Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Aug 10

D&H Distributing Launches Next Phase of Pandemic Response Resources

By | Managed Services News

The distributor’s assets for helping customers though the pandemic and beyond are plentiful.

D&H Distributing is out with a bevy of resources to ensure that partners have the resources to help customers with business continuity through the pandemic.

The distributor‘s business continuity resources include assets, tools, marketing materials and resource guides. More specifically, they are guides that focus on vertical markets, an MSP/VAR checklist, customizable brochures on remote work and Wi-Fi optimization. There are also turnkey offerings such as data access and security, remote device management, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), collaboration, UCaaS, desktop hardware, and more.

D&H Distributing's Peter DiMarco

D&H Distributing’s Peter DiMarco

“Recent events have created a unique and challenging scenario for the SMB community, but the channel has stepped up, and has been learning through it all,” said Peter DiMarco, D&H’s vice president of VAR sales. “Small businesses have come to realize how imperative it is to have a contingency strategy in case of a major disruption. We need to work together to implement effective business continuity plans for these companies.”

The business continuity plans that D&H refers to are designed to help customers now and over the long-term to build in resilience for the future.

Assets Galore

D&H Distributing is making assets available to partners to help them keep customers’ businesses connected to critical processes, applications, data, work centers and networks.

Here is a closer look at the D&H Business Continuity Initiative.

  • There is a dedicated mini site where partners will find guidance, tips, statistics, links and strategies. Assets focus on three main categories: data access and security, communication, and desktop hardware. The site outlines solutions in these areas and vendor product information.
  • The mini site also includes links to sales guides that specifically address business continuity for SMBs, and education continuity. The guides provide detailed product information, strategies, solutions and prep questions for partners. These assets help partners develop an active plan for their end customers.
  • A “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guide,” helps partners market health products such as electronic no-contact thermometers and digital pulse oximeters; sanitization solutions like soap dispensers and stands for hand sanitizer stations; and wet wipes and “clean kits.” These products help businesses with a safe return to the office.
  • An on-demand Solutions Lab webcast, “Business Continuity: Planning Now & For the Future” is also available. The session includes info on how offerings from manufacturers can help MSPs safeguard customers against potential disasters. D&H also offers a selection of Microsoft Windows 10-powered devices.

And There’s More

  • Business continuity will be a topic during D&H’s September THREADcast events. The Canada event is scheduled for Sept 16; it is Sept. 30 in the U.S., with a preview on Sept. 30. Sessions and keynotes address topics such as remote networks, telework, distance learning and enhanced home networking connectivity.
  • A D&H Distributing MSP/VAR checklist helps partners create a record of the vendors and services each client subscribes to. The checklist will help partners prioritize the essential network amenities required for continuous operations during a disruptive event. This could include everything from day-to-day tools to essential services, hardware, client devices and communications applications like softphones and VoIP equipment.

D&H partner services marketing brochure templates on business continuity can be customized with partner branding. There are several new templates, including “Continuity Essentials: Rise of The Remote Workforce,” “Continuity Essentials: Supporting the Hybrid & Remote Classroom,” “Work from Home Like a Pro with Lenovo,” and “Avoid Connection Issues by Optimizing Wi-Fi with NetGear.”

This is the distributor’s latest response to the pandemic. Back in mid-March, D&H, along with other distributors, talked about its COVID-19 response with Channel Futures. Soon thereafter, D&H formalized its pandemic response.

Aug 10

D&H Distributing Launches Next Phase of Pandemic Response Resources

By | Managed Services News

The distributor’s assets for helping customers though the pandemic and beyond are plentiful.

D&H Distributing is out with a bevy of resources to ensure that partners have the resources to help customers with business continuity through the pandemic.

The distributor‘s business continuity resources include assets, tools, marketing materials and resource guides. More specifically, they are guides that focus on vertical markets, an MSP/VAR checklist, customizable brochures on remote work and Wi-Fi optimization. There are also turnkey offerings such as data access and security, remote device management, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), collaboration, UCaaS, desktop hardware, and more.

D&H Distributing's Peter DiMarco

D&H Distributing’s Peter DiMarco

“Recent events have created a unique and challenging scenario for the SMB community, but the channel has stepped up, and has been learning through it all,” said Peter DiMarco, D&H’s vice president of VAR sales. “Small businesses have come to realize how imperative it is to have a contingency strategy in case of a major disruption. We need to work together to implement effective business continuity plans for these companies.”

