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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
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News

May 18, 2022 |

Meet the 2022 ChannelPro Vendors on the Vanguard

They’re our latest bumper crop of cool new names to know in cloud computing, IT management, security, and BDR.

ONCE AGAIN, and with help from readers like you, ChannelPro has scoured the vendor landscape in search of lesser known, up-and-coming, and underappreciated names. This year’s list contains two big surprises: the large number of interesting endpoint management tools we found at a time when endpoints are fast becoming commoditized afterthoughts to the cloud, and the small number of eye-opening security solutions at a time of exploding ransomware and other threats. That said, we’ve got companies well worth exploring in all of the industry’s hottest product categories. Read on!

CLOUD MANAGEMENT

Apptio

You’ve heard of DevOps and SecOps. Now meet FinOps, a still-emerging discipline dedicated to optimizing cloud environments for speed, cost, and quality. Apptio‘s Cloudability solution helps budding FinOps professionals make “data-driven investment decisions” based on reports that map multicloud spending to specific business units, assess cross-application cost and value, and track compliance with company standards.

A separate service called Cloudability Shift is designed to help you plan and manage public cloud migrations, while Cloudability SaaS pulls together a complete inventory of authorized and “shadow” applications in end-user environments, so you can eliminate duplicate, underutilized, and inactive ones. An outsourced services team stands ready to provide implementation, customization, and training assistance for FinOps newbies. apptio.com

Axonius

This vendor’s SaaS management solution, launched in January, aims to reduce data sprawl, “shadow” SaaS, and wasted spending by assembling a detailed view of cloud applications, permissions, and data flows. An extensive menu of cybersecurity features calls out misconfiguration issues, suspicious and malicious user behavior, violations of regulations like GDPR, and unprotected data, among other things. Deploy the earlier Axonius Cybersecurity Asset Management system too, and you’ve got a comprehensive platform for managing cloud and noncloud resources all in one place. axonius.com

CyberDrain

Frustrated by the absence of multitenancy in the native Microsoft 365 administration console and the dearth of cloud management functionality in traditional RMM solutions, MSP, PowerShell aficionado, and Microsoft MVP Kelvin Tegelaar decided to create a multitenant M365 management tool of his own. Called the CyberDrain Improved Partner Portal, or CIPP, the system is designed to simplify user and configuration management across Microsoft 365 deployments. Better yet, it’s an open source project sponsored by vendors including Huntress and NinjaOne that you can run on your own infrastructure or in the cloud. Introduced late last year, it’s quickly developed a cult following. cipp.app

Spinpanel

Like CyberDrain’s solution, Spinpanel is a multitenant management system for Microsoft 365. Key features include self-serve functionality that lets your customers buy and assign licenses on their own, integration with Datto’s Autotask PSA solution, and extensive analytics on pricing, margins, usage, and end-user cloud spending. The system also automates deployment and management, and offers a multitentant interface for Microsoft Intune and Azure Virtual Desktop. The Essentials edition costs $7.50 per tenant per month; the top-of-the-line Enterprise edition sells for $60 per tenant a month. spinpanel.com

CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE

Kamatera

From Israel, the country that also brought us better-known online infrastructure provider CaaB, comes this alternative to public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Kamatera calls itself “probably the most flexible cloud in the world” because you can use its affordably priced online servers, block storage, private network, firewall, and other services for as long (or short) as you like and cancel with no questions asked. Hosted in 10 global data centers packed with servers running latest-generation Intel processors, those services guarantee 99.9% uptime and come with optional monthly, usage-based subscriptions to Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, and more. A managed cloud offering helps channel pros and their clients design, build, and maintain custom environments too. kamatera.com

RMM/ENDPOINT MANAGEMENT

Action1

Like the more familiar SuperOps.ai, Action1 views its cloud-native architecture, state-of-the-art interface, and affordable pricing as keys to penetrating a crowded RMM market filled with established brand names. The system is easy enough to learn in a few hours, the company says, yet supports unattended access, prescheduled reboots, and automated silent app distributions to Windows endpoints. The company updates the solution quarterly, and its “dynamic roadmap” is right there on its website for all the world to see, comment on, and contribute to. Your first 100 endpoints are free forever, with no restrictions or upsells. Beyond that, you pay $2 per device per month with no add-ons. There’s an enterprise edition too for environments with 500 endpoints or more. action1.com

Hexnode

When Hexnode promises unified endpoint management, it’s not just referring to Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. It also means hardware running Apple’s tvOS and Amazon’s Fire OS, as well as IoT devices running … who knows? Built-in capabilities include zero-touch enrollment, app management, geofencing, location tracking, troubleshooting, and “kiosk lockdown” functionality that lets you limit devices to a single app. Remote management features include the ability to view device screens in real time and take command of devices for users who need assistance. Pricing starts at $1.08 per device per month for the entry-level “Express” package and tops out at $5.40 for the “Ultra” bundle. Into digital signage? Hexnode has a content management solution too. hexnode.com

Immense Networks

ImmyBot, from Immense Networks, is a purpose-built solution for one of the most tedious, time-consuming chores channel pros do: setting up new workstations. Plug a preconfigured flash drive into a freshly acquired PC and within minutes the system is automatically installing software ranging from Microsoft 365 to antivirus applications to RMM agents and beyond, as well as configuring settings, applying patches, and more, based on your best practices and PowerShell scripts.

