Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 20

Colleges Offer Opportunity for IT Solution Providers

By | Managed Services News

IT solution providers can enter long-term engagements that allow them to act as trusted advisors.

As pandemic-related concerns persist, colleges and universities are walking a fine line between on-campus and remote learning while struggling with IT staff shortages. These challenges open up opportunities for IT solution providers to deliver managed power services to monitor and service campus IT infrastructure and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

Delivering a hybrid learning approach that combines remote and on-campus classes strains IT departments. In many cases, they’re already stretched thin. To compound the issue, IT workers are in short supply, so recruitment is a challenge. In a recent blog, IT industry association CompTIA said that “skilled IT workers will be hard to find and difficult to keep” throughout 2022.

Adding to the issue, CompTIA says, many IT workers are considering taking part in the “great resignation,” with 72% of respondents in a recent poll saying they may quit their jobs within 12 months.

IT solution providers are in a solid position to augment IT needs at colleges and universities. Providers can take over many IT tasks through remote management and automation. One of those tasks is the management of the power infrastructure. Solution providers can simplify power management for colleges and universities by delivering it as a service while reducing downtime potential.

Power on the Edge

To effectively manage the power infrastructure, organizations increasingly rely on edge computing networks that keep processing, storage and analytics as close as possible to data sources and users. Edge computing sites are essentially micro data centers with many of the same requirements of a data center, such as security and UPS.

Edge sites tend to multiply as organizations need to grow. As a result, managing these sites can be a daunting task for any organization, especially a college or university with multiple campuses. Therefore, edge computing sites typically must be managed remotely, which is what IT solution providers can do.

UPS Protection — Spotlighting Managed Power Services

The Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) turned to an IT solution provider, California-based UPS Protection, when the district wanted to improve its power infrastructure management. Their IT infrastructure spanned 120 wiring closets dispersed through three campuses in Southern California. The college previously took a break/fix approach to power management at all its edge sites, which was time-consuming and ineffective.

UPS Protection embarked on a project to ensure every wiring closet was protected and remotely monitored to improve management and reliability. The provider implemented Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT Expert for visibility, monitoring and alarming, combined with Schneider’s Monitoring & Dispatch 24/7 service, enabling an automatic response whenever there is a problem with a UPS.

Reaping Managed Power Services Benefits

For the college, the UPS Protection implementation solved a problem. The school now has a strategy in place to reduce unplanned IT downtime. UPSs are running properly and quickly serviced with managed power services whenever there is an issue.

For the IT provider, the implementation creates a new source of recurring revenue on top of the initial hardware sales. Recurring revenue is attractive because it ensures a continuous cash flow so that providers don’t have to keep relying on the next solution sale to keep the business healthy.

Access UPS Protection Customer Story

Delivering managed power services to higher education institutions or customers in other segments like retail and banking spurs business growth for IT solution providers. And as IT solution providers take over remote management of IT assets such as the power infrastructure, they enter long-term engagements that allow them to act as trusted advisors. Interested in seeing how UPS Protection did it? Discover more about UPS Protection’s managed power success story in improving uptime for Ventura County Community College District.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

Sep 20

Fortinet, VMware, Cisco Among Leaders in Gartner SD-WAN Magic Quadrant

By | Managed Services News

Gartner rebranded the study from WAN edge infrastructure.

Six vendors occupy the top category in Gartner‘s latest SD-WAN Magic Quadrant.

The research firm unveiled its latest assessment of the SD-WAN market, which is still very much up for grabs. VMware, Fortinet and Cisco landed at the farthest edge of the Leaders quadrant. Palo Alto Networks, Versa Networks and HPE also landed in that group. All six vendors finished in the Leaders category last year. The same went for 2020.

Juniper Networks and Huawei were the sole members of the Visionary and Challenger quadrants, respectively. Gartner added Forcepoint to the list this year, while dropping Riverbed and FatPipe Networks.

Gartner SD-WAN 2022

Gartner 2022 SD-WAN Magic Quadrant

The research firm previously called this study the WAN Edge Infrastructure Magic Quadrant. The included vendors needed to either be running at least 60,000 SD-WAN sites, at least 1,500 SD-WAN customers or land in the top 10 in market share.

Trends

The study also showed an increasingly cloud-based, security-integrated future for SD-WAN. Most notably, Gartner predicted that half of SD-WAN deals will occur as part of a secure access service edge (SASE) platform by 2025. SASE combines networking technologies like SD-WAN with next-gen security technologies into a unified platform. As of 2022, only 10% of SD-WAN purchases are part of a SASE offering, according to Gartner.

In addition, network-as-a-service (NaaS) offerings will encompass more and more SD-WAN sales. Gartner noted that almost zero percent of new SD-WAN procurements stem from a NaaS deal, but predicted that number to grow to 30% by 2026.

