Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Dec 15

Cutting Through the Noise with Cybersecurity Straight Talk

By | Managed Services News

Regaining customers’ trust provides formitable challenge for the cybersecurity industry.

The cybersecurity industry is quite noisy with sales reps and analysts pointing out cybersecurity problems and solutions for organizations. So how about some straight talk?

What’s not being talked about that should be talked about in cybersecurity? What are organizations not doing that’s putting them in jeopardy?

At this fall’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo, we conducted roundtables with channel experts addressing hot topics in areas such as cybersecurity, cloud and MSPs.

During our roundtable, the experts doled out some straight talk about cybersecurity, including what’s working and not working.

Panelists included:

Norton said end customers don’t trust the cybersecurity industry, and that presents quite a problem for providers. And Katz said organizations think they have enough protections in place until they get attacked.

Scroll through our slideshow above for cybersecurity straight talk from this roundtable.

Dec 15

MSP 501 Profile: Ashton Technology Solutions Meets Customers’ Needs with Own Managed Services Toolset

By | Managed Services News

The pandemic presented opportunities, not challenges, for the MSP.

Company Name: Ashton Technology Solutions
Company MSP 501 Rank: 109
Executive Vice President of Operations: Travis Grundke
Headquartered: Beachwood, Ohio

Primary services:

  • Managed IT
  • Security solutions
  • Backups and disaster recovery
  • Cloud computing
  • Compliance, audit and diligence
  • Project services
  • Wireless networking

Twitter: @AshtonSolutions

Ashton Technology Solutions has moved away from traditional managed services players like ConnectWise and Kaseya, and developed its own toolset to meet its customers’ needs.

The MSP offers managed and co-managed IT services, data security, IT project management, strategic consulting and other technology services. It serves small and midsized businesses in Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio.

Among the industries it serves are architecture, construction and engineering, manufacturing and industrial, schools and non-profits, and more.

Ashton Technology Solutions' Travis Grundke

Ashton Technology Solutions’ Travis Grundke

Travis Grundke, Ashton Technology Solutions’ executive vice president of operations, talks about opportunities prompted by the COVID-10 pandemic and more.

Pandemic Presented Opportunities, Not Challenges

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

Travis Grundke: Organizations became more comfortable with remote work – including remote support. This has been an opportunity for us, and not a challenge because our client base leverages a standardized security suite, which made the move to remote support easy for our engineers.

CF: What was the single biggest technology or business decision that drove your company’s growth in 2020? And in the first half of 2021? How did it do so?

TG: Beginning to move away from the traditional players (ConnectWise, Kaseya, etc.). We began developing our own toolset that is catered to our unique way of delivering service, and this has only reinforced our unique position in the industry.

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

TG: Understand that they are not serving the industry by putting their tools into the hands of inexperienced, untrained, unserious IT firms. The MSP industry is quickly filling with service providers who are ill equipped to keep their clients secure, and who are instead focusing on selling the most profitable vendor solution to them.

CF: What do you love about the IT channel? What do you hate about it?

TG: The IT channel is full of “all show, no go” vendors. It’s a challenge to educate prospects on the dangers of low-cost solutions that are not properly thought through. The channel has resulted in IT providers becoming purely sales driven, with a shocking lack of depth and expertise that modern IT requires.

Dec 14

Lenovo 360 Framework Will Offer Partners New Accelerators in 2022

By | Managed Services News

Lenovo revealed how it will reward partners who offer services with products bundled from its devices and data center groups.

Lenovo 360 will launch globally next month, providing a unified partner program for its PC and data center businesses. In the making for some time, the company on Monday outlined more specific components of the Lenovo 360 Framework.

The framework builds on One Lenovo, the company’s newly combined channel organization, which brought together its Intelligent Devices Group (IDG) and Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG). Lenovo aims to incentivize partners to bundle solutions from both groups and provide them as a service.

Jeff Taylor, Lenovo’s worldwide channel marketing leader, said the framework will incentivize thousands of partners sell new types of solutions. When it goes live on Jan. 10, Lenovo will have eight solutions consisting of products across IDG and ISG. The solutions will include workforce productivity and collaboration, industry-specific bundles and those that address infrastructure simplification.

