IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

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

Azure news aplenty from Microsoft, new PCs from HP and Razer, and the overalls of choice for people with more dollars than sense are all among the stories we’re finally bringing your way before the weekend starts. By James E. Gaskin

Only in 2020 would we consider it “good news” that no hurricanes are forecast this week. But don’t relax too much, because we have two full months of hurricane season yet to go. Keep those sandbags ready to save all these fresh newsbits we missed this week while complaining about our football team of choice.

Microsoft 365 LighthouseMicrosoft Ignite News. Now in private preview, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse (pictured) helps MSPs serving SMBs deal with device compliance, endpoint threat management, user access management, and more. Builds upon the multi-tenant capabilities being added to the Microsoft 365 admin center for customers and partners.

Leaning on Azure for more multi-cloud workloads the last six months? Many are, hence a box o’ upgrades for Azure Defender (CyberX integration), Sentinel, Security Center, and so on.

The upgrade box landed on Azure Arc’s porch as well, with goodies like enabled data services (preview), enabled servers (generally available), Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack and much more.

Azure AI get a new spatial analysis capability in the Computer Vision Azure Cognitive Service. Responsible AI practices and guidelines for safe AI use are now infused into Azure AI’s services.

How to get the word out for all these goodies? Perhaps the newly announced Azure Communications Services, a fully managed communication platform. Video and voice calling, chat, SMS, and lots of telephony capabilities.

Your gamer customers will want to hear about the Microsoft acquisition of ZeniMax Media, meaning Bethesda Softworks, including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Price tag is $7.5 billion in cash.

Ignite partner news. NetApp recently bought Spot, leading to the availability of Elastigroup for Microsoft Azure Spot Virtual Machines. Reduce compute sending by up to 90% along with high availability.

Built natively on Azure, Barracuda CloudGen WAN introduced two new devices for industrial endpoints: CloudGen WAN T93 and CloudGen WAN T193 with fiber connectivity. Available now.

ServiceNow’s integration with Microsoft Teams continues with new workflows embedded in Teams for seamless self-service and faster case resolution.

DH2i proudly says its DxEnterprise for Availability Groups can now be found in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

T-Mobile’s new Magenta for Business plans come with Microsoft 365 included at no extra charge on up to two lines per account. Its 7,000 retail stores are being upgraded to better cater to the needs of small businesses around the country, and the team of trained experts dedicated to business customers is doubling.

HP Pavilion 13News from other big dogs. Buckets of news came from the Intel Industrial Summit 2020, including new Internet of Things capabilities. The 11th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel Atom x6000E series, and Intel Pentium and Celeron N and J series boost AI and more to edge customers.

HP updated its Pavilion line-up with the HP Pavilion 13 (pictured), HP Pavilion 14, and HP Pavilion 15 Laptops, which include the new 11th Gen Intel Core processors and Iris Xe graphics. Even more interesting? They also use post-consumer-recycled and ocean-bound plastics.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise completed its acquisition of Silver Peak, the SD-WAN folks, in a $925 million transaction. The new folks will become part of HPE’s Aruba unit. Plans include helping Aruba customers edge-to-cloud transformation.

Security news. FireMon launched its agile network security policy management platform. Helps handle change while maintaining security and compliance.

AttackIQ integrated more with LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform to add its Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) and validate your technology, people, and processes are still effective against attacks.

Cloud data protection folks Druva rolled out beta support for Kubernetes workloads. Complete application protection accessible by all teams including the central IT group and DevOps.

The revved up Extended Detection & Response (XDR) Engine from Respond Software has a broader range of sensors, attack modeling, and MITRE ATT&CK scoping. And a few other goodies.

Like free security tools? Do Twinkies last forever? Check out the free online tool Ransomwiz from Nyotron. Test your defenses against ransomware using actual ransomware samples and real-world attack models.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820Other product news. Since 82% of businesses plan to let at least some employees work from home for now (Gartner), Epson unleashed a new line of five WorkForce Pro inkjet printers (including the WF-3820, pictured) optimized for home office use. Fast drying ink, fast first page out, and a variety of formats cover just about every office job that must now be done from home.

ViewSonic’s new Health Flex Kiosks include its Health Flex Hand-Sanitizing Stations with optional touchless hand sanitizer dispenser holder. Get your hands on the ViewSonic EP2410-B1, EP2410T-B1, EP2710-B1 Health Flex Kiosks, but only after sanitizing those digits.

Who likes cords everywhere? Not gamers. Hence the new Razer BlackShark V2 Pro, DeathAdder V2 Pro, and BlackWidow V3 Pro flagship wireless peripherals. Use the new headset, mouse, and keyboard to vanquish your enemies forthwith.