Odutoye, Idris_ATA

ATA Trusted Advisors’ Iris Odutoye

Idris Odutoye serves as technology advisor for professional IT consulting services firm ATA Trusted Advisors, said the movement toward software as a service and platform as a service have driven demand for SD-WAN and SASE.

“Customers need more visibility into what those applications are doing, and that’s where an SD-WAN/SASE product comes into play to give them that visibility,” Odutoye said.

Partner Perspective

Odutoye noted that the consumption model for these different vendors and these products varies significantly. Some of these companies came from the firewall industry and realized they needed to add a network component through an acquisition. Others come from the infrastructure world and are used to selling their solution as a do-it-yourself offering. Another subset of this group has partnered closely with network providers to deliver these offerings as a service. Odutoye said the value of an SD-WAN solution depends very much on how it fits the customer’s procurement and deployment needs.

“Are you the type of customer that wants to continue control your environment, and want to buy boxes? OK, we have options to help you procure those types of solutions. However, if you are limited on resources and you want more of a managed services feel, now we have a SASE/SD-WAN kind of option for you as well,” he told Channel Futures.

He said it’s also important to probe into the customer’s WAN strategy. What do they need from their network? Are they running an MPLS network, and do they want to move on from it?

“Are you considering other options that are either more secure, or that give you the flexibility to leverage multiple connections, have more resiliency, have more visibility into the applications? Because MPLS doesn’t do that for you,” Odutoye said. “So depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, SD-WAN/SASE is the next evolution of the WAN marketplace.”

 

 

Sep 20

Ingram Micro Plans to Go Public with Confidential Proposed IPO

By | Managed Services News

Platinum Equity acquired Ingram Micro last year.

Ingram Micro, the world’s largest distributor, has confidentially filed for a proposed U.S. initial public offering (IPO).

The company submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to the proposed IPO of its common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

The IPO should take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

Ingram Micro didn’t provide any further comment regarding the timing and goals of its IPO.

In July of last year, Platinum Equity completed its acquisition of Ingram Micro from HNA Technology Co. in a deal worth $7.2 billion. The transaction included $5.9 billion of equity value.

Ingram Micro‘s revenue totaled $49 billion for fiscal year 2020. The distributor operations in 60 countries, serving 170,000 customers and partners with 1,600 vendors.

Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with about $36 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of about 50 operating companies that serve customers around the world. Over the past 27 years, Platinum Equity has completed more than 350 acquisitions.

Earlier this month, Ingram Micro launched Xvantage, its digital experience platform ecosystem, in the United States and Germany. It plans to “go live” with the rest of world in early 2023.

Sep 20

As Salesforce Dreamforce Kicks Off, Company Unbottles ‘Genie’

By | Managed Services News

Look for two other big announcements — one for Slack, the other for carbon credits (yes, via a CRM company).

As Salesforce Dreamforce kicks off today, expect the company to talk up “the most significant change” to the CRM platform “in the company’s history.”

Salesforce's David Schmaier

Salesforce’s David Schmaier

That’s the word from David Schmaier, president and chief product officer at Salesforce as he introduced Genie, Salesforce’s new data software underlying all of its Customer 360 solutions.

“It’s the future of real-time personalized experiences,” Schmaier told media on Monday.

The drivers behind Genie’s development, and the implications of its capabilities, he added, are huge.

First, consider how work has changed since the onset of COVID-19. Even though the worst of the pandemic appears to have ended, the virus brought about different models of work — remote and hybrid — that remain intact.

“We live in a very different world,” Schmaier said. “We’re never going back to the way things were.”

What that means is more data coming from more sources. Organizations have to figure out what to do with all that information so they can use it to their advantage.

“The amount of data in the world will double in the next few years,” Schmaier said. “Companies simply can’t keep up.”

Salesforce says organizations have, on average, 976 separate applications. But using Genie, they can summon data from, say, billing systems, IoT devices and websites as they type, “so you truly have a single view of the customer,” said Schmaier. Think about what that means for sales, marketing or customer service.

“The cost of not keeping up could be the loss of a customer with a high lifetime value, a meaningful drop in customer satisfaction, or a poor review on social media,” said Bret Taylor, co-CEO of Salesforce.

Genie addresses those challenges. And it’s built to work fast.

“Milliseconds matter in the new digital world we…

Sep 19

IronNet Layoffs Impacting 35% of Workforce After Disappointing Q2 Earnings

By | Managed Services News

Earlier this summer, IronNet cut 17% of its workdforce.

IronNet is initiating more layoffs, cutting nearly 90 employees or 35% of its workforce, and co-CEO William Welch and CFO James Gerber are leaving the company.