The business continuity plans that D&H refers to are designed to help customers now and over the long-term to build in resilience for the future.

Assets Galore

D&H Distributing is making assets available to partners to help them keep customers’ businesses connected to critical processes, applications, data, work centers and networks.

Here is a closer look at the D&H Business Continuity Initiative.

  • There is a dedicated mini site where partners will find guidance, tips, statistics, links and strategies. Assets focus on three main categories: data access and security, communication, and desktop hardware. The site outlines solutions in these areas and vendor product information.
  • The mini site also includes links to sales guides that specifically address business continuity for SMBs, and education continuity. The guides provide detailed product information, strategies, solutions and prep questions for partners. These assets help partners develop an active plan for their end customers.
  • A “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guide,” helps partners market health products such as electronic no-contact thermometers and digital pulse oximeters; sanitization solutions like soap dispensers and stands for hand sanitizer stations; and wet wipes and “clean kits.” These products help businesses with a safe return to the office.
  • An on-demand Solutions Lab webcast, “Business Continuity: Planning Now & For the Future” is also available. The session includes info on how offerings from manufacturers can help MSPs safeguard customers against potential disasters. D&H also offers a selection of Microsoft Windows 10-powered devices.

And There’s More

  • Business continuity will be a topic during D&H’s September THREADcast events. The Canada event is scheduled for Sept 16; it is Sept. 30 in the U.S., with a preview on Sept. 30. Sessions and keynotes address topics such as remote networks, telework, distance learning and enhanced home networking connectivity.
  • A D&H Distributing MSP/VAR checklist helps partners create a record of the vendors and services each client subscribes to. The checklist will help partners prioritize the essential network amenities required for continuous operations during a disruptive event. This could include everything from day-to-day tools to essential services, hardware, client devices and communications applications like softphones and VoIP equipment.

D&H partner services marketing brochure templates on business continuity can be customized with partner branding. There are several new templates, including “Continuity Essentials: Rise of The Remote Workforce,” “Continuity Essentials: Supporting the Hybrid & Remote Classroom,” “Work from Home Like a Pro with Lenovo,” and “Avoid Connection Issues by Optimizing Wi-Fi with NetGear.”

This is the distributor’s latest response to the pandemic. Back in mid-March, D&H, along with other distributors, talked about its COVID-19 response with Channel Futures. Soon thereafter, D&H formalized its pandemic response.

Aug 10

Tiffani Bova on How Partners Can Get ‘Back to Growth’

By | Managed Services News

Channel partners well-positioned to help customers and their businesses will thrive.

Getting back to growth is almost every partner’s dream right now. That’s why you sit up and pay attention when Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, speaks on the topic. Bova is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Channel Partners Virtual, Sept. 8-10.

Salesforce's Tiffani Bova

Salesforce’s Tiffani Bova

While partners’ value to their customers during the pandemic has risen, knowing how to stay afloat and responsive to customers is a learning curve. Many partners lack a clear path forward. The pandemic has forced client companies to reconsider IT initiatives, which in turn forces partners to reconsider their short and longer-term business strategy.

Bova is all about thinking forward. During her opening keynote, Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. ET, she’ll share a road map for getting business back on track. That includes how to sell into your existing base of customers and/or find new business.

Channel Futures: The pandemic threw everyone into disarray. Six months in, many channel partner businesses are operating day to day. What will you share with partners about getting back on track?

Tiffani Bova: We talked here at our office of innovation and came up with three distinct workstreams. Companies can use them to navigate during this time.

CF: Let’s hear more about them.

TB: One is stabilizing the business. The next is moving back to the office. The third is “back to growth.”

Salesforce’s Tiffani Bova is one of dozens of industry speakers who will “take the stage” at Channel Partners Virtual. Our online trade show is Sept. 8-10. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event. Register now!

The first workstream is getting people to work from home, making sure your employees are OK and your customers are OK. We can say for the most part that stabilization is behind us.

But as we come in and out of potential lock downs and spikes, people might be sent home again. So stabilizing might come in and out.

The second workstream, I call back to the office. Some industries are trying to get employees back to the office. So how do you do that? Do you stagger work hours? Does one team work 8 a.m.-noon and another from 1-5 p.m., and in between that the office is cleaned?

Or, you’re a service industry and you’re going to show up at your client’s office. Is there a protocol for keeping everyone safe? Are you going to get back to visiting clients in person? What does that look like?

