Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

May 20

What Does TSB Consolidation Mean for Vendors? Channel Reacts to PlanetOne-Avant Deal

By | Managed Services News

The pack of national TSBs just grew thinner. Is this good?

Avant‘s acquisition of PlanetOne continues to send shockwaves through the channel.

The companies last week announced the merger, which will bring Arizona-based PlanetOne under Chicago-based Avant’s brand. Partners have publicly responded with largely positive feedback to the deal, citing complementary skillsets of the companies. Suppliers of both companies agreed with the agents in a recent round of interviews with Channel Futures, citing geographical and operational fits.

Vendor channel leaders also spoke about how TSB consolidation impacts their outlook for the upcoming years. Many in the channel anticipate the number of national TSBs to decrease to a very small number – perhaps as low as three. Others predict the space to actually grow as super-agencies sign more direct agreements and traditional distributors expand their agent efforts. More and more vendors, including Cisco and Masergy, are turning to both multiple distribution routes to widen their partner bases. And other providers are weighing the pros and cons of joining a marketplace.

Several suppliers, as well as a couple of partners, weighed on how the deal impacts them and the wider industry

May 20

Analysts: Cisco ‘Bitten by Macro Issues’ in Flat Q3 Earnings

By | Managed Services News

“Order as early as you can, because I think these delays are going to carry on into 2024, maybe even 2025,” one analyst told partners.

Analysts say harsh investor reactions to Cisco Q3 earnings don’t carry water.

Cisco shares declined about 15% on Wednesday, marking the largest single-day decline in 12 years, according to MarketWatch. The reactions followed Cisco’s fiscal year Q3 earnings report, in which the networking giant posted flat revenue year-over-year growth. The firm’s collaboration business dropped in year-over-year revenue. Cisco also posted a guidance of 1 to 5.5% decline in its next quarter.

Executives cited Cisco’s pullout from Russia and Belarus, Chinese COVID-19 lockdowns and supply chain issues as reasons for the numbers. It also noted that this year’s Q3 contained one less week than last year’s Q3. CEO Chuck Robbins said the company will overcome the “short-term” challenges.Cisco's Chuck Robbins

“While the topline is disappointing, we have navigated this complex year and actually will deliver solid EPS when we’re done,” Robbins said.

Futuriom’s Scott Raynovich

But investors aren’t buying the message, Eric Savitz of Barron’s wrote. And some analysts agreed.

“Cisco executives painted a picture of external factors beyond their control,” Futuriom principal analyst Scott Raynovich wrote. “But in fact, if you look at the trend over the past two years –  a period in which Cisco’s shares have gone down – there are greater forces at work. Cisco is still in existential crisis, as I have pointed out for years, as its hardware business model still dominates its sales culture, preventing any real growth in the areas it promotes, such as software and cybersecurity.”

The Big Picture

Three analysts, speaking to Channel Futures, disagreed with the dismal picture. Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research, said Cisco is justified in blaming external forces.

ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala

ZK Research’s Zeus Kerravala

“They were bitten by macro issues,” Kerravala told Channel Futures. “There’s certain things as a company you can control, and there’s ones you can’t. And I think Cisco’s done a good job as they could in controlling the things they can.”

He said every company he has been speaking to has been suffering from supply chain shortages.

“Components just aren’t available right now,” he said.

Kerravala pointed to Cisco’s record-setting backlog of $15-plus billion. Add to that total product orders growing 8% year-over-year. That compares very well to the combined efforts of rivals like Arista Networks, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks and even HPE

“I think their annual revenue wouldn’t beat Cisco’s backlog alone. That just shows there’s demand for the product; they just can’t fulfill on the demand because of supply chain issues,” Kerravala said.

However, Kerravala said the latest earnings should serve as a warning to Cisco reseller partners: order early.

“Order as early as you can, because I think these delays are going to carry on into 2024, maybe even 2025. It’s going to take us a long time to catch up on this,” he said.

Supply Chain Issues

Ian Redpath leads Omdia‘s components, transport and routing practice. He said Cisco will likely make up revenue ground in a future quarter when it ships the backlogged products. He agreed with Robin’s comment during the earnings call that “revenue performance in the upcoming quarters is less dependent on demand and more dependent on the supply availability in this increasingly complex environment.”