Lenovo's Jeff Taylor

Lenovo’s Jeff Taylor

Besides combining the IDG and ISG channel teams, the Lenovo 360 framework includes new training, certification and marketing playbooks.

“By bringing them together, we open up this new world for our partners to go deeper with us,” Taylor told Channel Futures. “It makes the engagement more simple. And at the same time, it allows us to bring specialists into the discussions for co selling opportunities.”

‘Better Together’ Accelerators

Lenovo said it plans to reward partners who leverage their relationships with customers by stepping into new areas of business. For example, partners who primarily sell Lenovo PCs today who see an opportunity with data center solutions, they will be eligible for accelerators.

Partners who sell across Lenovo’s portfolios will have targets, one for endpoint solutions and another for data center infrastructure and for services. Those who hit two of those will receive a 20% accelerator on top of any existing incentives, according to Taylor. Lenovo calls these accelerators “better together.”

“If they achieve all three, they’ll get a 30% accelerator,” he said. “It’s an incredibly big investment. Now they can go to the same channel organization and get access to those resources and not have to navigate two different organizational models. It’s really about bringing the subject matter experts to our partners in a much more seamless and organized way.”

The company will offer other accelerators, including one for those who offer the recently launched Lenovo TruScale data center as-a-service portfolio. A third accelerator will reward those who deliver complete solutions.

“These are also stackable; they’re not mutually exclusive,” Taylor noted. “These are potentially quite lucrative.”

Expanding Engagement

Taylor emphasized that the framework seeks to get partners focused in one area to step up their engagement in others. One partner that has worked with Lenovo on the new framework is iT1 Source, a Tempe, Arizona-based solution provider. Shelliy Cymbalski, iT1 Source’s CMO, said the Lenovo 360 program increases the incentive to promote more Lenovo ISG offerings.

Now that Lenovo’s field sales and channel reps are knowledgeable about IDG and ISG solutions, it’s easier to work with the vendor, Cymbalski told Channel Futures.

“When you introduce your Lenovo field person to a customer, it’s easier when that Lenovo field person can talk across the whole portfolio, she said. “And for us, that means the customer can jump from one side to the other at the bigger opportunity. “We can bring up the PC life cycle side, we can bring up the data center side, so there’s better potential for growth.”

 

Dec 14

Why Cybersecurity Depends on Diversity & Inclusion

By | Managed Services News

Diversity & inclusion helps to ensure a rich pool of talent with a unique approach to solving cybersecurity problems.

It’s as serendipitous as it seems designed that there are two important worldwide recognitions in the same month: Global Diversity and Cybersecurity Awareness, both of which are recognized in October. The intersection of diversity & inclusion and cybersecurity is a powerful reminder that diversity fuels innovation. The more varied the experiences and thinking of its people, the better the outcomes.

We know instinctively that diversity and inclusion (D&I) matters. It offers advantageous returns by boosting innovation, creating a happier employee culture and offering financial rewards. Diverse companies are more likely to have higher profitability. Likewise, gender-diverse organizations are 45% more likely to improve market share and achieve 53% higher returns. Among ethnically and racially diverse cybersecurity professionals who also identify as “people of color,” optimism is strong and job satisfaction is high, despite the unique obstacles they face.

Most executives will say that there’s no greater asset than a diverse workforce, especially when it reflects their customers. Cybersecurity draws from a diverse set of people from different fields, industries, geographies and ethnicities. As I look at the security business, it’s clear our team comes from all walks of life and corners of the globe. It’s our diversity that keeps us connected to our customers’ needs

While there has been progress, a lack of diversity industry-wide persists. And it’s not good for anyone. There are people who eagerly want to join the cybersecurity industry but have not found their way in–those with relevant education and experience but whose talents are undervalued. And the industry at large can be a change agent. The cybersecurity industry depends on diverse talent and their unique approach to problems.

Multifarity among Malicious Thinkers

Cybercriminals are our biggest competition. They are organized, motivated, sophisticated, shrewd, well-funded and resourceful. They have an extensive array of skills. And while they may have a one-track mind, attackers are often part of a complex and diverse web of accomplished hackers. Lone rangers they are not. In fact, in an assessment of last year’s SolarWinds attack, at least 1000 engineers were involved in creating the attack. That’s a lot of aligned malicious minds.

