Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 22

FBI Withholding Kaseya Ransomware Decryption Key Had ‘No Bearing’ on REvil

By | Managed Services News

REvil stayed one step ahead of the FBI.

The FBI reportedly withheld the Kaseya ransomware decryption key for nearly three weeks, leaving victims struggling to recover and stay afloat.

That’s according to a Washington Post report. The REvil ransomware gang attacked Kaseya and its customers on July 2.

The agency reportedly held onto the key as part of an operation to disrupt REvil. However, the operation failed.

Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, said this certainly was not a fair tradeoff.

KnowBe4's Erich Kron

KnowBe4’s Erich Kron

“The FBI had the means and ability to assist by simply sharing a digital key, but chose not to, a decision that had no bearing on the activity of the REvil group and gained them nothing in return,” he said. “This was not a case of the FBI being unable to help due to lack of staffing or any other reason, but the simple sharing of a digital key to the victim organizations.”

Failed Operation

According to the report, the FBI obtained the Kaseya decryption key through access to REvil’s servers. Deploying it immediately could have helped the victims avoid what analysts estimate was millions of dollars in recovery costs.

But the FBI held on to the key, with the agreement of other agencies. It did so because it was planning to carry out an operation to disrupt REvil and it didn’t want to tip them off. Also, a government assessment found the harm was not as severe as initially feared.

However, the planned FBI takedown never occurred. That’s because in mid-July REvil’s platform went offline without U.S. government intervention. The hackers disappeared before the FBI had a chance to execute its plan, according to the current and former officials.

The FBI shared the key with Kaseya on July 21. New Zealand-based security firm Emsisoft created a fresh decryption tool, which Kaseya released the following day.

Dana Liedholm is Kaseya’s senior vice president of corporate marketing.

Kaseya's Dana Liedholm“We are very grateful for the support we were given by the FBI and can’t comment on their decisions regarding timing of the release of the key,” she said.

Tough Decision

Purandar Das is co-founder and president of Sotero.

Sotero Software's Purandar Das

Sotero’s Purandar Das

“This is and will be a hard decision,” he said. “For the affected organizations, this is a tough thing to handle knowing that they suffered through outages and potentially substantial commercial losses while they figured out how to recover and when they could back online. From a law enforcement perspective and bigger-picture perspective, going after the criminal gangs while they were still public and were engaged in interactions makes sense. This would enable law enforcement to take them out of action. We also need to keep in mind that information like this, when released to a broader group, is almost impossible to keep under wraps. This would have only made it harder for law enforcement actions if the attackers were forewarned. The positive development from this, if there is one, is it should focus organizations to not only tighten security, but also make sure they are resilient.“

Slippery Slope

Kron said withholding the decryption key likely increased victims’ losses.

“Much like the failure to disclose the extent of the data breach by the Alaska Health Department, this brings to light the delicate balance of releasing information related to a potential criminal investigation and helping the victims of the cyberattack,” he said. “By withholding the decryption keys, the victim organizations likely suffered more financial losses, all in the hope of a potential operation that never ended up happening. This is a very slippery slope to travel when a federal agency has the ability and power to assist private organizations, but withholds it for their own use. This type of action does not help the private sector trust the U.S. government and can severely impact future cooperation between the sectors.”

Sep 22

FireEye Brand to Be Renamed Mandiant Early Next Month

By | Managed Services News

The company’s Nasdaq ticker symbol will also change next month.

The FireEye brand soon will be history. That’s because the company plans to change its name to Mandiant early next month.

FireEye is selling its products business, including the FireEye brand, for $1.2 billion. A consortium led by Symphony Technology Group (STG) is the buyer.

On Oct. 4, FireEye will change its corporate name and relaunch as Mandiant. That’s during its annual Cyber Defense Summit (CDS) 2021.

The company’s Nasdaq ticker symbol will change to “MNDT” at the opening of trading on Oct. 5.

Kevin Mandia is the company’s CEO.

