IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of February 26th

A flurry of products from NXP, stacks of cloud and security product launches, and phones aplenty from Mobile World Congress—including one for the discriminating paranoia sufferer—were among the many stories we’re finally getting around to. By James E. Gaskin

Still jonesing for more Olympics? Don’t worry—the TV will soon be full of coverage of the second Storm of the Century, six weeks or so after the last one. And there are some gold medal news nuggets to chew on too. For instance, the stock market has been practicing its diving technique for the Summer Olympics.

Oh, yeah, Mobile World Congress brought some cheerful tidbits to tide us over. More phones, faster phones, cooler phones, and future mobile devices are all looking for a space in your pocket. Not to be outdone, two old standbys, cloud and security, overflowed our news bucket once again.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+Phones, phones, and more phones. Samsung leads the pack in what they hope are cooler phones. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ (pictured) made their official entrance at MWC. Stereo speakers by ADG, surround sound by Dolby, and a fancy new camera make it easy to turn your face into a cartoonish emoji. Smile!

How to keep those Samsungs safe? Slip them into Urban Armor Gear’s MIL-SPEC drop-tested cases. Or cover the screen edge-to-edge with the Tech Armor Case-Friendly 3D Curved Ballistic Glass Screen Protector.

Other companies made news in Barcelona, too. Huawei unveiled the MateBook X Pro and MediaPad M5 notebook and tablet respectively. The notebook is slimmer yet packed with goodies like an 8th Generation Intel Core i5/i7 processors, NVIDIA graphics, and a 3K touchscreen. The tablet comes in 8.4 and 10.8-inch models.

Making smartphones smarter is always a goal, and the LG V30S ThinQ from LG is packed with new AI technologies.

AI also buffs up the ASUS ZenFone 5Z and ZenFone Z, which boast 6.2-inch screens. The compact ZenFone 5Q is only 6 inches but includes a premium true four-camera system (there’s AI to help your photos, among other things).

Check out the new Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact models from Sony as well. The 5.7-inch Full HD+ display and updated camera with “extreme” video and photo capabilities should make your snowman YouTube channel really pop (until it blows away).

No matter how much memory comes with your snazzy new smartphone, it’s not enough, at least according to Western Digital. Hence its newest (and fastest) UHS-1 flash memory card, the 400GB1SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 microSDXC card. Name’s about three times bigger than the card.

VMware turned the next page in its IoT strategy with new edge computing options, including Asset Management and Smart Surveillance.

NXP EdgeScaleAnte up the chips. NXP must be trying to show off for Qualcomm or something, because it let loose a blizzard of new products this week. Calling it a “breakthrough” in GSMA-compliant eSIM solutions, the vendor maker rolled out the NXP SN100U, a single-die chipset featuring an embedded Security Element. Great, says NXP, for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and IoT devices.

Devices need managing, and NXP also pulled the curtain on its EdgeScale suite of cloud-based tools for IoT and other edge-computing devices. Covering more angles, NXP announced that its NXP Layerscape System-on-Chip now integrates with Microsoft Azure IoT Edge.

Still not finished, NXP introduced its new A71CH Secure Element ready-to-go security solution for next-gen IoT devices.

Finished now? Nope. NXP has also bundled application processing, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth in a much smaller size with its ARM-based i.MX.

Finished (for now).

Hangouts ChatSpeaking of clouds…Google keeps searching (sorry) for an upper hand against Microsoft Office. Now G Suite includes Hangouts Chat (pictured), a Teams/Slack-like collaboration tool tightly integrated with Hangout Meet, Google Drive, and Calendar. Other good stuff abound, say the cloudsters.

RingCentral must agree—it just announced integration with the new Hangouts Chat. Now a “Recommended for G Suite” partner.

Any database users out there? If PostgreSQL is your DB of choice, and you use (or want to use) Amazon RDS, it now supports PostreSQL major version 10.

If your cloud of desire is Azure, Microsoft’s new Azure Migrate will help you consummate that, um, goal.

Speaking of security…Segue alert! Are you running multiple instances of cloud apps? If so, and if you need more security and management, check out Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Fortinet, at its Accelerate 18 partner and user conference, detailed the evolution of its Security Fabric architecture inside FortiOS 6.0. Partners like BlackBox, IBM Security, McAfee, VMware, and more have signed on to the new Fabric-Ready Partner Program.

Duck, because here comes another segue! SentinelOne unveiled its SentinelOne Fortinet Connector to increase integration.

