IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of March 30th

New names for Office 365 SKUs, new printers from Epson, and the only cargo that could turn a truck fire in Dallas into national news are all among the stories we’ve finally roused ourselves from stay-at-home torpor to tell you about. By James E. Gaskin

If there’s a better indication of how videoconferencing has become mainstream than this, we have yet to see it. Walmart reported last week that sales of tops are increasing, but not bottoms. NPR mentioned teleconferencing, but nobody needs ANY clothes for teleconferencing. At least with videoconferences you need clothes on top. And if you want to stay on top of coronavirus news, don’t forget our resource page which includes a list of free software and services to help you and your customers. One of the best third-party sites is coronabuzz over at ResearchBuzz. But neither site has a roundup of newsbits we missed this week, so let’s roll.

Office 365 FamilyWintel news. Say goodbye to Office 365. “Microsoft 365” will replace “Office 365” in SMB-oriented editions starting April 21 as follows:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
  • Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
  • Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
  • Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps. Where necessary, Microsoft will use the “for business” and “for enterprise” labels to distinguish between the two.

Enterprise Office 365 plans will continue as before. No price or feature changes will occur at this time.

Microsoft also announced that on April 21, two new Microsoft 365 experiences will enter preview. The new Microsoft Family Safety App, and the new Microsoft Edge browser including Password Monitor are part of the new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family (pictured) subscriptions.

And when you use Microsoft 365 on the go, Intel suggests you consider one of its new 10th Gen Intel Core H-series mobile processors. These break the 5 GHz barrier for laptops along with eight cores, 16 threads, and 16 MB of Intel Smart Cache. Top of the list is the new 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK processor.

RingCentral VideoCoronavirus news. Because there’s no end to it:

Epson EcoTank ET SeriesHardware news. “Get tanked” isn’t the frat boy solution to stay-at-home boredom, but advice from Epson America about a new line of printers for home offices and small businesses. Hello to the new EcoTank Pro Series that saves customers up to 80% with low-cost replacement ink bottles compared to standard capacity color laser toner cartridges.

  • EcoTank Pro ET-5800 ($799.99 MSRP),
  • EcoTank Pro ET-5850 ($849.99 MSRP)
  • EcoTank Pro ET-5880 ($899.99 MSRP)
  • EcoTank Pro ET-16600 ($999.99 MSRP)
  • EcoTank Pro ET-16650 ($1129.99 MSRP)
  • EcoTank ET-15000 ($599.99 MSRP)

All are now available and come with a two-year limited warranty.

More IoT devices need more edge support, and a smart edge offers a big upside over a dumb edge in many situations. That’s the thinking behind the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021 and ThinkSystem DM7100 for enterprises building end-to-end applications that leverage Microsoft Azure.

One of the big advantages of the new Intel mobile processors mentioned earlier is improved game performance. In an amazing coincidence, ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) just announced a refresh of its gaming laptops to include the new 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Systems can also include optional NVIDIA GeForce RTX SUPER graphics. Look for models ROG Zyphyrus Duo 15, S17, S15, M15, Strix SCAR 15/17, and Strix G15/17 starting the second quarter. FYI: the ASUS ROG Azphyrus Duo 15 includes two screens.

Jabra Evolve2Other product news. VMware calls it the biggest evolution in over a decade: VMware vSphere 7. It features native Kubernetes and powers VMware Cloud Foundation 4. New enhancements include lifecycle management, security, and application acceleration to help customers run their applications on a common platform using virtual machines, containers, and Kubernetes.

ADTRAN announced its Automated Network Intelligence service offering for capacity planning and more. Part of the ADTRAN global service and support portfolio to align consumer demand with network supply and better tailor Internet bandwidth options.

HPE talked up its Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative, a new open source program to simplify management of large-scale distributed physical infrastructure deployments. Hint: will simplify 5G rollout.

