability impact with …

Jul 21

Azure, Microsoft 365, More Get Big Enhancements

By | Managed Services News

New products and enhancements for the “new business normal” and beyond.

There’s no shortage of news at the Microsoft Inspire 2020 digital event, running Tuesday and Wednesday. Partners heard about enhancements and new products in Azure, Microsoft 365, business applications, and security and compliance. There is also customer and partner enablement news, as well as new sustainability initiatives.

The global pandemic is hitting partner and customer businesses hard — and there’s nothing “normal” about “new business normal.” But Microsoft partners learned that the vendor’s global channel chief, Gavriella Schuster, is focused on supporting partners as they help customers in current environment and beyond.

In addition to announcing enhancements and new products supporting customer and partner enablement, here’s a roundup of other Microsoft Inspire 2020 news.


It seems like there’s no stopping Microsoft Azure. In the vendor’s most recent financial results, for the quarter ending on March 21, Azure year-over-year growth was 59%.

Azure news from Microsoft Inspire 2020 fall into three buckets — Azure apps and infrastructure, data and developer tools.

Microsoft launched the next generation of Azure Stack HCI, first introduced in March 2019. The newest member of Microsoft’s hybrid portfolio is a native and fully integrated Azure service. Azure Stack HCI allows customers run virtualized application on hyperconverged infrastructure.

Next-gen Azure Stack HCI solutions provide the latest security, performance and hybrid enhancements. There’s a new deployment wizard to set up an Azure Stack HCI cluster, connect to Azure and take advantage of Azure Stack HCI native integration with core Azure services. The new version also includes free extended security updates (ESU) for Windows Server 2008 virtual machines running on it, and a new Stretch Cluster feature to extend a cluster from a single site to multiple sites.

Microsoft's Talal Alquinawi

Microsoft’s Talal Alquinawi

“We are also offering the flexibility of running Azure Stack HCI on existing hardware if it matches our validated node solution,” Talal Alquinawi, senior director, Azure marketing, wrote in a blog.

Microsoft also announced new Azure updates to support customers’ migration to the cloud. These enhancements include: Azure Migrate advanced specializations; support for Azure VMware Solutions assessments and app compatibility (in public preview); and Azure shared disks, new features and networking enhancements.

In the Azure data bucket, Microsoft-supported distribution of Hadoop is now generally available; Azure Blob Storage; Network File System 3.0 on Azure Blob Storage; and a preview of Azure Data Factory’s managed VNet support.

The company also announced HashiCorp Consul Service on Azure for secure service discovery and service mesh across environments for developers.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 announcements include a rollout of the Microsoft Lists app, available mid-August; universal print, now available in public preview; and a redesigned Yammer that connects entire organizations across critical apps, now generally available.

There are a handful of Teams-related news announcements. Read about them here.

Business Applications

Microsoft made four announcements in this category.

The first is Power Platform solutions, including the release of the pre-built Power Platform Solution to help customers process employees returning to the office. The solutions cover: location readiness; employee health and safety management; workplace care management; and location management.

The news around Dynamics 365 includes Dynamics 365 Customer Voice; Connected Store availability; and fraud protection enhancements.

Security and Compliance

Microsoft's Alym Rayani

Microsoft’s Alym Rayani

Microsoft intends to focus on the security needs of companies’ more distributed workforces.

“To help companies with the visibility they need and better protect their data, we are announcing new capabilities across Microsoft 365 and Azure,” Alym Rayani, senior director, Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog.

Available in public preview is …

Jul 21

Microsoft Inspire 2020: ‘Adapting to Support Our Partners’ in New Normal

By | Managed Services News

The Microsoft Inspire 2020 digital event kicked off Tuesday with a flurry of news across Azure, M365, Security, and Teams. The virtual partner conference runs July 21-22.

Microsoft sees the core priorities for partners and customers over the coming year as those that focus on remote work, business continuity, security and cloud migration. The pandemic forced the company to pivot and rethink its direction for the next year. The latest product enhancements and services aim to better assist partners to help their clients establish a more secure footing operating in the new business normal.

Microsoft's Gavriella Schuster

Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

“When we think about what’s next, our mission and vision for our ecosystem hasn’t changed, but we’re adapting to support our partners as they service customers in this environment,” Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, Commercial Partner at Microsoft, said in a news briefing. “We’re creating a model that enables partners to manage and master their own digital transformation and the digital transformation of their customers. So we’re streamlining and optimizing the partners engagement with us.”