Redpath, Ian_OMdia

Omdia’s Ian Redpath

“$200 million down from ceasing business in Ukraine and Russia – it is a low-hanging fruit justification. Everyone understands it. But on the other hand, it is really a minimal impact to Cisco overall, so far,” Redpath told Channel Futures.

He also noted that the first quarter of the calendar year is “seasonally, notoriously soft.”

“So, given the three items cited, they didn’t do too bad,” Redpath said. “Like all major vendors, the big long term drivers – digital economy growth, shift to cloud and 5G – are all great drivers. The short-term challenge is the downside risk due an expanding list of geopolitical uncertainties. Cisco didn’t really go into one big upside possibility: government stimulus funding raining down from heaven.”

China Factor

Alex Smith, vice president of channels for Canalys, stressed the impact of China’s pandemic-related lockdowns. Bloomberg reported earlier this week that approximately 790,000 people in Shanghei could not leave their apartments.

Smith, Alex_Canalys

Canalys’ Alex Smith

“The latest lockdowns in China are some of the most disruptive we’ve seen anywhere during the pandemic so certainly a major factor. Networking is one of worst hit sector from supply chain according to our latest partner polls so other competitors will struggle too. Issue is compounded for Cisco when software is reliant on hardware delivery,” Smith said.

Anurag Agrawal, founder and chief global analyst at Techaisle, agreed.

Techaisle’s Anurag Agrawal

“Cisco software and services depend upon hardware which was walloped by the recent China lockdown. It also does not help that Cisco’s financial quarter is one month out of sync with the calendar quarter. Regardless, Cisco is beginning to do well in the commercial segment and there is a huge potential growth opportunity in front of them.

Lastly, Smith said the investor community appears to be dealing with the reality of diminished 2022 growth in big tech.

Services Decline

Cisco reported an interesting contrast in its revenue breakdown. Product revenues went up 3% while service revenue down 8%. Cisco’s declining services revenue meshes interestingly with the message from its channel leaders that partners should adopt more managed services.

Kerravala noted that vendors like Cisco and Juniper are pushing for more automation in their products. If networks are running themselves, customers will need fewer services from the vendor in “tuning the knobs and turning the dials,” Kerravala said.

“So if that type of kind of implementation, break-fix, maintenance services are going away, then where’s does that services revenue come from? Certainly software subscriptions is a piece of that, but I do think managed services is a good opportunity,” he said.

Kerravala said a growing market exists around managed services. He said traditionally only 25-30% of the market has bought managed services, with the rest preferring to do it on their own. However, he recently interviewed SD-WAN purchasers if they wanted to consume the technology in a managed or co-managed fashion. Approximately two-thirds of respondents said they wanted some level of management.

“There’s a big shift coming in customers wanting help to deploy these things, because they are more complicated,” he said.


Cisco’s collaboration business, which it also its hybrid work segment, continues to stand out among Cisco’s portfolio, and not for great reasons. While Cisco’s networking, internet, security and application businesses grew, collaboration dipped by 6% year-over-year.

Kerravala said Webex faces stiff competition from Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Specifically, he said Microsoft essentially giving away the basline product for free to its users is a challenge.

He also said the shift to remote work did not do Webex any favors.

“When the pandemic started, Cisco got caught with its pants down a little bit. Webex had a lot of problems. It wasn’t very user friendly,” Kerravala.

However, Kerravala said Cisco has made significant strides with Webex in the last two years. He said he views the “well-built” product as on par with what Zoom offers. He also said Cisco may benefit from a hybrid work environment “where the devices and the endpoints matter more.”

“So many customers have this legacy notion of Webex. I think Cisco’s big problem here is getting customers to just try it again,” he said.

Agrawal tied supply chain issues back to the collaboration numbers.

“Cisco is over-rotated on its hybrid work narrative, which has been showing up in its collaboration story – again hit hard by the non-shipment of devices tied to software and services,” he told Channel Futures.

May 19

QNAP Warns of Ransomware Attack on Storage Devices

By | Managed Services News

QNAP NAS devices have been a frequent target of ransomware groups.

