Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Dec 18

MSP 501 ‘MSP of the Year’ Finalist Pioneer-360 on Necessary Pivots and Evolving One’s Business Model

By | Managed Services News

CEO and founder Joe McCartney talks about anticipating client needs and making difficult, but necessary, shifts.

The award for MSP of the Year works a little differently from the other special 501 awards. These shops demonstrate a willingness to take risks and pivot when necessary. They exhibit a deep familiarity with the MSP market and willingness to consider a business model evolution. These two characteristics are critical to channel companies looking to stay ahead of the curve, and Pioneer-360 has them in spades.

These special awards are part of the 2020 MSP 501. We narrowed the field of contenders down to three finalists that we feel represent the modern channel and display excellence in business efficiency and business model innovation.

This essentially means these folks have the nimbleness to pivot to meet industry trends, the guts to make risky moves today to position the business for tomorrow and the discipline to structure operations to achieve maximum efficiency in service delivery. 

We sat down with CEO and founder Joe McCartney to chat about Pioneer-360’s business model evolution, and how the company has weathered the roller coaster that has been 2020.

Structural Organization

For starters, the pioneering provider has a pretty robust business model. It’s a model it has grown and evolved to reflect industry dynamics, customer needs and emerging tech trends.

Pioneer-360's Joe McCartney

Pioneer-360’s Joe McCartney

“In the last several years, we have seen a push for companies needing more security and more structural organization for IT compliances,” said McCartney. “Once we started to truly understand compliance, we realized that there was a gap of doing best practices versus security versus compliance. These are not always synonymous, but when orchestrated together and properly, efficiency and stability increase along with overall security.” 

Compliance, My Dear Watson

Many of Pioneer-360’s clients are heavily steeped in regulatory compliance. Previous MSPs had somewhat glossed over this aspect. It was here that Pioneer-360 saw a wedge in the door.

“Many of our clients are compliance/regulated to the highest degree, which of course creates a bit of a headache,” said McCartney. “Many of the organizations we entered into a contract with — their previous MSPs were doing the IT, but kept clear of the regulatory and compliance aspect. That puts the true IT burden on the back of the client, which is not what you want. We recognized this as an opportunity and jumped on it.” 

Pioneer-360 was able to anticipate its clients’ needs before the regulatory changes occurred, and was able to implement them before their audits. They did this by creating what Pioneer calls “The Calm.”   

“Anyone can do the IT portion, but if you’re not tackling the other headaches that IT creates, you’re not advancing your organization forward,” McCartney continued. “We are currently working toward our Soc2 Type 2 certification, understanding that we are an extension of our clients. Based on recent breaches by large scale MSPs, the auditors are only a click away from knocking on our doors, so our goal is to get ahead of that.”

Business Model Evolution

It’s not always easy to see the writing on the wall when it comes to evolving one’s business model. Pioneer-360 saw the need to evolve about five years ago with the advent of cryptocurrency. 

“About five years ago, our eyes were opened to the true evolution and growth of crypto and its devastating effects on business,” said McCartney.  “We basically took the stance of, “if this happens to us (our clients) we would not survive the fallout.” So we dug in, fortified our stack, re-engineered our internal infrastructure and took best practices to heart. Those practices led us to create an internal team called SAT, Pioneer-360’s situational awareness team. SAT’s sole mission is to organize, gather, create, distribute and train clients on how to be safe from cybercrimes — not only in the office, but personally.”   

Pioneer-360 even buys and …

Dec 18

2021 Cybersecurity Predictions

By | Managed Services News

Here are some of the drivers that will underpin organizations’ cybersecurity priorities in 2021.

As 2021 nears, enterprises have to orient themselves to the main focus areas and considerations. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations have had to rethink their operational and security processes–from business functions and cloud migrations to teleworking support. These, along with constant security risks, have not only challenged organizations in 2020 but also raised concerns regarding their readiness for disruption.

