IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of May 4th

New hardware from HP and Apple, new Teams competencies for Microsoft partners, new back-to-the-office software from Salesforce, and an look at what dining out might look like in the age of COVID-19 are among the stories we’re belatedly telling you about. By James E. Gaskin

Welcome to a spring weekend with teeth! Thought those parkas were back in the closet for the year? Not so fast. The upper Midwest and Northeast will see record cold, stiff winds, and snow in many areas. The dreaded “Bomb Cyclone” is back in the headlines. Put on your long underwear and grab some of these newsbits while you “enjoy” spring.

Work,com Command CenterCOVID-19 news. IT By Design announced its new ReBuildIT program that will give back more than $200,000 to the MSP community. Geared to help struggling small MSPs (<50 employees) who lost 10% or more of revenue in the first half of 2020 due to the shutdown.

Citrix is extending its Remote PC Access to the cloud. It will now be part of Citrix Desktop Service and Desktop Essentials. Big hook? Better performance and manageability than ad hoc VPNs.

Lenovo is pairing its LanSchool classroom management tool with Bark Technologies. It will upgrade their existing remote learning offerings to U.S. schools. Includes a new Image Removal tool valued at $2 per student.

School tools provider ManagedMethods added Google Meet and Chat monitoring and reporting to its platform. Fits in with their existing Google G Suite and Microsoft 365 security and student safety offerings.

LogMeIn added a new version of GoToMeeting designed for telehealth. Tag for the easy-to-use video conferencing platform, which comes preconfigured for reliability and security, is GoToMeeting for Healthcare.

Salesforce just announced the Work.com Command Center (pictured), a single hub that gives a 360-degree view of return-to-work readiness across locations, employees, and visitor. Make data-driven decisions as we put COVID-19 I the rear-view mirror.

HP Chromebook EliteHardware news. The new Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with the new Magic Keyboard for better feel (now the butterfly is only a pretty flying insect). Oh, and double the storage and faster performance, including up to 80% faster graphics.

HP goes big on enterprise portables by announcing a variety of biz Chromebooks and a new HP ThinPro Go that boots up an HP ThinPro OS. Lineup includes:

  • HP Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise (pictured), expected to be available in August.
  • HP Pro c640 Chromebook Enterprise, expected to be available in June.
  • HP Chromebook Enterprise 14 G6, available now.
  • HP mt22 Mobile Thin Client, expected to be available in May.
  • HP ThinPro Go, expected to be available in May.

All work and no play, right? HP also debuted a new OMEN look and feel with the OMEN 25L and 30L gaming desktops. The hot boxes work well with the OMEN 27i Gaming Monitor, say the HP folks.

Microsoft introduced new Surface Go 2, Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2, and Surface Earbuds for its mobile/remote user base. Microsoft calls the Surface Book 3 its most powerful laptop ever.

Speaking of mobile, the new AMD Ryzen PRO 4000 series of mobile processors just launched. Flip a coin between the AMD Ryzen 4000 Series Mobile Processors built for SMBs who need performance and security in an ultra-thin business notebook, or the AMD Ryzen PRO 4000 Series Mobile Processors for premium business networks built to blaze through workloads.

Intel just gobbled Moovit, a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) company. The mobile trip planner includes multimodal options by combining public transportation, bike and scooter services, ride-hailing, and car-sharing. Pairs nicely with MobileEye, acquired by Intel in 2017.

Intel Tile laptopMore news from the big dogs. Tile makes little plastic locators that users attach to small things that tend to wander like phones, keys, purses, backpacks, and so on. What else gets misplaced? Laptops, far too often. Now that Tile and Intel have partnered, OEMs can build in findability that works even when the laptop is in snooze mode. (HP was onto Tile way back in January, btw).

HPE’s GreenLake Central has rolled out. Introduced last December, GreenLake Central provides users a consistent management experience for all their hybrid cloud applications and data.

The new Dell EMC PowerStore is up to seven times faster and three times more responsive than previous midrange storage arrays from Round Rock. Includes “Anytime Upgrades”.

Hello to the new AWS Elemental Link, a device that connects live video sources to AWS Elemental MediaLive. Small and energy-sipping, these can be ordered from the AWS Management Console. But wait! There’s more!  UltraWarm for the Amazon Elasticsearch Service is now generally available.

Phil SorgenUCaaS news. Need to boost Microsoft Teams comm services? Broadvoice’s b-hive UCaaS platform now integrates with the Microsoft Teams collaboration hub in Office 365.