QNAP Systems has detected a new ransomware attack on its network attached storage (NAS) devices. It’s urging all users to take immediate action.

QNAP said the new attack is by Deadbolt ransomware. The ransomware damages all the files available on the devices, adding the . deadbolt extension to each file during encryption.

“According to the investigation by the QNAP product security incident response team, the attack targeted NAS devices using QTS 4.3.6 and QTS 4.4.1, and the affected models were mainly TS-x51 series and TS-x53 series,” QNAP said in its alert. “QNAP urges all NAS users to check and update QTS to the latest version as soon as possible, and avoid exposing their NAS to the internet.”

QTS is the operating system for the NAS devices.

Based in Taiwan, QNAP offers NAS appliances used for file sharing, virtualization, storage management and surveillance applications. It works with resellers.

Several QNAP Storage Vulnerabilities This Year

Vulcan Cyber's Mike Parkin

Vulcan Cyber’s Mike Parkin

Mike Parkin is senior technical engineer at Vulcan Cyber.

“QNAP has seen several vulnerabilities surface this year, and this latest one reinforces two things,” he said. “First, stay up to date on your patches. And second, be very cautious about exposing your network storage devices to the open internet. Fortunately, patches are available and organizations that followed the previous guidance on mitigating internet exposure are at much lower risk.”

Digital Shadows' Chris Morgan

Digital Shadows’ Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan is senior cyber threat intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows.

“QNAP NAS devices have been a frequent target of ransomware groups, including by the QLocker and ech0raix ransomware,” he said. “The latest activity, which has been attributed to the Deadbolt ransomware, follows similar activity from Deadbolt in targeting QNAP devices in January 2022.”

Much of this activity surrounds the use of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol, Morgan said. It allows apps and other devices on a network to open and close ports automatically to connect with each other.

UPnP is used for a variety of purposes, including gaming and streaming content, he said. The protocol allows the convenience of quickly connecting devices to a network, but at a security cost.

QNAP have clarified that in the wake of attacks targeting their NAS devices, UPnP should be disabled,” Morgan said. “Port forwarding, which also assists users in direct communication requests, should also be disabled. Other sensible steps for this attack, and other similar ransomware variants, can be achieved simply by ensuring devices are not internet facing and are routinely patched with the most regular updates.”

May 19

Ingram Micro Hits ‘Important Milestone’ for Partners with Xvantage

By | Managed Services News

Find out what the distributor has developed and why it’s special. Plus, get news from vendor partners.

The Ingram Micro Cloud Summit wraps up today in Miami Beach. But just because it’s the final day doesn’t mean there isn’t more news partners should know.

For its part, Ingram Micro Cloud may have saved its best for the last keynote. We give you the full scoop on that news in the first three installments of this slideshow. Suffice it to say, the cloud distributor’s partners soon will have a much easier way to navigate everything from provisioning to education.

After that, we take a look at some announcements from some Ingram Micro Cloud vendors, all to the benefit of the channel.

The news follows on the heels of what we covered earlier this week, including Amazon Web Services’ addition of public sector opportunities to Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. And if you missed it, check out the 6 Takeaways from the Ingram Micro Executive Panel on Tuesday.

Click through the slideshow above to learn more.

May 19

How SD-WAN Helps Secure the Expanding Network Perimeter

By | Managed Services News

SD-WAN plays an integral part in enterprise network security approaches.

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies of the past decade. According to a recent study published by Dell’Oro Group, the worldwide sales of SD-WAN technologies are forecasted to grow at double-digit rates over each of the next five years to surpass $3.2 billion in 2024. This growth is certainly a testament to some of the more well-known benefits of SD-WAN technology, such as centralized network policy management, network flexibility and application-aware routing. More recently, SD-WAN has emerged as a key component for building more flexible, integrated security frameworks.

With SD-WAN, branch offices become part of an enterprise’s larger network topology, with their own internet egress. Corporate devices can access the Internet via multiple endpoints, adding a layer of complexity to network security. However, if properly configured and equipped, SD-WAN can simplify management, help improve security and decrease threat vectors. In sum, SD-WAN can improve an organization’s security posture and help decrease the stress and costs associated with a security intrusion.

