Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jul 31

COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges IT Departments to Support Remote Workers

By | Managed Services News

IT pros agree that cloud and automation will boost resiliency.

The COVID-19 pandemic challenges IT departments to support the remote workers with confidence. LogicMonitor research finds that 84% of global IT leaders are responsible for their customers’ digital experience, but three in five (61%) don’t have a high level of confidence in their ability to do so.

That’s according to Evolution of IT Research Report, which the cloud infrastructure monitoring platform provider just released. The commissioned research surveyed 500 IT decision makers across a variety of roles and geographic regions in May and June. The goal was to find out how global IT departments are adapting in the era of remote work.

A second key finding in the research is the accelerated shift to cloud amid the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The third is around automation. There is overwhelming agreement among IT departments that automation is key to efficiency. As a result, adoption is on the table over the next few years.

LogicMonitor's Kevin McGibben

LogicMonitor’s Kevin McGibben

“Maintaining business continuity is both more difficult and more important than ever in the era of COVID-19,” said Kevin McGibben, CEO and president of LogicMonitor. “IT teams are being asked to do whatever it takes – from accelerating digital transformation plans to expanding cloud services – to keep people connected and businesses running, as many offices and storefronts pause in-person operations. Our research confirms that the time is now for modern enterprises to build automation into their IT systems and shift workloads to the cloud to safeguard IT resiliency.”

Common Concerns

The report findings echo the sentiments expressed by IT executives at a recent CompTIA Partner Summit session – Preparing for the Next Challenge: Preparedness from Today’s IT Leaders. The session focused on COVID-19 pandemic challenges.

At the virtual summit, a trio of IT executives discussed the impact of the pandemic on their companies and departments, and how they’re rethinking their IT strategies.

Business worldwide took a hit when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. For IT teams, resiliency plans were suddenly in the spotlight. As record numbers of employees were forced to work from home, businesses quickly discovered whether they had the right infrastructure in place to support them.

The LogicMonitor research found that 86% of companies had a business continuity prior to June. The exception was the education sector. Only one in four (24%) IT professionals there reported having a continuity plan.

With or without a business continuity plan in place, IT decision makers had reservations about their IT infrastructure and its resilience in the face of a crisis. One in three (36%) felt “very prepared,” 53% were “somewhat prepared,” 10% reported a small chance of withstanding a crisis and 1% had no confidence in preparedness.

Cloud and Automation

Here are top 5 crisis concerns for IT leaders. This is if people must work remotely or can’t access the office in a reasonable time frame.

  1. Having to deal with internet outages or other technical issues remotely (49%).
  2. Strain on the network from having too many individuals logging in remotely (49%).
  3. Having to deal with coworkers logging in through VPNs (38%).
  4. Not being able to access the hardware they need (33%).
  5. Teleconference software not being secure enough (28%).

It’s no surprise that accelerated cloud adoption is seen as one strategy for resiliency. Here are some survey results about where workloads reside pre-COVID-19 and will reside post COVID-19.

  • Pre-COVID-19, 35% of workloads were on-premises. Post-COVID-19 that number will shrink to 22%.
  • Pre-COVID-19, 23% of workloads were in the public cloud. Post-COVID-19 that number will increase to 28%.
  • Pre-COVID-19, 25% of workloads were in a private cloud. Post-COVID-19 that number will increase to 30%.
  • Pre-COVID-19, 17% of workloads were in a hybrid cloud. Post-COVID-19 that number will increase to 20%.

The lion’s share (94%) of IT leaders surveyed expect IT automation to become a focus in the next three years. In fact, in the midst of a crisis, only 39% of organizations felt “very confident” in their IT department’s ability to maintain continuous uptime and availability. For organizations that have already automated, that percentage rose to 50%.

Jul 31

FASTCHAT: Why MDR is Essential to Battling Ransomware and Boosting Channel Partner Revenue

By | Managed Services News

According to Gartner, 90 percent of security buyers have shifted their focus from traditional security asset management to threat detection and response. In this video, Fortinet Sr. Director of MSSP & Service Enablement Stephan Tallent explores why Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is so hot, addresses the challenges that channel partners face in offering MDR solutions, and explains why single-vendor MDR stacks translate to higher profit margins.

