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The program will seek to educate partners and help them change their business plan so that they’re ahead of the curve.
We are facing into a revolution in the industry. And that revolution is being formed by the coming together of 5G and edge compute. The power of 5G and real-time AI will unlock new and advanced services for organizations across the world as they evolve and adopt diverse new business models. The partnerships created by operators, managed solution providers (MSPs), and cloud solution providers (CSPs) will be at the center of this transformation.
A few key use cases for this are network, security and devices at the edge — the industry is seeing everything proliferate. Every second hundreds of new devices come online. In that world, partners are facing a true shift in how they’re going to go to market. Partners now need to focus on the conversations with their customers about 5G and edge use cases. How are they going to change their business model?
“Harken back to the phone closet,” said Janet Schijns, CEO and co-founder of JS Group. “Then we went to PBX and then we went to UCaaS. Each time, partners had to change their vendor mix, their business model and their business plan or go to market their sales. We used to have all of our data sitting on servers in our building. Then we went to data centers, then we went to the cloud. Now, we’ve arrived at edge compute. And so this next step, this next evolution, 5G and edge compute are going to be the fastest technology rollout we’ve ever seen.”
The pace of change, historically somewhat glacial, was accelerated by the pandemic. So how do you, as a partner, change your business model? Which vendors do you select? Who is ahead? Who’s behind? What devices, what cloud partners do you consider? What do you do when all of the data begins to move to the edge and response times become not seconds but nanoseconds? People anticipate and expect data at their fingertips for decision-making, as opposed to ‘You’ll get that tomorrow or later after we run this report.’”
So this is the problem at hand. The solution?
JS Group and 7 Figure MSP have partnered to launch a 5G and edge compute program for MSPs.
“The idea is that we’re going to take some meaningful partnerships, go to the market and educate partners and help them change their business plan to capture this so that they’re ahead of the curve,” says Schijns. “And we’re going to be offering that service to the partners free of charge. We’ll also have some very meaningful vendor sponsors that will be partnering with us to put together the right education, stories, scenarios and toolkits.”
The program is launching with 7 Figure MSP, which will be acting as the second provider firm, led by founder and CEO Chris Wiser.
Several vendors will also be supporting the program and providing content and support. One of these is real estate investment trust company American Tower. The company is an owner and operator of wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure.
“American Tower has made huge strides in this area, having launched an edge data center and edge cloud strategy,” said Schijns. “We are working with them to build out a program that’s fair, equitable and rewarding for partners. But more importantly, they are going to revolutionize an industry — they’re going to put your data in your local community. We are very excited to be partnering with them for this initiative.”
Also stepping in to partner on the initiative is B2B IT services provider TD Synnex. They will be working with new vendors in this arena to make sure partners have access to the right vendors.
“First is just base-level education,” Schijns said. “What’s coming, what you are supposed to talk to your customers about right now and how you make sure your customers know what’s being offered. My least favorite saying is when a customer says…
A channel manager can solidify a partners’ relationship with a vendor. They can also ruin it.
Good channel managers can create partner loyalty and drive tons of new business.
But bad channel managers. They can be “devastating,” according to Matthew Toth.
“It is absolutely devastating. We’ve dealt with people, and you’re just like, ‘Do I need to talk to you once a week for the next two years?”” said Toth, who runs the Michigan-based consultancy C3 Technology Advisors.
On the other hand, a solid channel manager “really greases the skids,” Toth said.
“Sometimes even if their product isn’t a 100% fit, if they can make it so easy to do business with them, sometimes that guy ends up winning an unfair share of his business,” Toth told Channel Futures.
Toth urged vendors to do their due diligence in hiring channel managers.
“If you don’t have a guy that can put one foot in front of the next, we’re never bringing this guy in. I don’t care if you’re selling the most amazing UCaaS product that costs 50 cents a month. If you hire the wrong person, that will eliminate your ability to grow in whatever swath that guy was hired for. Because I don’t want to deal with him. I don’t care how good your product is.”
Channel Futures asked Toth and other partner executives about what they value most in their channel managers. Go through the eight images above to see eight habits of successful channel managers.
[Leading partners] have decided, ‘I don’t care if I sling another circuit in my life ever,” David Nuti said.
