Spring is here, landing with a wet thud on Thursday as rain poured over much of the country. Allergies kick up in the spring, but this year most of us will stay inside playing video games or catching up on Netflix. That’s as close as we can get to a silver lining for all this Coronavirus mess. But despite hanging a “closed” sign on California, New York, and Illinois, there were newsbits this week we need to catch up on.
Fresh Apples. Timing! Now that nobody goes anywhere, Apple released a portable powerhouse, a new MacBook Air (pictured) including a new keyboard, twice the storage, and a new lower price (starting at $999). The 13-inch Retina display will shine all day with the new battery and macOS Catalina. The first quad-core processors available in a MacBook Air nestle inside a body made from recycled aluminum. Maybe the best feature for your current situation? Buy one and get a free year of Apple TV+.
Prefer a tablet on your chest than a portable in your lap? Check out the new iPad Pro with the A12Z Bionic chip for more speed and power than most Windows PC laptops, says Apple. Includes iPadOS 13.4, trackpad support, Ultra-Wide camera, studio-quality mics, and a clever new LiDAR Scanner with advanced depth-sensing capabilities.
Other product news. What new surprises lurk on your network? Discover and manage them with the new SolarWinds N-central 12.3 with integrated endpoint detection and response software (powered by SentinelOne, pictured), updated network topology mapping, and VMware management tools. Anything that breaches your network gets automatically quarantined and you get rolled back to ensure recovery.
The revved up Nutanix Objects 2.0 has new features for big data and analytics applications, as well as support for unstructured data storage. Manage objects across multiple Nutanix clusters to reach massive scale. Includes formal Splunk SmartStore certification.
“Work from home” (or “WFH” to fans of suddenly with-it acronyms) is the winning phrase on Wheel of Fortune and a concern for every company pretty much everywhere now. Cato Networks launched Instant Access, a clientless access service to support work-from-home clients at scale. The new goodies are for Cato SDP, the software-defined perimeter program that leverages secure access service edge (SASE) architecture. Includes continuous threat protection.
Speaking of work from home, Granite Telecommunications has introduced a rapid-response Remote Redundancy solution designed to help businesses and government agencies provide redundant connections, network security, communications, and collaboration tools to WFH employees swiftly.
If your customers have WFH employees or business partners overseas, they might want to check out CLASSOUND, the new VoIP trunk addition to Wildix's unified communication platform that provides secure HD-grade connectivity with international callers and collaborators.
Financial services companies need plenty of analytics horsepower, and that includes small financial companies The new Onepath Analytics includes plug-and-play ETL, template-based visualizations, financial business metrics, and more crafted for smaller customers.
And hello to United Data Analytics Platform from Databricks with cloud-native security, simple and proactive administration, and automation at scale. APIs for everything from user management, workspace provisioning, cluster policies, and applications and infrastructure monitoring.
Non-product vendor news. The Technology Solution Provider Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (TSP-ISAO) was established by ConnectWise in August 2019 and formally launched in October. The goal was to help companies collaborate on security and make everyone stronger. Because security is critical to all MSPs and other providers as well, CompTIA will now assume the management and operation of the TSP-ISAO. ConnectWise will remain involved as a founding member.
Speaking of CompTIA, it’s preparing to let homebound students take CompTIA certification exams remotely. A platform based on software from Pearson VUE is due in about 30 days.
Aimed at providers with specialized focus in areas like SD-WAN and cloud, the new Fortinet Engage partner program will help members keep up with digital innovations. Specializations include Dynamic Cloud, Secure Access and Branch, Secure SD-WAN and Data Center, with training and certifications in each area. Three business models get specialized support from Fortinet: MSSPs, Market Place, and Traditional Integrators.
Goodbye Samsung STEP and hello Samsung Ascend Partner Program with more streamlined tiers, a new partner portal, and new automated tools and processes. Aimed at Samsung’s enterprise mobile, display, and SSD partners to help them optimize business revenue.
Telarus has been named the master agent for Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral. The Avaya UCaaS offering will be offered to the over 4,000 technology partners working with Telarus.
High Wire Networks, makers of Overwatch Managed Security Platform-as-a-Service, just named David Barton (pictured) as its new chief technology officer.
This week’s stats ticker:
Gartner’s roundup of worldwide server shipments and revenue showed growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 that kept the year’s total from being quite so down. Fourth quarter revenue grew 5.1% while shipments increased 11.7%. Yearly totals showed revenue declining 2.5% while shipments fell 3.1%. Dell EMC held the top spot at 17.3% of the revenue totals despite declining 9.9% for the year. HPE dropped 8.6% with a 15.4% share. IBM was only 10% of the yearly totals but grew the most at 28.6%. Shipments saw Dell EMC again leading the group with 14.2% of the 2019 market worldwide for server, but that was down 5.3% from 2018. HPE shipped 10.8% of servers but that was down slightly from 2018 as well. Lenovo was the big winner in server shipments, up 6% in the fourth quarter and up 22.4% for 2019 over 2018. Gartner does warn that, “the outlook for the worldwide server market in 2020 is subject to great uncertainty,” thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Websites have been near-mandatory for over 20 years now, but a new survey from Visual Objects found that 37% of small businesses still don’t have one. 500 small business decision makers in the United States responded and 23% admitted they don’t have the knowledge and time to maintain a website properly. This despite the fact that 30% of the smalls already use website builder software, with Squarespace and Wix mentioned the most. Maybe the problem is that 69% of small businesses rely on in-house employees to manage and maintain their websites. So many tasks, so little time.
Tacos and toilet paper. That combo has been the, ah, butt of many jokes over the years, but this week the joke changed in a big way. Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles found out on Monday morning that they had to close because of the Coronavirus quarantine.
Co-owners Brittney Valles and Wes Avila, along with employees, had to decide what to do with all the food inventory. Throwing it out was unacceptable. Prepared meals to be sold?
They finally hit on the idea for Emergency Taco Kits: five pounds of roasted chicken, five more of carne asada, red and green salsa, tortillas, onions, cilantro, and rice and beans. Then they threw in four rolls of toilet paper and 30 eggs to help buyers with other essentials. All for $150. By Tuesday afternoon, they sold 74 kits from orders on their website.
Sounds like a great idea for a party if you could actually have a party nowadays.
Photo credit Guerilla Tacos