IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of March 21st

A burst of Google cloud announcements, the arrival of HIPAA compliance audits, and a somewhat...colorful Internet of Things security demo are among the stories worth knowing about that you may have missed this week. By Rich Freeman

We cover lots of news here at ChannelPro, and have the calloused typing fingers to prove it. But even we can’t get to everything. Here are a few stories worth knowing about that we missed this week.

Google StackdriverCloud burst. Google took advantage of the captive, friendly audience it had at the GCP NEXT conference in San Francisco this week to announce a grab bag of additions to its Google Cloud Platform. The most interesting was Stackdriver, a new solution offering monitoring and event logging for applications hosted either in Google’s cloud or Amazon Web Services. Supporting a rival’s platform like that is a touch unusual for big, hungry vendors like Google, but perfectly sensible when that rival is a runaway market leader you’re trying desperately to catch up with. On the other hand, Microsoft Azure is a market leader too, yet conspicuously absent from Stackdriver. There are limits to this kind of thing, apparently.

Among the other goodies Google announced this week were:

And speaking of cloud servers and applications…You can buy both from GoDaddy now too. In beta since last April and targeted squarely at SMBs, GoDaddy’s SaaS and IaaS offerings are now officially available in bundles selling for as little as $5 a month. If Google has to bow down a bit to AWS to grow market share, however, GoDaddy probably has a genuinely tough slog ahead of it in the public cloud space.

Apple iPhone SEThink small. The world’s eyes turned to Apple this past Monday, which is what they do pretty much any time the tech industry giant rolls out new products. As expected, the offerings unveiled this week included a new iPad Pro with a smaller 9.7” screen and a new iPhone with a smaller (relative to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus) 4” screen. But really, it’s not just the devices that were small. As Apple product launches go, this one was a bit on the wee side in terms of news value, ambition, and innovation. Don’t worry, though. Both new devices will attract plenty of buyers anyway.

Chick-fil-A Cell Phone CoopLet’s hope those buyers don’t bring their shiny new gadgets to the dinner table though. Hat tip to business consultant and ChannelPro contributor Keith Lubner for calling our belated attention to this story from a few weeks ago about the owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Suwanee, Ga., who devised an ingenious way to stop diners from texting and tweeting during meals rather than talking to one another.

Every table at his restaurant now bears a box he adorably calls a “cell phone coop”. Families that put their smartphones inside after sitting down and somehow resist the excruciating temptation to retrieve them before finishing their meal get free ice cream. The idea has worked so well, moreover, that some 350 other Chick-fil-A outlets now provide cell phone coops too. The only thing we like more than our phones, it seems, is dessert.

The HammerThe HIPAA hammer has fallen. Government officials revealed last year that they’d be conducting HIPAA compliance audits in 2016. The only question was when those audits would begin, and the answer finally arrived this week: Right now. On Monday, federal regulators revealed that online-only “desk audits” will run through December, followed by more intensive in-person audits in 2017.

If you have clients in the healthcare vertical, now would be an excellent time to start identifying and rectifying violations—in both their environment and yours. Technology providers count as “business associates” under HIPAA, which means that if your customer gets audited odds are good you will too. If you flunk the test, furthermore, they do as well, even if their own network was totally clean. That’s likely to be a sore point at renewal time.

David HelferTurning to the world of partner programs. Several of them had news to share this week:

Product pageant. Among the vendors bringing new wares to market this week were:

Glassdoor Gender Pay Gap DataThis just in from our Good Reasons for Righteous Fury department. According to a study by employment marketplace Glassdoor, men in the IT industry make 5.9 percent more than women on average for the same work. And the situation is worse—make that way worse—for developers. On average, male computer programmers are paid 28.3 percent more than their female counterparts.

That’s the largest gender pay gap of any occupation Glassdoor studied, and one more good reason to buy a copy of support service and cloud solution provider Third Tier’s ransomware prevention kit. All of the proceeds support efforts to get women into IT jobs, and greater numbers, one hopes, might someday translate into greater clout at the negotiating table.

This week’s stats ticker:

  • Worldwide tablet shipments will drop from 207 million last year to less than 140 million in 2021, according to ABI.
  • Sales of managed security services will rise at a 14.8 percent CAGR from $17.79 billion worldwide in 2015 to $35.53 billion in 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets.
  • Global purpose-built backup appliance revenue grew 2.5 percent in 2015 to $3.35 billion, according to IDC.
  • Accidental deletion (the infamous “fat finger”) is the number one cause of data loss, accounting for 43 percent of incidents in the U.S., according to cloud-to-cloud backup provider Spanning.

Censored!Internet of intimate Things. Give the folks at Trend Micro credit for this much, at least. They sure do know how to make a point colorfully. Seeking to demonstrate the security vulnerabilities of Internet of Things gadgets to a room full of journalists at the CeBIT tech fair in Germany last week, company spokesperson Udo Schneider used a few quick lines of code to hack into and then switch on what Reuters subsequently described as “a large, neon-pink vibrator.” And while the stunt produced exactly what it was designed to—awkward chuckles and plenty of media coverage—you probably shouldn’t try imitating this demo with your customers. You’ll make an indelible impression alright, but possibly not in the way you intended.

About the Author

Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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