Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Mar 01

Massive SolarWinds Hack Prompts Up to $25 Million in New Security Costs for Company

By | Managed Services News

SolarWinds expects to incur the additional expenses throughout 2021.

In the aftermath of the massive SolarWinds hack, the company is incurring up to $25 million in additional expenses related to security initiatives and other increases.

This was announced during SolarWinds’ fourth-quarter 2020 earnings call. News of the massive SolarWinds hack first broke in mid-December. It has heavily impacted the federal government and cybersecurity industry.

According to the latest headlines, SolarWinds blames an intern for a critical password lapse that went unnoticed for several years.

Initiatives, Higher Insurance

Bart Kalsu is SolarWinds’ chief financial officer. He detailed the additional costs from the hack.

SolarWinds' Bart Kalsu

SolarWinds’ Bart Kalsu

“The $20 million-$25 million is the cost that we expect to incur throughout all of 2021,” he said. “And that’s a combination of both security initiatives that (president and CEO) Sudhakar Ramakrishna talked about, as well as just some general increases in some of our expenses, such as we expect our insurance cost to go up in 2021. And then there are other charges — some of our professional fees will go up as a result of the cyberattack as well.”

Ramakrishna said most customers understand the hack could have happened to “any vendor, and especially a broadly deployed vendor like SolarWinds.”

SolarWinds' Sudhakar Ramakrishna

SolarWinds’ Sudhakar Ramakrishna

“Equally, they’re eager to see us address the issue and share our learnings, which we are doing,” he said. “The other opportunity that keeps coming up in these discussions is our ability to provide guidance and input to protect the entire environment of our customers as opposed to just focusing on our products, making us a more strategic partner. The majority of our customers that downloaded a version of the affected code have upgraded to our latest version and continue to renew their contracts with us.

Top Priorities

The first priority continues to be ensuring the safety and security of SolarWinds customers, Ramakrishna said. Furthermore, conversations with customers and partners have provided an opportunity to discuss the strength of the company’s portfolio and its future plans.

“I have also spent a significant amount of time on the cyberattack on SolarWinds, both in managing the investigation, as well as working closely with our employees, customers and partners,” he said.

The malicious code known as Sunburst has been removed and is not an ongoing threat in existing versions of SolarWinds’ Orion platform, Ramakrishna said. Additionally, the company hasn’t found Sunburst in any of its more than 70 non-Orion products.

Sunburst exploited substantially fewer customers among those who installed the affected version of SolarWinds’ Orion platform, he said.

3 Primary Areas

SolarWinds‘ efforts are now focused on three primary areas: further securing its internal environment, enhancing its product development environment and ensuring the security and integrity of its products.

“We’ve added a level of security and review through tools, processes, automation and, where necessary, manual checks around our product development processes that we believe goes well beyond industry norms to ensure the integrity and security of all of our products,” Ramakrishna said. “We firmly believe that the Orion software platform and related products, as well as all of our other products can be used by our customers without risk of the Sunburst malicious code. We also formed a new technology and cybersecurity committee of our board.”

Mar 01

Welcome to the 2021 MSP 501 — Apply Now!

By | Managed Services News

It’s go time! The 2021 MSP 501 survey and rankings are officially open for applications.

The 2021 Channel Futures MSP 501 is officially open for submissions. This kicks off the 14th year of the IT channel’s first, largest and most comprehensive survey and ranking of managed service providers (MSPs) worldwide.

Every year, MSPs from around the globe throw their hats in the ring to see how they stack up against their peers. The MSP 501 has evolved from a ranking of a handful of partners to an insightful, data-rich, full report that does more than name the top MSPs in the world; it shows you how they got there. Expect 2021 to be our most captivating year yet.

Since the inception of the MSP 501 14 years ago, winners have been ranked by annual revenue from the previous year. Last year, we decided it was time to re-evaluate our methodology and align it with market trends. Concerning the 2021 application, we have some exciting new judging criteria and a new methodology to judge applicants based on market trends and business best practices.

So, will you make the cut to become a 501er? There’s only one way to find out. Check out our FAQs below, then stand up and be counted in the 2021 Channel Futures MSP 501 survey and rankings!

2021 MSP 501 Application FAQs

Where do I access the survey?

To apply for the 2021 MSP 501, click here.

Can I see the survey application before beginning the submission process?

To download a PDF of the 2021 MSP 501 survey, please click here.

Can I save my progress and return to finish later?