The third workstream is back to growth. How do start to put your foot back on the gas on some of the things you were doing pre-pandemic? That could be marketing funds, acquisition campaigns, upselling and cross-selling.

We all have to be aware and mindful of the tone in which we are messaging. It can’t be buy, buy, buy.

We recommend that each of the streams has an entire work group focused exclusively on that stream.

CF: Back to growth is probably top of mind for all attendees. What does back to growth look like?

TB: This is the jump-off point where I get talk about how people are growing right now, why I believe that this is the year of the customer and not the prospect. I’ll talk about going into the base and cross-selling and upselling. And making sure that customers have everything they need.

I feel like the channel, especially this particular channel, is in a perfect position to help on all three of the workstreams. Working from home is VPNs, laptops, security and creating Zoom rooms, and how do you do that? There are customer service calls. If your customer service was all in one place, now it’s distributed across everyone’s homes. What does that look like? For telephony, connectivity, networking and infrastructure partners, there’s a ton of work. Even on the front-office side.

CF: So why should partners attend your keynote?

TB: It will provide an easy and scalable framework to navigate stabilizing the business, getting back to the office, and getting back to growth.

Aug 10

Key Considerations for Implementing Secure Telework at Scale

By | Managed Services News

Learn how to secure a seamless transition from “business as usual” in the office to a fully remote workforce!

The ability to rapidly transition an organization’s workforce to telework is an essential component of a business continuity plan. However, remote workers create additional security requirements and different security challenges than on-site employees.

Beyond basic requirements, teleworkers may use untrusted devices to access company resources and are more likely to fall prey to social engineering during a crisis, creating more security risks.

Learn how to secure a seamless transition from “business as usual” in the office to a fully remote workforce!

Brought to you by:

Fortinet program logo

Aug 10

Top Gun 51 Profile: Weyman Jones, Dropsuite Sales Manager

By | Managed Services News

In 11 years in the channel, Jones has learned some helpful lessons about earning the trust of partners.

Weyman Jones arrived as the Dropsuite national sales manager in 2018 to build up the cloud software company’s channel partner program. He must be doing something right because already he’s been selected as a Channel Partners/Channel Futures 2020 Top Gun 51 winner.

Weyman Jones of Dropsuite

Dropsuite’s Weyman Jones

The Channel Partners/Channel Futures Top Gun 51 awards recognize channel executives who are driving partner success for their companies. Three criteria were considered for this year’s winners. They are channel advocacy; commitment to partner business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust. To come up with the list, we solicited input from those who know channel executives best — distributors, master agents and industry analysts.

Jones has worked in the channel for almost 11 years, including tenures at BitTitan and AppRiver. At BitTitan, he was a senior business development manager from 2015-2018. At AppRiver, he worked as a channel sales representative from 2012-2015. From 1994-2004, he served as a recruiter for the U.S. Navy.

Among its services, Dropsuite provides cloud backup, recovery and archiving for email and Microsoft 365.

The Dropsuite channel sales manager spoke with Channel Futures about what his involvement in the channel means to him in his work.

Channel Futures: What does your job at Dropsuite involve on a daily basis?

Weyman Jones: As director of sales, it involves the sales process, training, sales cycles and more. We have global channel involvement. The channel comes through me and we deal with distributors, partners and others. I was brought in to build our channel up.

CF: What else can you tell us about your work history with the channel?

WJ: I’ve worked in the channel for almost 11 years. From day one when I got into this, I was always involved in the channel. The first sale I ever made was to an MSP through the channel. It’s where my focus and knowledge base exist every day.

CF: What do you think makes the channel important to the IT industry?

WJ: Becoming a trusted adviser in the channel, you’re not just telling a partner that they need something. It’s also understanding what the channel means to them and coming at it from that end. My work at AppRiver and BitTitan taught me that. Partners come to you for knowledge. They want you to help them understand the whole channel process, the product life cycle and what it looks like.

CF: What most interests you about this channel work as Dropsuite’s sales manager?

WJ: I’m a naturally curious person. We’re not just trying to sell you something. We want to ask what you need, and then develop those long-term relationships. I had partner relationships when I worked at other companies, and those partners work with me and rely on me.

CF: How is Dropsuite’s nascent partner program going so far?