In this article, we will review the integral role SD-WAN plays in enterprise network security approaches as network and security continues to converge in order to best support hybrid workforces, the migration to the cloud and increased security threats.

Key Considerations

Traditional security models were designed to support a walled castle approach where a company’s data, applications, and users operate behind a firewall at a centralized headquarters or data center. As more enterprises continue to support hybrid workforces and cloud migration, critical data and applications are also moving out of the traditional data center to the edge. As security perimeters evolve, every access point and network element become a potential risk for security breach. The basic firewall functionality may not be enough to help protect enterprise networks. Organizations are better served by using an SD-WAN solution that integrates security into the network functionality. Following are some key considerations for optimization:

Network policies and segmentation for security
SD-WAN delivers the flexibility to segment networks and implement application-aware routing, thus limiting the attack surface of highly sensitive data and systems. For example, segmenting mission critical systems and data from those less critical systems like basic productivity, office and research tools creates risk domains. Network segmentation can minimize the impact of a successful attack to said domain. When set up properly, enterprise security policies with segmentations can help prevent or reduce the impact of a security incursion, and hopefully prevent propagation beyond the borders of the impacted segment.

Without SD-WAN, application-specific security for cloud-based applications can be complicated and expensive. By setting up protected regional zones to securely direct cloud-based application traffic to where it needs to go based on corporate security policies, SD-WAN can help you architect and incorporate security controls to platforms and apps into your connectivity fabric.


To help protect the site-to-site traffic of corporate locations, SDN management can connect all locations with a secure tunnel using AES256 encryption. SD-WAN can also help prioritize and route that traffic by application, and then allow IT leaders to apply security policies using the SD-WAN appliances as enforcement.

Unified threat management (UTM)

UTM delivers multiple security functions through a single service designed to help protect business infrastructure. This combined security approach can present a unified security posture over geographically dispersed, distributed networks. SD-WAN appliances, with UTM and/or next-generation firewall capabilities built in, to help protect each branch location – getting back to the expanding perimeter point. Using SD-WAN technology that includes integrated security solutions can reduce the complexity of deploying and networking a separate suite of security tools. This includes point solutions like NGFW, IDS/IPS, URL or a fully stand-alone UTM.

Single pane of glass monitoring
Once proper orchestration and security policies are in place, IT teams can monitor all traffic and ports. With SD-WAN’s real-time, simultaneous management of the network and UTM threat detection on a single pane of glass, flagging risks and thwarting potential threats can help reduce corporate risk profile.


For retail or other credit-card-accepting digital commerce organizations, finding an SD-WAN solution that is PCI-compliantshould be a top consideration for transmitting sensitive credit card data using industry-standard encryption. Flexible provisioning and segmentation capabilities of SD-WAN are especially relevant for retailers to easily isolate their POS systems, as well as other critical networks and data. Segregating the POS system from the rest of the network is highly recommended and considered a best practice.

Managed security and managed SD-WAN

Managing both an SD-WAN and advanced security is simplified when combined, but can still be a lot to handle, especially in an environment where companies may be working with reduced staff. Working with a service provider that has a broad purview of the threat landscape can reduce a threat before it even reaches the organization’s perimeter. Threat visibility and management are a critical component in managed security services and can offer peace of mind in an environment where security threats are constantly changing.



SD-WAN with Security simplifies management with agile network design that enables organizations to transform in stages, allowing new and old networks to co-exist. This reduces the complexity and effort required to redesign networks, providing a smooth migration path for any deployment models, from flat networks to highly segmented ones. And as this migration advances, special security rules and policies can be applied to reduce risk along the way. Optimally, advanced security and network architecture can work in harmony to deliver a network with enhanced performance, exceptional user experiences and reliable connectivity with a strong security posture.

Help defend your network against fast-changing and malicious attacks with the Comcast Business suite of cybersecurity offerings.


Joseph Richardson is Senor Director Cybersecurity Products, Comcast Business.

 This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

May 19

Ingram Micro Cloud Hits ‘Important Milestone’ for Partners with Xvantage

By | Managed Services News

Find out what the distributor has developed and why it’s special. Plus, get news from vendor partners.

The Ingram Micro Cloud Summit wraps up today in Miami Beach. But just because it’s the final day doesn’t mean there isn’t more news partners should know.