Telarus has tapped an official leader for its cybersecurity division and signed a security provider.
Jason Stein has joined the solutions brokerage as vice president of advanced solutions for cybersecurity. The new position will see him support channel partners as they design and sell cybersecurity solutions.
The cybersecurity practice existed before Stein joined Telarus, but the Utah-based company spent a long time looking for the right candidate. Bice president of cloud Koby Phillips oversaw the practice in the meantime. Telarus reports that the cybersecurity division grew at a double-digit rate.
Stein comes over from Ntirety, where he was working as vice president of channel sales for North America. He also served in the same role for Kaspersky. Before his stints at cybersecurity vendors, he also worked for Tier 4 Advisors, Effortless Office, PSI Network and Unitas Global. He also boasts telco experience, having worked for XO Communications, T-Mobile and TW Telecom.
“In Jason, we found a perfect fit — in both culture and knowledge. We have known Jason for years and I am excited to have him as part of the advanced solutions team,” said Dan Foster, Telarus CRO. “Jason will be instrumental in continuing the growth in cybersecurity we have already seen this year.”
Telarus also recently added Nord Security to its line card. Nord is leaning on the channel to sell its NordPass, NordLocker and NordVPN offerings in North America.
Nord Security signed its first solutions brokerage agreement with Avant in the fall. David Nuti, who formerly led Open Systems’ channel, said he approached customer facing partners (subagents) before reaching out to the brokerages. He said channel partners showed major appetite for the cloud-native SASE and zero-trust network access solution. That’s due to the solution deploying within three minutes as a software client and operating in a subscription model.
“I already know this is going to land, and land fast and land big. Because this is like a Zoom/UCaaS kind of sales model in the categories that have usually had year-long sales cycles attached to them,” Nuti told Channel Futures.
Nuti also pointed to the simplicity of the solution. He said historically only about 5% of agents knew how to deliver advanced, point-solution cybersecurity offerings.
“The channel has struggled with security categories because of the inherit complexity that comes along with it. I learned this head-on. When I would engage the channel, there were very few partners were ahead of the curve in these conversations,” Nuti said.
However, Nuti said the most successful partners are turning toward cybersecurity as one of their key differentiators for the future. Take Opkalla, for instance, which has leaned on cyberseucurity and cloud to find growth amid the pandemic.
“Those that are really leaning in on it, they’ve decided, ‘I don’t care if I sling another circuit in my life ever. I want to do cloud hosting and security and intelligent routing. That’s where my business is going to be.’ Not trying to drag cable circuits to the side of a building and waiting for site surveys. The veterans in the space have seen that it’s a necessary evil and something that they’ll do, but they won’t be pushing and building their business on that any longer,” Nuti said.
Telarus also signed a partnership with customer service platform provider Gladly.
Noname Security has raised $220 million in total financing to date just one year out of stealth.
Noname Security has secured $135 million in Series C funding at $1 billion valuation to fund expansion of its go-to-market (GTM) and R&D teams.
Georgian and Lightspeed led the funding round. Existing investors Insight Partners, Cyberstarts, Next47, Forgepoint and the Syndicate Group (TSG) also participated.
Noname Security has raised $220 million in funding to date just one year out of stealth. That makes it one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity companies ever. In addition, it’s the first API security company to achieve unicorn status.
Michael Baker is Noname Security’s vice president of channel sales and channel chief.
“Noname’s partners will benefit from the increased resources that the company will be able to devote to GTM capabilities, as well as enhancements made to our platform through heavy investment in R&D,” he said.
Noname’s global Unnamed Partner Program (UPP) has more than 70 VARs, channel partners, technology partners, SIs, distributors and MSSPs. They will continue to play a pivotal role in Noname’s growth and expansion moving forward, Baker said.
“The channel is critical for Noname to scale,” he said. “Our stated goal is to go public in a couple of years. And we need an extraordinary channel program for that.”
Partners are instrumental to Noname’s future plans as it uncovers new market opportunities, drives revenue and helps customers, Baker said.