FireEye's Kevin Mandia

Mandiant’s Kevin Mandia

“Given the pending sale of the FireEye products business to STG, this year’s Cyber Defense Summit is an ideal time to rename and relaunch the company as Mandiant,” he said. “Mandiant is focused on helping every organization improve its security posture and better navigate today’s cyber threat landscape.”

The summit will showcase the Mandiant Advantage SaaS platform. This technology helps scale Mandiant’s frontline expertise and threat intelligence to deliver cyber defense solutions to organizations of all sizes.

The STG transaction separates FireEye’s network, email, endpoint and cloud security products, along with the related security management and orchestration platform, from Mandiant’s controls-agnostic software and services. Mandiant and STG should close the deal by the end of the fourth quarter.

Partners will be able to pick and choose products and services from both companies to suit their needs.

FireEye acquired Mandiant in late 2013.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Sep 22

Fortinet, VMware, Palo Alto, Versa Lead Packed Gartner WAN Edge Magic Quadrant

By | Managed Services News

According to Gartner, more and more enterprise customers want to rely on only public internet for their connectivity.

Fortinet, VMware and a few other companies are pushing each other for the lead in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN edge infrastructure.

The same six companies occupy Gartner’s “Leaders” quadrant from 2020 to 2021: Fortinet, VMware, Versa Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco and HPE. The race has tightened since 2019, when only VMware and Silver Peak (since acquired by HPE/Aruba) resided among the leaders.

Source: 2021 Gartner WAN Edge Infrastructure Magic Quadrant

The “Visionaries” quadrant contains only Juniper Networks. Last year it included Juniper and HPE Aruba, but HPE moved into the leader quadrant following its integration of Silver Peak. Citrix and Huawei continue to populate the “Challengers” quadrant.

Teldat represented the only true departure from the quadrant, having “failed to meet the inclusion criteria.” Gartner requires that vendors offer publicly available, 24/7-supported enterprise WAN edge networking hardware or software. Gartner counts SD-WAN and traditional branch routers as WAN edge infrastructure.

Customer Count

Gartner listed its estimations of how many WAN edge or SD-WAN customers each vendor possesses:

  • Cisco: 40,000 WAN edge customers
  • Fortinet: 34,000 WAN edge customers (and more than 10,000 SD-WAN customers)
  • Huawei: 20,000 WAN edge customers
  • Juniper Networks: 18,000 WAN edge customers
  • VMware: 14,000 SD-WAN customers
  • Peplink: 14,000 WAN edge customers
  • Barracuda: 12,000 WAN edge customers
  • Versa Networks: 12,000 WAN edge customers
  • Cradlepoint: 9,000 WAN edge customers
  • Riverbed” 3,000 SD-WAN customers
  • HPE Aruba 3,000 WAN edge customers
  • Nuage Networks: 2,500 enterprise WAN edge customers
  • FatPipe Networks: 2,000 WAN edge customers
  • Palo Alto Networks: 2,000 WAN edge customers
  • Citrix: 1,700 WAN edge customers

These numbers obviously should not be taken as one-to-one comparisons from one vendor to another. However, they give an interesting glimpse into the size of the market.

Trends

Gartner’s report reflects the movement of enterprise customers from private MPLS networks to public internet as their main source of connectivity. For example, Gartner predicted that 40% of enterprise locations will solely use internet WAN connectivity. Currently, 15% of them use only internet.

Gartner found that 40% of SD-WAN customers operate a secure access service edge (SASE) environment. Furthermore, Gartner forecasted that number to jump up to beyond 70% by 2024.

The study also predicted a rise in AI features connected to SD-WAN deployments. Gartner estimates that fewer than 5% of SD-WAN customers are using AI for “Day 2 operations.” However, it expects the percentage to rise to 40% by 2025.

Gartner forecasts the WAN edge market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6% from 2019 to 2025. On one hand, SD-WAN will grow at an 18% CAGR, while on the other, traditional branch office routers will decline 16.5%.

Dell’Oro Group earlier this month reported that first-half 2021 SD-WAN market bested first-half 2020 by 39%. Dell’Oro also said that the top six vendors hold 70% of market share.