Jul 31

Claroty: VPN Vulnerabilities Endanger OT Networks

By | Managed Services News

Numerous servers are still vulnerable to exploitation.

Claroty has discovered VPN vulnerabilities that could threaten industries like oil and gas, water and electric utilities.

The VPNs access operation technology (OT) networks that these industries use. And while updates have been issued to fix the VPN vulnerabilities, numerous servers are still vulnerable to exploitation.

The National Security Agency warns that VPN vulnerabilities could pose a threat if not properly secured. The agency’s warning came amid a surge in remote work as organizations adapted to COVID-19 related office closures and other constraints.

As remote work persists in industries that use OT networks, the VPN approach for remote security might not be as secure as previously believed. The findings from Claroty note that vulnerable remote access servers can be highly effective attack surfaces for threat actors targeting VPNs.

To find out more about these VPN vulnerabilities, we spoke with Nadav Erez, research team lead at Claroty.

Channel Futures: How did Claroty discover these VPN vulnerabilities?

Claroty's Nadav Erez

Claroty’s Nadav Erez

Nadav Erez: The Claroty research team constantly tracks global trends in security. We inspect possible attack surfaces in our customers’ networks. In the past few months, we have seen a great increase in the use of remote access solutions that lead directly into OT networks, and as the usage increases, so does the exposure to vulnerabilities in these types of platforms. Based on that, we chose to deeply investigate several products that are widely used in different OT domains. Once we identified these products as Moxa’s EDR-G902/3, Secomea’s GateManager, and HMS Networks’ eWon solution, we further investigated them to discover those reported vulnerabilities.

CF: Are these VPN vulnerabilities still dangerous? Can malicious hackers exploit them?

NE: Claroty maintains a responsible disclosure policy; therefore, we made sure all involved vendors have issued updated versions where the vulnerabilities have been fixed. Having said that, Claroty is monitoring internet-facing servers. … We still see hundreds of such servers that have not yet been updated; therefore, they may be exploited to gain access to the networks to which they provide access.

CF: What sort of damage could result from exploiting these VPN vulnerabilities?

NE: The affected VPN-based remote access solutions are used primarily to provide offsite personnel with access to OT networks within industrial enterprises and critical infrastructure – including oil and gas, water utility and electric utility providers – where secure connectivity to remote sites is critical. Successfully exploiting the vulnerabilities would give an attacker direct access to OT field devices and the ability to inflict physical damage to them; for example, shutting down or otherwise disrupting production.

CF: What aren’t organizations doing that they should be doing to protect themselves from these VPN vulnerabilities?

NE: Many organizations don’t realize the unique risks of enabling remote access for OT, as opposed to IT. While the security features of most VPNs make them generally well-suited and secure for IT remote access, such features tend to be …

Jul 31

MSP 501 Flashback: Business System Solutions Lands on Its Feet Again

By | Managed Services News

A few business ups and downs don’t throw BSS off kilter.

Our 2019 MSP 501 Comeback Kid special award winner, Business System Solutions (BSS), knows adversity. So when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck the partner business in March, president Bill Ooms got into gear. He managed BSS and his clients’ businesses through the uncertainty, and less than three months later is back on track.

Business System Solutions' Bill Ooms

Business System Solutions’ Bill Ooms

The degenerative eye condition that forced Ooms to rethink and turn around his business in 2012 also forced him to put his business management background in the forefront. That meant not being the IT expert that worked in dark rooms and under desks. Instead, he is 100% focused on working on the business instead of in the business. That career change for Ooms once again helped save his business; this time, when the pandemic hit.

“We easily moved to working from home. Our staff basically picked up their laptops and the next day started supporting our clients remotely,” Ooms told Channel Futures. “Certainly, the first two months were almost 100% remote. So no projects and delays in onsite customer work. That cut down on revenue for a couple of months.”