Unlike Microsoft Intune, Immense notes, ImmyBot is multitenant, and it integrates out of the box with software from Cisco, ConnectWise, Datto, Huntress, Liongard, N-able, SentinelOne, and many others. Pricing ranges from a flat $200 per month for the entry-level Workbench edition to $500 a month for ImmyForever, which comes with unlimited agents. immy.bot

ITarian

Perhaps it’s a misnomer to call a solution supposedly used by over 1 million IT teams “up and coming,” but ITarian isn’t exactly a household name among MSPs. The company’s wide-ranging platform combines RMM, ticketing, remote access, cloud monitoring, quote management, network assessment, and more in an offering that’s free for the first 50 endpoints and $1.25 a month per device after that. Integrations with antivirus, EDR, mobile security, SOC as a service, and other offerings from Comodo add a stack of security tools to the package. Outsourced white-label NOC and script development services are available as well. itarian.com

Nanoheal

Attach artificial intelligence and automation capabilities to an endpoint and mobile device management platform, and you get Nanoheal, a “predictive self-healing” solution designed not only to take routine tasks like patch management off your hands but to detect, diagnose, and remediate security, compliance, performance, and other issues for you as well, proactively and automatically. A self-serve bot lets end users fix problems on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS clients with a single click and no help desk assistance. Endpoint protection features include whitelisting, blacklisting, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention. The analytics module, meanwhile, sniffs out root causes of recurring issues, suggests money-saving license optimization opportunities, and more. nanoheal.com

New Boundary Technologies

New Boundary makes a suite of endpoint management utilities and a PC power management tool designed to cut electrical bills by automatically shutting down devices left on at the end of the workday. What landed them among this year’s Vendors on the Vanguard, however, is RemoteAware, a service that lets newcomers to the Internet of Things add market-ready, private-label IoT solutions to their offerings in as little as a day. The underlying platform supports wired and wireless sensors over cellular, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, LoRa, and satellite connections; features end-to-end data security; and comes with an intuitive web-based management interface. newboundary.com

Optimum Desk

Meet your newest help desk technician. His name is Adam Intop, and he’s the proprietary robot (initials “A.I.,” get it?) that Optimum Desk’s autonomous service delivery module uses to solve over 60% of user requests without human intervention. Other mix-and-match components in what the vendor calls a “Swiss Army Knife” of IT services cover hardware and software asset management, printer monitoring, backup, automated penetration testing, and more. Founded 22 years ago, the company supports over 1.1 million endpoints in the U.S. via its MSP partners. optimumdesk.com

HELP DESK/TICKETING

Planview

Best known for portfolio management software that helps IT departments and software developers manage complex projects, Planview’s PSA solution reflects some of the same operational rigor. In addition to the usual ticketing and CRM components, the system comes with unusually strong support for forecasting demand, optimizing technician utilization, tracking time and expenses, managing budgets, and measuring profitability. Not surprisingly, there’s a robust “quote-to-cash” project management module as well that includes automated process workflows. planview.com

Tribu

The more you look into this Australian company’s help desk software, the more interesting it gets. The system uses machine learning to read self-serve support requests from customers and then automatically classifies and prioritizes them, and recommends actions, next steps, and replies. Integrations are available for ConnectWise Manage, Datto’s Autotask PSA, and HaloPSA. For $10 per tech per month, moreover, Tribu will let you receive ticket notifications and updates in Microsoft Teams, and update tickets with commands in Teams chat. tribu.ai

SECURITY

BlastWave

Slow and cumbersome, VPN isn’t a great technology for securing remote connections. It’s just better than most of the others. BlastWave (like fellow security vendor ThreatLocker) says it has a superior alternative. Called BlastShield, the system combines zero-trust network access, multifactor authentication, and microsegmentation tools in a single, integrated, easy-to-install package that runs on Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, as well as hypervisors and cloud platforms. Plans start at $5 per endpoint per month. A professional plan with more features (including SSO as of April) costs $15 per endpoint. blastwave.io

BACKUP AND DISASTER RECOVERY

pCloud

This cloud storage vendor gave 2,860 white-hat hackers 180 days to win $100,000 by cracking its data encryption software. None of them succeeded. And that’s just one reason to give pCloud a try. The service continuously backs up files on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices in real time with no size or speed limits, and provides access to protected data through desktop, mobile, and web apps. Business subscriptions sell for $9.99 per user per month, or $7.99 when paid for annually, and come with 1TB of capacity per user, shared folders for team collaboration, and 180 days of file versioning. pcloud.com

Servosity

This BDR vendor boasts “truly unlimited storage” at what it insists (though it doesn’t disclose pricing on its website) are simple, predictable rates. You can store data in their cloud or bring your own storage in Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform, and spin up recovery environments locally or in AWS as well. Servosity‘s four services support server imaging, desktop imaging, desktop backup for Windows and Mac, and backup for business applications and data, all with a shared management interface. Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly backup testing is included, as is new customer onboarding. servosity.com

Zoolz

Zoolz offers a reasonably priced cloud backup service, but the solution that caught our eye is BigMIND, a combination backup/storage solution for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices that both copies unstructured data to the cloud and provides intuitive tools for searching it. You can even search .PDFs and photographs—the system’s artificial intelligence technology learns to recognize faces and objects in images, so you can search for pictures of your boss by name or find photos from last year’s team morale event by querying “golf.” The partner program lets you white label the service and buy capacity on a pay-as-you-go basis. zoolz.com

Opening image: iStock

Product images: Courtesy of their respective vendors


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