 

Sep 22

Nobl9 Launches First Partner Program with Opportunities in Emerging SLO Market

By | Managed Services News

Nobl9’s partners pushed the company to accelerate creation of the partner program.

Nobl9 has launched its first channel program. It’s for systems integrators and solution providers to take advantage of the growing service level objectives (SLO) market.

Former Google employees founded Nobl9 because they saw a growing opportunity around SLOs. SLOs are a unit of reliability that brings a more mathematical and reality-based approach to tracking cloud service reliability.

Nobl9’s first eight partners include Accenture, its first global systems integrator partner, and Isos Technology.

Michael Lauricella, Noble’s director of partnerships, leads the new channel program.

Nobl9's Michael Lauricella

Nobl9’s Michael Lauricella

“Our partners want deeper SLO knowledge and understanding, as do are our mutual customers,” he said. “While all our partners have strong technical skills, they want to also quickly leverage our wealth of SLO content and training. This goes beyond product training. We are working with our partners to enable them to become best-in-class SLO coaches, equipping them with the tools and resources to deliver training to top-tier companies and then engage to help them create meaningful SLOs that will ensure happy customers and a team that is not being awoken in the middle of the night.”

Strong Group of Partners

Nobl9 has a strong group of partners, Lauricella said. Moreover, they pushed Nobl9 to accelerate the creation of this program.

“They are primarily companies that were doing DevOps consulting, helping companies make great software,” he said. “And now they see the shift to the running of software. Our partners are looking for a simple and fair business model that is customer-centric. And we have designed the program with this in mind. We hear from our partners that they see Nobl9 as the platform for enabling teams to communicate and collaborate on the running of software. And our alerting tools [are] quickly escalating the process when needed.”

Thad West is CEO and co-founder at Isos Technology.

“We’re still very early in the SLO movement, but enterprises are starting to wake up to the massive advantages of the Googles and Netflixes, and web-scale dev teams that just release, release, release,” he said. “They are using SLOs, they understand what the reliability goals are and, ironically, it’s understanding what your reliability goals are that allows you to accept unreliability that’s precisely the upshot of the SLO movement, and why those companies can ship software so fast.”

SLO Movement Accelerating

The SLO movement is happening “a bit faster” than Nobl9 expected, Lauricella said.

“We always knew there would be a strong channel play given all the work there is to do for a partner around working with companies to embrace and implement SLOs,” he said. “In the end, this announcement is driven by the demand we are seeing from the partner community and we want to be certain that everyone knows that Nobl9 is ready and able to support a strong and revenue-producing partner network.”

Sep 22

Cyberattacks Are Increasing: Some Takeaways MSSPs Need to Know

By | Managed Services News

New research from industry reports and surveys highlights key facts for MSSPs to keep in their back pockets.

Cyberattacks are increasing at unprecedented rates.

Managed security service providers should serve as the first – and strongest – line of defense. Apparently, though, more SMBs, enterprises, nonprofits and other organizations have yet to lean on these channel partners. We see that as an opportunity for MSSPs to get out the word about their services. Find out more from MicroAge’s recent survey.

After that, get the scoop on one of the world’s hot spots for cyberattacks. This won’t come as a huge shock, but remote work is largely responsible. MSSPs in that region have a lot of opportunity to step in and help.

Finally, find out just how much cybercrime is costing the world, and understand the depth of the password problem.

See our news about increasing cyberattacks and more in the slideshow above.

 

 

Sep 22

Zoom Acquisition of Five9 Under National Security Review

By | Managed Services News

Five9 has operations in Russia, while Zoom has research and development staff in China.

Zoom remains confident its acquisition of Five9 will clear all regulatory hurdles. That’s despite a U.S. government committee’s review based on national security concerns.

In July, Zoom and Five9 disclosed the $14.7 billion transaction. Through the acquisition, Zoom can extend its global communications network with a cloud-based contact center as a service.

Zoom should complete the acquisition in the first half of 2022. After the deal closes, Five9 will operate as a business unit within Zoom and remain under the leadership of Five9 CEO Rowan Trollope.