The survey platform defaults to “save.” As long as have cookies enabled and are continuing the application on the same device, you can come back later to complete the survey/form.

Can I edit my answers?

Applicants can back up in the survey and adjust data as needed before clicking on the Submit button. Once you submit an application, we consider it to be final.

Will I receive a copy of my answers?

Upon submittal, applicants who provide their email address when prompted will receive a confirmation email that contains a PDF copy of their responses. We highly suggest you save this PDF for your records.

What do you need for revenue verification?

Download the MSP 501 revenue verification form here, or within the survey. It must be completed with the revenue numbers you have self-reported and signed by a certified financial professional or member of your company’s executive team. You may not submit an application for the 2021 MSP 501 without first uploading the verification document.

Will you disclose my company’s financial information?

Channel Futures/Channel Partners will not disclose specific annual revenue information such as revenue dollars. However, we reserve the right to publish company growth rates based on the private revenue data you submit.

What if I have technical difficulties?

For help troubleshooting your application, please email [email protected] and our team will get back to you shortly. For help with site registration, please email [email protected]

When does the survey close?

The 2021 MSP 501 will close for applications at 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, May 24.

When will Channel Futures announce the winners?

501 winners will be announced in June 2021 – exact date TBD – in our reveal webcast and on Channel Futures. Special award winners will be announced in July. All will be honored at our annual MSP 501 Awards Gala in November at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

How do you evaluate applications to arrive at the rankings?

We use a proprietary algorithm that weighs different revenue streams according to how representative they are of modern business models and forward-thinking managed services strategies.

Can I apply if my company is outside of the traditional managed services business model?

In response to demand from telecom agents, resellers, digital agencies and other non-MSP channel partners that are spinning up managed services practices, we last year launched the NextGen 101, an MSP 501 list. The NextGen 101 recognizes outstanding partners from outside of the traditional managed services business model that are devoting energy and resources to building out recurring managed services revenue streams and creating the channel partner powerhouses of the future. If you’re hoping to earn a coveted spot on the NextGen 101, just apply for the 2021 MSP 501 and you will be automatically submitted for both lists.

What if I can’t remember what I entered last year?

2020 applicants that provided a valid email address and have not opted out of Channel Futures/Informa marketing communications will receive a unique URL that directs them to a company-specific survey with certain pre-populated, editable information such as company information, social handles and self-reported 2018 revenue numbers. For further questions, please email [email protected].

What will winners receive in their award packages?

MSPs that earn a place on the 501 will receive an award package that includes the MSP 501 winners logo; a press release template to announce the win; suggested social media posts; and a Q&A form that winners can return to the MSP 501 editorial team that may be used as the basis for a company profile. Winners of divisional lists such as MSSP, SMB and regional lists will receive separate additional packages.

Where can I learn more?

The MSP 501 has its own landing page on the Channel Futures site. All updates and editorial coverage of the survey and 501ers will be promoted on MSP 501 social channels:

If you have questions or issues not answered here, please email the MSP 501 editorial team at [email protected]. Thanks for your interest, get in there, and best of luck!

Mar 01

IBM Leans on Partners to Bring Cloud Satellite Services to Life

By | Managed Services News

IBM on Monday sent Cloud Satellite into general orbit, and is looking to the channel to help expand its horizons.

Big Blue first announced Cloud Satellite last year. It’s a hybrid cloud as a service platform that operates in any environment — on any cloud, on premises or at the edge. (Think of it as a sort of competitor to Amazon Outposts.) IBM took the product from beta to general status on Monday. The first two supported services will be Cloud Pak for Data and OpenShift as a Service.

IBM's Evaristus Mainsah

IBM’s Evaristus Mainsah

“By launching cloud services to different locations, while the operation remains with a public cloud provider, clients are positioned to more quickly support market expansion, create richer customer experiences and analyze data across locations,” Evaristus Mainsah, general manager of Cloud, Cloud Pak, & Edge Ecosystem, wrote in a blog.

At the same time, IBM said it’s working with more than 65 partners who are building apps and capabilities for Cloud Satellite. Those efforts, Mainsah said, “will help scale IBM Cloud Satellite’s open architecture across environments, accelerating innovation for clients. Together with partners, we can offer transparency and flexibility to help enterprises run workloads where it makes the most sense for their business — whether that is public cloud, their data center or at the edge.”

Right now, those 65 IBM partners are working to offer services from the IBM Cloud Catalog enabled for Cloud Satellite. Tanium, for example, is expanding its operations, security and risk management portfolio.