For its part, Ingram Micro Cloud may have saved its best for the last keynote. We give you the full scoop on that news in the first three installments of this slideshow. Suffice it to say, the cloud distributor’s partners soon will have a much easier way to navigate everything from provisioning to education.

After that, we take a look at some announcements from some Ingram Micro Cloud vendors, all to the benefit of the channel.

The news follows on the heels of what we covered earlier this week, including Amazon Web Services’ addition of public sector opportunities to Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. And if you missed it, check out the 6 Takeaways from the Ingram Micro Executive Panel on Tuesday.

Click through the slideshow above to learn more.

May 19

Veeam Backup and Replication v12 to Extend Cloud-Native Integration

By | Managed Services News

During the second day of VeeamON 2022 CTO Danny Allan demonstrated enhanced Kubernetes support in core platform.

Improved ransomware protection and Kubernetes-based cloud native integration are coming to the Veeam backup and replication suite later this year. Veeam previewed its planned product updates on Wednesday during this week’s VeeamON 2022 conference in Las Vegas.

CTO Danny Allan (pictured above, onstage at VeeamON 2022) led demonstrations of its annual release road map starting with seventh version of Veeam Backup 365. Allan and his team also showed version 12 of its flagship Veeam Backup and Replication platform. Also previewed were a new backup offering for Salesforce data. Additionally, Allan showcased ransomware protection features in the company’s Veeam One security reporting tool and Veeam Disaster Recovery Orchestrator.

Building on the findings Veeam’s ransomware report, outlined on Tuesday, Allan underscored the detection and recovery capabilities in its offerings. A ransomware attack can be just as devastating as a natural disaster, he emphasized. “Ransomware is a disaster,” Allan told attendees. “When you get hit by ransomware, you’re not just recovering a single VM, you’re doing dozens or hundreds at a time.”

Veeam Backup and Replication v12

Veeam Backup and Replication is the company’s flagship offering with more than 1 million active installations, according to Allan. Since releasing v11 last year, Allan said Veeam counts 850,000 installations among its 450,000 customers.

The new Veeam Backup and Replication v12 release will provide disaster recovery as-a-service, support for object storage and data mobility. During a briefing with media and analysts, Allan said customers can backup on-premises data to the cloud in real time.

“And they can failover and failback literally to the second,” Allan said. “You could say ‘I saw an incident yesterday of a potential compromise and I want to roll back to yesterday at 2:37 and 17 seconds’ and it has that capability.”

The object storage support comes as more organizations are using services such as Amazon’s S3 and Microsoft’s Azure Blob Storage. Version 12 will allow direct writes to object storage,

“As a repository for data historically, that’s been very challenging, the performance hasn’t been there,” Allan said. “But we’re actually seeing the reliability, the resiliency, the availability and the performance of object storage.”

Veeam Backup and Replication v12 will also offer centralized views and the ability to integrate and manage Kubernetes clusters. It will include a plug-in to Kasten by Veeam K10 V5.0, previewed on Monday and set for release next month.

“In a single management console, you can manage every single physical system that Veeam can protect, and every single cloud that Veeam can protect,” Allan said. The Kasten K10 V5.0 release will also offer hardened security and improved ransomware detection.

The new data mobility capability will enable administrators to move all workloads whether they’re virtual or containers, across clouds. “It actually abstracts the cloud,” Allan said.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 v7

New features coming to Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 include complete visibility of the environment, real-time alerting and more detailed reporting. Veeam claims there are now 11 million paid users of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365. That’s a 73% year-over-year increase, the company reported. Veeam rolled out the latest release, v6, in March.

The v7 update, planned for release later this year, will come with various security protection and reporting features. It will also integrate with Veeam One, adding “enterprise-grade” monitoring and reporting. The management console will offer a single view of the entire Microsoft 365 backup environment and all its components. Veeam is also adding real-time vulnerability alerts and more detailed reports.

Veeam Backup for Salesforce

Veeam last year said the company was building on its Microsoft 365 data protection solution with a similar offering for Salesforce. During Wednesday’s keynote, Allan said Veeam considers its use of Salesforce to be among the largest and most complex.