Now that working from home has become commonplace, houses have since been flipped into offices for the foreseeable future. More employees are using devices (some even personal) to access confidential data on home and corporate networks, which poses a considerable risk to any organization. Without secured access and robust security tools that protect the distributed attack surface, threat actors can easily hack into networks and jump from one machine to another until they find a suitable target.

Here are some of the other predictions that we believe security professionals and decision-makers should watch out for in the coming year:

Home Offices as Criminal Hubs

Similar to how security experts follow the trends and emerging technologies, cybercriminals will follow users and initiate attacks that take advantage of their situations and behaviors. In 2020, the use of devices and software repositioned when workforces shifted to distributed work. Threat actors are on the lookout for security gaps in organizations’ current security postures, ready to take advantage of weak points, the lack of preparedness or the inability to support a remote workforce securely.

Routers will be prime targets for remote attacks. Cybercriminals can offer hacked routers as a new service where they sell access to high-value networks. We believe that it’s possible for them to apply the same method to converged IT/OT networks.

Handling valuable company assets will also be challenging in 2021, wherein organizations will have to withstand breach attempts and malware infections and secure any sensitive information. While virtual private networks (VPNs) allow secure connections with workplaces, they will prove inefficient and still be weak links for many organizations if they’re outdated (or have unpatched vulnerabilities that could drive remote attacks). Without detailed company security policies and incident response plans, attackers can target remote workers as the ideal entry points into corporate ecosystems.

Covid-19 as a Lure for Malicious Campaigns

Cybercriminals have been quick to seize the disruption the pandemic brought to launch a slew of attacks, including phishing and ransomware. Since the onset of the pandemic, threat actors have relied on social engineering tactics to deliver spam, business email compromise (BEC), malware and malicious domains.

Threats will continue to exploit the public health crisis in hopes of gaining a foothold in target systems. There’s no shortage of threats that cybercriminals can employ, banking on Covid-19-related unease. We expect this to continue in 2021 as countries around the world continue to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Malicious actors will also turn their attention to testing, treatment, and vaccine efforts, and will exploit surrounding coronavirus-related fears through misinformation. Healthcare organizations, including pharmaceutical companies developing vaccines, will be further pressured to keep up with the demands and brave security attacks, which can disrupt their ability to provide care to patients. Threat actors can pose risks to patient data, launch malware attacks, or facilitate medical espionage.

Digital Transformation Efforts as a Double-Edged sword (If Not Done Right)

The business disruption that the Covid-19 pandemic caused has spurred industries across different sectors to fast-track their digital transformation programs. Pandemic aside, organizations wouldn’t have made the same quick pivot in “normal” circumstances. From a technological point of view, this is favorable for addressing current demands that cloud-based software can undertake. Many have pushed for further connectivity among workers, AI-enabled apps for business productivity, and increased cloud adoption to empower organizations to respond faster and scale better.

Those who have hastily moved from the traditional on-premise setting and have no solutions in place will struggle. Accelerated transformation meant many organizations adopted new technologies to maintain business continuity; unfortunately, the rush to implement these technologies could also mean that some may have had to skip due diligence.

The renewed push for cloud environments and collaboration tools will be attractive to attackers. Researchers and threat actors alike will focus on vulnerabilities related to remote-work technologies. The cloud of logs that organizations gather and store will also be central to high-profile cybercrimes, whereby valuable data can be used to find initial access points into networks.

Emerging shifts to the landscape shouldn’t prevent organizations from implementing new technologies and embracing the current reality. Threat actors will be seeking to take advantage of the situation, regardless of the current landscape. With proper security strategies and solutions in place, organizations can be equipped to reap all the benefits of digital transformation efforts without exposing themselves to considerable risk.

To learn more about the key security considerations and challenges for users and enterprises, read our report “Turning the Tide: Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2021.”

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Dec 18

2020: The Year of the Triple

By | Managed Services News

This “Year of the Triple” has created a unifying sense of urgency to act now.

In many ways, 2020 has made us stop in our tracks and re-examine our lives. It has forced us to re-think where our world is headed and the actions we must take now to help shape a more equitable and sustainable future.

