Category: News

Cloud Constellation tightens its SpaceBelt

Cloud Constellation has launched its  space-based data security-as-a-service (DSaaS) global partner programme.

Dubbed the SpaceBelt Global Partner Programme, the plan will allow its partners to take advantage of its networked constellation of satellites to power customer DSaaS services.

The  service providers, cryptocurrency exchange operators, teleport operators, managed service providers and satellite service providers access to the company’s entire service portfolio, alongside marketing, technical collaboration and customer engagement support to help them sell the company’s security solution alongside their other offerings.

Other benefits include the option of bundling together other equipment and products in their existing portfolio, including network and professional services to offer a fully-fledged security solution. Partners can also take advantage of SpaceBelt’s other partners’ expertise, adding on extra services to offer a better value proposition for customers.

Cloud Constellation chief commercial officer of Dennis Gatens said: “The immediate level of acceptance and interest in our global partner program validates the SpaceBelt DSaaS value proposition and the game-changing capabilities it brings to a service provider’s portfolio.”

He added: “An enterprise cybersecurity strategy is comprised of numerous technologies, applications and processes, but underpinning it with SpaceBelt DSaaS greatly enhances its effectiveness.”

Cloud Constellation’s SpaceBelt service uses a network of eight satellites in low earth orbit to store high-value and sensitive data from industries including the military, private enterprises and governmental organisations.

 

 

ScanSource acquires Intelisys Global

ScanSource has written a cheque for the telecom, connectivity and cloud distributor Intelisys Global as part of its cunning plan to boost its UCaaS efforts.

It already owned Intelisys’ US business in 2016, but this latest move means resellers can take advantage of the partnership globally. ScanSource  wants to exploit the growing demand for UCaaS services in Europe.

The plan is to flog the company’s products using its as-a-service-model, offering the entire infrastructure, including tools, processes and systems across suppliers to get their customers up and running.

The company has promoted Paul Emery to vice president of Cloud Solutions and Service to manage the entire cloud and UCaaS part of ScanSource’s business. Emery worked at ScanSource for more than 12 years. He was most recently responsible for leading the company’s communications business in the UK.

Emery said: “We are thrilled with the acquisition of Intelisys Global, as it immediately opens up opportunities for our partners who are ready to grow their cloud and services business. Our goal is to not only help our resellers grow their traditional premise-based business, but also to provide the tools, suppliers and support they need to build their cloud and recurring revenue business.”

Stephen Hackett will join ScanSource from Intelisys Global as director of Cloud Solutions Development, working alongside Emery to develop the company’s cloud business.

86 per cent of ecommerce websites at risk

Security scans performed on 218,000 Magento ecommerce websites revealed 86 per cent are missing critical security patches

Cyber security consultancy Foregenix focused on SME company websites globally, including around 15,000 in the UK, also revealed 2 per cent of the websites analysed are compromised and were being harvested for their customers’ data.

Benjamin Hosack, co-founder and chief commercial officer of Foregenix, said: “The rise in cybercrime threatens to undermine confidence in e-commerce, especially in markets leading the way in online sales such as the US and UK. While heavy penalties by card providers put many smaller traders at risk.

“Magento and other e-commerce platforms release regular software updates in response to vulnerabilities. These security patches, if not used, can leave websites highly vulnerable to hacking.

“Online businesses often assume web developers and agencies take care of security. Design agencies are great at producing beautiful, transactional websites that sell, but their expertise on security issues generally isn’t as well developed. Agencies and their clients need to be aware of e-commerce security issues, as even a single breach can be devastating for a small business.

“Simple precautions can make a real difference to reducing a company’s risk from criminals such as changing default settings on the administration interface and using stronger passwords. Risk can never be entirely eliminated, so companies should also consider investing in a cyber insurance policy.”

QuantiQ buys Profile Enterprise Solutions’ Dynamics

QuantiQ has acquired the Dynamics business of Profile Enterprise Solutions which will see 40 Microsoft Dynamics partners move over to QuantiQ.

CEO Stuart Fenton claims  the move will bolster the firm’s recurring revenue as Dynamics is moving to a fully SaaS (software-as-a-service) application.

He said that the platform was updated each month and twice a year it goes through major updates.

“It rewards partners with much deeper skills and more scale to support the client, but I have never seen this relentless pace of development from Microsoft in the nearly 30 years I have been in the IT industry and I think the smaller firms are going to struggle to keep up. At Profile the owner recognised they were under scale and couldn’t achieve the success they wanted, so they started talking to us about how they can extricate themselves from the business. I think those trends will continue.”

QuantiQ expects the acquired business to have made a tangible contribution to QuantiQ, via recurring revenue, in around three years.

Fenton  said that QuantiQ will continue to eye up acquisitions of this nature, but added that the firm has tended to opt against full acquisitions.