“This funding will enable us to double our channel team over the next two quarters,” he said. “We are currently launching into Asia Pacific and we launched in EMEA six months ago. In this highly competitive market, our focus remains on the partner. How do we help them unlock new revenue opportunities and give them a competitive edge in accelerating their customer’s digital transformation while addressing API security risks and vulnerabilities.”
To date, Noname has discovered and remediated misconfigured APIs that would have led to the data leakage of billions of sensitive records. In addition, the platform now actively blocks over 1,000 attacks per day across its customers.
Michael Robinson is lead investor at Georgian.
“This investment is a testament to the extraordinary opportunity we see for Noname Security to shape the future of API security, a critical component of digital transformation,” he said.
MSPs who choose to improve their security reputations are getting ahead of the game.
Dear MSPs, we get it.
Uptime and productivity are important to your customers, and you are constantly hard at work monitoring and managing their networks to prevent any issues that might come up. You might have started out focusing on traditional IT problems, but, today, security has become essential for MSPs. In many cases, it is expected that you take on the security role. For years now, ransomware attacks and major data breaches have made news headlines, and organizations have grown increasingly aware of security risks and compliance regulations.
Businesses understand that it only takes one data breach to destroy their finances, productivity and reputation. Therefore, they have an increased awareness of the need for effective security solutions.
However, this goes both ways. Because businesses are increasingly outsourcing their IT services, MSPs have become a major target for cybercriminals. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that MSPs have complete access to sensitive data belonging to multiple businesses.
As an MSP, now is the time to develop a strong security reputation. MSPs who choose to improve their security today are getting ahead of the game. MSPs who avoid expanding their security to effectively address all phases of the threat life cycle are at a major disadvantage for several reasons:
MSPs succeed by building a strong security reputation, educating their customers on business risk and providing true value. Use the threat of a cyber-attack as an opportunity to grow your business and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Customers will be grateful when their computers stop getting infected, and, as a result, word-of-mouth will spread. Ultimately, to provide true value, you have two choices: Evolve to protect against the current threat landscape, or fall behind.
How to Evolve with The Threat Landscape
Cybercriminals have shown no sign of slowing down. Malware is evolving at an alarming rate, to the point where antivirus software and other traditional solutions can no longer keep up.
The problem is, many MSPs focus on changing their antivirus every time it fails. Changing your antivirus is like changing your house alarm every time a robber breaks into your house. Instead of changing your antivirus and hoping this will detect the next cyberattack, put some bolts on the door and stop criminals from entering in the first place.
By taking a zero-trust approach and adding Application Whitelisting, Ringfencing and Storage-based policies to your stack, you effectively harden your environment and protect against ransomware and other malicious attacks.
Listen to this one-on-one conversation with ThreatLocker CEO, Danny Jenkins, and Juern Technology President & CEO Neal Juern. Neal Juern is a ThreatLocker Gold partner and a true advocate of zerotrust. In this video, he talks about how he integrates zero trust into his MSP and uses it across his client board.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
Thousands of applications, libraries and frameworks use log4j.
The worst is yet to come from the Log4Shell vulnerability, which already is having a massive effect on the tech industry.
So says Dan Piazza, technical product manager at Netwrix. Last week, researchers discovered a zero-day exploit in the popular Java logging library log4j. It results in remote code execution (RCE) by logging a certain string.
Exploiting this Log4Shell vulnerability is as simple as getting an application that uses log4j to log a special string, Piazza said. After that, the attacker will have RCE on a completely breached server.
UKG, the parent company of workflow management solutions provider Kronos, has been hit with ransomware. Although the company isn’t confirming it, reports suggest the ransomware attack exploited the Log4shell vulnerability.
“UKG recently became aware of a ransomware incident that has disrupted the Kronos Private Cloud, which houses solutions used by a limited number of our customers,” a UKG spokesperson tells us. “We took immediate action to investigate and mitigate the issue, have alerted our affected customers and informed the authorities, and are working with leading cybersecurity experts. We recognize the seriousness of the issue and have mobilized all available resources to support our customers and are working diligently to restore the affected services.”
Eddy Bobritsky is CEO of Minerva Labs.
“Ransomware attacks are becoming bolder and more sophisticated, using evasive malware techniques to get around regular EDR antivirus solutions,” he said. “As we can see here (UKG), even with quick detection and immediate action, a small ransomware attack can result in damages that can take ‘up to several weeks to restore system availability.’ This is why, despite its difficulty, it is important to start moving toward a prevention approach, rather than a detect and respond one.”