This hit home for me in September. My family was “sheltering in” here in California, and from our doorstep we could see the wildfire that was raging on the next ridge. The sky was filled with an eerie orange glow, and the air was thick with smoke and ash. The pandemic continued to spread its pain around the world. And the news was filled with reports of social injustice and systemic racism.

It was all deeply distressing. Yes, our world has faced devastating, simultaneous challenges before–World War I and the Spanish Flu come to mind. But never in modern history have we faced something on the scale of today’s global triple threat: climate change, a fast-spreading pandemic and the upheaval caused by systemic racism.

The Year of the Triple

Sometimes life gives us a collective slap in the face forcing us to pay attention. That’s one positive I take from 2020: This “Year of the Triple” has created a unifying sense of urgency to act now. These are the critical questions we must ask ourselves:

  • Can we meet the urgent challenge of climate change as we confront a sharp increase in wildfires, Category 5 hurricanes and extreme floods?
  • Can we bridge the digital divide and create a future that is more accessible and inclusive for all?
  • Can we build trust in our tech innovations by ensuring they are based on ethical stewardship? Can we rely upon them as we invent the future of healthcare, education and society?

For me, these are no longer just important issues to debate. It’s personal. It’s urgent. And it’s the right thing to do.

Which brings me back to that “slap in the face.” Recently, I was discussing technology’s impact over the past generation with my blessedly direct daughter-in-law when she said, “Yes, your generation has accomplished extraordinary things. But did you have to bankrupt the planet?”

It was painful to hear, but … she had a valid point.

I firmly believe in the power of technology to have a lasting positive impact on the world. But I also recognize that how it is used, for good or bad, rests in all of our hands. We must harness it as a force for good.

In 2015, we laid out a vision of VMware’s global impact across three pillars—our People, our Products and the Planet. We set out to build on our long-standing commitment to create a better future–by putting back more than we take.

We achieved nearly all the goals we established five years ago. This year, we moved to take our commitment to the next level, with an ambitious set of 2030 goals that are fully integrated into our operations.

Our 2030 Agenda

While VMware has long focused on sustainability, our 30 goals for 2030 are even more expansive, with a focus on three outcomes: Trust, Equity and Sustainability. This is part of a broader movement among forward-thinking companies, linked to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These are not just a bunch of happy proclamations that will be forgotten months down the road; these goals will be woven into each and every part of our business. That deep integration is critical.

We’re also integrating these goals into the solutions we deliver for our customers. For example, in order to achieve our Trust goals, we must continue to innovate and lead in developing intrinsic security solutions that anticipate threats. Similarly, our Equity goals depend on our ability to continue to innovate in work from anywhere solutions that secure and empower distributed teams.

Digital transformation lies at the heart of our collective ability to address the complex challenges that humanity faces today. That gives VMware a central role to play, as we are the backbone of digital transformation.

A fundamental part of this effort is our focus on what’s known as ESG: our Environmental, Social and Governance impact. ESG is a standardized framework companies are adopting to more effectively measure and report performance in these critical areas.

Why is this so important to VMware? In part, because it matters to everyone who owns a stake in the success of our business:

  • Our employees understand that we have a higher purpose in all that we do. We can and will create a lasting impact.
  • Our customers increasingly expect ESG commitments and data in our products and solutions.
  • Investors today consider ESG measurements and ratings when making investment decisions, and they prioritize companies that are resilient in the face of sudden change, like the rise of a global pandemic.

Seizing the Moment

Sometimes the challenges we face can seem overwhelming. But 2020 has given us a new sense of urgency to act now in order to build a better tomorrow. There’s no question that digital innovation has a vital role to play, but we need to manage it responsibly.

We must seize this moment. For our children, our grandchildren and every generation that follows.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Dec 18

MSP 501 Profile: ASK Aligns Customers with Technology

By | Managed Services News

What is a technology alignment process? We find out in this MSP 501 profile.

