Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

May 23

5 Things Vendors Aren’t Doing that Partners Wish They Were

By | Managed Services News

What are traits of a valuable vendor/partner relationship? We asked our roundtable partner participants to weigh in.

MSP and vendor relationships require more cross-functional involvement and coordination than traditional partner relationships. There are many factors that go into said relationships, and not everyone gets the recipe right. Base level, each party must make a concerted effort to understand, to some degree, the intricacies of each other’s business. But it definitely goes deeper than that.

So, what is it that good vendors do that is most valuable to partners?

A lot of partners value vendors developing a genuine relationship with them, where mutual success is as much on their minds as it is on the partner’s. That is, after all, what a true partnership is, right? It’s not simply making money off of the other; it’s working together to achieve a common goal of success for both organizations.

This is paramount. A vendor who is a partner is important, yes, but one of the most significant distinctions is spending time to develop an understanding of the unique elements of the partner’s business. That’s not to mention being flexible and creative, and being direct and honest.

These are valuable characteristics to partners, as they make a point to adhere to them themselves. This means, of course, that a vendor must also be receptive to feedback and be able to work with the partners to improve their own business. So, how to address any gaps here?

Roundtable Partners Weigh In

Channel Futures once again invited partners to join its MSP Roundtable at the 2022 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The inaugural roundtable took place last November, featuring several key partners. 

This spring’s MSP Roundtable participants were:

In the last of this three-part series, see our slideshow above to find out what participants had to say about MSP/vendor relationships. You can find part one on the supply chain here and part two on the talent shortage here.

 

May 23

Zoom Vet Laura Padilla to Shape Airtable’s Channel Strategy, Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

Airtable presents a “huge” opportunity for channel partners.

Zoom vet Laura Padilla has joined Airtable, an enterprise software company, to formalize its channel strategy and partner program. We broke the news on Friday and follow up here with an in-depth interview.

Padilla is Airtable‘s vice president of partners. She led Zoom’s channel for more than four years as head of global business development and channel. Before that, she was Nutanix’s senior director of business development and alliances.

Airtable's Laura Padilla

Airtable’s Laura Padilla

Padilla was part of our Top Gun 51 in 2020.

Airtable’s valuation reached $11 billion in December.

The Airtable connected apps platform enables teams to modernize their business processes. The company continues to expand its enterprise sales, success and support functions to fuel a growing number of large deployments.

In February, Airtable announced its expansion to EMEA with the opening of its first international headquarters in London.

Scroll through our slideshow above for a Q&A with Padilla on her Airtable channel strategy plans.

May 23

To Pay or Not to Pay: Big Question When Hit with Ransomware

By | Managed Services News

This is likely the toughest decision a CISO has to make in their entire career.

To pay or not to pay? That’s the question facing every organization that’s hit with ransomware.

Their data has been encrypted and their business may be at a standstill. Then the inevitable ransom demand arrives.

Do you pay or do you refuse in the hopes of being able to recover and resume business with as little damage as possible? With near-constant ransomware attacks, organizations globally face that question around the clock.

Our cybersecurity roundtable at the 2022 Channel Partners Conference and Expo addressed this topic.

This is the fourth in a series of articles highlighting various topics addressed by the roundtable. The first was on partner stress from the M&A frenzy. The second was on threats and issues beyond ransomware, and the third discussed unprecedented times for cybersecurity channel partners.

Panelists included:

  • Scott Barlow, Sophos‘ vice president of global MSP and cloud alliances.
  • Jon Bove, Fortinet’s vice president of channel sales.
  • Justin Crotty, Netenrich‘s senior vice president of channels.
  • Kristi Houssiere, Trellix‘s senior director of global channel strategy and operations.
  • Matt Lantinga, NTT Application Security‘s vice president of sales and global strategic accounts.
  • Joe Sykora, Proofpoint’s senior vice president of worldwide channels and partner sales.
  • Brian Thomas, Malwarebytes’ vice president of worldwide MSP and channel programs.

See our slideshow above for more from the roundtable on to pay or not to pay ransom.

May 23

The Future of Cybersecurity: The Hybrid Workforce Is Up Against a Much Larger Threat Vector

By | Managed Services News

As cybercrime spikes along with higher work-from-home staff levels, companies need to step up security.

Align's Vinod Paul

Vinod Paul

Cybersecurity has shifted beyond being a recommended best practice; it’s quickly becoming a legal requirement for organizations across industries. The Securities and Exchange Commission has recently proposed a series of new cybersecurity compliance, reporting and disclosure rules for the investment management industry, which can be reviewed here.