“We are also helping partners deploy enterprise-ready software certified for Red Hat OpenShift, and use storage, networking, edge and other capabilities on IBM Cloud,” Mainsah said.

Meantime, ADVA, AT&T, Cisco, Dell Technologies, F5, Intel, NetApp, Portworx by Pure Storage and are heads down in projects, too. They each aim to offer storage, networking and server solutions to clients who want to deploy IBM Cloud Satellite on existing infrastructure.

“We support product testing and configuration to help onboard partner solutions to IBM Cloud Satellite to confirm they are optimized for the platform,” Mainsah said. “Working with these partners, we can provide a choice of infrastructure that makes it possible for clients to run workloads in their preferred location.”

Mainsah added the IBM also is bringing the Edge Application Manager to extend deployment of containerized applications from IBM Cloud Satellite locations to far edge devices.

Expanding Partnerships

Meantime, IBM has further expanded its scope with service partners including HCL Technologies, IBM Global Technology Services (NewCo), Prolifics, Tata Consultancy Services and Tech Mahindra. Those collaborations will result in migration and deployment services.

IBM has also teamed with enterprise technology firm Lumen. Lumen is using its Edge Compute platform to deliver IBM Cloud Satellite. That lets customers run data-intensive applications such as video analytics across their environments, with low latency. IBM said hosting on Red Hat Open Shift via IBM Cloud Satellite from a Lumen edge location means cameras and sensors, for instance, can function in near real-time.

IBM touts Cloud Satellite as bringing a secured, unifying layer of cloud services across environments, no matter where data reside. For one thing, this addresses data privacy and sovereignty requirements, IBM said. For another, industries from telecom and financial services to health care and government now can take advantage of reduced latency, the company added.

“Workloads related to online learning, remote work, telehealth services and more can now be delivered with increased efficiency and security with IBM Cloud Satellite,” IBM said in a press release. “As workloads shift to the edge, IBM Cloud Satellite will help clients deliver low latency, while still enabling them to have the same levels of security, data privacy, interoperability and open standards found in hybrid cloud environments.”

IBM manages Cloud Satellite for end users.

Mar 01

It’s Raining Malware: Understanding and Protecting Against Today’s Threats

By | Managed Services News

From using VPNs to heightened security awareness, companies must work harder to stop attacks as people work from home.

Giacom's Daniel Warelow

Daniel Warelow

Webroot's Kelvin Murray

Kelvin Murray

Despite the advancements of antimalware solutions, malware variants are becoming increasingly prevalent, sophisticated and evolved. In addition, there are new trends in execution such as the increased modularity of malware where a combination of attack methods and mix-and-match tactics are used to ensure maximum damage and/or financial loss.

The rise of malware has only been accelerated by COVID-19 as more remote workers access unsecured and home networks, away from the physical help of IT teams or in-person peer support. As many businesses continue to face financial uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, there has been an increase in spam emails requesting legal action for late or missing payments. During the peak of COVID-19, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) took down nearly 300 COVID-19-related scam sites and domains. This signifies government cyberawareness, which is always necessary, but to effectively stop malware and social engineering attacks such as phishing, employees must also be invested in the fight. This cannot be understated, as recent Webroot research into phishing and global click habits has shown over three-quarters of employees are still opening emails and clicking links from unknown senders.

The modern threat landscape and ongoing evolution of malware are loud factors pushing every business to understand and identify modern malware threats and the necessary precautions to take to protect against them. Here we explain how to be cyber resilient in the face of malware in the year ahead.

Malware Education

Without understanding malware – what it is, how it works and the damage it can do to businesses – it’s unfair to expect employees to be capable of protecting against it. For businesses to stay ahead of the storm, educating the workforce is key.

It is uncommon to now find a “one-size-fits-all” form of malware. Instead, each step of the process builds to get the most out of a target, such as this malware and ransomware demand. Below is an example of a brutal, but unfortunately typical, process of infection from the Emotet malware.

  1.  First, attackers gain a foothold within a computer network, often through phishing techniques that get an organisation’s employees to click on emailed links or attached documents. Once clicked on, a malicious script is run which then downloads the main executable, in this case, Emotet.
  2.  Emotet then gains access to additional parts of that network through password theft and other tricks such as the use of exploits and unpatched systems. It spreads as much as it can and then drops its payload. The most common malware used for this stage is Trickbot.
  3.  Trickbot steals every piece of valuable data it can find, including credit card, banking details, bitcoins, and anything else it can send back to the cyber criminals. Trickbot then drops the last payload, which is usually Conti or Ryuk, which encrypts every machine and shared drive it can access before demanding a ransom payment to be made.