Our best chance in defending against cyberterrorists depends on how well we understand their psychology and behaviors. Attackers come from all backgrounds and work in a borderless environment. So, it behooves our team to be as diverse to drive creative thinking and innovation and combat their hostile efforts. A cybersecurity team embodying individuals with varying experiences offers a fresh outlook and perspective. And our collective differences make us smarter, by fusing our cumulative knowledge when tackling security challenges.

The diversity of our team better positions us to think like the attackers. It can improve how we consider how attackers look at their opportunity, and how we contemplate their various assumptions. It can give us a clearer ability to envision approaches attackers are utilizing, while also predicting their behavior patterns. Diversity is powerful in how it helps us develop solutions to adequately defend against attacks.

Value in the (Un)like-Minded

Part of a diverse team’s composition is their educational and experiential paths into cybersecurity. Not all cybersecurity professionals’ routes into the field are the same. Some take a road less travelled. In fact, 30% of all cybersecurity roles are filled by people with non-technical backgrounds. And there’s a cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.5 million global IT jobs unfilled, meaning the workforce needs to grow by 145% to help close that gap. That’s a lot of non-technical jobs.

Embracing talent beyond traditional cybersecurity-related experiences and education helps diversify the talent pool. It mixes things up and brings together unlike-minded cyber-sages who can add immense value. Loosening the antiquated criteria and requirements will allow teams to identify quality team members—included those who otherwise would be overlooked.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Dec 14

The Year’s 24 Biggest Mergers and Acquisitions in the Technology Channel

By | Managed Services News

Buckle your seatbelts and grab your popcorn, kids. The channel as we know it is changing dramatically.

The indirect technology sales channel experienced an unprecedented number of mergers and acquisitions in 2021.

Although the channel has witnessed consolidation in the past, M&A has predominantly occurred on the vendor/carrier side. However, a wide balance of vendors, distributors and customer-facing partners turned to consolidation in the last year. Two of the largest distributors came together, multiple brokerages accepted private equity, and several UCaaS providers found buyers.

A mix of factors helped drive consolidation in the past year. In some cases, like that of the UCaaS space, competitors made bold moves to keep up with the pace of their largest rivals. At the same time, the pandemic put many companies in a position where they needed to sell their business. Furthermore, private equity firms saw the perfect opportunity to make investments.

Indeed, private equity courted the channel in a massive way in 2021. It led to one of the largest investments an agent partner has ever received, and MSPs have also faced a stampede of prospective investor. Moreover, partners have expressed concerns about how private equity will impact the channel, particular several years from now when investors are seeking a return.

We decided to cover two dozen of the biggest mergers and acquisitions that occurred in the business technology indirect channel this year. The list, as you can imagine, is not exhaustive. For example, we must give an honorable mention to Zoom, whose $14.7 billion proposed purchase of Five9 fell by the wayside. We based this list off the size of the deal and the involved companies’ proximity to channel partners.

Scroll through the 24 images above to see the biggest channel-impacting consolidation stories of 2021.

Check out our October M&A wrap if you missed it.

Dec 14

10 Cybersecurity Insurance Tips for the MSP

By | Managed Services News

It’s more than just the fine print.

Cybersecurity insurance is increasingly necessary when malicious hackers do more than just disrupt software and hardware.

Bad actors in ransomware attacks demand more and more money that providers can’t afford to pay; and in most cases, they shouldn’t. Moreover, customers continue to file lawsuits against their providers when these and other attacks occur. As a result, MSPs need to be protect themselves financially and legally.

So how do MSPs know what kind of cybersecurity insurance procedures to put in place? Compiled by the members of the CompTIA Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO), experts have outlined 10 things (see slide show above) that MSPs should consider when adopting a policy.

Dec 14

LogMeIn Spinning Off LastPass as Separate Company with Increased Investment

By | Managed Services News

LastPass is used by more than 30 million users and 85,000 businesses globally.

LogMeIn is spinning off LastPass, its cloud-based zero-knowledge password management solution, as a standalone company.