IronNet's William Welch

IronNet’s William Welch

IronNet's James Gerber

IronNet’s James Gerber

IronNet confirmed the layoffs. The company’s shares dropped more than 47% in pre-trading last Thursday after the company reported its latest quarterly earnings.

According to IronNet’s latest 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), due to market conditions, on Sept. 14, the company committed to and communicated a workforce reduction plan.

You can keep up with the Channel Futures telecom and IT layoff tracker to see which companies are cutting jobs and how it impacts the channel.

IronNet confirmed layoffs impacting nearly 90 employees. However, its SEC filing says 250 workers will be impacted.

“In connection with this plan, the company will reduce its number of employees by approximately 250 employees, which represents approximately 35% of its total employees,” it said. “The company expects to substantially complete this workforce reduction by the end of September 2022. As a result of this workforce reduction, the company expects to incur a pre-tax cash charge for one-time termination benefits, which consist of severance and related costs, of approximately $1 million. The company expects such costs to be the only direct expense of the workforce reduction.”

Cutting Expenses, Preserving Cash

The workforce reduction is part of a broader plan by IronNet to reduce overall expenses and preserve cash.

For its fiscal second quarter of 2023, IronNet reported a $20.6 million net loss compared to a $17 million net loss in the year-ago quarter. Annual recurring revenue totaled $26.5 million, which while up from $24.1 million a year ago, fell short of Wall Street analysts’ expectations of approximately $32 million, according to Seeking Alpha.

In Welch’s absence, Chris Murphy, IronNet’s head of sales operations, will lead the sales team in the interim. Software and cybersecurity executive Cameron Pforr has been appointed as IronNet’s new CFO. Gerber is joining a private cybersecurity company.

“With costs in focus, we determined that it made sense to eliminate the co-CEO position,” Welch said. “I am a true believer in collective defense, and I remain firmly committed to the IronNet mission,” Welch said. “I will continue to support the company in any way I can be of service.”

In June, IronNet confirmed it was cutting 55 workers, or 17% of its workforce. It planned to complete that workforce reduction by the end of June.

Sep 19

Top Takeaways from the Channel Futures MSP Summit/Channel Partners Leadership Summit

By | Managed Services News

There was plenty to take in. We asked our editors to share what stood out for them.

The 2022 Channel Futures MSP Summit/Channel Partners Leadership Summit is in the books. As always, MSPs, technology distributors and technology advisors enjoyed the networking, education and motivation found at the MSP Summit. And attendees declared the inaugural Leadership Summit to be a rousing success, from the first Women’s Leadership Summit panel to the final Deep Dive with Microsoft. Next year’s event is already in the works.

These summits, like all Channel Partners/Channel Futures events, offered expert advice, peer group discussions and keynotes that focused on the top-of-mind issues for channel partners. The agenda included content on the talent shortage, M&A, potential economic downturn, the emerging ecosystem and much more.

Of course, everyone had their own favorite moments at the summits. So we asked some of the Channel Futures editorial team that was on-scene for their top takeaways from the event.

Scroll through the image gallery above to find out what they had to say.

And sign up now to be notified when registration opens for the 2023 summits in Miami.

Sep 19

Images: Channel Futures Honors Winners at MSP 501 Awards Gala

By | Managed Services News

We have photos of winners and much more from the star-studded event.

MSP SUMMIT/CHANNEL PARTNERS LEADERSHIP SUMMIT — The Channel Futures MSP 501 community celebrated in grand fashion Thursday night. The top managed service providers in the world capped off the MSP Summit and Channel Partners Leadership Summit in Orlando with the annual MSP 501 awards gala.

We spent the evening handing out special awards in a number of categories. We honored three Executives of the Year; a Lifetime Achievement Award winner; four MSPs of the Year; a Digital Innovator of the Year; our 2022 Vanguard Award winner; and our Newcomer of the Year. You can learn more about the various categories here.

Go here to download the full list of Channel Futures’ 2022 MSP 501 honorees. Interested in a quick look at the top 50? They are here.

See our image gallery above for photos of the MSP 501 awards and much more from this star-studded event.

Pictures courtesy Steve Hall Photography

Sep 19

Vista Equity Partners Pursuing Acquisition of KnowBe4

By | Managed Services News

KnowBe4’s U.S. IPO was valued at more than $2 billion.

Vista Equity Partners has submitted a proposal to acquire security awareness training provider KnowBe4, which became a public company in April of last year.

KnowBe4 on Monday confirmed the receipt of a proposal from Vista Equity Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of the company for $24 per share in cash. The proposal represents a 39% premium over KnowBe4’s closing price on Sept. 16.