By having insight into the stages used and knowledge about how different types of malware work together, employees will be able to understand how modular malware infects computer systems and how they can take action to prevent attacks. Additionally, businesses will be able to identify areas of their network which may be vulnerable.

The Increased Risk of Remote Working

When organisations around the world were ordered to work from home, many weren’t prepared for this physical shift of technologies and network perimeters, amplifying the problem of protecting both personal and proprietary information. From bring your own device (BYOD) risks to working on open networks and employees facing the distractions of being at home, cybersecurity needs to be a priority in today’s working-from-home-world.

Businesses need to take action to reduce the number of vulnerabilities and cyberchallenges associated with a largely or entirely remote workforce. By using a virtual private network (VPN) for all business communications, network and Wi-Fi communications can be kept encrypted, making it much harder for …

Feb 26

Channel Partners Virtual 2021 Is the Hottest Ticket in Town

By | Managed Services News

And that means any town, since it’s 100% online. Will you be there?

Channel Partners Virtual 2021, March 2-4, is the hottest ticket in town. The 100% online channel event will most definitely bring March in like a lion — with a roar. March Madness pales in comparison.

For nearly 25 years, Channel Partners has been the leader in bringing together the best of the best and enabling the channel to build relationships, showcase top solutions and stay up to date on the latest trends.

While 2020 may have been a disruptive year, Channel Partners Virtual 2021 aims to help partners persevere, overcome and progress.

From keynotes and a virtual expo to awards and educational sessions, #CPVirtual will include some familiar features, plus plenty of new and exciting elements as well. There’s even a special online improv performance by The Second City.

We’ll also announce some exciting new initiatives you’ll want to know about. And, of course, there will be some teasers about our Homecoming event this fall, Nov. 1-4, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

If you haven’t registered yet for this don’t-miss event, do it now!

Can’t wait until everything starts on Tuesday? Take a look through the slideshow above for details on some of the outstanding sessions we have in store.

Feb 26

Latest VMware Job Cuts Impact More Workers in California

By | Managed Services News

The layoffs will begin March 30.

The latest VMware cuts will leave more than 100 workers without a job starting in late March.

According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice with the California Employment Development Department, 107 workers are getting the axe. That includes 93 who work at VMware’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters, and 14 who work remotely.

The VMware job cuts will begin March 30.

This is part of a workforce reduction plan that started late last month. All of the layoffs will be permanent. However, VMware isn’t closing the Palo Alto facility.

When we reached out, VMware sent us the following statement:

“This is a part of regular workforce rebalancing that ensures resources across VMware’s global businesses and geographies are aligned with strategic objectives and customer needs. We have an active employee support program to ensure, where possible, all impacted employees find new positions in VMware or outside of the company. We continue to recruit in areas of strategic importance for the company.”

The VMware job cuts will impact technical staff, program management, quality engineering developers and more.

Strong Fiscal 2021

VMware reported a strong fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2021. Full-year revenue was $11.8 billion, growing 9% from fiscal 2020. Furthermore, fourth-quarter revenue increased 7% year over year to reach $3.3 billion.

Last month, VMware layoffs impacted more than 300 employees. Its global workforce totals 33,000, so that was less than 1%.

Last August, several VMware channel execs were among the nearly 150 employees who lost their jobs as part of a regular workforce rebalancing. That followed more than 200 California-based employees losing their jobs last April as part of another “rebalancing.”

This month, Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO for more than eight years, joined Intel as its new CEO.

Feb 26

IGEL Integrates Amazon WorkSpaces DaaS with Its Virtual Endpoint OS

By | Managed Services News

Also, the new Arm-based Raspberry Pi, co-developed by Citrix, IGEL and NComputing, is generally available.

IGEL’s flagship end user computing (EUC) operating system for virtual client devices will work with Amazon WorkSpaces starting next week. IGEL CEO Jed Ayres this week announced an agreement with AWS to integrate the Amazon WorkSpaces client within IGEL OS.

Ayres revealed the Amazon WorkSpaces integration with IGEL OS during his keynote address at the company’s Disrupt Unite virtual event. IGEL OS is the company’s Linux-based EUC software supported on a wide ecosystem of devices, VDI and app workspace environments. While IGEL has partnership with numerous OEMs, it has grown in recent with its ties to Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.