 

Contact centres need humans

Puzzel VP Sales Colin Hay has said that contact centres that blend technology with the human touch will reap rewards in the digital age.

He said that the rise of artificial intelligence solutions in contact centres continues to be a hot technology trend that shows no signs of slowing down. There is solid business reasoning for deploying bots because in today’s ‘always on’ environment customers expect 24×7 service through their preferred channel. Chatbots are a key component in deliverin real-time, on-demand approach that customers expect.

“Although technology has altered the way customers interact with contact centres, when it comes to complex interactions, person-to-person communication is still the channel of choice. Good customer service is not just about dealing with enquiries in a timely manner it is about resolving the issue to the customer’s satisfaction and to achieve that, it is important to understand the customer’s emotional state when responding to them. Agents that can understand how the customer is feeling and use that information to find the right words to influence a positive result are priceless”, he said.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand and manage our own emotions whilst identifying, understanding and influencing the emotions of others. This is a beneficial skill to have in any workplace but especially within customer service teams, thinks Hay.

Hay said some agents may naturally have high emotional intelligence, however with training it can be nurtured and therefore improve the quality of interactions between agents and customers.

Emotional Intelligence training provides agents with the knowledge and skills necessary to cultivate a higher empathy with customers. Understanding and engaged communication between agents and customers develop the right environment for better problem solving, Hay said.

“Another benefit of an emotionally intelligent workforce is the ability for employees to embrace and adapt to change. The traditional contact centre is rapidly evolving to respond to customer needs and as channels become more digitised, the role of agents will also change. An empathetic well trained workforce will be able to make the leap to higher skilled activities that deliver a more personalised customer centric and revenue rewarding approach.”

Customers often judge a successful interaction not just by the outcome but by how much effort is required on their part. Agents that can read the situation and manage their own emotions as well as the customer’s are extremely valuable in more complex cases, where out-of-the-box and creative thinking will dictate the customer experience, he added.

“Rather than bots and artificial intelligence replacing humans altogether, a more realistic scenario is a blended approach where technology replaces the mundane and transactional interactions. Technology is a fantastic enabler and by merging the best aspects of human agents with automated services like chatbots, contact centres can free up talented and professional agents to do their job even better. With the ability to access accurate information quickly, agents can focus on delivering a more personalised and sales focused service. A happy customer is a loyal customer and a happy motivated workforce is less likely to seek employment elsewhere,” Hay said.

While it is important for contact centres to remain relevant and integrate new, innovative technologies to enable more efficient business processes, it is also important to acknowledge the role that people play in a customer’s experience of a brand or company.

“When it comes to complex matters, the human touch is invaluable. With all the benefits that artificial intelligence and bots can deliver, it still cannot compare to the understanding and compassion of human agents. Why have humans who sound like robots when empowerment, training and coaching can make all the difference?” Hay said.

 

UK’s Cloudreach buys Relus Cloud across the pond

The UK’s Cloudreach is set to acquire Relus Cloud, a US born-in-the-cloud consulting services company.

Apparently the cunning plan is to boost Cloudreach’s  data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Relus uses data and analytics to focus on AWS adoption, migration and enablement.

The purchase will bring the UK cloud service provider’s global headcount to more than 700 across Europe and North America.

Aaron Painter, Cloudreach’s newly appointed CEO, said: “Cloudreach and Relus Cloud share a similar culture and a strong sense of purpose.

“Together, we have a significant community of cloud-native talent, proven solutions, and industry experience across North America and Europe.”

The purchase of Relus Cloud is Cloudreach’s third since investment firm Blackstone bought a majority stake in the company last year.

After the acquisition is formalised, Cloudreach plans to use its newest addition to scale “at a level that smaller boutique cloud consulting organisations cannot reach”.

 

A third of UK businesses are not GDPR compliant

A third of businesses in the UK have fessed up to not being compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

According to a survey conducted by Marketing Signals more than 37 percent of UK businesses admit to not being compliant with the new regulations, while 35 percent said they are still sending marketing emails without expressed consent from the recipient.

Gareth Hoyle, managing director at Marketing Signals, said: “The research shows there are many ways that businesses are admitting to not following the newly enforced GDPR.

“GDPR is the most fundamental change to ever happen to data privacy, so it is imperative that businesses follow this and complete the process as soon as possible.

“Businesses need to understand that acting responsibly and ethically with customer data is crucial to protect and enhance brand reputation and ensure customer trust. Not only this, but it will enhance the quality of data collected, which is a good thing for UK businesses.”

The research also found that 31 percent of respondents admitted holding the data of subjects who have not opted in to their data being stored.

More than a quarter admitted not having adequate cybersecurity protection in place in the event of a ransomware attack.

 

Qualys supplies MSP and consultant support

banner_220x220Security outfit Qualys has rolled out its Qualys Consulting Edition for  MSPs and consultants which enables them to run  vulnerability assessments and give their users a chance to consolidate some of their security applications.