Thousands of applications, libraries and frameworks use log4j, Piazza said. That means the number of potentially impacted organizations is “staggering.”
“And with attackers already scanning the internet to find vulnerable targets, if organizations haven’t already started taking mitigation steps then it may already be too late,” he said.
Armis has detected Log4shell attack attempts in over a third of its clients; moreover, it continues to see new attacks every day. The top three types of the targeted devices are physical servers (42%), virtual servers (27%) and IP cameras (12%).
Armis has also spotted …
Parent company DCC Plc’s biggest-ever transaction expands Exertis expands global distribution footprint.
The financial details of the deal were not revealed. However, the acquisition is the biggest in the history of Irish parent company DCC plc. The company says the move will create the largest specialist Pro AV business in North America.
The move signals an ambitious strategy for Exertis after launching Exertis North America in July. It extends its international scale in the Pro AV sector and ramps up its expansion in the North American market.
The addition of Almo Corp. builds on other acquisitions in North America such as Stampede, Jam Industries, The Music People and JB&A.
Tim Griffin is DCC Technology and Exertis managing director. He says the acquisition signals a “confident and ambitious intent” to expand DCC Technology.
“By integrating Almo with our North American business, we will form the largest specialist Pro AV business in North America. Almo’s … longstanding relationships with industry partners and its ability to continually innovate and expand will be great assets to Exertis. In turn, we will bring significant economies of scale, global supply chain access and other benefits to the customers of Almo Corporation.”
Philadelphia-based Almo’s 75-year-old, third-generation, family-owned business has 660 employees. It also has nine distribution centers and more than 2.5 million square feet of warehousing space across North America.
Alongside its Pro AV business, Almo Corp. is the largest distributor of mainstream appliances in the region. The consumer appliance and lifestyle product division will add scale to Exertis North America’s business in the consumer channel.
Almo Corp. will leverage Exertis’ financial resources and supply-chain logistics. It says it will deliver “improved business opportunities, efficiencies and potential for profit” to vendors and partners. The acquisition will also provide Exertis North America with increased back-end economies of scale allied to the front-end specialisation.
Almo will continue to be operated by the Chaiken family, with Warren Chaiken as president and CEO and Gene Chaiken as chairman. The combined Exertis and Almo Pro AV divisions will in due course be led by Sam Taylor, current executive vice president and COO of Almo Pro AV. Shortly after the completion of the integration, the combined business will be rebranded as Exertis Almo Pro AV.
John Dunne, a long-time senior executive with Exertis currently leading the Exertis Pro AV team in North America, will join the Almo executive team and help lead the integration. The Premium Appliances and Mainstream Appliances divisions will continue to be led by Steve Terry and Jack Halperin respectively.
Exertis’ expanded North American operation becomes a $2.4 billion business overseen by Martin Szpiro, managing director of Exertis North America. It forms part of the international expansion strategy of Exertis International, under managing director Clive Fitzharris.
Warren Chaiken, Almo Corp. president & CEO says the time is right to give its manufacturer and channel partners “a truly global distribution stage.”
“They can an operate their businesses at a greater capacity, leverage more buying power and the ability to compete for a more comprehensive position in the global supply chain.”
He said Almo remained “committed to growing with our partners” with “larger scale and access to more products, more services and more financial support. For them, this transition will be seamless in that we will operate business as usual.”
ATSG has aggressively transformed over the past decade to a tech-enabled MSP.
Managed services provider ATSG has expanded its portfolio by acquiring Optanix, a technology and managed services firm, for an undisclosed amount. The portfolio enhances ATSG’s technology solutions as a service offerings, and this acquisition brings an expansion of high-end managed services. Optanix provides standardized and automated managed network services for SD-WAN, LAN, and WAN networks. This acquisition bolsters ATSG’s enterprise capabilities in unified communications infrastructure, the company said. Moreover, it plans to improve contact center solutions.