WJ: Dropsuite is a forward-thinking company. The presentation I would have given you about Dropsuite six months ago is not the same one I’d give now. We are very innovative. We show partners our road map under NDA to show them where we are going

CF: What is Dropsuite’s position on diversity today?

WJ: Dropsuite is historically a diverse company because we are global. We were already there when it comes to diversity. I think it naturally happened because our executive team is diverse in their backgrounds.

CF: Have you had notable mentors who helped teach you the skills you needed to learn about the channel?

WJ: In the channel; you have to have multiple mentors. I’m extremely lucky to have been at world-class companies in my career. My bosses in those companies showed empathy in understanding partners and being naturally curious. That’s something I’ve tried to replicate myself.

CF: What does this Top Gun 51 award mean to you as Dropsuite channel sales manager?

WJ: It is truly an honor to be recognized. Dropsuite and I are punching above our weight.

Aug 09

Top 7 Takeaways from CompTIA ChannelCon Online 2020

By | Managed Services News

The virtual conference touched on many important conversations and movements in the channel.

Friday marked the end of ChannelCon Online 2020, the virtual conference presented by CompTIA. The conference attracted more than 20,000 views during the three days it was live.

The “Future Focused” event covered a wide array of topics, from diversity and inclusion in tech, to maintaining (and growing) your sales pipeline in times of economic uncertainty, to a global perspective on what the future looks like for tech businesses after COVID-19.

Click through our slideshow above to view the top seven takeaways from ChannelCon Online 2020.

Aug 09

6 Tips for Managed Service Providers When Selecting an IT Infrastructure Monitoring Solution

By | Managed Services News

Flexibility is key to success for Service Providers that depend on monitoring to keep their clients’ businesses running like clockwork.

Flexibility is key to success for Service Providers that depend on monitoring to keep their clients’ businesses running like clockwork, even as their IT infrastructure evolves. As a forward-thinking MSP, you know you need a monitoring solution that can keep pace with the speed of business, one that is easy to deploy, works seamlessly in hybrid infrastructure environments, can scale automatically in line with growth, and extend monitoring to whatever is mission-critical for clients (commercial equipment, sensors, cameras, commercial freezers, business management applications, etc.).

Download this white paper for six tips that will help you select the right performance monitoring solution for your business.

Brought to you by: 

Aug 09

Fortinet OV Brochure

By | Managed Services News

Fortinet’s mission is to deliver the most innovative, highest-performing network security fabric to secure and simplify your IT infrastructure.

Learn more about what makes them a leading global provider of…

  • Network security and SD-WAN.
  • Authentication.
  • Public and private cloud security.
  • Endpoint security.
  • And more!

Brought to you by:

Fortinet program logo

Aug 07

SolarWinds: Channel Partners Could Benefit from Potential MSP Spinoff

By | Managed Services News

SolarWinds expects to hear from partners about this potential spinoff in the coming months.

SolarWinds channel partners are a top priority as the company considers a potential spinoff of its MSP business.

If the spinoff happens, the MSP business would be a separately traded public company. The standalone entity would provide IT service management to help MSPs deliver outsourced IT services to their SMB end customers.

SolarWinds would retain its core IT management business focused primarily on corporate IT organizations. The company doesn’t expect to complete the transaction before the end of March 2021.

Partner Benefit Important in Decision

Kevin Thompson is SolarWinds president and CEO. He said SolarWinds channel partners will play a key role in the decision.

SolarWinds' Kevin Thompson

SolarWinds’ Kevin Thompson

“The decision to consider the potential spinoff of SolarWinds MSP was driven first and foremost by what we believe would benefit our customers and partners the most, for both the core IT and MSP sides,” he said. “These businesses support markets that while similar in many ways, have reached different points in their growth curves. If this spinoff takes place, we believe it would give us the opportunity to put even more dedicated resources to work for both the traditional IT pro and the MSP in unique ways.” 

For the MSP in particular, SolarWinds sees that market as poised for a sizable jump. That’s “given the reality of where we are right now in terms of how businesses, SMBs in particular, work and use technology,” Thompson said.

“The SMB has never needed more support than they do now, and folks who would have never thought to outsource IT are now making that move,” he said. “Based on our view of the market, we believe the second wave of growth is going to come in pretty fast and we want to be sure we’re doing all we can to give MSPs the chance to take advantage of it. I can say that whether we make this move or not, our partner-first focus will remain our top priority.”