As the hybrid workforce continues to carve a place for itself in the corporate world, the attack surface for cyberthreats has gained ground with equal fervor. Threat actors are quicker than ever in exploiting whatever vulnerabilities they can grab. And with recent data from Microsoft showing that 81% of enterprise organizations have begun the move toward a hybrid workplace, with 31% of those surveyed already fully adopted, cyber criminals have a whole new plane of opportunities at their disposal.

 

According to the FBI, there’s been a 300% increase in cybercrimes since the beginning of COVID-19. To keep up with the ever-evolving cyber dangers, organizations are applying various security controls to strengthen their security perimeters.

To make matters more pressing, following the Russian attack on Ukraine, the CISA has recommended that U.S. organizations apply “Shields Up” heightened security precautions due to the high probability that we will continue seeing cyberattacks against Ukrainian allied governments and interests. While there have yet to be any credible attacks on the United States, CISA predicts it’s only a matter of time before adversaries leverage cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity Tips

What’s the solution? Here are some cybersecurity tips at both the enterprise and employee level.

What Your Company Should Do:

  • Implement a model cybersecurity program. This also includes regular cyber training and security awareness updates, which will not only help employees adopt best practices in their day-to-day activities such as good password hygiene and management, privacy settings, end-user verification, and more, but will also help them learn how to identify dangerous and potentially costly scams. For example, some of the most nefarious threat attacks cleverly leverage social media to attack a firm via phishing. A routine cyber test in this regard could help identify employees that need additional training.
  • Adopt a “zero trust” strategy. This strategy follows a “never trust, always verify” approach. Organizations can no longer just rely on network firewalls and VPNs to isolate and restrict access in a workforce that operates beyond traditional network boundaries, especially when using cloud-based services.
  • Deploy multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA can help weed out threats by requiring an additional layer of end-user verification across various employee activities, including remote and administrative access.
  • Prioritize vulnerability management: Traditional patch management cycles are creating too large of a window for potential threats. Modern, risk-based vulnerability management tools include prioritizing vulnerabilities on reducing the biggest risks to your business to address any new or known exploited vulnerabilities via the CISA.
  • Protect personally identifiable information (PII). Use a secure file transfer system to encrypt PII such as Social Security numbers, bank account number, or email address combined with the password or security question and answer and only allows the authorized recipient to access it.
  • Know where your data is. Your data may be “in the cloud,” but the importance of knowing exactly where your data is stored and where it travels to cannot be overstated. It’s critical to “gate” data from leaking outside of a corporate infrastructure, whether this be cloud or physical service based.
  • Approach cybersecurity risk management with layers. There is a misconception that deploying one technology stack or set of tools puts firms in a better cybersecurity posture. The best defensive strategy leverages technologies and services that augment and complement a cybersecurity program designed to protect a firm’s data within the new hybrid workforce.

What Employees Should Do:

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May 23

Broadcom Reportedly Pursuing ‘Cash Cow’ VMware For Acquisition, Software Expansion

By | Managed Services News

“To be honest, Broadcom have killed CA and Symantec as brands…” an analyst told Channel Futures.

Broadcom is reportedly pursuing VMware for an acquisition that would expand its software business by a factor of three.

Bloomberg on Sunday evening reported that chipmaker Broadcom has entered discussions with VMware leaders around buying the software provider. The potential deal would drastically expand Broadcom’s software play. Bernstein analysts told clients that the deal would triple Broadcom’s software business and make software account for 50% of the company. Reuters writes that an acquisition ofVMware would let Broadcom access data centers to better serve cloud customers.

The talks are ongoing and private, people close to the matter say. Bloomberg lists VMware’s market valuation at approximately $40 billion and infers that a deal price would likely exceed such a number.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO at Dell Technologies, owns about a $16.2 billion stake in VMware. That sets up Michael Dell as a “kingmaker” in the acquisition talks, Bloomberg writes.

Broadcom has made a series of aggressive acquisitions in software world in recent years. It bought storage networking provider Brocade for $6 billion in 2016. It also notably tried to buy semiconducter software provider Qualcomm for $117 billion before President Trump ordered the deal blocked. In 2018 the chipmaker bought infrastructure software provider CA Technologies. Broadcom in 2020 then paid $10.7 billion for the Symantec enterprise security business and ultimately sold the security services portion to Accenture.

A Financial Play?

Analysts have already weighed in on the potential deal.