Optanix’s relationship with its channel community and experience in bringing an expanded set of services to its partner’s offerings was of the highest importance, according to ATSG. Originally an Optanix partner, ATSG’s focus on widening its commitment to the channel was a driver for this acquisition. It brings an enhanced and expanded level of services to the Optanix channel partner community, the company said.
Anthony J. D’Ambrosi is CEO of ATSG.
“The Optanix acquisition was a strategic choice to complement ATSG’s well-established enterprise infrastructure management, multicloud, collaboration and contact center offerings. The acquisition added engineering, operational and platform development expertise, as well as unique intellectual property to our company,” D’Ambrosi said. “Our long-standing partnership with Optanix provides for customer success, innovation and a deeper channel partner ecosystem. We are excited to rapidly integrate the two mature organizations to leverage our global footprint. We want to more holistically enable our clients to succeed in today’s dynamic marketplace.”
In 2022, the company will continue to focus on growth and the enhancement of the ATSG solutions portfolio. The company began over 25 years ago as an enterprise network and systems integrator. That said, it has aggressively transformed over the past decade to a tech-enabled MSP. It features highly secure, multicloud solutions and these are powered by the ATSG automation platform Ai2. The acquisition of Optanix depicts the execution of yet another milestone in ATSG’s strategic growth plan, the company said. It moves to establish itself in the growing, high-performing channel partner community.
Edmond Baydian is CTO of Optanix.
“We are thrilled to join ATSG,” Baydian said. “Through the combined, larger organization, we will have the ability to provide an expanded portfolio of solutions to our clients and channel partners.”
CEO Larry Link tells Channel Futures how the company will use the money to help its MSSPs around the world.
Cloud and mobile technologies, along with remote work, all continue to invite serious security risks. While “RDP” and “VPN” have become four-letter words, and IT experts pursue zero-trust and layered approaches to prevent breaches, APIs have consumed little of the cybersecurity conversation. Cequence Security aims to change that.
The eight-year-old company said on Wednesday it has closed $60 million in funding. That brings its total to more than $100 million. Menlo Ventures led the round as a new investor, joining a number of other existing and new venture capitalists in providing the money.
Cequence Security says it has experienced record growth during COVID-19 — little surprise given organizations’ unparalleled work-from-home deployments and digital transformation initiatives. A core part of that activity has come in the form of APIs to connect various business applications. The problem, Cequence Security asserts, is that most IT departments (and even channel partners) overlooked security reviews and governance best practices that would protect said APIs from bad actors.
Gartner supports that perspective.
“Many organizations lack visibility of their APIs, as many APIs are used as part of web or mobile applications and not published directly,” analysts Mark O’Neill and Jeremy D’Hoinne write in the research firm’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Application Security. “This means that a key requirement of API threat protection is API discovery, since, as every security professional knows, you can’t secure what you don’t know.”
Cequence Security’s platform addresses those gaps with API inventory tracking, risk assessment and threat prevention.
“It is the only solution that provides visibility and inline response mitigation to attacks on APIs,” said Venky Ganesan, partner at Menlo Ventures. “It’s the only solution out there that doesn’t need to signal other products for mitigation.”
Cequence Security will use the $60 million for a variety of growth strategies. Channel Futures talked with Larry Link, president and CEO of the company, to find out what MSSPs need to know.
Channel Futures: How will Cequence Security use the new investment money for the benefit of its partner program?
Larry Link: The recent investment will fund co-marketing activities to drive lead generation, the development of sales tools to help channel partners identify and articulate API security risks for their customers, and product enhancements to streamline customer onboarding for either SaaS-delivered or partner-delivered deployments.
CF: How else will Cequence Security put the $60 million to use?
LL: We will be investing in go-to-market initiatives in our existing markets of North America and EMEA. We are starting go-to-market programs in APAC and Japan, including hiring teams, signing channel partners and funding demand generation programs across all theaters. We are also heavily investing in customer success teams and tools to support our Global 2000 customer base.
CF: What do MSSPs need to know about securing APIs?
LL: APIs are increasingly being targeted to steal sensitive information and disrupt business applications. While most MSSPs have focused on the traditional breach and response to protect against data leakage or business disruption via ransomware, APIs are a new attack vector that cannot be protected using WAFs, NGFWs or vulnerability scanners. None of those tools will identify an …