“With 450,000 customers millions of contacts and leads, we need to protect that data,” Allan said. “And so, what we did is we created a product that has the control and flexibility that was needed.” That control includes allowing customers to deploy the backup environment anywhere, he said. It uses Salesforce’s native APIs, which enables restores of Salesforce records, fields, files and metadata as well as hierarches.



May 19

Cisco Reports Slumping Services Revenue, Cites War in Ukraine

By | Managed Services News

Cisco also cited China’s spike in COVID-19 as a negative factor last quarter.

Cisco Systems cited the invasion of Ukraine as a factor in its flat quarterly revenue.

The networking giant $12.8 billion in revenue in its fiscal year third-quarter. That number did not change from a year ago. Cisco’s net income totaled $3 billion. Product revenues increased from $9.14 billion to $9.45 billion, while service revenues decreased 8% from $3.66 billion to $3.39 billion.

“We delivered healthy earnings despite unanticipated disruptions through strong pricing and disciplined spend management,” Cisco chief financial officer Scott Herren said in a news release. “Our product backlog is well over $15 billion and product ARR and RPO again grew double digits. The continued progress in our business model transformation reflects the success of our strategy and underpins our long-term confidence.”

International Conflict

Cisco in March stopped its business operations in Russia and Belarus, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision cost the company about $200 million in quarterly revenue, according to the earnings release. According to Cisco, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine accounted for about 1% of the company’s typical revenue.

“We continued to see solid demand for our technologies and our business transformation is progressing well,” said Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco. “While Covid lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine impacted our revenue in the quarter, the fundamental drivers across our business are strong and we remain confident in the long term.”

Cisco saw 4% year-over-year revenue growth for its Secure, Agile Networks business and a 6% increase for its Internet for the Future business. End-to-End Security (7%) and Optimized Application Experiences (8%) also grew.

Cisco’s collaboration portfolio was 6% lower in revenue than a year ago. However, the portfolio appears to have grown slightly compared to the previous quarter ($1.07 billion to $1.13). It remains to be seen how the provider’s expansion of its Webex go-to-market strategy to include agents will impact growth.

Cisco posted a guidance of -1% to -5.5% year-over-year Q4 revenue decline.

“While the topline is disappointing, we have navigated this complex year and actually will deliver solid EPS when we’re done,” Robbins told investors. “The fundamentals are strong a lot, still in our favor. Demand, business transformation is working, the technology transitions and the number that we’re participating in. We have great teams around the world and that leads me to have a high degree of confidence despite the short-term challenges that we face.”

Read updates from Cisco partner executives, who spoke about trends with the company’s MSP, VAR and agent partners.

May 19

The Gately Report: BlackBerry Ups Investment, Support of MSSP Partners

By | Managed Services News

Blackpoint Cyber detects threat actors deploying attacks with ConnectWise Control.

BlackBerry is accelerating its work with MSSP partners as the managed security services marketplace is expected to skyrocket through 2030.

BlackBerry's Colleen McMillan

BlackBerry’s Colleen McMillan

That’s according to Colleen McMillan, BlackBerry’s vice president of global channel sales. She leads the company’s global channel strategy.

The managed security services marketplace should grow from about $22 billion to over $77 billion from 2020 to 2030. That’s good news for BlackBerry MSSP partners.

“That’s a pretty good indicator that we’re going to see more and more growth around the managed service marketplace,” McMillan said. “So obviously we’re making tremendous investments there to support our MSSPs. We’ve doubled the team.”

The Gately Report logoAugmenting BlackBerry’s Cybersecurity Team

Last fall, John Giamatteo, formerly McAfee’s president and chief revenue officer, became president of BlackBerry’s cybersecurity business unit.

“He’s really done a fabulous job of bringing on a number of key individuals that have tremendous cybersecurity experience,” McMillan said. “We have a new vice president to head up research and threat intelligence and we have a new CTO. So there’s a lot of really solid cybersecurity credentialed folks that are at the helm making a difference. I think it’s exciting for our partners. And I’m just very optimistic about being here at this moment.”

For its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings, BlackBerry reported total company revenue of $185 million. Cybersecurity revenue totaled $122 million.

