IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of February 15th

Google goodies for schools, security goodies from Microsoft, Palo Alto, and Check Point, and a dog now wealthier than its caretaker are among the stories we’re bringing your way despite frozen fingers. By James E. Gaskin

Tired of snow yet? Texas sure is, and if those in the high plains and Northeast yearn for more cold whiteness, you’ll love this weekend. When is border security going to stop those invading Canadian cold fronts? Grab your cup of hot chocolate and snack on these hot newsbits to feel all warm inside.

Google MeetGoogle news. Millions of students this past 12 months discovered Google does education, not just search. G Suite for Education is now Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. The standard edition includes an enhanced Security Center, and new tools should help overworked teachers.

Millions of aforementioned students have been getting school-issued Chromebooks in lieu of textbooks. The Google Admin Console and Chrome Education Upgrade should help teachers better manage remote students. You’ll be shocked, shocked to hear students often open a non-school window and play games or get their exercise via web surfing. Better admin tools will help teachers help students.

Google Meet (pictured) revs up with security controls, advanced safety locks to stop rude video interruptions, and new Admin Controls for teachers and businesses. Performance improvements for Meet on Chromebooks will help, too.

Poly RoveOther product news. Microsoft enhanced security for Power BI, and you can read the details in the new Microsoft Power BI Security Whitepaper. VNet connectivity will arrive by the end of February.

Security folks don’t believe that “out of sight is out of mind,” and Prisma Access 2.0 from Palo Alto Networks doesn’t either. The cloud-based management tool provides real-time security updates and enforces best practices for remote workers.

Check Point launched CloudGuard Application Security. The fully automated web application and API protection tool secures cloud-native applications against both known and zero-day attacks.

Cyberinc released Isla Isolation Platform 6, with enhancements to strengthen security and isolation while maintaining a seamless user experience. “Smart Isolation” improves browser isolation technology to ease deployments while protecting the user experience.

People often forget their badges but rarely forget their phones. Hey, let’s put a digital badge on the phone, said Openpath, with a customized digital badge design tool to match your digital credential.

What do lots of people touch that never gets cleaned? Their phone. Hello to the new Poly Rove DECT IP phones (pictured) with built-in antimicrobial protection from Microban. Check out the Poly Rove 30 and Poly Rove 40 models and say goodbye to 99% of surface germs.

Aruba Wi-Fi access points are morphing into Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) units. Compatible IoT devices from Aruba partners connect air quality sensors, occupancy and cleaning detectors, and smart restroom modules to the network.

The Nintex Workflow Cloud and Nintex Analytics have new goodies, including ways to optimize workflows and processes with real-time analytics, out-of-the-box connectors to key systems like Google, Trello, and more.

StorCentric announced GA of the QV1020 to provide simple, fast, and affordable high performance all-flash NVM storage. Lower latency, higher performance, and high availability etc.

Star2Star shipped Business Voice for Microsoft Teams, which enables seamless calling from within Teams via Star2Star’s cloud-based, direct routing integration.

Marie MyersNon-product vendor news. Leaders from seven sectors of the technology market have stepped up to serve on the CompTIA Advisory Councils Executive Board in 2021. The seven councils cover AI, blockchain, business applications, channel development, cybersecurity, drones, and IoT.

But wait, there’s more! CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council developed a Channel Readiness Assessment tool to help companies chart where they are in the channel-building process.

HP promoted Marie Myers (pictured) to CFO from her post as acting CFO and chief transformation officer.

The SolarWinds Head Geek team has a new member: Kevin Kline. Does the new guy fetch everyone’s coffee?

Zomentum, a sales acceleration vendor first started in 2018, just raised $13 million through a Series A funding round.

IGEL announced that TA Associates, a private equity firm, will make a majority investment in the company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Enterprise storage-as-a-service player Zadara acquired NeoKarm, provider of multi-cloud hybrid platforms. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Managed data services provider Calligo acquired Decisive Data and its data analytics, data science, and visualization tools. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Komprise and Pure Storage teamed up to provide Komprise Asynchronous Replication to Pure FlashArray file customers.

The augmented reality market gets a boost now that Epson and Spinar America announced a partnership. The Epson Moverio AR smart glasses platform will work with Spinar America’s AR remote assistance and collaboration experiences.

After shaking hands, Databricks can deliver Google Cloud at a global scale, and work with Google BigQuery’s open platform and leverage Google Kubernetes Engine.

This week’s stats ticker:

The annual “State of Malware” report from Malwarebytes explores how cybercriminals reacted to the business shift to remote work. Sadly, they made the shift in tactics more easily than many of the businesses they attacked. A dramatic rise in stalkerware and invasive mobile monitoring robbed users of privacy. Apps that monitor user activity, including tracking applications, rose by 565%, while spyware app detections rose by 1,055%. In 2020, Malwarebytes observed a 24% decline of Windows detections on business and consumer users, but Mac detections for businesses jumped 31% year-over-year. Spyware tool detections rose by 147% and 24% respectively. Mac PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) were more than 76% of Mac threat detections, compared to an adware increase of 22%. 2019 scourges emotet and Trickbot declined by 89% and 69%, although those still triggered several high-profile attacks. Ransomware became more targeted, especially the REvil or Sodinokibi family, which vacuumed $100 million from their extortion threats. Tastiest target overall? Agriculture, which saw a 607% increase in threats detected.

NPD’s Connected Intelligence released its latest Home Automation Ownership & Usage Report. Headline? Half of U.S. consumers own at least one smart home device, up from 35% in 2019. Biggest gains were in security systems (44%), smart garage door openers (21%), and smart lighting (19%). Unit sales of smart lighting jumped 43% in 2020 compared to 17% growth in 2010. Biggest challenge? Average sale prices. Households with income of $150,000 or more have an ownership rate more than double of those under $45K in income. The survey occurred in October 2020, and over 5,000 U.S. consumers aged 18+ responded.

Lucky DogLucky dog. Tennessee businessman Bill Dorris died late last year at age 84. As often happens, Dorris left behind a dog he loved, an 8-year-old border collie named Lulu.

As almost never happens, Dorris mentioned Lulu in his will and awarded her $5 million. Lulu has been in the care of Martha Burton off and on for several years, since Burton took care of Lulu when Dorris traveled, which he did quite a bit. So the $5 million trust Dorris set up for Lulu will pay Burton for all expenses.

Can one lucky pet burn through $5 million? Burton joked, “I’d like to try.”

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

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

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