And there’s more from security-land:

  • Cylance added its CylancePROTECT and CylanceOPTICS to the ConnectWise Marketplace.
  • Avast announced its Smart Life Platform for IoT security.
  • F-Secure offered up a new purpose-built endpoint detection and response service to global partners.
  • Tenable and ServiceNow cooked up a strategic alliance linking the Tenable Cyber Exposure Platform with the ServiceNow Security Operations system.
  • Bitdefender announced that Gravity Zone Security for Virtualized Environments is now available to customers of VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • Vectra and CrowdStrike agreed to integrate Vectra Cognito and CrowdStrike Falcon Insight to help customers fight bad guys who don’t respect boundaries. You know, like keeping your network private.
  • Proficio and CyberSight announced a strategic partnership associating the former’s 24x7 managed security services with the latter’s RansomStopper solution.
  • Demisto revved up its Security Operations Platform to better leverage incident metrics.

Fortinet Security FabricSpeaking of not clouds and not security…Digital signage, anyone? If so, check out the new stand-alone signage from Sharp. PN-B401 40” and PN-B501 50” models are available now.

Nintex, at its annual xchange conference, demonstrated how it’s adding best-of-breed AI and machine learning technologies from Amazon, Azure, and Google to its workflow automation platform.

Aerohive upped its tools for retailers, including high-density networks, support for the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new Vantage Program, and PCI 3.2 reporting inside HiveManager.

Wave hello to Broadvoice b-hive (pictured), a UCaaS and virtual contact center platform.

And while you’re at it, say howdy to World Wide Technology’s SD-WAN managed service offering, built on Cisco Meraki.

The 17th version of the widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software from OpenStack, Queens, is waiting for you. Goodies aplenty.

US Signal’s Enterprise Backup as a Service offering now includes snapshots.

NAKIVO rolled out Backup & Replication v7.4, including automated VM disaster recovery and more.

Jason MageeSpeaking of deals and people and partnerships…CompTIA announced that Jason Magee (pictured), COO of ConnectWise, has joined its board of directors. Newbies bring the donuts, Jason.

dinCloud, the cloud platform for hosted workspaces folks, appointed Walid Elemary as chief technology and innovation officer. Order those new business cards today.

Intel AI: In Production is a new program making it easier for developers to bring AI prototypes to market. Since last July, the Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick has made its way to tens of thousands of developers.

Proofpoint has officially absorbed Wombat Security Technologies, including its phishing simulation and computer-based training solutions.

TPx has sold, and leased back, 650 route miles of metro fiber in four states to Uniti for $95 million, which it will use to pay down debt and invest in managed services.

This week’s stats ticker:

Trend Micro released its 2017 Mobile Threat Landscape report. Good news? Not much, especially for smartphone users who thought nobody wanted to spy on their phones except various government agencies. It appears mobile ransomware is up 415 percent in 2017. Somehow “up” doesn’t seem a strong enough word. Screen lockers from years past have evolved into file-encrypting malware. And while many people back up their computers, way too few do the same with their phones. Need more incentive to backup? Trend Micro reports that 58,193,597 mobile threats were blocked in 2017. And if you think your phone is slow now, wait until hackers plant cryptocurrency mining software on you. Really slows down Candy Crush.

Had a birthday recently? You may be the target for the latest AARP Survey on Technology Use and Attitudes Among Mid-Life and Older Americans. AARPers stay connected with family and friends through personal technology, or least 91 percent do. 70 percent of folks 50 and over own a smartphone and the same percentage are on social media. For those 50 to 69, text messaging has become the connection of choice, replacing email (because the darn kids don’t use email enough, that’s why). 77 percent use their phones for directions.

The Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker from IDC projects a 1.8 percent slide through 2022, despite commercial shipments trending up about 0.7 percent over the same period. Detachable tablet sales will increase as companies warm to them. Consumer demand for slate tablets and legacy PC platforms remain week. But 248.3 million units should be sold in 2022.

We could call this the “face palm” report, but the CyberArk Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018 says nearly half (46 percent) of organizations fail to change security after a cyberattack. What? Coincidentally, 46 percent report that their orgs can’t stop attackers who attack again. Half report that customer data could be at risk. Can’t cloud security help? Maybe, but not if 49 percent of companies have no privileged account security strategy. Yo, college kids, think computer science with a concentration in security. Quickly.

KatimA smartphone for the paranoid. To counter all this “exciting” security news and add one last MWC story, DarkMatter has made a smartphone. No, not that Dark Matter. Or that Dark Matter. This DarkMatter is the cybersecurity firm responsible for Katim (pictured), a new phone with strong encryption and a switch on the side that enables “shield mode,” which disconnects power to the camera and microphone. No power, no eavesdropping.

A physical switch should prove resistant to software exploits, of course, but it’s a different story if someone gets their hands on your phone and flips the switch themselves. Hence the serious encryption.

Advertising, not surprisingly, ramps up the paranoia. Remember that photo of The Zuck with a piece of tape on his laptop’s camera? DarkMatter sure does.

No price was announced. But if you can put a price on paranoia, I bet DarkMatter will. If they can also guarantee you won’t leave your phone in a taxi or Uber, the price might even be worth it.

About the Author

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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