Omdia's Roy Illsley

Omdia’s Roy Illsley

According to Roy Illsley, Omdia‘s chief analyst of IT ecosystem and operations, deals have not gone well for the companies Broadcom has acquired.

“To be honest, Broadcom have killed CA and Symantec as brands (although these have helped Broadcom’s overall financial position), so I do not see any value other than they (Broadcom) may have cash to burn and need to make an investment that will also add to its overall financial performance,” Illsley told Channel Futures.

A Watershed Moment for VMware

Illsley expressed doubt about the value of a potential VMware acquisition.

“I would see this as Broadcom acquiring a cash cow in VMware, but beyond that am struggling to see any real synergies. VMware are re-inventing themselves, but mainly for existing customers, the new customers entering the cloud-native, and soon WebAssembly app development market will not care about the legacy virtual machines. Tanzu is a good product that addresses the transition from VM to cloud-native, but is of interest to existing customers, so is very much a way to reduce the loss of customers to the allure of K8S.”

He said the reported $40 billion market value of VMware seems high despite the company’s sizable customer base. He pointed to VMware’s challenges in adopting a subscription model.

Vellante, Dave_SilliconAngle

SilliconAngle’s Dave Vellante

“I would not be surprised if Intel are not watching this closely, given Pat [Gelsinger]’s history at VMware. If you asked me would VMware be acquired a few years ago, the answer would have been no, but now the market has changed and virtual machines are not the dominant technology they were, so we are at one of the transition points were a large dominant vendor is receding and needs to re-invent itself for the new market opportunity. VMware has the ability to do this, but unlike vendors like IBM that have been re-inventing themselves for decades, this is VMware for the first time facing a market where it is the legacy technology.”

Mixed Reactions

Dave Vellante, co-CEO of SilliconAngle, said an acquisition would be a great deal for Broadcom.

Townsend, Keith_The CTO Advisor

The CTO Advisor’s Keith Townsend

“[CEO] Hock Tan is a business genius, and this would be a huge chess move. So many possibilities. The ultimate arms dealer. And yes… Broadcom would be infrastructure for supercloud providing Nitro-like capabilities for all,” Vellante wrote on Twitter.

Keith Townsend, CEO of The CTO Advisor, disagreed.

“I don’t see Broadcom as a leader in the integration of the software and hardware needed. I don’t see the addressable market in a term that investors will be happy. This is pie in the sky at this point. What’s the event horizon for an ROI?” he wrote.

May 20

Ingram Micro Cloud Summit: From the Expo Floor

By | Managed Services News

“By gaining access to an ecosystem of partners, we’ll put distribution at the center of our channel strategy,” summit participants said.

Ingram Micro held its Cloud Summit this week in Miami Beach. More than 1,700 attendees participated in the conference, including the individuals featured in this gallery.

When asked what they hoped to get out of the event, several attendees had similar answers. Many just relished having face-to-face time and meaningful conversations with partners. Others had more specific responses tailored to their companies’ needs. Ingram Micro’s last cloud summit was two and half years ago. The pandemic forced company organizers to cancel the conference during that period. And that may be why there was so much renewed enthusiasm during the event this week.

For others, this was their first summit experience. Take the team at Nord Security. The Berlin-based security firm is seeking to expand globally. However, they weren’t the only international presence. Anyone listening closely could hear German, Dutch, Spanish and even Lithuanian being spoken on the conference floor. If Ingram Micro is seeking to expand its global reach, this conference is a testament to that.

Click through the slideshow above to learn more about what participants had to say about their experience.

May 20

Converge Technology Solutions Snaps Up PC Specialists

By | Managed Services News

This is the California-based company’s 31st acquisition.

Converge Technology Solutions has signed definitive agreements to acquire PC Specialists, Inc. (dba Technology Integration Group (“TIG”)). TIG specializes in optimized performance solutions and critical business support. The company is headquartered in San Diego, with 20 offices across North America,

TIG offers custom-built IT solutions for clients around the globe, with a large presence in the United States and Canada. The company offers software and hardware procurement, discovery assessments, and strategic planning. It also offers, deployment, data center optimization, IT asset management and cloud computing capabilities. TIG’s client base is in enterprise, government, education and SMB markets. 

Optimized Performance

Technology Innovation Group's Tom Janecek

TIG’s Tom Janecek

“TIG is elated to be joining forces with Converge,” said Tom Janecek, CEO and CFO of Technology Integration Group. “We are extremely proud of our 40+ year history. [We] have no doubt that our track record of success as a multinational service and solutions integrator will continue as part of Converge. We are excited for the strategic direction and vision of the Company and look forward to a bright future for our employees, clients, and business partners.”