Company Name: ASK
Company MSP 501 Rank: 85 on Hot 101
CEO: Mike Maddox
Headquartered: Lansing, MI

Primary Services:

  • Managed IT services
  • Managed security
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity
  • IT professional services

Twitter: @justasknet

ASK, the Lansing, Michigan-based MSP that specializes in security, wants you to get back to basics with three business fundamentals.

To wit, the company invites customers to enlist their help with protecting cash flow, increasing staff productivity and growing their businesses. If offers a series of workshops on these topics to help clients get – or stay – on the right foot.

This year, ASK landed on our brand-new list – the Hot 101 – dedicated to companies evolving and growing their MSP businesses. It’s part of our MSP 501 program.

Supporting more than 100 companies’ and organizations’ technology needs in Michigan, ASK has been instrumental in helping clients through the COVID-19 crisis. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer designated ASK a critical infrastructure business.

We caught up with CEO Mike Maddox, who offers a deep dive into how ASK helps customers.

Channel Futures: What is one thing you wish vendors would do that they don’t?

Mike Maddox: We believe that technology’s value for business is only derived from its ability to deliver results in the form of increased profits, reduced inefficiency and enhanced collaboration. Based on this belief, we work with all of our clients on a Technology Alignment Process which maps their technology road map to their short- and long-term business strategy. It would be great if technology vendors took the same approach to their products and solutions. Technology should not be a transactional purchase. It needs to be bought based on a carefully planned and measured road map which builds efficiency over time.

ASK's Mike Maddox

ASK’s Mike Maddox

The Technology Alignment Process involves a deep understanding of the client’s pain points and business strategy. From there, a technology plan can be built with a road map for short, medium, and long term. This road map needs to be implemented and evaluated as conditions change and ultimately measured against expected and actual ROI.

Vendors would benefit from presenting their products and solutions in terms of how they fit into the larger ecosystem within the client environment and how they deliver ROI. Too often they are presented as point-in-time products and solutions that simply answer a specific need or needs. That forces a transactional approach which only serves to commoditize their offering.

CF: What was the single biggest technology or business decision that drove your company’s growth in 2019? How did it do so?

MM: In 2019, our leadership team decided to implement EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). This program is based on the work done by Gino Wickman and described in his book. “Traction.” Our move to EOS allowed us to foundationally change our organizational dynamics to achieve new levels of efficiency and lay the foundation for future explosive growth.

The decision to move to an EOS model was based on our rapid growth from a small IT company with a handful of employees to a sizeable entity with multiple “moving parts.” What worked when we were very small was no longer working as well. Our vision was to continue the rapid growth of the past. and we knew that we would …

Dec 17

Barracuda Researchers Say Hackers Know Their Targets, Getting Smarter

By | Managed Services News

If successful, BEC attacks can yield hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for hackers.

Hackers are designing their attacks for specific targets and striking at just the right time, according to Barracuda researchers.

In their latest report, Barracuda researchers identify 13 email threat types facing organizations today. They also outline ways cybercriminals are adapting quickly to current events and new tactics.

The 13 email threat types are: spam, malware, data exfiltration, scamming, URL phishing, spear phishing, domain impersonation, brand impersonation, extortion, business email compromise (BEC), conversation hijacking, lateral phishing and account takeover.

Among the report’s findings:

  • BEC makes up 12% of the spear-phishing attacks analyzed, an increase from just 7% in 2019.
  • Seventy-two percent of COVID-19-related attacks are scamming. In comparison, 36% of overall attacks are scamming. Attackers prefer to use COVID-19 in their less-targeted scamming attacks that focus on fake cures and donations.
  • Thirteen percent of all spear-phishing attacks come from internally compromised accounts. So organizations need to invest in protecting their internal email traffic as much as they do in protecting from external senders.
  • Seventy-one percent of spear-phishing attacks include malicious URLs. But only 30% of BEC attacks included a link. Hackers using BEC want to establish trust with their victim and expect a reply to their email. And the lack of a URL makes it harder to detect the attack.

BEC Attacks Succeeding

Don MacLennan is senior vice president of engineering and product at Barracuda. He said the increase in BEC attacks by itself might not be surprising, but it is telling.