Also, the normal PC replacement schedule was delayed.

BSS Takes Action

With that, BSS cut expenses.

“We took a good business approach to lowering expenses because revenue was not going to come in,” said Ooms. “It was a concern during the first month or two. April was our worst month.”

Things started to pick up in June. “Now, all of sudden, we’re very busy with projects,” he said.

That’s with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other pandemic safety precautions in place.

Be counted among your peers as one of the top managed service providers in the world. Click here for the 2020 MSP 501 application.

Business as usual for BSS came to an abrupt stop in March when Indiana issued its first stay-at-home order. None of the partner’s employees worked from home prior to the order; however, six months before COVID-19 rocked everyone’s world, BSS moved to Microsoft SharePoint. The firm’s RMM and PSA tools were already in the cloud, and users were on Azure. Security was in place, including multifactor authentication.

“There was nothing that tied our employees to the office, technically,” said Ooms.

During this time, one employee left the company for a great opportunity. Another employee was let go for performance reasons. Ooms opted not to fill the positions at that time as part of his expense precautions. This week, he filled the two positions and BSS is hiring an additional employee.

“So we’ll be up to 16 employees by the middle of August,” he said.

Customers Stay Put

The good news for the partner business is that the pandemic did not scare away customers. But a few cut their staff dramatically and significantly reduced their monthly managed services plan with BSS.

During the pandemic, customer requests came in to help them work from home, set up or use an existing VPN and train employees to connect to the VPN or remotely to their desktops. BSS technicians responded to everyday IT support issues.

BSS did a couple of things to help customers. First, the partner offered …

Jul 30

Mimecast Beefs Up Email Security with MessageControl Acquisition

By | Managed Services News

MessageControl’s services help stop social engineering and human identity attacks.

Mimecast is buying MessageControl, an email and messaging security provider, to strengthen its email security strategy.

MessageControl helps stop social engineering and human identity attacks with machine learning (ML) technology. Mimecast didn’t say how much it paid for MessageControl.

Together, the two companies will offer customers stronger protection against advanced phishing and impersonation attacks while using productivity apps like Microsoft 365. Additionally, they will protect against the inadvertent loss of sensitive and confidential data. MessageControl also will further enhance Mimecast’s threat intelligence.

Peter Bauer is Mimecast‘s co-founder and CEO.

Mimecast's Peter Bauer

Mimecast’s Peter Bauer

“The addition of MessageControl strengthens Mimecast’s email security 3.0 strategy to help partners address customers’ threats at the email perimeter, inside the organization and beyond so that they are covering all their bases,” Bauer said.

More Email Security Benefits

Mimecast email security will get more benefits from the MessageControl acquisition. They include:

  • Using machine learning to build a library of known and unknown patterns for an individual user. And making real-time decisions on 1 billion-plus unique user behavior data points.
  • Giving users more intelligent warnings about potential untrusted senders or content into emails.
  • Notifying employees before they accidentally send information to the wrong recipients using historical sending patterns to predict anomalies.

“The acquisition of MessageControl gives Mimecast the ability to see further into the life cycle of an email attack by utilizing ML capabilities to identify anomalous behaviors, receive real-time, contextual warnings in an email, and prevent misaddressed email data leaks,” Bauer said. “The technology is designed to get smarter over time.”

Recent research from Mimecast found impersonation fraud, phishing and internal threats or data leaks are all on the rise. IT and security leaders have seen the volume of each increase over the last year.

“Bringing MessageControl under the Mimecast roof will expand [MessageControl] partners’ reach by allowing them to offer stronger protection against advanced phishing and impersonation attacks within a suite of cyber resilience solutions — from email and web security, through brand protection, security awareness training and data protection,” Bauer said.

“Mimecast’s portfolio of solutions offers MessageControl the opportunity to expand its reach to protect even more organizations against the advanced threats plaguing the market today,” said Paul Everton, MessageControl’s founder and CTO. “We’re excited to join the Mimecast team as we continue on our mission to stop social engineering and human identity attacks.”