Converge's Shaun Maine

Converge’s Shaun Maine

“Converge is excited to continue our strategy of growth and global expansion,” stated Shaun Maine, CEO of Converge. “TIG brings strong industry expertise across State, Local, and Education. [We can leverage this] across North America and gives us additional presence in Canada, adding to our strength of offerings with the Canadian government. The combined strength of Converge and TIG’s ability to serve our clients in markets around the world will present an exciting opportunity for us. [We will] continue reaching our clients and solving their solution needs wherever they may be.”

PC Specialists, Inc. d/b/a Technology Integration Group marks the thirty-first acquisition announced by Converge or its affiliates since October 2017. 

May 20

Barracuda Sees Huge Shift to Managed Services Among Partners

By | Managed Services News

Nine out of 10 Barracuda partners now identify as MSPs as CEO Hatem Naguib details “going heavy” into managed services.

Barracuda CEO Hatem Naguib says he is “not surprised at all” by an apparent overwhelming shift among its partners to managed services.

Barracuda's Hatem Naguib

Barracuda’s Hatem Naguib

In a poll, 92% of partners said they identified now as MSPs. The poll was conducted at the vendor’s first in-person partner event in more than two years, Barracuda Discover 2022 EMEA, in Athens, Greece.

The results, said the CEO, were reflective of both market conditions and the company’s strategy to drive managed services.

“We decided five years ago to go heavy into MSP,” told Channel Futures. “When we created an MSP business unit we put behind that all of the components that allowed our MSP partners to engage with us.”

Now managed services is almost a fifth of Barracuda’s business, and is one of the fastest growing components, said Naguib. One reason is that SMBs are looking to MSPs to take on IT responsibilities that are hard to resource and manage.

“It’s a natural fit to have as an MSP model. And security fits exceptionally well in this model because it’s very resource-intensive,” he said “So I’m not surprised that all of these partners have recognised that and said ‘Alright, let me be a value add. I need to be involved and engaged in the MSP business.’”

Managed Services a Key Growth Lever

Barracuda’s move to managed services was augmented last year with the acquisition of SKOUT Cybersecurity, offering MSPs an extended detection and response (XDR) platform and service.

“[Managed services is] where we’ve made the most strategic M&A,” said Naguib. “Because we feel this is the tip of the iceberg. For us, it’s one of the key growth levers from here to the next seven years.”

The SKOUT platform connects with email, firewall, identity and access, and offers a 24×7 SOC to aid the detection of and response to cyberattacks. Critically, it reduces the expense associated with training and staffing for 24×7 service, instead leveraging SKOUT’s security professionals to handle the SOC operation.

“We’re now driving the security for them,” explained Naguib. “As opposed to ‘here’s the firewall go figure it out or let me manage your firewall.’ So it’s the natural evolution. It’s an exciting opportunity because it has really delivered some very impressive capabilities for our partners and for our customers. And we see this as a huge growth area.”

He added: “We continue to invest to make sure that whatever consumption option the customer wants they can leverage the products to engage with them.”

That investment may come from its recent acquisition by investment firm KKR. The firm is to purchases Barracuda from Thoma Bravo in a deal reportedly worth $4 billion.

Transition to MSSP

Altinet won Barracuda’s Partner of the Year 2022 at the event. Already an MSP, it is looking to make the transition to MSSP.

Altinet's Henry Doyle

Altinet’s Henry Doyle

“[We want to] offer our customers as many cybersecurity services as we can. We’re not there just yet, but that’s where we want to get. It’s that next step, to go that extra mile to be able to provide that full end-to-end MSSP service,” said Altinet co-founder and director, Henry Doyle.

As part of this, Doyle said Altinet will incorporate SKOUT into its managed security offerings.

“You need to be monitoring 24/7 and letting the customer know when they’ve got breached. So when they get a ransomware attack, or they get a bot attack on their website, we’re telling them they’ve had that, it’s not going to cause any damage, we’ve remediated it for them. And they can trust in us. We do the work on their behalf. The big transition is moving away from the customer using the products, to us using the product as the as the trusted adviser and cybersecurity experts.”

 

 

May 20

Exclusive: Zoom Channel Leader Laura Padilla Takes New Role with Airtable

By | Managed Services News

Airtable’s valuation reached $11 billion in December.

Zoom's Laura Padilla

Airtable’s Laura Padilla

After more than four years of leading Zoom‘s channel, Laura Padilla has departed that role to become  Airtable‘s vice president of partners.