What’s New at Microsoft Inspire 2020

There are four specific customer and partner enablement announcements at Microsoft Inspire 2020:

  • Azure Lighthouse security enhancements. These include Azure Multi-Factor Authentication and Azure Privileged Identity Management Support.
  • New Microsoft Azure Center of Excellence and App Innovation Practice playbooks. These playbooks, which are now available, are new to the Cloud Practice series.
  • New Lenovo managed services suite. These IT services target SMBs and aim to maximize their Microsoft 365 cloud-based tools. There are two offers – Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Managed Services and Endpoint Managed Services. CSP Managed Services will be available this month. Endpoint Managed Service availability is slated for October.
  • New cloud-based digital supply chain from SAP and Microsoft. In an expanded partnership, the vendors will help mutual customers design and operate intelligent digital supply chain solutions in the cloud and on the edge. Customers will be able to use SAP Digital Supply Chain solutions in a SaaS model on Microsoft Azure. This includes SAP solutions for digital manufacturing, SAP Intelligent Asset Management, SAP Integrated Business Planning and SAP supply chain network solutions. SAP and Microsoft are also collaborating to make SAP services available on Microsoft Azure Stack Edge, starting with SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud.

SAP Solutions for digital manufacturing and SAP Intelligent Asset Management are available now. Additional solutions will be available later this year.

Helping Partners

Schuster talked about how Microsoft is helping partners. One, among many efforts, is modifying Partner Center as the hub for Microsoft partners. This makes it easier for partners to do the work that’s relative to the pandemic. New dashboards make it easier for partners to see the status of payouts, payments, customers and usage.

Microsoft also created a set of Power Platform Connectors. The software giant previously offered APIs to integrate with its CRM system. But based on partner feedback, Microsoft changed course.

Recent changes in the marketplace simplify onboarding, uploading and validation.

Microsoft has been busy helping partners run their businesses while helping their customers transition to remote working. For example, the company created six-month trials across multiple parts of its portfolio. This allows partners deploy customer solutions without worrying about paying for the service at that time.

Microsoft Teams Online Usage Incentive is an example. Other COVID-19 changes include extension of timelines around partner agreements, competencies and other administrative issues.

Partner Program Changes

Don’t expect to hear about any major changes to the Microsoft Partner Program at Microsoft Inspire 2020. The company announced the big ones in April. Schuster wants partners to stay focused on …

Jul 21

Samsung Primes New SaaS Marketplace with ‘Curated’ Apps for Small Businesses

By | Managed Services News

AppStack is set to go live in the coming weeks with discounted apps for SMBs.

Samsung is readying a SaaS marketplace of vertical and horizonal apps for small businesses that have minimal IT resources.

Set to go live within the next few weeks, Samsung’s AppStack will include SaaS apps suited for its mobile devices. Samsung revealed the pending rollout of AppStack last week during its Virtual Experience (V/X) Back to Business virtual conference.

Introduced at Samsung’s software developers’ conference last fall, the company conceived the AppStack SaaS marketplace to enable B2B apps for its mobile devices. In addition to its phones, tablets and laptops, Samsung wants to make its Samsung Gear wearable devices appealing to more types of businesses.

The company describes AppStack as a “curated” SaaS marketplace. The company only plans to allow two or three partners in any given business application category. Its initial launch partner, Google, will offer G Suite at a 10% discount.

Canva, ClickUp, PipeDrive, Freshbooks, OpenText Hightail and SealMessenger are mong other partners Samsung revealed. The mobile-device giant will offer apps in the marketplace at discounted rates ranging from 10-25%.

Samsung is lining up other partners for AppStack, but is decidedly restricting the number of providers it will host.

Samsung's Mark Howden

Samsung’s Mark Howden

“It’s not intended to have 1,000 or 10,000 applications,” said Mark Howden, Samsung’s solutions director. “It is meant to have maybe 100 or 150 applications, and no more than two or three applications in any given vertical, or categories such as HR or CRM.”

Doing Their Research

Bowden said his team worked with third-party consultants to determine which SaaS apps are best for SMBs, and which get the highest ratings.

“We’re doing the work for the SMBs, where they don’t have the resources necessarily to vet five different CRMs and figure out which is the right one for them,” he said. “We’re doing that work and pulling in the right ones.”

Kevin O’Kane, Google’s managing director for scaled partnerships, said he sees the AppStack SaaS marketplace as a good vehicle for G Suite.

“Small businesses are a critical lifeblood component of our economy and employment,” O’Kane said. “Anything that we can do to help them thrive and be more successful in this challenging time, we definitely want to be a part of.”

Samsung will sell the partner solutions through its e-commerce site or via its Shop Samsung app.

Industry analyst Maribel Lopez, principal of Lopez Research, said AppStack primarily is for growing Samsung’s B2B hardware device business.

Lopez Research's Maribel Lopez

Lopez Research’s Maribel Lopez

“I like the concept of a portal where you can find things that you need,” Lopez said.

Getting Back to Business

Since Samsung revealed AppStack last fall, it has taken on more importance. As small businesses have struggled to continue or resume operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has become a lifeline.

Consequently, Samsung is launching AppStack with a focus on “back to business” to help organizations accommodate new social distancing practices.

Locally owned businesses such as restaurants and salons suddenly found themselves looking to reopen with restrictions. Samsung set out to focus AppStack on …