Philippe Courtot, chairman and CEO, Qualys, said that MSPs and consultants had been asking for the firm to deliver something that could lean on its cloud platform, “allowing them to perform security assessments across on-premises environments, endpoints and clouds from a single platform”.

The firm will be delivering the consulting edition by the end of the month and joins a growing list of security providers recognising the need to help users consolidate their sprawling hardware and software estates.

The move resolves a need to provide tools and services that MSPs without a deep background in this part of the market can take out to customers.

“While periodically evaluating other vendors in the space, we have found that Qualys’ cloud-based solution uniquely provides more flexibility to rapidly assess our clients’ evolving infrastructure, regardless of their network configuration”, said Dennis Houseknecht, CTO at Waterloo Security.

“This flexibility has enabled our organisation to scale in servicing a wide variety of clients as their needs grow from a simple one-time assessment to a continuous security program”, he added.

“Infogressive selected Qualys for our Managed Security Services Platform since our evaluation found that there is no other multi-tenant platform enabled with APIs available to achieve the scale and depth of what Qualys can do with the ease of consolidating multiple technologies”, said Justin Kallhoff, CEO, Infogressive.

“This now allows us to cost-effectively broaden our offerings to expand our partnerships with Managed Service Providers.”

Fujitsu pilots ‘shared-risk’ venture

Fujitsu is piloting a new Service Provider Programme in the UK and will work with MSPs to offer end users a bespoke  digital transformation services.

The programme offers a foundation of infrastructure and services on which MSPs can build complementary tools to help organisations modernise their technology infrastructure.

Fujitsu said it launched the programme because it can no longer take a “one size fits all” approach to its products. Instead, by working with MSPs, Fujitsu can help build tailored offerings to help businesses address specific needs.

Leigh Schvartz, head of cloud and managed service provider offerings at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said competitition amoung service providers, competition was fierce and to compete they need to offer their customers a highly personal and differentiated service – and that means our partners need to be getting one themselves.

“The service provider programme is designed to provide the solid infrastructural base on which resellers can accelerate the transition to a service-based model, which has innovative technology at its heart. By taking a co-creation approach and melding our expertise with service providers’, we’re looking to introduce a flexible model that enables our partners to focus on where their customers, and therefore they, are winning.”

Fujitsu explained this service-driven approach will be a “shared-risk” venture with partners, creating services that meet customers’ existing SLAs. The company is now looking for MSPs that want to take part in the pilot. Any that are can contact Fujitsu directly.

Top Vole dumped a third of shares

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has sold almost one third of his shares raising $35.9 million.

Nadella flogged 328,000 of his Microsoft stocks last week, according to a regulatory filing, with the sale equating to 29.6 per cent of the total shares he held.

The stocks were sold at prices ranging between $109.08 and $109.68, averaging out at $109.44.

In a statement Microsoft said: “The stock divestitures made today were for personal financial planning and diversification reasons.

“Satya is committed to the continued success of the company and his holdings significantly exceed the holding requirements set by the Microsoft board of directors.”

Nadella is required to hold 15 times his base salary in shares. His salary in 2017 was $1.45 million, with total compensation exceeding $20 million.

Following the sale, Nadella owns 778,596 Microsoft shares.

The vendor’s valuation has tripled since the CEO took over from predecessor Steve Ballmer in 2014.

VMware acquires Dell EMC’s Service Assurance Suite

banner_220x220VMware has written a cheque for Dell EMC’s Service Assurance Suite as part of a cunning plan to boost its  comms provider offerings.

The business offers services across network health and performance monitoring, VMware said, and will be integrated with VMware’s Telco NFV portfolio.

Shekar Ayyar, general manager of VMware’s Telco NFV group, said: “As carriers are readying for 5G, they are increasingly virtualising edge and core networks with network functions virtualisation, or NFV.

“Service assurance is a critical need for any network.”

At VMworld 2017, VMware CEO Kicking Pat Gelsinger said that the vendor would be making a push to work with more telcos, claiming that the firm is “transforming” the telecoms infrastructure space.

VMware said this latest acquisition will enable comms providers to “maintain operational reliability in their core network, cloud and IT domains”.

It also stated that service assurance “becomes critical” as customers look to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G’s imminent arrival.

VMware claims that 50 communications service providers globally, including “many tier-one operators” are currently using the Dell EMC Service Assurance Suite.

German reseller Cancom buys OCSL

German-based reseller Cancom has written a cheque for HPE and Microsoft Azure’s top UK partners, OCSL.

Cancom said the move “represents a determined move towards a substantial UK market presence and the international growth of the business”.

Based in West Sussex, OCSL has more than 200 employees. Its parent company, The Organised Group Limited, hit pre-tax profits of £2.8 million on revenues of £85.9 million in its year to 31 March 2017.