More than 30 million users and 85,000 businesses use LastPass globally. And it’s set for strong and sustained growth as consumers and businesses continue prioritizing password security.

By establishing LastPass as a standalone business, the company plans to increase investment in the customer experience, go-to-market functions and engineering to accelerate its organic growth in password management, single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA). Customers will experience planned enhancements on an accelerated timeline in 2022, with the benefit of additional dedicated LastPass resources.

Patrick McCue is LogMeIn’s global vice president of channel sales.

LogMeIn's Patrick McCue

LogMeIn’s Patrick McCue

“LastPass’ impressive growth and market leadership makes it a perfect candidate for partners to seize new opportunities amid exploding demand in the password management industry,” he said.

Partners can sell LastPass in the same way they have in the past, McCue said. They’ll see no impact to the amount of commissions earned and paid. LastPass is a natural for security VARs, solution providers and MSPs.

This year, LogMeIn launched its MSP program and is onboarding partners. It’s building a new team to focus on security VARs and solution providers in 2022. The company will also focus on a new program and enablement for its partners.

Demand for LastPass Accelerating

“As security threats significantly increase, consumer and enterprise demand for LastPass to eliminate login frustrations and protect sensitive data increased in tandem,” McCue said. “As a standalone company, LastPass will be able to enhance features on an accelerated timeline. We are working on a faster save and fill, friendlier mobile experience and additional third-party integrations for businesses.”

The LogMeIn program and partners will remain business as usual through the remainder of 2021, he said. In 2022, partners will see the LastPass program transition over to the LastPass company.

Today, most of the LogMeIn LastPass business is represented by corporate customers. That illustrates the importance of password management to organizations of all sizes. The importance of securing identity verification among consumers and businesses is rising given the rapid proliferation of passwords and the prevalence of unauthorized access by hackers.

Bill Wagener is LogMeIn‘s president and CEO.

“The substantial scale of LastPass, its tremendous growth and its market-leading position and brand makes it a perfect candidate to seize new opportunities as its own standalone company,” he said. “Today’s announcement also reflects our strategic priority to strengthen and invest in our flexible work enablement portfolio across unified communications and collaboration, and IT management and support.”

Dec 14

Why Cybersecurity Depends on Diversity & Inclusion

By | Managed Services News

Diversity & inclusion helps to ensure a rich pool of talent with a unique approach to solving cybersecurity problems.

It’s as serendipitous as it seems designed that there are two important worldwide recognitions in the same month: Global Diversity and Cybersecurity Awareness, both of which are recognized in October. The intersection of diversity & inclusion and cybersecurity is a powerful reminder that diversity fuels innovation. The more varied the experiences and thinking of its people, the better the outcomes.

We know instinctively that diversity and inclusion (D&I) matters. It offers advantageous returns by boosting innovation, creating a happier employee culture and offering financial rewards. Diverse companies are more likely to have higher profitability. Likewise, gender-diverse organizations are 45% more likely to improve market share and achieve 53% higher returns. Among ethnically and racially diverse cybersecurity professionals who also identify as “people of color,” optimism is strong and job satisfaction is high, despite the unique obstacles they face.

Most executives will say that there’s no greater asset than a diverse workforce, especially when it reflects their customers. Cybersecurity draws from a diverse set of people from different fields, industries, geographies and ethnicities. As I look at the security business, it’s clear our team comes from all walks of life and corners of the globe. It’s our diversity that keeps us connected to our customers’ needs

While there has been progress, a lack of diversity industry-wide persists. And it’s not good for anyone. There are people who eagerly want to join the cybersecurity industry but have not found their way in–those with relevant education and experience but whose talents are undervalued. And the industry at large can be a change agent. The cybersecurity industry depends on diverse talent and their unique approach to problems.

Multifarity among Malicious Thinkers

Cybercriminals are our biggest competition. They are organized, motivated, sophisticated, shrewd, well-funded and resourceful. They have an extensive array of skills. And while they may have a one-track mind, attackers are often part of a complex and diverse web of accomplished hackers. Lone rangers they are not. In fact, in an assessment of last year’s SolarWinds attack, at least 1000 engineers were involved in creating the attack. That’s a lot of aligned malicious minds.