David Plotinsky is acting chief of the foreign investment review section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division. He asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to refer the Zoom-Five9 case to the committee for the assessment of foreign participation in the U.S. telecommunications service sector. Attorney General Merrick Garland is chair of the committee.

Presence in Russia and China

Zoom is based in the United States, and founder and CEO Eric Yuan, a native of China, is a U.S. citizen. Five9 has operations in Russia, while Zoom has research and development staff in China.

In his Aug. 27 letter, Plotinsky requested the review of the Zoom-Five9 acquisition “to determine whether this application poses a risk to the national security or law enforcement interests of the United States.”

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

“[The Justice Department] believes that such risk may be raised by the foreign participation (including the foreign relationships and ownership) associated with the application, and a review by the committee is necessary to assess and make an appropriate recommendation as to how the [FCC] should adjudicate this application,” he said. “As with any application that is referred to the committee, [the justice department] further requests that the commission defer action on this application until the committee has concluded its review.”

Cooperating with Regulatory Agencies

Zoom sent us the following statement:

“The Five9 acquisition is subject to certain telecom regulatory approvals. We have made filings with the various applicable regulatory agencies, and these approval processes are proceeding as expected. We continue to anticipate receiving the required regulatory approvals to close the transaction in the first half of 2022.”

Five9 isn’t commenting on the review.

This isn’t the first potential roadblock to the deal. Earlier this month, Scott Berg, managing director and senior research analyst at Needham & Co., said Zoom’s offer to acquire Five9 is “fundamentally flawed” and Five9’s shareholders should reject it.

“We believe [Five9] shareholders will vote down [the] current price, requiring Zoom to raise [its] bid to complete [the] transaction,” he said.

Sep 22

Channel Provider Trends Online Survey-August 2021

By | Managed Services News

As businesses across all industries embrace digital transformation, they are turning to IT solution providers primarily for consultative advice and information. Requests for advice outnumber those for support, hardware purchases, implementation services, and remote monitoring and management.

This report summarizes key findings of a survey of IT solutions and services providers about current trends affecting their businesses, including:

  • Service provider partnerships
  • Customer engagement methods
  • Customer retention issues
  • Provider pricing methods

Provided by: 

 

Sep 22

From Transaction to Transformation: The Changing Face of Value in the IT Channel

By | Managed Services News

The cloud has shifted value up the technology stack from equipment to apps and services.

Exclusive Networks' Graham Jones

Graham Jones

The personal computer is 40 years old this year. A lot has changed in the IT channel since the first one hit the shelves. One thing in particular has shifted: the concept of value.

Four decades ago, many channel partners looked for value on a price list. They survived by undercutting their rivals. This tin-shifting approach wasn’t sustainable. You can only go so low before you hit the bottom. As technology got simpler and prices fell, resellers ran out of room to differentiate themselves.

Adding Value on Top of Technology

Value-added resellers took a more sustainable approach by finding value further up the technology stack, adding their own expertise to differentiate products. Building specialist video editing suites using PCs would be a good example.

VARs would often serve small- to medium-sized customers. The more sophisticated or specialised version is a systems integrator (SI), which builds more complex products for larger companies.

Distributors also saw the same shifting notion of value. Value-added distributors (VADs) differentiate themselves among reseller partners by going beyond simple product markup to add extra expertise. Their sales teams will have more knowledge of products and services. They’ll offer the cross-product experience that individual product vendors don’t have. They’d use this to help VARs serve customer needs by building more sophisticated systems.

How the Cloud Changed Value in the Services Business

We’ve seen the same value shift in technology services. For years, services companies offered customers simple “break-fix” maintenance support contracts. When a computer failed, the company would dispatch a man with a van to replace the parts.

Break-fix services still exist, but they’re becoming less tenable as equipment becomes more resilient and easier to replace. They’re also threatened by another factor: cloud computing. With more companies than ever taking advantage of cloud-based applications and infrastructure, the need for simple maintenance services is falling away.