Barracuda's Don MacLennan

Barracuda’s Don MacLennan

“These type of attacks are growing in popularity because they are successful,” he said. “Account takeover is a big issue for many organizations. When hackers get in, they use legitimate email accounts as a launch pad for their attacks — some sending a large volume of spam, others more sophistication targeted attacks.”

Hackers spend time researching organizations and their victims prior to BEC attacks, MacLennan said.

“Time and effort invested means that they often target very few individuals with a personalized message,” he said. “They use popular email services like Gmail to send out messages impersonating employees or vendors. These messages often have no malicious payload in a form of URL or attachment. There is nothing obviously malicious about the attacks that will trigger gateway filters and policies.”

The fact that many organizations have not set up domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC) enforcement allows hackers to spoof legitimate domains, MacLennan said. That makes it even harder for fraudulent email to be detected.

“If successful, these attacks can yield hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for hackers,” he said.

COVID-19 Related Attacks

Barracuda researchers still see COVID-19-related attacks, but the number has leveled off since the sharp increases last spring.

“Most of these attacks are scamming, which are spam-like messages, less targeted in their nature,” MacLennan said. “It does look like hackers’ interest has peaked when it comes to COVID-19, not surprising because they follow current events and the latest news. So businesses should be paying attention to any vaccine-related fraud right now.”

Every year, attacks become more targeted and sophisticated in nature, he said. And because of this, they are increasingly difficult to detect.

“Hackers go to great lengths by registering typo-squatted domains, compromising email accounts, carefully researching their victims’ business partners, etc.” MacLennan said. “Attacks are increasingly deceiving with one not like the other.”

MSSPs Can Help

User security training and phishing simulation campaigns are two ways in which MSSPs can provide a value-added service to their customers in terms of protecting against these attacks, MacLennan said.

“Some attacks do get through, especially BEC attacks,” he said. “When they do get through and are reported by users, businesses should act fast to remediate and remove malicious messages. MSSPs can use automated remediation tools to help business manage their inboxes, investigate and remediate any reported emails.”

Another example is using AI-based technology to protect against sophisticated attacks, McLennan said. Gateway defense is necessary, but not enough on its own.

“MSSPs can help their customers set up DMARC enforcement,” he said. “Many organizations are afraid of DMARC because it appears to be complex. However, it’s not if you have right tools, DMARC reporting and analysis. Providing managed services around DMARC enforcement and management could be a great additional revenue stream for MSSPs. Further, they should consider introducing customers to multifactor authentication (MFA), which is the first step in protecting accounts from compromise.”

Dec 17

E-Book: 5 Ways Service Providers Profit with Veeam Backup

By | Managed Services News

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who offer modern backup and disaster recovery services not only give clients peace of mind, they also establish long-term relationships built on trust. Learn how to deliver data protection services that are flexible, efficient, automated and profitable — without having to custom build each stack.

Download this E-Book to learn more:

Brought to you by: 

Dec 17

MSPs: Your checklist for hero-worthy, security-focused BaaS

By | Managed Services News

In this eBook, we’ll help you uncover the full potential of Managed Security Services for your customers and business, including combining the benefits of backup and security services for a proactive approach to business continuity, creating a multilayered approach that protects your customers’ data from ransomware, malware or malicious actors, and turning data management into a competitive advantage.

Download to learn more!

Brought to you by: 



Dec 17

E-Book: Service Providers Gain Access to 375k+ Customers

By | Managed Services News

Drive revenue and build client account value with Veeam Off-site Backup. Your clients look to you to modernize and optimize their data backup and protection strategies. So, it’s critical that your services are powered by simple, flexible and reliable solutions to help them meet recovery service level agreements (SLAs).

Download this E-book to learn more.

Brought to you by: 



Dec 17

MSP 501 Profile: Ubisec Systems Focuses on Company Culture, Remote Security

By | Managed Services News

President and CTO Edward Sohn breaks down the challenges and new opportunities the provider has seen in 2020.