IGEL’s profile in the VDI and end-user computing market has risen in recent years. Its growth accelerated further since forming a significant alliance with Microsoft in 2019. The two companies partnered to make IGEL OS the first validated Linux endpoint for Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service. The release of IGEL OS for WVD was in the spotlight at IGEL’s Disrupt conference just over a year ago.

AWS Shines

At Thursday’s event, held virtually this year because of the pandemic, it was AWS’ turn to take the spotlight. Amazon WorkSpaces will be available on IGEL OS starting March 1, Ayres said during the virtual event. The company is offering free trials.

IGEL's Jed Ayres at Disrupt 2021

IGEL’s Jed Ayres at Disrupt Unite 2021

Microsoft’s WVD and Amazon WorkSpaces are competitive virtual cloud desktop as-a-service (DaaS) offerings. But they also rely on different protocols. WVD uses Microsoft Remote’s Desktop Protocol (RDP), while Amazon WorkSpaces is based on Teradici’s PC-over-IP (PCoIP) protocol. IGEL licensed PCoIP from Teradici two years ago.

“Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed solution, true SaaS, built on the largest cloud infrastructure in the world,” Ayres said. “Amazon customers during COVID-19 were able to spin up thousands of workspaces in days, so that retailers and broadcasters and health care workers can stay productive.”

The Amazon WorkSpaces integration is not the first matchup between AWS and IGEL. Existing Amazon integrations include Amazon’s AppStream managed streaming service and Amazon Connect omnichannel contact center offering.

First IGEL Client on Arm is GA

Among other releases this week, IGEL’s first thin client running its Linux OS on an Arm-based device is now available. NComputing’s new RX420 Arm architecture Raspberry Pi4 is a thin client developed in partnership with Citrix and IGEL.

The three companies partnered a year ago to develop an enterprise thin client built with Arm’s System-on-chip (SoC) architecture. The RX420 is based on optimized versions of IGEL OS, Citrix Workspace App and Citrix Workspace Hub. The device includes built-in dual-band Wi-Fi capability and a gigabit Ethernet interface with support for dual, native 4K displays.

With the optimized IGEL OS, Citrix HDX and Chromium browser, the RX420 is designed for large enterprise and IoT deployments. Moreover, according to IGEL, its Universal Management Suite (UMS) can manage up to 300,000 distributed RX420 endpoints.

Citrix product and design management EVP Sridhar Mullapudi said the new client will boost Arm for enterprise and industrial solutions.

“While Arm has gained a lot of prominence on the consumer side of the industry for a long time, it’s rapidly evolving and growing in the enterprise side,” Mullapudi said.

High Performance UD7 Endpoint

IGEL also launched a new thin client designed to render high-performance graphics, set for release at the end of …

Feb 26

Critical Threat Protection Steps MSSPs, Other Partners Must Take Now

By | Managed Services News

In this second installment in our series on threat protection, vendors discuss what partners have to do this year.

Thanks to COVID-19, and to the increasing sophistication of cybercrime in general, MSSPs and their customers face more challenges to network and data security than ever. As we noted in the first installment in this series on threat protection, vendors have been responding.

Since early January, Channel Futures has tracked an influx of supplier announcements about threat protection products and platforms. From guarding against ransomware and phishing to monitoring employee behavior and activity in SaaS applications, these solutions take aim at different aspects of the technology.

This marks our second segment on the growing trends around threat protection. This time, we ask vendors which aspects of the practice are most imperative for managed security service providers and other channel partners to address in 2021. Click through the slideshow above to find out what they recommend.

Feb 26

Datto Partners with ThreatLocker for Secure MSP Business Operations

By | Managed Services News

MSPs have seen increased security risks for clients amid COVID-19.

A new Datto partnership with ThreatLocker will better secure business operations for MSPs, the companies said. This allows MSPs to protect themselves and their clients’ data from ransomware, data theft and shadow IT.

ThreatLocker works with a large number of MSPs to whitelist apps and limit access to connected apps using its Ringfencing solution. It defines how apps can interact with each other to reduce risks.

With the Datto partnership, MSPs can validate their Datto Autotask PSA account from within the ThreatLocker portal. Successful validation allows MSPs to map their existing Autotask PSA sites to their existing ThreatLocker organizations.

You can also select initial PSA ticket settings through the integration. Moreover, with successful company mapping, PSA tickets can now be created.