Just as VARs before them, service providers have also had to shift their value proposition further up the technology stack to the applications and services that run on the hardware. That spans everything from office productivity to business continuity and unified communication and collaboration. They can make more margin by combining cloud services that help customers solve these pressing business problems.

In short, the “M” in MSP transformed from maintenance to managed. It also spawned a whole new generation of service providers by encompassing cybersecurity, which is one of the most pressing problems for modern businesses and still a dark art for many. This has created rich opportunities for managed security service providers (MSSPs).

What’s Next for Value in the Channel?

The value proposition won’t stand still. As technology continues to mature, there’s always another development ready to expand the meaning of value in IT.

The cloud has made technology so abstract and interoperable that it has become easier to implement with wider-reaching effects. This has changed it from a bolt-on project to something more foundational. It has expanded to pervade all parts of the business, managing workflows that transcend different regions, business functions and revenue streams. Businesses have come to realise that technology is the way to reach customers with new experiences to reduce churn and increase revenue.

This pushes the concept of value further still, above the application layer and into the boardroom. Executives know that they must acknowledge technology’s role in future business direction, but often don’t know where to begin. That creates an opportunity for savvy MSPs to do more than integrate cloud services and keep the data flowing. They can help companies create technology strategies that offer a competitive edge.

With tech becoming more pervasive, the channel’s notion of value is expanding yet again. Who knows how we’ll define it — or what acronyms we’ll use — when the PC draws its old-age pension?

Graham Jones is regional director for the United Kingdom and Ireland at Exclusive Networks Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in the IT and security industries along with system integrator, value-added resellers and vendor experience. Before joining Exclusive Networks in 2013, his most notable success was at Integralis (now NTT Security), where he grew the business to a profitable £160 million in seven years. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @EXN_UK on Twitter.

Sep 22

Fortanix, Snowflake Team Up; Thirdera Buys Appoxio

By | Managed Services News

Other news in our cloud computing roundup covers Equinix’s new research and VMware’s new achievement.

Cloud-based data just got more secure, thanks to a new partnership between Fortanix and Snowflake. Also, ServiceNow channel partner Thirdera is showing peers how to grow and support end users’ digital transformation efforts. Meanwhile, Equinix has new stats showing that cloud adoption continues to soar, even though many an IT pro harbors security concerns. Finally, VMware has achieved a significant threshold with the federal government. Get the full scoop in our latest cloud computing news roundup.

Fortanix, Snowflake Join Forces

Fortanix and Snowflake are teaming up. The two companies on Wednesday launched a new partnership to make Fortanix’s Data Security Manager SaaS available to Snowflake customers.

Fortanix specializes in data protection, while Snowflake focuses on data storage and processing. The agreement between Fortanix and Snowflake gives users the ability to protect data via tokens; that’s regardless of whether it lives inside or outside of Snowflake’s platforms. For example, joint customers may secure their most private data (think Social Security numbers, for example) before Snowflake processes it. This eliminates the need to deploy and manage a separate security product, Fortanix said.

At the same time, Fortanix’s DSM SaaS solution supports hybrid clouds, including those spread across multiple sites. It features built-in encryption, key management and support for a variety of interfaces. Moreover, channel partners (or their customers) can set up accesses in Fortanix’s new Snowflake Wizard.

“As more and more apps and services migrate to the cloud, it only makes sense that data security should as well,” said Ambuj Kumar, CEO and co-founder at Fortanix. “Tokenization has traditionally been a solution only larger enterprises could afford due to high implementation costs and ongoing licensing. Offering the capability as a service with Fortanix DSM SaaS helps customers manage costs, get faster value and expand their cloud capabilities.”

Scott Hoard, area vice president of Americas channels at Fortanix, told Channel Futures that organizations tend to struggle with the cost, complexity and operational demands of their existing data security infrastructure.

Fortanix's Scott Hoard

Fortanix’s Scott Hoard

“Legacy standalone point solutions were never designed for cloud-first environments and DevOps application lifecycles,” he said.

Fortanix aims to change that, all while ensuring airtight protections.