Our best chance in defending against cyberterrorists depends on how well we understand their psychology and behaviors. Attackers come from all backgrounds and work in a borderless environment. So, it behooves our team to be as diverse to drive creative thinking and innovation and combat their hostile efforts. A cybersecurity team embodying individuals with varying experiences offers a fresh outlook and perspective. And our collective differences make us smarter, by fusing our cumulative knowledge when tackling security challenges.

The diversity of our team better positions us to think like the attackers. It can improve how we consider how attackers look at their opportunity, and how we contemplate their various assumptions. It can give us a clearer ability to envision approaches attackers are utilizing, while also predicting their behavior patterns. Diversity is powerful in how it helps us develop solutions to adequately defend against attacks.

Value in the (Un)like-Minded

Part of a diverse team’s composition is their educational and experiential paths into cybersecurity. Not all cybersecurity professionals’ routes into the field are the same. Some take a road less travelled. In fact, 30% of all cybersecurity roles are filled by people with non-technical backgrounds. And there’s a cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.5 million global IT jobs unfilled, meaning the workforce needs to grow by 145% to help close that gap. That’s a lot of non-technical jobs.

Embracing talent beyond traditional cybersecurity-related experiences and education helps diversify the talent pool. It mixes things up and brings together unlike-minded cyber-sages who can add immense value. Loosening the antiquated criteria and requirements will allow teams to identify quality team members—included those who otherwise would be overlooked.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Dec 14

Why Cybersecurity Depends on Diversity & Inclusion

By | Managed Services News

Diversity & inclusion helps to ensure a rich pool of talent with a unique approach to solving cybersecurity problems.

It’s as serendipitous as it seems designed that there are two important worldwide recognitions in the same month: Global Diversity and Cybersecurity Awareness, both of which are recognized in October. The intersection of diversity & inclusion and cybersecurity is a powerful reminder that diversity fuels innovation. The more varied the experiences and thinking of its people, the better the outcomes.

We know instinctively that diversity and inclusion (D&I) matters. It offers advantageous returns by boosting innovation, creating a happier employee culture and offering financial rewards. Diverse companies are more likely to have higher profitability. Likewise, gender-diverse organizations are 45% more likely to improve market share and achieve 53% higher returns. Among ethnically and racially diverse cybersecurity professionals who also identify as “people of color,” optimism is strong and job satisfaction is high, despite the unique obstacles they face.

Most executives will say that there’s no greater asset than a diverse workforce, especially when it reflects their customers. Cybersecurity draws from a diverse set of people from different fields, industries, geographies and ethnicities. As I look at the security business, it’s clear our team comes from all walks of life and corners of the globe. It’s our diversity that keeps us connected to our customers’ needs

While there has been progress, a lack of diversity industry-wide persists. And it’s not good for anyone. There are people who eagerly want to join the cybersecurity industry but have not found their way in–those with relevant education and experience but whose talents are undervalued. And the industry at large can be a change agent. The cybersecurity industry depends on diverse talent and their unique approach to problems.

Multifarity among Malicious Thinkers

Cybercriminals are our biggest competition. They are organized, motivated, sophisticated, shrewd, well-funded and resourceful. They have an extensive array of skills. And while they may have a one-track mind, attackers are often part of a complex and diverse web of accomplished hackers. Lone rangers they are not. In fact, in an assessment of last year’s SolarWinds attack, at least 1000 engineers were involved in creating the attack. That’s a lot of aligned malicious minds.

Our best chance in defending against cyberterrorists depends on how well we understand their psychology and behaviors. Attackers come from all backgrounds and work in a borderless environment. So, it behooves our team to be as diverse to drive creative thinking and innovation and combat their hostile efforts. A cybersecurity team embodying individuals with varying experiences offers a fresh outlook and perspective. And our collective differences make us smarter, by fusing our cumulative knowledge when tackling security challenges.

The diversity of our team better positions us to think like the attackers. It can improve how we consider how attackers look at their opportunity, and how we contemplate their various assumptions. It can give us a clearer ability to envision approaches attackers are utilizing, while also predicting their behavior patterns. Diversity is powerful in how it helps us develop solutions to adequately defend against attacks.