In January, Mimecast bought Segasec, a provider of digital threat protection, to provide brand exploitation protection using ML to identify potential hackers at the earliest stages of an attack.

Jul 30

CompTIA Partner Summit Online 2020: IT Leaders Prepare for Challenges

By | Managed Services News

Prepare for a crisis and you’ll be prepared for anything.

CompTIA Partner Summit Online, held this week, focused on the critical skills and competencies that IT and security professionals need. In a world reshaped by COVID-19, the conference theme –The Next Wave: Reskilling for The Future – is more relevant than ever.

In a session – Preparing for the Next Challenge: Preparedness from Today’s IT Leaders – a panel of three senior IT executives talked about lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Session moderator James Stanger, CompTIA’s chief technology evangelist, refers to the evolution of IT as pre-COVID, during COVID and post COVID.

The session from the virtual event featured a trio of panelists. They were Michael Geraghty, chief information officer for the state of New Jersey; Clem Craven, senior cybersecurity training lead at BT (British Telecom); and Illysa Ortsmann, senior vice president, global head of technology and infrastructure, at Christie’s Auction House. The three talked about the IT preparedness of their organizations before the pandemic hit, and where they go from here.

The CompTIA Partner Summit panelists quickly revealed that their organizations were in different levels of preparedness for the pandemic. As a result, their road map has changed. The input from these high-level IT professionals is vital for partners when they think about helping their customers.

BT Shines

In a perfect world, many companies would like to be in BT’s shoes.

When Craven joined the company in 2012, he was issued a laptop. In fact, everyone has laptops, he said. Not so with desktops.

CompTIA's Clem Craven

CompTIA’s Clem Craven

“We’re agile. We can work from any BT building or work from home. When the pandemic restrictions happened, it was normal for us. We didn’t notice a major issue,” he said.

There was some backend work required; for example, checks on network capacity, but employees routinely work from home or in the various offices. Connections are over a VPN or the internet.

“All of our systems are configured for collaboration,” he said.

Craven’s team is all over the U.K., but chat and collaborate using Microsoft Teams, Skype, WebEx or SharePoint, regardless of where they are in the world.

“You would expect that from us being a network company. It would be embarrassing if that didn’t happen. We were able to pick up and carry on as normal. We have that resilience built in,” he said.

Geraghty talked about what’s it like on the other end of the spectrum. IT was somewhat prepared. He required his employees have a laptop and take it home at night. In the cybersecurity space, no one can predict when bad things will happen.

Michael Geraghty“So, we’re 24/7 in the event of incident. We have the capability to work from anywhere,” he said.

Others Face Challenges

It was the rest of the state government in New Jersey that struggled. There was a …

Jul 30

Top Gun 51 Profile: McAfee Global Channel Leader Kathleen Curry

By | Managed Services News

Partners will invest in your business if you give them a fair and profitable path to do so.

Kathleen Curry is steadfastly focused on making sure McAfee channel partners know how their hard work leads to successful business results.

Curry joined McAfee as its senior vice president of global enterprise channels, OEM and strategic alliances in April.  The former Apple sales executive has advocated for the channel in all of her positions.

McAfee's Kathleen Curry

McAfee’s Kathleen Curry

Since joining McAfee, she’s been questioning at every turn how to improve McAfee channel partners’ profit, engagement and support in the field. She is a channel-first leader who ensures her partners are top of mind across the organization and in the C-suite. So say those who nominated her — the distributors, master agents and industry analysts we polled to compile the prestigious Channel Partners/Channel Futures Top Gun 51.

Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. Our nomination panel considered three criteria in recommending this year’s group: advocacy for the channel; commitment to partners’ business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Curry talks about what drew her to the channel and what McAfee channel partners can expect in the months ahead.

Channel Futures: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?

Kathleen Curry: I was attracted to sales very early in my career, starting at Oracle. While I enjoyed direct sales, I found that I really excelled at building partner relationships, connecting people and aligning business strategies. I found great fulfillment in finding win-win opportunities between us, the partner and our customers — so much so that I dedicated my career to it.