Scale Computing is now offering Acronis Cloud Storage, expanding its existing OEM partnership. Scale Computing HC3 customers have a powerful, highly available, hybrid redundant backup storage solution.

Jabra’s best-selling UC headsets, the Evolve family, upgrade to Evolve2. The Evolve2 85, Evolve2 65, and Evolve2 40 (all pictured) are engineered to transform concentration, collaboration, and flexibility in the workplace. The units work with all leading UC platforms and are pending certification for Microsoft Teams.

The Ivanti Rapid Platform now includes Rapid Voice. Speed the deployment of new mobile devices within customer supply chain and warehousing operations. Leveraging Ivanti Speakeasy helps move operations to improved productivity and accuracy while reducing training time.

Passwords? We don’t need no stinkin’ passwords! Or one can imagine that dialogue after using the new Okta FastPass. Labeled, “The end of passwords at work,” it offers passwordless logins across devices, applications, and operating systems.

The new KVM over IP switch from ATEN Technology, the CN9600, allows remote access of digital, video, audio, and virtual media via remote control of a PC or workstation.

No matter where you are, you need better security. Hello to the now available Amazon Detective, a service that makes it easy for customers to quickly and efficiently investigate security issues across their AWS workloads.

Candid WuestNon-product vendor news. Acronis announced the appointment of Candid Wüest (pictured) as vice president of cyber protection research.

Avaya announced that AVANT Communications is a new master agent for its Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral offering. General availability this week through the AVANT ecosystem of trusted advisors.

This week’s stats ticker:

In news we all saw coming, the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker and Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker says the coronavirus pandemic will push server market revenues down by 3.4% year over year to $88.6 billion in 2020. Enterprise storage systems revenues will decline 5.5% to $28.7 billion. The server market should decline 11.0% in Q1 and 8.9% in Q2 and then return to slight growth in the second half of the year. Further recovery is expected in 2021. Three forecast scenarios (optimistic, probable, and pessimistic) for the impact of COVID-19 were developed. These numbers are based on the probable scenario, but further adjustments could be made.

WalletHub’s Coronavirus Small Business Survey found 87% of small businesses are struggling. 35% of small biz owners say they can’t survive past three months in the current conditions. Yet 79% of owners think minimizing deaths from COVID-19 is more important than reopening the economy. In fact, 40% says there should be MORE restrictions. 63% plan to seek funds from the coronavirus relief package when available. And jobs are disappearing. 33% of small businesses say they’ve laid off employees already, and 36% more plan to start layoffs soon.

The Acronis inaugural World Cyber Protection Week survey revealed that 42% of companies experienced a data loss causing downtime last year. What happened? While 90% are backing up, only 41% backup daily. That means recovery gaps and time spent redoing work. 68% still lose data due to accidental deletion, hardware or software failure, or an out-of-data backup. Fears listed include ransomware (88%), cryptojacking (86%), social engineering/phishing (87%), and data breaches (91%). 9% of organizations reported they didn’t know if they experienced downtime as a result of data loss this year. Perhaps that’s because only 17% of personal users and 20% of IT pros follow best practices, employing hybrid backups on local media and in the cloud.

TP Truck FireToilet paper fires are now national news. Truck fires happen, usually as the result of an accident. On April 1 (no fooling) a truck crashed at about 4 a.m. in southern Dallas County. The one-vehicle accident did not injure the driver or his dog, but did set the trailer on fire.

So why were the onlookers and fire personnel so distraught watching the fire? Turns out the truck was carrying today’s most precious cargo: toilet paper.

By the time firefighters arrived, the trove of toilet paper had burned extensively. Sad to say, none was saved.

Black market experts set the street value loss at about $23 million.

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

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

ChannelPro SMB Magazine
SUBSCRIBE FREE!

Get an edge on the competition

With each issue packed full of powerful news, reviews, analysis, and advice targeting IT channel professionals, ChannelPro-SMB will help you cultivate your SMB customers and run your business more profitably.