The Importance of Zero Trust

Danny Jenkins is ThreatLocker‘s CEO.

ThreatLocker's Danny Jenkins

ThreatLocker’s Danny Jenkins

“It is impossible to spot or detect all threats,” he said. “Zero trust allows you to lock down your system, so when detection fails, which it will and does all the time, the malware, software or the threat cannot execute.”

Privileged access management (PAM) and Ringfencing limit the privileges of applications once they are running, Jenkins said. This is required to stop vulnerable software from being the cause of a breach.

Ransomware remains the most common cyber threat to SMBs. MSPs have seen increased security risks for clients following the move to remote working and accelerated cloud adoption.

It’s imperative that businesses adopt solutions and best practices to protect themselves and their clients’ data from a cyberattack. ThreatLocker claims to address these concerns, combining all the tools MSPs need to operate a successful business.

“Being able to seamlessly manage cybersecurity requests, and approve them is vital to smooth operations of an MSP,” Jenkins said. ” As an MSP, you need to be able to offer more than a bundled antivirus. And you need to offer true managed security. Having the integration of ThreatLocker and Datto allows you to be a true MSP without the large overhead.”

“Datto is excited to partner with ThreatLocker, whose platform and seamless integration with Autotask PSA helps partners to securely manage their business operations,” said Joe Rourke, Datto‘s director of product management. “Partnering with ThreatLocker and their leading cybersecurity solutions, this integration further protects our partners and their clients’ data from malware and malicious threat actors.”

Feb 26

Now That a Brexit Deal is Done, What’s Next for the UK Channel?

By | Managed Services News

There’s an Increased need for virtual services and video conferencing, and a focus on security moving forward.

TBI's Geoff Shepstone

Geoff Shepstone

It’s been several months since a Brexit deal was reached and nothing devastating has occurred within the IT channel, the way some predicted. Yet that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t be prepared for changes to come.

The primary impact of Brexit, over the past four years, has been FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Currency, billing and data security concerns drove this situation, as did talk of runaway shipment delays and potential price increases. Now that transition terms have been agreed upon, however, it seems these worries were largely unfounded. It’s time for organizations to feel more confident moving forward with planned projects.

There are structural reasons for channel partners to be optimistic. Regulations regarding cross-border data transfers may yet develop, but given the prevalence of cloud technologies, those regulations should not significantly alter infrastructure decisions. Even when hardware is involved, such as with SD-WAN installs, most equipment can be sourced and delivered in-region, reducing the impact of any new tariffs that are imposed. Let’s take a look at the real impacts of Brexit on the U.K. channel:

Biggest Brexit Fears Will Be Unfounded

Many experts in the Brexit deliberations expected the outcome to resemble a Y2K situation. Those who were around at that time remember the dire predictions of stuck lorries, ships that couldn’t pass from port to port, closed borders, crashes in the electrical grid, and even food shortages. None of it came to pass.

Brexit had its own share of calamitous prophecies. Companies would migrate from the U.K. to Europe by the hundreds, the economy would screech to a halt and trade chaos would ensue. Something far less apocalyptic lies ahead. Vendors in each region have the resources to provide customers with all kinds of support, from export and logistics capabilities to invoicing in multiple currencies.

Master agencies have appeared ready to help U.K. and EU resellers, distributors and vendors through the transition. At TBI Inc. specifically, we have offices in both regions that can address local or regional concerns as well as allow us to pay commissions in British pounds, euros or U.S. dollars. Master agencies will need this duality to best support both U.K. and EU parties moving forward.

Managed Services and Enterprise Software Will Grow in UK Channel

U.K. customers, in many ways, should see benefits to Brexit as their country transitions away from the EU. Advanced enterprise software products will help in this regard by enabling new systems and processes. These products will help organizations deal with changing requirements, particularly during the Q2/Q3 time frame of 2021. They will be of help in improving supply chain activity; satisfying data privacy, security and residency rules; and ensuring business continuity.

Managed services may benefit the most from the post-Brexit era. Changes in the availability of talent, due to the complexities of work visas and the changing attitudes toward business travel, will impact many IT specialties. Coding, cloud computing, machine learning, software engineering, blockchain, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) will be better served through managed solutions. Difficulties in finding local specialists in fintech, health care and other segments will also increase the need for virtual alternatives.

COVID-19 Should Still Be the Primary Concern

Indications are that COVID-19 will change the nature of channel activity in 2021 in ways more lasting and consequential than …