KnowBe4’s U.S. initial public offering (IPO) was worth more than $2 billion.

KnowBe4 said its board of directors regularly considers opportunities to enhance value for  stockholders.

“In response to an inquiry from Vista, the board formed a special committee of the board, comprised solely of independent directors … to engage with Vista and take other actions that it deems appropriate, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors,” KnowBe4 said.

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

Consistent with its mandate, and in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, the KnowBe4 special committee will review the Vista Equity Partners proposal and other potential value creation opportunities to “determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders.”

“There is no certainty that any transaction will be consummated,” KnowBe4 said. “And KnowBe4 does not intend to comment further until the special committee has concluded its review.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission required KnowBe4 to disclose the proposal.

Vista Equity Partners also is acquiring Avalara, a provider of tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes. It’s an $8.4 billion transaction that will take the company private.

In addition, Vista Equity Partners is acquiring Citrix and is taking it private, too.

Sep 19

CrowdStrike Unveils New Partner Program, New Elite Partner Tier

By | Managed Services News

CrowdStrike collaborated with partners and customers to build the new program.

CrowdStrike has launched a new partner program and a new elite tier. The tier incentivizes partners with campaigns, capabilities and expanded market opportunities.

The CrowdStrike Powered Service Provider Program (CPSP) is aimed at helping service providers unlock broader value-added solution bundles. It also helps them enhance profitability and expand their routes to market. The program includes global SIs, managed detection and response (MDR) vendors, MSPs, MSSPs and telcos.

CrowdStrike’s Falcon platform allows partners to deliver solutions spanning endpoint security and extended detection and response (XDR), cloud security, identity protection, data protection, managed threat hunting, security and IT operations, threat intelligence and log management.

Crowdstrike's Michael Rogers

Crowdstrike’s Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers is CrowdStrike‘s vice president of global alliances.

“This is a new program which includes requirements, guidelines and benefits for the partners,” he said. “We have been collaborating with our customers and partners to build a program, And [we] are excited to launch CPSP at our company’s customer event, Fal.Con.”

Program Offerings

The new CrowdStrike partner program will:

  • Offer flexible choice of solutions aligned to a customer’s business needs.
  • Provide an opportunity to enhance profitability with new incentive structures, including new discount options.
  • Optimize go to market (GTM) with the new elite tier, which is invitation only.

CrowdStrike developed the CPSP program in partnership with GSIs, MDR vendors, MSPs, MSSPs and telcos to ensure we are continuing to meet the needs of our partners and empowering them to grow their businesses,” Rogers said. “We introduced the new elite tiering to recognize and reward partners who are committed to upholding CrowdStrike’s mission of stopping breaches through the delivery of their services underpinned by the Falcon platform.”

Elite CPSP partners include Cyber Defense Labs, Deloitte, eSentire, Marco Technologies, Orange Cyberdefense and Sirius, a CDW company.

Tom DeCoster is Sirius‘ vice president of managed services.

“Joining the CPSP recognizes CDW’s proven track record of helping customers achieve their outcomes,” he said. “By harnessing the power of the CrowdStrike Falcon platform, we [can] help customers meet their security needs with unrivaled speed and reduced complexity.”

Sep 16

Tony Safoian Talks Google Cloud, First-Ever SADA Impact

By | Managed Services News

“We have to become indispensable to our customers,” says the longtime CEO of the Google Cloud-only MSP.

For the first time ever, 22-year-old managed service provider SADA this week held its own industry event, SADA Impact. The conference, which took place in southern California, drew enterprise attendees and a range of names in tech.

As most channel partners know, SADA only teams with Google Cloud. The company made the switch in 2019 from acting as a multicloud MSP (it used to also work with Microsoft Azure) to specializing with Google Cloud. Thus, SADA Impact aimed to show customers and prospects how it supports them through a variety of Google Cloud capabilities. The event also highlighted SADA’s own internal capabilities — think business strategy guidance, cloud optimization, and professional services and more, to help attendees understand that the MSP does far more than one-and-done platform implementations. SADA achieved this through keynotes, general and technical sessions, fireside chats and, of course, more casual get-togethers.

SADA's Tony Safoian

SADA’s Tony Safoian

SADA CEO Tony Safoian took some time out to chat with Channel Futures about themes, trends and challenges his fellow cloud partners need to take to heart as the channel, like everyone else, faces a tough economy and changing customer expectations. We also highlight some “soundbyte” takeaways from SADA Impact. Those feature SADA executives Safoian, Miles Ward and Sandy Hogan, and Google Cloud executives Jim Anderson, Darren Mowry and Robert Harper.

Check out the slideshow above to hear from Safoian and get insight into SADA Impact.

 

>