Cylance, which BlackBerry acquired in 2019, has been rebranded to BlackBerry Security. BlackBerry added Cylance artificial intelligence (AI) technology to its portfolio of cybersecurity innovations.

Scroll through our slideshow above for a Q&A with McMillan and more cybersecurity news.

May 18

Microsoft Changing Partner Incentives Even as Channel Controversy Roars

By | Managed Services News

The terms take effect in October. “We are sharing updates now to help our partners plan ahead,” per Kevin McCarthy.

Microsoft is making changes to its partner incentives and investments, even as it grapples with ongoing controversy surrounding more stringent channel requirements.

Microsoft's Kevin McCarthy

Microsoft’s Kevin McCarthy

On May 17, Kevin McCarthy, vice president of global partner solutions, incentives and investments, posted a blog detailing the upcoming updates. Those will take effect in October — the same time that Microsoft is slated to replace the Microsoft Partner Network with the controversial Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.

“We are sharing updates now to help our partners plan ahead and will share additional details in the coming months,” McCarthy wrote.

Before laying out the changes, McCarthy noted the following: “[W]e recognize that successful partners drive transformational customer solutions. In our upcoming fiscal year 2023 that begins in July, we will continue to evolve our partner incentives and investments portfolio to provide a smooth and predictable partner experience that helps partners deliver exceptional value to customers.”

To that point, Microsoft is focusing its partner incentives and investments on cloud. That comes as little surprise. Cloud represents a category where Microsoft, through Azure, is showing formidable growth — even, according to some reports, surpassing giant rival Amazon Web Services. With that in mind, Microsoft’s changes apply to its six “cloud solution” areas: data and artificial intelligence; Azure infrastructure; Azure digital and app innovation; business applications; modern work; and security.

Changes to Microsoft Partner Incentives, Investments

The updates outlined by McCarthy remain somewhat vague. Here’s what he had to say, by type of incentive.

For Cloud Solution Providers: “We are adjusting modern work and security core program rates in the new commerce experience for direct bill and indirect reseller partners for consistency with the FY22 legacy CSP incentives program. We are redeploying the impact of this change through an increase to the customer acquisition lever, rewarding partners who drive new modern work and security business.”

Microsoft already has said it will end incentives support for legacy CSP seat-based subscriptions as of this coming December.

For Microsoft Commerce Incentives: “We are rebalancing incentives on Azure consumed revenue through Partner Admin Link, rewarding partners who drive customer growth and showcase their expertise through specializations.”

It’s unclear whether this news is welcome or will anger partners. Channel Futures has inquiries out.

For Activity-Based Incentives: “We continue to invest in pre-sales and post-sales workshops and assessments across our six cloud solution areas to drive customer acquisition and solution adoption. Partners will see new earning opportunities with modern work, security, business applications and Azure in FY23, as well as an improved operational experience for activities found in the Microsoft Commerce Incentives program.”

Microsoft has yet to clarify what “new earning opportunities” look like.

For Cooperative Marketing Funds: “We are launching cooperative marketing funds (co-op) to the Microsoft Commerce Incentives program in FY23. Once launched, partners earning incentives on breadth motion engagements in Microsoft Commerce Incentives will see incentives earnings split between standard rebate and co-op.”

McCarthy said Microsoft will have more information on this “in the coming months.”

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program: “[P]artners attaining legacy competencies by Sept. 30, 2022, or renewing legacy competency benefits will continue to earn incentives in FY23 program terms as eligible. FY23 incentives programs will also support the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program solutions partner designations.”

Microsoft added that partners with solutions partner designations cannot earn legacy CSP incentives for the legacy seat-based CSP subscriptions that end in December.

More Change Amid Chaos

The update from McCarthy comes as Microsoft unexpectedly functions without a channel chief. Nick Parker, corporate vice president for global partner solutions, announced earlier this week that Rodney Clark has left the company. Clark served as global channel chief for just a year, taking over from Gavriella Schuster.

Microsoft further continues to face the fallout from perhaps its biggest channel-program change in 15 years, the upcoming switch to the Cloud Partner Program. Those plans, of course, have attracted swift and steady pushback from partners. Click here for Channel Futures’ coverage of partner reactions to Clark’s departure as well as Microsoft’s new requirements.