Company Name: Ubisec Systems
Company MSP 501 Rank: 122
President/CTO: Edward Sohn
Headquartered: Brea, California

Primary Services:

  • Managed IT services
  • IT support
  • IT consulting
  • Cloud services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business phone systems
  • Data recovery services
  • SD-WAN as a service

Twitter: @ubisec01

MSP 501 winner Ubisec Systems Inc. is one of Southern California’s fastest growing technology services companies. The IT cloud and managed services provider attributes some of that to being well-positioned to pivot customers to a remote workforce when COVID-19 hit.

Ubisec Systems' Edward Sohn

Ubisec Systems’ Edward Sohn

We sat down with Ubisec Systems president and CTO Edward Sohn to dig deeper into the company’s pandemic pivots; plus, its challenges and triumphs.

Channel Futures: What new opportunities and challenges came with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Edward Sohn: Working in the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic has been interesting, to say the least. That said, we are ecstatic that our customers did not miss a beat when transitioning to a work-from-home (WFH) environment. The reason? Ubisec specializes in WFH solutions and has enabled the distributed enterprise using cutting-edge network technologies such as SD-WAN, SSL VPN, multifactor authentication, cloud phones/collaboration, virtual desktop infrastructure, O365, etc.  

While other IT companies were struggling, Ubisec was well-positioned to help customers while they pivoted to a remote workforce. In fact, it is our uncanny ability to peer around corners and uncover/capitalize on early technology trends that allows us to help our customers digitally transform their enterprise in preparation of situations like we have today. As such, we continue to uncover new opportunities to ensure our customers’ remote staff enjoys the same quality IT experience they enjoyed while in the office.

Since we are a cybersecurity company at our core, maintaining enterprise security for our customers during the pandemic is paramount. We take it very seriously, and as such, we have seen an increasing need to secure the remote workforce. In addition, we have uncovered additional opportunities, primarily around endpoint protection, multifactor authentication and remote connectivity. Cloud security solutions are ideal here and fit our customers’ needs quite well.

Everything is centrally managed and visible from the cloud. Our customers have peace of mind knowing they are as secure – even more so – than they were when everyone was working onsite. SD-WAN has been a natural fit for remote workers, as it enables seamless connectivity to enterprise resources, just as if that person was in the office. With redundant internet connections in place, SD-WAN performance and availability offer a LAN-like experience.

Since we’re all stuck at home now, one thing that has been a challenge is how to ensure quality face time with customers. It used to be that we would meet in-person, making it much easier to communicate ideas, initiatives and close new business. Now, even though the calendar appointment is the same, meetings are virtual, perpetuating the mentality that one can miss/push the meeting. After a few reschedules, it does become more challenging to get the same quality time.  

Webex has been a godsend in that we can still see and hear each other (and even effectively draw ideas on a whiteboard). Even still, there is definitely something missing that you don’t get in person. It’s really just a new challenge in this different business climate, but it does take some getting used to. Sales cycles are definitely affected as a result. Not just because of the lack of customer interaction, but also because the uncertain economic state has slowed spending in general. We will continue to pivot and adjust as necessary to keep leading new and prospective customers through these uncertain times.

Ubisec has always been a remote NOC/SOC service to our customers since our inception over 15 years ago. That said, we have not internally adopted a full work-from-home model on a permanent basis until now. Although we have remote workers, we have also always relied on in-person teams to maintain camaraderie, personability and social interaction. Now that this is gone, we have had to figure out ways to maintain this culture while working remotely.  

We’ve accomplished emulating these benefits through collaboration technologies, such as workstream collaboration and of course via voice/video communications. These technologies, along with processes that encourage regular interaction (e.g. daily web meetings, constant/consistent team messaging, etc.) have created as close to an in-person team experience possible.  

That said, we still face …

Dec 17

AWS Still Chasing JEDI, Blasts Trump Administration Again

By | Managed Services News

AWS still wants to get JEDI from Microsoft. And there’s a new alliance in town. Plus, an update from iXsystems.