Partner Feedback Expected

SolarWinds has just started exploring a potential spinoff, Thompson said.

“For our partners, our continued commitment to delivering IT solutions that make their lives easier remains fully intact,” he said. “The way they work with us, buy from us and leverage our expertise isn’t going to change.”

SolarWinds expects to hear from partners about this potential spinoff in the coming months, Thompson said.

“We have built a massive community of technology professionals that include IT pros, MSPs and developers, and we’ll continue to look to them to help guide how we work and prioritize,” he said.

Omdia's Roy Illsley

Omdia’s Roy Illsley

Roy Illsley is chief analyst of IT and enterprise for Omdia. The spinoff could be a way to lessen the impact of AI for IT operations (AIOps) on SolarWinds, he said. AIOps involves the use of big data analytics, machine learning and other artificial-intelligence technologies to automate the identification and resolution of common IT issues.

“I do know SolarWinds and the market they operate in,” he said. “They tend to be found in SME organizations, and this sector also makes greater use of MSPs for the delivery of management. In my opinion, the on-premises infrastructure management market is one where the rise of AIOps is set to disrupt. It may take time to be a threat to the market SolarWinds plays in, but it is coming. The spinoff sounds like a way of separating the different revenue streams and mitigating the impact of the AIOps impact.”

Aug 07

Black Hat: Public Opinion Hacking Hits Fever Pitch

By | Managed Services News

More research on public opinion hacking is needed to inform policymakers.

If you’ve retweeted or shared a provocative meme or unconfirmed information about COVID-19, you could be enabling public opinion hacking.

Public opinion hacking has hit a fever pitch and should intensify even more leading up to the November general election.

This week’s virtual Black Hat USA 2020 conference featured a keynote on how information operations are working overtime to manipulate public opinion. Renee DiResta, research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, heads up research in this area.

Jeff Moss, Black Hat founder and director, said there’s not enough research on public opinion hacking to inform policymakers and “tell us what to do about it.”

“This one social media company thinks they found the solution,” he said. “Another one thinks they’ll label fake news. And another thinks they’ll ignore fake news and let the wisdom of the crowd tag the news and fix it for us. Everybody has a different approach. And that’s exciting because we can test a lot of hypotheses. But we don’t actually have enough academic, rigorous work being done.”

DiResta said her group studies the abuse of current information technologies with a focus on social media.

Stanford Internet Observatory's Renee DiResta

Renee DiResta

“Information operations increasingly involve the full spectrum of overt to covert propaganda, mass media as well as social media, agent influence activities, and at times network penetration,” she said.

Information Operation Tactics

Misinformation is in the news a lot lately, particularly related to COVID-19, DiResta said. It’s information that’s inadvertently wrong and “people are sharing it because they want to inform their communities, she said.

Disinformation is deliberately misleading, she said. So the person who’s sharing it has the intent to influence and deceive.

“They know the information is wrong,” DiResta said. “They know that it’s misleading or maligned, or not coming from the source they’re claiming it comes from. But they’re sharing it anyway.”

Propaganda is information with an agenda, she said. The specifics of the agenda vary, but the intent is to persuade someone or distract them, or make them take an action or feel a certain way, she said.

And finally there are agents of influence, or people who work to influence an audience, DiResta said.

“And unbeknownst to that audience, they’re beholden to somebody else,” she said. “They’re operating in service to a powerful figure.”

Russia Is ‘Best in Class’

Russia, at the moment, is the “best in class” for information operations, DiResta said. The country has demonstrated not only full-spectrum propaganda, but far more sophisticated activities related to agents of influence, media manipulation and network infiltration, she said.

“Russia has been able to not only hack public opinion by working the social ecosystem, but hacking public opinion by hacking public officials and institutions, and using the information it obtains in information operations deployed on broadcast and social media,” she said.

Much of Russia’s efforts focus on getting unwilling participates to help spread their communications, DiResta said.

In terms of the general election, several tactics will accelerate in the next few months, she said. Those include hack-and-leak operations, possible voting machine hacking, the infiltration of groups and the amplification of narratives, she said.

“Even if not a single vote is changed, releasing the information claiming that you have successfully hacked a machine will cause havoc, DiResta said.

Ultimately the goal will be to undermine confidence in the legitimacy of the election, she said.

“When we talk about information operations, it’s important to note that these personas and their materials resonate because of underlying, existing societal divides,” DiResti said. “You can’t hack a social system if …

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