Cancom said that both companies have moved into cloud-based and hybrid IT having started off as resellers of hardware and software.

Cancom president Thomas Volk said the aim is to expand its cloud and managed services business and this requires international structures.

“The close co-operation of both new British members of the Cancom family together with the total group, not only offers numerous opportunities in the UK, such as introducing existing and potential clients to our IT infrastructure management software AHP. It also allows us to build a UK-based hub to serve international clients even better than today and it intensifies Cancom’s transformation towards becoming an international company.”

Ironically Cancom exited the UK market in 2012, although at the time it was just an Apple dealer.

Tim Thrower, founder of OCSL said: “I am delighted that the next stage in OCSL’s evolution is to become the UK-based hub of such a large, successful and forward-thinking company as Cancom. OCSL has been on a journey to become a more services and cloud-centric business. Becoming part of the Cancom family will accelerate that future for us.

“I feel we share a good cultural fit and this bodes well for a very exciting future. I would like to thank OCSL’s employees for all playing their part in making OCSL the chosen partner for Cancom’s future growth in the UK.”

 

Kaspersky gets closer to Ingram Micro

Kaspersky and Ingram Micro have extended their distribution agreement to cover the entire EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states.

This agreement means Ingram Micro is able to offer more customers access to Kaspersky-powered cybersecurity products through its own Cloud Marketplace. In return, Kaspersky will benefit from a wider distribution of its products and services throughout the Eurozone.

MSPs will now have access to software packages through the marketplace, which include Kaspersky security suites bundled with other software products.

It means that partners can use Ingram Micro’s tight integration with Office 365 and the Kaspersky Lab portfolio that have been engineered to work closely together and protect end users.

Russ Madley, head of B2B, Channel for UK and Ireland at Kaspersky Lab said: “We have worked with Ingram Micro for years across the world and are delighted that our partnership has been extended across Europe. This will mean that an increased number of users will have easy access to our security software – which continues to be the most independently tested and awarded solution and receive multiple accolades – through Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace.”

It follows news that Kaspersky has now signed up 1,000 MSPs to its specialist partner programme in less than a year, despite growing international concern about the company’s alleged ties to the Russian government.

Dell EMC starts enterprise preferred channel programme

banner_220x220Dell EMC has launched a new enterprise partner programme which it claims will deliver “more predictability in engagements, more front-end margins and more speed and simplicity around quotes and deal registration.”

Dell EMC’s channel chief Joyce Mullen, said the Enterprise Preferred Channel Programme aims to simplify its sales engagement and be more prescriptive about how its sales teams and partners work together.

“We’re looking at ways for how we can incentivise and support our partners as they engage with us on these large enterprise opportunities”, Dell EMC’s UK&I VP of sales, Sarah Shields told Microscope.

“We’re looking at closer, deeper relationships with sales teams, a more managed way of working together through strategic account planning, access to technology, additional financial reward and working more collaboratively.”

Mullen said the programme included a dedicated channel team to support sales engagement in Enterprise Preferred accounts.

Dell EMC was giving partners “the greater front-end margin they asked for”, offering a new ‘acquisition’ deal registration with an incremental discount tied to it for eligible storage opportunities.

Acronis partners with Microsoft for Azure

Hybrid cloud data protection and storage solutions provider Acronis has announced a new strategic partnership with Vole for deeper integration of Acronis’ data protection products with Azure cloud services.

The new partnership will allow customers and service providers to even more easily store their data or clients’ data in the Azure cloud. Azure will be available as a storage destination option alongside Acronis Cloud and other public cloud vendors in future versions of Acronis products.

Service providers can choose to buy their Azure storage directly from Microsoft, or Acronis can include the Azure storage costs as part of a single invoice.

The partnership is part of Acronis’ overall strategy to support all workloads, delivering safety, security, accessibility, privacy and authenticity for data stored in local, cloud and hybrid environments.

By delivering full support of more than 20 platforms, native integration with PSA and RMM tools, and growing support of public cloud vendors, Acronis enables service providers to make the most out of their existing cloud arrangements

Acronis President John Zannis said: “A lot of products that we build deliver value to clients using Microsoft technology. With easy, reliable and efficient backup and built-in security in the form of active protection against ransomware, our clients enjoy complete protection of their data. Adding Azure as a native storage destination increases their options, making Acronis solutions even more attractive to use. For any organization that has built their strategy on Microsoft, this is great news.”

Judy Meyer, General Manager, ISV partners at Microsoft, said: “It’s great to see how Acronis is transforming the services it offers to its customers, innovating in anti-ransomware and data protection. Microsoft and Acronis have worked closely together over several years in planning the adoption of public cloud services as part of Acronis’ portfolio, and we’re delighted to see the progress that’s been made in using Azure and the Microsoft AI platform.”