IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of January 22nd

Education products from Microsoft, mesh wi-fi networks from D&H, and every journalist’s favorite—a man bites dog story—were all among the news we really meant to report on this week, but didn’t. By James E. Gaskin

This week somehow skipped any seriously depressing headlines, depending on how you feel about the New England Patriots returning to the Super Bowl anyway. Nature didn’t make too many headlines, but justice for guys who bite dogs did.

People who help make other people smart (teachers, corporate trainers, etc.) need a place to find out new smart stuff. Where better than London? To Americans, everyone in London sounds smarter because of that British accent. Accent or not, Microsoft made plenty of smart news this week at the Bett London Smart-Con (not the official name, but it should be).

Lenovo 100eSmarten Up! Microsoft showed off some shiny new, affordably-priced devices running the Windows 10 and Chrome-esque, student-friendly Windows 10 S operating systems at Bett, including the Lenovo 100e (pictured), an Intel Celeron Apollo Lake powered laptop. Why, yes, it does look a lot like the Lenovo N22 Chromebook with a Celeron processor and a $189 price tag, but at least schools have a choice.

Office 365 got in on the act with personalized learning tools. Office 365 Education is now available for free to teachers in 146 countries, which means schoolkids around the globe will soon learn how to make horrible PowerPoints presos (someone please outlaw the word “preso” ASAP). Another push? “Sparking creativity with STEM” via things like chemistry lessons inside Minecraft: Education Edition. Until that spark is killed by another ponderous PowerPoint, of course.

Microsoft’s Intune for Education got some new updates from the product release last year. Easier admin, new config options, and easier device management lead the way.

New Microsoft Education features were announced as well. Sway now makes it easier to let parents monitor student progress. Forms have been revved up with some new goodies. The Teams mobile app now sends assignments to iOS and Android smartphones (if only it could make the students put down those phones and listen to the teacher).

Acronis Ransomware ProtectionOther news that deserves an A+. D&H gathered together some of its products to make “mesh” Wi-Fi solutions easier to buy and configure. Vendors like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco are part of the packages.

Say hello to the free Acronis Ransomware Protection application, a stand-alone version of its AI-based endpoint security package. Not surprisingly, it supports cloud backup.

Speaking of clouds, Veeam released Veeam Recovery to Microsoft Azure and Veeam Powered Network (PN), a lightweight software-defined networking solution designed to simplify VPN installation and network configuration for companies with recovery sites on Microsoft Azure. Biz continuity makes customers happier than biz dis-continuity.

Speaking of Azure, Microsoft announced that as of this week, Azure Search supports encryption at rest for all incoming data indexed on or after 1/24/18.

Breach Secure Now! let loose its Dark Web Breach Assessment service for MSPs and others.

ZyWall VPN FirewallsMillennials say grades are so last century. Epson launched two new portable projectors: the high-end Pro EX720 and EX3260. Shine on, PowerPoint, shine on.

Zyxel unleashed new SMB-friendly VPN firewalls, including the ZyWall VPN50, VPN100, and VPN300 (pictured). Guess which ones support 50, 100, and 300 users?

Aerohive shipped a batch of 802.11ax access points.

Axis Communications introduced a palm-sized Camera with wireless connectivity.

Distributor Jenne talked up its new value-added service for Avaya Partners—Jenne Lightning License Delivery.

Cloudian, makers of enterprise object storage solutions, announced HyperStore 7, a new version of its scale-out-storage system for on-premises and cloud environments.

Unified Office, provider of hybrid cloud-based virtual communications services and business analytics, told the world about its new Total Connect Now Operations Performance Suite TM2.0 (TCNOPSTM 2.0). Aim? Monitor, analyze, and dynamically control a batch of IoT devices like thermostats, exhaust vents, heaters, video systems, etc.

Flexential, a hybrid IT infrastructure provider, unveiled its HybridEdge holistic edge computing strategy.

Greg IuzzolinoNews but not about products—grade these on a curve. Tech Data has kicked off the onboarding process for Michael Rabinovitch, who joins the company on March 1 as senior vice president and chief accounting officer.