Maybe you’ll curse your cable provider less often if you install a new NETGEAR Nighthawk 2.5 Gbps Internet Speed Cable Modem (CM2000). If you still need to call and yell, use the Nighthawk 2.5 Gbps Internet Speed Cable Telephony Modem (CM2050V). You need something in manage endpoints of that high speed cable modem, so check out the newly-announced NETGEAR Insight Managed Business Router (BR200).

Need an AI, HPC, data science, graphics, or similar workload server? Check out the new Supermicro 1U NEBS L3 systems. The Network Equipment Building System supports up to four NVIDIA V100 or V100 S Tensor Core GPUs.

Seagate pulled the wraps off CORTX, a hardware-agnostic open source object storage platform, and Lyve Drive Rack, a CORTX-ready open, flexible converged storage infrastructure.

There’s a new subscription for the Ricoh ProcessDirector scalable workflow automation product. The extra pricing option becomes available on October 1. RICOH ProcessDirector version 3.9 will be released in November.

Are you ready for cyber insurance 2.0? Cowbell Cyber says yes, with its Prime 250 insurance program to deliver a set of coverages without the one-size-fits-all policies, long paper-based applications, and approval delays.

Available now for Web.com customers and soon for those of Network Solutions and Register.com, Web.com’s Pro Website and Pro SEO Services offer the human touch for building websites for small businesses.

Customers hate backup but they love restore. Feed those good feelings with the release of Retrospect Backup 17.5 with new cloud storage certifications and the latest Apple update support.

Safroadu (Saf) Yeboah-AmankwahNon-product vendor news. Intel rolled out the red, or maybe blue, carpet for Safroadu (Saf) Yeboah-Amankwah as senior vice president and chief strategy officer.

Malwarebytes current chief revenue officer Barry Mainz will move up to become the company’s first chief operating officer.

File this under “t” for “timely”. Tech Data’s new Giving … Back to School initiative has awarded $150,000 to a bevy of organizations working to help teachers, students, and their families who might not have adequate access to remote learning hardware and broadband.

Data protector Infrascale revised support practices and launched new premium support services for its MSP customers. Wraps you up in customer care throughout engagement.

Brother has rolled multiple partner portal services into the new Brother Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform. Move on up, Brother Authorized Partners.

Automation Anywhere enhanced its global partner program. The company’s 2,000 worldwide partners can use it to build skills, drive demand, and increase opportunities.

This weeks’ stats ticker:

Edge computing hit the bigtime just a few years ago, and the IDC Worldwide Edge Spending Guide says the market will reach $250.6 billion in 2024 with a CAGR of 12.5% over the 2019-2024 forecast period. Traditional IT and cloud players are being challenged in some areas by services and carrier companies like AT&T, Lumen, and Verizon. Most of the growth will be in the U.S. and Western Europe over the next several years. The top two industries for edge spending are discrete manufacturing and professional services. By the end of the forecast period, retail will overtake process manufacturing to become the third-largest industry (assuming lockdowns disappear, we bet).

Synergy Research Group’s 2020 First Half Review: No Crisis Here focused on the cloud ecosystem that’s grown by 20% from the first half of 2019. Across four key cloud and infrastructure market segments, operator and vendor revenues for first half of 2020 were $187 billion. Cloud infrastructure jumped up 34% from 2019, compared to enterprise SaaS revenue growth of 21%. Companies featured most prominently include Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Dell, and IBM. The total spent on hardware and software for cloud infrastructure was over $60 billion in the first half of 2020.

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report looked at how the pandemic makes over 6,000 information and first-line workers feel all over the globe. Guess what? The pandemic increased burnout at work and the causes of workplace stress differ for first-line and remote workers. Meditation helps burnout and stress during the workday. (Finding that quiet spot and free time could be an issue.) One interesting (?) finding is that the lack of a commute may hurt worker productivity. Why? A lack of separation from work and life impact their wellbeing. If only we could learn to ignore that email ding on the phone, right?

The new report, “COVID-19 Click: How Phishing Capitalized on a Global Crisis”, from OpenText, digs deeper into the increase in phishing attacks during the pandemic. Phishing attempts focused on streaming services since those had more traffic. One in five respondents received a COVID-19 related email. While 45% of people are shopping online more often, 68% believe there’s a greater risk. Sadly, only 59% of employees believe they know enough to keep themselves and their data safe from cyberattacks, perhaps because 64% said they’d open an email from their boss and 23% would open an email marked URGENT. Hope the phishers don’t figure this out.

Crazy DenimI can get you that look for free. Gucci is now selling an “Eco washed organic denim overall” for $1,400. That’s not a joke, although plenty of folks on Twitter had a great time making fun of similar Gucci jeans that cost a mere $1,200.

Why are these common-looking denim clothes worth so much? Because they’re “specifically treated for a stained-like distressed effect.” That distressed effect? Grass stains on the knees. Yeah, stained knees.

Maybe this is an intelligence test comparing money and brains. If you buy a pair of these, you may have the first but not the second.

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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