“DSM SaaS provides the highest level of security, often exceeding what organizations have implemented in their own environment,” Hoard said. “Services run on FIPS 140-2 Level 3-certified Fortanix FX2200 appliances that act as both an HSM and an application server. The FX 2200 doesn’t just provider a hardware root of trust; it uses Intel Software Guard Extension technology to provide complete cryptographic separation between DSM SaaS users. At no time do Fortanix DSM SaaS administrators have access to keys or data processed by customers in their DSM SaaS account. Customers can also continue to use keys from legacy HSMs using the unique HSM Gateway capability.”

Moreover, Hoard said Fortanix channel partners will benefit.

“In Snowflake’s most recent earnings call, CEO Frank Slootman highlighted the two fastest growing verticals: financial services at 100% and …

Sep 22

Upstack Buys 2 More Agents

By | Managed Services News

“We cannot in good conscience take a payout [and] walk away … ” one agent explained.

Upstack, the cloud and internet infrastructure selling agent and sourcing platform, just announced two new agent acquisitions.

MOC4 Consulting, idea Communications Group and their owners have joined the Upstack team. Both financially undisclosed transactions fit into Upstack’s strategy of purchasing high-performing tech consultancies. The agreements allow the agencies’ owners to remain in business while accessing more resources and support and ultimately earning equity.

Idea co-founders David Garrick and Frank Ferdowsian said they rebuffed multiple suitors who asked them to retire from the business.

Garrick, David_Upstack

Upstack’s David Garrick

“Our customers are our friends; our relationships extend beyond business. We cannot in good conscience take a payout, walk away and leave our customers in the hands of someone else that will not offer the same level of service we provide,” said Ferdowsian. “Upstack was different. They shared our customer-first passion and didn’t ask us to walk away; they wanted to help grow our customer relationships further.”

Idea has been in the channel for almost 20 years. Garrick and Ferdowsian formed the agency in 2002 after Qwest laid them off. They quickly found that they relished the opportunity to provide a more vendor-neutral approach to IT sales.

“When layoffs happen, normally, people look for jobs,” said Ferdowsian. “We looked at each other, bought two laptops and started our own business.”

Trapp, CHristopher_Upstack

Upstack’s Christopher Trapp

Upstack CEO Christopher Trapp praised Garrick and Ferdowsian’s reputation for customer service.

“David and Frank built a thriving business on doing what’s right for their customers,” Trapp said. “Their ‘customers-before-company’ mindset backed by tenured experience designing complex network, communications and IT solutions will help drive Upstack’s success going forward.”

Idea operates out of the Denver area.

MOC4

MOC4 consulting has played in the channel for a significantly shorter time. Founder Daniel Mocny started the Bridgepointe Technologies partner in 2014. The former college baseball player liked the independence that a technology consulting job provides. He ultimately surpassed 300 customers and began considering how he could expand the company.

Mocny, Daniel_Upstack

Upstack’s Daniel Mocny

“I explored the conventional routes of hiring a support team, outsourcing to a third-party for back-office support, or combining resources with another agency in the space,” Mocny said. “That’s when I heard about the opportunity to join Upstack.”

MOC4 focused on secure networking.

“In addition to his long experience delivering complex multivendor network solutions, Daniel’s competitive spirit and team-first mentality are sure to drive growth for the entire Upstack team,” Trapp said.

Mocny works out of Irvine, California.

The Upstack Plan

New York-based Upstack drew the attention of the channel earlier in April when it announced a $50 million private equity investment from Berkshire Partners. Trapp promised about a dozen agent acquisitions throughout the year, and his promise has come true. Upstack has announced a continuous stream of agent acquisitions, most recently technology infrastructure advisory firm CloudAdvise.

Agents have taken Upstack’s offer for a variety of reasons. Some, like PacTech Partners, were looking for additional resources and connections to scale upward. Others, like Phoenix-based consultancy LanYap Networks, wanted a buyer to take care of their back-office operations to let them focus on their core business. Moreover, the agent owners are gaining equity in Upstack in the event of a future exit.

 

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