McAfee’s Kathleen Curry is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

CF: Have you been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up? If so, how did your experience come into play in these processes?

KC: I have been a part of reimagining and restructuring partner programs a few times in my career. When I was leading Americas channels at Symbol Technologies, we were acquired by Motorola. We both had robust channel programs, but very different go-to-market approaches. I was part of the integration team to build a new, joint program that protected and rewarded unique technical skills, as well as market presence and investment. We effectively addressed bringing together Symbol’s open channel approach with Motorola’s closed channel approach. It not only helped maintain current business trajectory, it bolstered it. Similarly at NCR, we acquired a company with a closed channel and deep market presence in a new vertical. With a very similar approach to my previous experience, we launched a new program that effectively addressed and embraced all partner communities.

I’ve been a part of rolling out many big and small program changes in my career. The hard part is making sure you’ve thought through all the potential areas of impact to the partner community, across all types of partners and in every region. You cannot think hard enough about this. When you think you’re done, go back and review again. Review it with partners themselves and be open to making changes. While programs are meant to increase business trajectory, they don’t always have the same positive impact for every partner. It is important that the partner community believes you’ve fairly considered all aspects of program decision impacts. While not intended, a partner will …

Jul 30

Phishing Report: Hook Line & Sinker

By | Managed Services News

When we talk about phishing, it might conjure up memories of scam emails from foreign princes, chock-full of terrible typos, grammar mistakes, and other easy-to-spot signs that the message might not be legitimate. If you’re thinking in those terms, it might shock you to find out how many people actually fall for such attacks.

In partnership with Wakefield Research, Carbonite surveyed 4,000 office workers across the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Japan on their phishing knowledge and clicking habits. It then consulted with Dr. Cleotilde Gonzalez, research professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, to gain a deeper insight into the question: what is it that makes people click?

This report digs deeper into the survey results and present Carbonite’s own understanding of these statistics, as well as analysis from Dr. Gonzalez, insights from cybersecurity experts, real-world phishing stories from customers and partners, and tips on how to stay safe from phishing threats.

Brought to you by:
Carbonite program logo

Jul 30

Phishing Report: Hook Line & Sinker

By | Managed Services News

When we talk about phishing, it might conjure up memories of scam emails from foreign princes, chock-full of terrible typos, grammar mistakes, and other easy-to-spot signs that the message might not be legitimate. If you’re thinking in those terms, it might shock you to find out how many people actually fall for such attacks.

In partnership with Wakefield Research, Carbonite surveyed 4,000 office workers across the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Japan on their phishing knowledge and clicking habits. It then consulted with Dr. Cleotilde Gonzalez, research professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, to gain a deeper insight into the question: what is it that makes people click?

This report digs deeper into the survey results and present Carbonite’s own understanding of these statistics, as well as analysis from Dr. Gonzalez, insights from cybersecurity experts, real-world phishing stories from customers and partners, and tips on how to stay safe from phishing threats.

Brought to you by:
Carbonite program logo

Jul 30

Phishing Report: Hook Line & Sinker

By | Managed Services News

When we talk about phishing, it might conjure up memories of scam emails from foreign princes, chock-full of terrible typos, grammar mistakes, and other easy-to-spot signs that the message might not be legitimate. If you’re thinking in those terms, it might shock you to find out how many people actually fall for such attacks.

In partnership with Wakefield Research, Carbonite surveyed 4,000 office workers across the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Japan on their phishing knowledge and clicking habits. It then consulted with Dr. Cleotilde Gonzalez, research professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, to gain a deeper insight into the question: what is it that makes people click?

This report digs deeper into the survey results and present Carbonite’s own understanding of these statistics, as well as analysis from Dr. Gonzalez, insights from cybersecurity experts, real-world phishing stories from customers and partners, and tips on how to stay safe from phishing threats.

Brought to you by:
Carbonite program logo

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