Padilla announced her new role on LinkedIn, saying: “There is always a beginning and here we are at the start of the partner team at Airtable.” On Twitter, she said she’s “excited” to build Airtable’s channel strategy.

She was Zoom‘s head of global business development and channel. Before that, she was Nutanix’s senior director of business development and alliances.

“We are grateful for Laura’s many contributions to Zoom, which helped to grow our global partner and channel sales organization into the strong team it is today,” a Zoom spokesperson said. “We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Airtable is an enterprise software company. Its valuation reached $11 billion in December.

Tempering Zoom’s massive revenue with her knowledge of the channel’s power to drive brand awareness and preference in technology, Padilla worked to help Zoom expand its channel reach. Padilla was part of our Top Gun 51 in 2020.

Airtable’s connected apps platform enables teams to modernize their business processes. The company continues to expand its enterprise sales, success and support functions to fuel a growing number of large deployments. More than 80% of the Fortune 100 globally use Airtable’s technology. Its customer base spans industries and includes Amazon, Baker Hughes, IBM, Netflix, Nike, Restoration Hardware and Under Armour.

In February, Airtable announced its expansion to EMEA with the opening of its first international headquarters in London.

May 20

Barracuda: MSP Revenue Accelerating in 2022, Increasing Demand Creating Challenges

By | Managed Services News

Security remains the biggest concern for customers and the greatest revenue opportunity for MSPs.

Global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by over a third in 2022 compared to last year. But that growth brings challenges for many MSPs.

That’s according to Barracuda Networks‘ latest MSP business report launched in conjunction with its fifth annual MSP Day. Barracuda surveyed 500 decision makers and knowledge workers from MSPs in countries across the North America, EMEA and ANZ regions with five to 250 employees.

Security remains the biggest concern for customers and the greatest revenue opportunity for MSPs.

Barracuda's Neal BradburyNeal Bradbury is senior vice president of Barracuda MSP. He said recent world events have changed the business environment for many SMBs.

“The rapid rate of digital transformation was a welcome change for MSPs during the pandemic, but this has its consequences,” he said. “With cybercriminals increasing their attack rate and security often being an afterthought during digital transformation, MSPs are now playing catch up to secure their customers’ environments while defending them from the intensified threat landscape.”

Key Findings

Key findings from the Barracuda report include:

  • Average MSP revenue should reach $12.12 million this year, compared with $8.93 million in 2021.
  • Nearly one in five respondents believe the average employee is highly stressed. Fifty-six percent said stress levels could be defined as moderate. Further, 80% believed their customers are increasingly concerned about being breached by cybercriminals and are looking to them for help. This is creating more pressure on the MSP to deliver.
  • Just 36% of respondents were confident of being fully up to date and compliant with regulations.

In 2021, 53% of MSP revenue came from services. This should reach 63% in 2022. On average in 2021, respondents’ service offerings increased by four services. In 2022, 94% expect their services portfolio to increase by an average of six services.

Nearly 100% of respondents admitted they had at least one area where they need additional vendor support. These include security incident response planning (44%), help with hybrid working best practices (50%) and marketing support (44%).

MSPs Are Not Alone

“When it comes to cybersecurity needs, it is important for MSPs to remember that they are not alone,” Bradbury said. “MSPs should consider partnering with vendors that can provide them with the ability to offer comprehensive security services that include prevention, detection and response, especially as cyberattacks are expected to continue to become more complex and cybersecurity talent [will] remain scarce. Further, it is more important than ever that MSPs select vendors and solutions they trust and can grow with.”

Many SMBs view their MSP as a trusted advisor, he said. This extends beyond IT and security requirements, to include general guidance for compliance.

“MSPs must build on this trust to ensure customer satisfaction,” Bradbury said. “They should also continue to educate themselves on the evolving cybersecurity regulations and compliance as the consequences of MSPs not being up to date can lead to non-compliance, which can be highly damaging to both their reputation, and that of their customers.”

Demand for cybersecurity services has been around since before the pandemic, he said. However, the pandemic created an overdrive for this need.

“MSPs who invested early and established the right mix of services will be able to achieve the economy of scale to meet this increased demand,” Bradbury said. “Those just getting into the game now will need to work smarter and partner with vendors who have a track record in security and IP to gain that competitive advantage they need. MSPs should remember that they don’t have to do it all themselves. A strong vendor can help them provide the best security services to their customers, while they focus on growing their business.”

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