Value in the (Un)like-Minded

Part of a diverse team’s composition is their educational and experiential paths into cybersecurity. Not all cybersecurity professionals’ routes into the field are the same. Some take a road less travelled. In fact, 30% of all cybersecurity roles are filled by people with non-technical backgrounds. And there’s a cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.5 million global IT jobs unfilled, meaning the workforce needs to grow by 145% to help close that gap. That’s a lot of non-technical jobs.

Embracing talent beyond traditional cybersecurity-related experiences and education helps diversify the talent pool. It mixes things up and brings together unlike-minded cyber-sages who can add immense value. Loosening the antiquated criteria and requirements will allow teams to identify quality team members—included those who otherwise would be overlooked.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Dec 14

Why Cybersecurity Depends on Diversity & Inclusion

By | Managed Services News

Diversity & inclusion helps to ensure a rich pool of talent with a unique approach to solving cybersecurity problems.

It’s as serendipitous as it seems designed that there are two important worldwide recognitions in the same month: Global Diversity and Cybersecurity Awareness, both of which are recognized in October. The intersection of diversity & inclusion and cybersecurity is a powerful reminder that diversity fuels innovation. The more varied the experiences and thinking of its people, the better the outcomes.

We know instinctively that diversity and inclusion (D&I) matters. It offers advantageous returns by boosting innovation, creating a happier employee culture and offering financial rewards. Diverse companies are more likely to have higher profitability. Likewise, gender-diverse organizations are 45% more likely to improve market share and achieve 53% higher returns. Among ethnically and racially diverse cybersecurity professionals who also identify as “people of color,” optimism is strong and job satisfaction is high, despite the unique obstacles they face.

Most executives will say that there’s no greater asset than a diverse workforce, especially when it reflects their customers. Cybersecurity draws from a diverse set of people from different fields, industries, geographies and ethnicities. As I look at the security business, it’s clear our team comes from all walks of life and corners of the globe. It’s our diversity that keeps us connected to our customers’ needs

While there has been progress, a lack of diversity industry-wide persists. And it’s not good for anyone. There are people who eagerly want to join the cybersecurity industry but have not found their way in–those with relevant education and experience but whose talents are undervalued. And the industry at large can be a change agent. The cybersecurity industry depends on diverse talent and their unique approach to problems.

Multifarity among Malicious Thinkers

Cybercriminals are our biggest competition. They are organized, motivated, sophisticated, shrewd, well-funded and resourceful. They have an extensive array of skills. And while they may have a one-track mind, attackers are often part of a complex and diverse web of accomplished hackers. Lone rangers they are not. In fact, in an assessment of last year’s SolarWinds attack, at least 1000 engineers were involved in creating the attack. That’s a lot of aligned malicious minds.

Our best chance in defending against cyberterrorists depends on how well we understand their psychology and behaviors. Attackers come from all backgrounds and work in a borderless environment. So, it behooves our team to be as diverse to drive creative thinking and innovation and combat their hostile efforts. A cybersecurity team embodying individuals with varying experiences offers a fresh outlook and perspective. And our collective differences make us smarter, by fusing our cumulative knowledge when tackling security challenges.

The diversity of our team better positions us to think like the attackers. It can improve how we consider how attackers look at their opportunity, and how we contemplate their various assumptions. It can give us a clearer ability to envision approaches attackers are utilizing, while also predicting their behavior patterns. Diversity is powerful in how it helps us develop solutions to adequately defend against attacks.

Value in the (Un)like-Minded

Part of a diverse team’s composition is their educational and experiential paths into cybersecurity. Not all cybersecurity professionals’ routes into the field are the same. Some take a road less travelled. In fact, 30% of all cybersecurity roles are filled by people with non-technical backgrounds. And there’s a cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.5 million global IT jobs unfilled, meaning the workforce needs to grow by 145% to help close that gap. That’s a lot of non-technical jobs.

Embracing talent beyond traditional cybersecurity-related experiences and education helps diversify the talent pool. It mixes things up and brings together unlike-minded cyber-sages who can add immense value. Loosening the antiquated criteria and requirements will allow teams to identify quality team members—included those who otherwise would be overlooked.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

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