Veeam appointed Ivan Skerl as chief information officer.

TPx named Greg Iuzzolino (pictured) its new director of national channel development.

SentryOne promoted a pair: Scott Allison took over as vice president of sales, and Scott Brooks jumped into the role of vice president of customer success.

TBI, the third-party technology services provider, added a pair: Keith Connolly will lead the east coast channel management team and Steven Stillson will manage central and west coast sales.

Bitdefender (the cybersecurity folks) appointed Joe Sykora its vice president of worldwide channel development.

Impartner (the partner relationship management folks) added John McCurdy as chief revenue officer.

  • WatchGuard (network security) pulled the curtain back to reveal the WatchGuard Learning Center, an advanced learning management system for channel partners.
  • AVANT (cloud, SD-WAN, and more) added support for channel sales in Canada and expanded its channel support in the U.K.
  • Acronis and Plesk (WebOps platform) teamed up to make it easier to backup and restore servers.
  • Scale Computing (hyperconverged infrastructure) proudly became alliance partner of APC by Schneider Electric for the latter’s Micro Data Center Xpress solution.
  • Secureworks (cybersecurity) shook hands on a deal with Carahsoft (the government IT solutions).
  • ZeroStack (self-driving on-premises clouds) announced the ZeroStack Cloud Innovation Partner Program.
  • Fortanix (runtime encryption) opened the doors of its new channel partner program.

This week’s stats ticker:

Meltdown and Spectre flaws in processors made for some nicely scary headlines, but are businesses taking a hit? Spiceworks did a survey and asked where and when organizations are patching against Metldown/Spectre. They found 88 percent of IT pros take this issue seriously, and 81 percent fear Windows OSes will be exploited though these flaws. Two thirds fear the same for web browsers. To fight these issues, 70 percent have started patching already, mostly starting with Windows OSes (57 percent). Those who haven’t started patching worry about problems. Those who have started report performance degradation (46 percent), system hangs or freezes (26 percent), and the publicized boot issues (22 percent). “Other” problems hit 29 percent of respondents.

Continuous testing vendor Tricentis released its fifth annual Software Fail Watch report. Bad news: reported failures, defects, and vulnerabilities were 10 percent higher in 2017 than 2016. Over 3.6 billion people were affected, and $1.7 trillion (with a T) of revenue was lost.

Ah, some better news. Right Networks surveyed 365 accounting professionals and found 54 percent felt “very confident” about the economy heading into 2018 compared to last year. Over 70 percent were “very confident” or “moderately confident” for their businesses for 2018. Tax cuts tend to be popular. But 44 percent of those surveyed still cited winning new customers while keeping existing ones as the top challenge for the year.

Allied Market Research released Unified Communication Market by Application, and Industry Vertical: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2016-2023. Valued at $32.88 billion in 2016, the UC space will reach $74.24 billion in 2023. Highest revenue was in North America (42 percent share). Telephony dominated in 2016, but financial services, energy and utilities, and IT plus telecomm will proved the biggest growth opportunities going forward.

Man Bites DogSic’em, officers. Police were called to investigate a reported shooting on Sunday in the town of Boscawen. The report doesn’t say if a person was actually shot, but when police arrived two of the people in the house decided to run away because of outstanding warrants. Nothing says “I’m innocent” like beating feet, right?

The chase was on (cue appropriate theme music). Both men were captured, even though one genius hid under a pile of clothes. When sniffed out by K9 Officer Veda, the miscreant put the dog in a chokehold and bit Officer Veda on the head. Yes, man bites dog. A Boscawen Police Department spokesperson, Lt. Jason Killary, summed it up: “If you get into a biting competition with a police dog, you’re not going to win. They’re pretty good at that.” Other officers rushed in and Tasered the suspect. Looks like you can bring a Taser to a bite-fight.

Luckily, the dog didn’t get rabies from the criminal, and has returned to duty.

Funniest part of this story? Boscawen is not in Texas or Florida, but about a dozen miles northwest of Concord, New Hampshire. Who knew crazy went that far north?

About the Author

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

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