With December each year typically comes a slowdown in technology news. That again is the case (well, sort of) in 2020, with the exception of activity from a couple big names. Check out Amazon Web Services and its latest attempt to change the federal government’s mind about the notorious JEDI contract. And find out what Dell, Google, Intel, RingCentral and other channel-heavy names are up to together. We also caught up with storage vendor iXsystems to find out what’s new with its channel program and cloud.

AWS Tries Again to Get JEDI From Microsoft

Remember JEDI? The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure initiative at the Department of Defense intended to update the military’s systems to cloud technology? The Pentagon awarded the $10 billion project to Microsoft Azure in October of last year, over expected winner Amazon Web Services.

And since then, work has been hamstrung by multiple rounds of legal wrangling.

Now, AWS is once again trying to get the contract from Microsoft. The cloud provider on Dec. 15 asked a federal judge to set aside Microsoft’s win. AWS argues that the reevaluation process the Pentagon undertook this year was flawed because of pressure from President Trump. (After losing the JEDI contract last year, AWS also contended that was due to interference from Trump.)

“The JEDI reevaluations and re-award decision have fallen victim to an administration that suppresses the good-faith analysis and reasoning of career officials for political reasons — ultimately to the detriment of national security and the efficient and lawful use of taxpayer dollars,” AWS told the court. “DoD has demonstrated again that it has not executed this procurement objectively and in good faith. This re-award should be set aside.”

Microsoft disagreed. The company’s communications head, Frank X. Shaw, told TechCrunch “the career procurement officials at the DoD decided that given the superior technical advantages and overall value, we continued to offer the best solution.”

There’s no word on how this latest move from AWS might continue to hold up JEDI implementation.

Google, VMWare, Dell Among Founders of New Modern Computing Alliance

Dell, Google, VMware and RingCentral rank among the channel-friendly cloud vendors spearheading a new effort called the Modern Computing Alliance.

The alliance aims to develop new standards and interoperable technologies any company using one of the participants’ services or platforms may use. Other founding members include Box, Citrix, Imprivata, Okta, Slack and Zoom.

Ostensibly, channel partners will be able to provision the improvements or changes made via the alliance.

TrueNAS Developer Adds Reciprocal Leads for Resellers, MSPs

iXsystems is adding reciprocal leads to its channel program.

iXsystems' Morgan Littlewood

iXsystems’ Morgan Littlewood

“When a partner generates an opportunity or deal, we provide in-kind reciprocal leads for the equivalent amount of business, or a rebate,” Morgan Littlewood, senior vice president of product management and business development for iXsystems, told Channel Futures. “Partners like rebates but there’s more value in a new customer logo.”

iXystems is the developer of the open-source TrueNAS Open Storage portfolio. The company competes against the likes of Dell and NetApp. This week, in addition to unveiling reciprocal leads, iXsystems also released the cloud-based TrueCommand management platform. That software lets partners spin up a storage instance in the cloud, then oversee it from one interface.

“It’s like a Cisco Meraki experience for managing storage,” said Brett Davis, executive vice president of sales and marketing for iXsystems.

iXsystems says TrueCommand gives resellers and MSPs “revenue-producing” capabilities in managed storage service delivery. It works with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, among other cloud environments. Davis said iXsystems will integrate more with those two specific vendors in 2021.

Also next year, expect iXsystems to keep growing.

iXsystems' Brett Davis

iXsystems’ Brett Davis

“We’ve made significant investments in geographies outside of the United States in 2020, so we’re looking to continue that expansion,” Davis said.

Germany looks like a particularly appealing country. That’s where iXsystems sees the second-highest downloads of its core TrueNAS product, behind the United States.

“I can speculate that Germany seems to be pretty open to open-source solutions, comparatively,” Davis said. “They’re kind of on the faster adoption side of leading-edge technology.”

That trend could bode well for channel partners targeting that region in the coming year.

The iXsystems channel program also includes deal registration, technical and sales training, product demonstrations, sales engineering support and tiered pricing discounts.

Meanwhile, Davis said the partners with whom iXsystems piloted the reciprocal leads initiative were “very successful.”

“We’re looking forward to expanding that,” he added.