Millennials know phones aren’t for talking, they’re for texting. Perhaps that’s why CoreDial added SMS and MMS messaging to it CoreNexa UCaaS platform. Yes, kids, you can send videos.

The Vonage Contact Center and Vonage Business Communications mashed into a single suite to help businesses optimize services and productivity.

RingCentral has a new unified desktop app. The reimagined user interface works on PCs and Macs and supports RingCentral’s Message Video Phone. Also new at RingCentral? Microsoft veteran Phil Sorgen (pictured) joins as chief revenue officer.

Epson WorkForce ST-C8000Other product news. A3 page fans need no longer feel tankless. The Epson WorkForce ST-C8000 A3 color multifunction Supertank (pictured) holds enough ink to print up to 19,500 black pages and 14,800 color before it needs refueling.

Amazon S3 software vendors and developers can now instantly plug into Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage thanks to its new S3 compatible APIs.

Users delete the wrong files all too often (especially vice presidents). The new Quest NetVault v13 has more support options for Office 365 Teams.

The new Web.com group, a teamup from SKOUT Cybersecurity and Lookout, offers new security options for small businesses.

Remember 5G? It’s still rolling out. Meet it halfway with the help of the new Avnet XRF16 System-on-Module that implements 5G support. Save some developer time and get to market sooner.

King & Union’s Avalon Cyber Analysis Platform just gained more threat intelligence services.

Linksys Cloud ManagerNon-product vendor news. Microsoft partners who provide Teams services can now pursue gold competencies for Teamwork Deployment and Calling for Microsoft Teams.

The AWS Partner Network introduced the AWS SaaS Competency. This badge helps customers find partners with deep experience and prior success in SaaS on AWS solutions.

Linksys (a Belkin company) and Tanaza (based in Milan) teamed up to create the Linksys Cloud Manager back in 2018. Next step? Deepening integration to take Linksys Business Solutions to the next level.

Tech Data just became the first and only IT distributor to join the North American Smart Cities Council. It joins as a North American Lead Member.

The PagerDuty Partner Program for System Integrators has advanced. Check out its new Solution Partner and MSP Partner Programs that include customized support, more resources, and expanded education and training.

Social isolation ain’t over yet. So the CompTIA Tech Career Academy is adding a permanent online campus. Hello to IT-Ready Technical Support that prepares adults for their first tech jobs.

This week’s stats ticker:

ExtraHop Networks examined business-related device activity for one week at the end of March 2020. When compared to a week in November 2019, the report found a steep decline in connected devices at the office. Examples include a 65% decline in laptops and a 70% drop in the number of smartphones connecting directly to corporate networks. But most office phones and printers are still plugged in, creating security risks. 25% of those VoIP devices are Cisco IP phones, a common target of hackers exploiting a critical vulnerability announced in April. Security camera connections spiked 47% in March, so somebody’s watching. But many cameras still have security issues.

Why are offices so empty? People went remote, of course. Unfortunately, Kaspersky’s report, “How COVID-19 changes the way people work,” found that 73% of employees working from home had not received any specific cybersecurity awareness guidance or training. Yep, three of four. And one-in-four (27%) admitted receiving COVID-19 phishing emails. Non-IT-approved app use jumped 70% for video conferencing, 60% for instant messengers, and 53% for file storage services. More than 6,000 workers from around the world were surveyed.

Asigra’s “MSP Partner Landscape 2020“ report detail best practices for MSPs. Managed services are here to stay as businesses continue to move toward subscription products. 86% of MSPs believe cloud-based management services represent a fundamental change in businesses are consuming IT. The five key security services are endpoint protection, network security, data protection, cloud security, and authentication. Yet 21% of customers still resist cloud-based managed services. 27% of MSPs report a lack of price/margin control, and 21% report difficulties getting the right training and enablement from service providers and vendors.

COVIDiningCOVIDining. Itching to eat out yet still worried about social distancing? Join the club. Or you can join the folks at Mediamatic ETEN, a restaurant in Amsterdam. You can choose from its four-course vegetarian menu and eat in individual quarantine greenhouses.

Yes, tiny greenhouses with a table for two. The trial underway is selling out, according to the restaurant.

Of course, somebody must bring your veggies to your personal greenhouse. If you don’t trust waiters or wait-bots (you know those are coming, right?), try a new restaurant in Sweden. Tagged the “smallest restaurant in the world,” it consists of one table and one chair in the middle of a country meadow and serves a single diner each day.

No waiters or wait-bots, either. A simple basket tied to a rope and pully system brings your food.

Or keep doing the American thing and drive through burger joints.

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.