Category: News

Scottish ZoneFox partners with Distology


maxresdefaultEdinburgh-based cybersecurity outfit ZoneFox has teamed up  with distributor Distology in a bid to grow its UK channel.

ZoneFox makes user behavioural analytics gear which monitors the movements of an organisation’s users by mapping out their day-to-day behaviour. This means it can recognise when a user is carrying activity that they usually would not and may or may not have been replaced by a hacker or an alien.

CEO and founder James Graves has gone on record saying that it wanted to launch the vendor into the UK channel using a two-tier model. Now it seems stage one of the cunning plan involves Stockport-based Distology.

It wanted to appoint 15 partners by the end of the year and channel manager Howard Freeman revealed the figure is now at eight.

He said the channel was interested in the product and there were a few that wanted to team up.

Distology is not signing a reseller contract, it will just be transacting business and working with ZoneFox.

The eight partners are boutique security specialists, ranging from between 15 and 100 employees.

Distology gives ZoneFox a distributor that can package its solution alongside its other vendors. It distributes Osirium, Portnox and Okta.

Security vendors are happy about WannaCry

drama-masksSecurity companies have seen their share prices rise sharply amid expected increase in spending on IT security after the WannaCry hack

The ransomware attack that disrupted the NHS and businesses around the world has led to a boom in share prices of cybersecurity companies – even the firm used by the health service to protect it against hackers.

Governments and companies expected to increase spending on IT security after being caught out by the attack, cybersecurity firms have seen their stock market values climb sharply over the past two days.

Sophos, a cloud network security specialist which counts the NHS among its clients, have jumped by about eight percent. Of course, it had to make a few changes. The claim on the company’s website that “the NHS is totally protected with Sophos” was changed to “Sophos understands the security needs of the NHS”.

Last week, the company tweeted its “top five tips for securing NHS organisations”. But its shares have been performing well over recent months because of the increased need for cyber defences.

NCC group added five percent to its share valuation and cyber consultancy group ECSC surged 42 percent. ISE, a fund invested in cybersecurity businesses, added nearly four percent.

All this is because corporates have suddenly woken up to the fact that they need to spend some cash on IT security and it is probably a daft idea to keep all those Windows XP machines running for the great unwashed while top execs get Microsoft Surfaces.

Sophos already gives services to the healthcare industry and is looking to increase selling to the sector in the aftermath of the attack.

FireEye’s prices have risen seven percent, Symantec up more than three per cent and Palo Alto Networks 2.7 percent.

The success of the WannaCry hack could make other attacks more likely in the future amid doubts over governments’ ability to secure “cyberweapons” from theft.

Amazon, Microsoft and Google need channel help

R-9020249-1473392859-8701.jpegBeancounters at Canalys say that AWS, Microsoft and Google need the channel as they look to capitalise on the “next phase” of cloud adoption.

The analyst outfit said that AWS, Microsoft and Google grew their cloud infrastructure revenues by 43 percent, 93 percent and 74 percent respectively in Q1, as the overall market rose by 42 percent to $11.4 billion.

Canalys principal analyst Matthew Ball said that the three have worked out that building an indirect business will be the only way to maintain that order of growth.

“We’re seeing the next phase of cloud adoption beyond the big marquee projects like Netflix and Snapchat. The cloud providers are now looking at corporate and mid-market accounts, and for that they need greater reach and scale, and that’s where the role of the channel comes in.

“So we are seeing a lot of the big cloud providers, AWS and Google in particular – those that haven’t come from an enterprise IT background – starting to mature their partner programmes and channel engagements. They are looking to focus on that more because they recognise that the channel has those relationships with customers. So we believe that the channel will be a part of their go-to-market strategies going forward, especially if they want to maintain their high levels of growth each quarter and year.”

Canalys said that AWS’ Q1 cloud infrastructure sales were more than $3.5bn, but the market leader’s success need not be at the cost of the channel as the rise of cloud has in some cases expanded the role played by resellers.

“The channel has made good business selling datacentre infrastructure in the past, and we believe they still will do going forward. Cloud is another choice for customers in terms of how they operate their IT environments and, for sure, it’s a concern for channel partners. But we’ve seen some partners being affected by cloud and others changing their business model to develop consultancy or professional services to help their customers define a cloud environment.”

Channel needs to focus on business lines

Creative-colorful-lines-business-template-vector-01As power moves away from the traditional IT department, the channel needs to focus on business lines.

In a report, CompTIA said that not only are lines of business buying technology but ideas about investments are coming from a wider source of participants.

The industry lobby group found that 45 percent said that ideas were coming from outside the IT department and more than half used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases last year.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of final decisions about which projects and investments get sign off are made by somebody other than the IT department.

The power is shifting to those working in finance, marketing, sales and logistics forcing resellers to have multiple contacts at any single customer.

Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA said that CIOs and information technology (IT) teams remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience is valued. But business lines are flexing their muscles. It’s another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset.

Lines of business money is going towards cloud based investments that are quick to spin up and can often be paid for in small instalments on a company credit card.

The advice from CompTIA is to recognise the changes and approach the sales pitch from a slightly different direction.

“Partners need to speak the language of business because this new generation of buyers doesn’t want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases. Channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help customers make informed decisions about what they buy,” April said.

“The amount of green-field, untapped space for business is huge. But lines of business have little knowledge or interaction with the channel. It’s incumbent on the channel to get their faces in front of line of business leaders,” she added.

Microsoft assimilates 15 resellers to its collective

The BorgMicrosoft has added 15 UK resellers to its new Surface Hub partner programme.

The Surface Hub was launched in Europe with just 20 specialist AV partners, but in February Microsoft opened up the device to its entire partner base through The Surface Hub Distributors Programme for Opportunity Resellers (VAD-OR).

Danielle Crayton, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft UK, said that the Surface Hub “ecosystem” is growing daily and Microsoft’s partners play an essential role in that growth by helping organisations implement new, innovative workplace collaboration strategies and communicate with colleagues across geographies.

“Surface Hub is a new breed of collaboration tool designed to unlock the power of any group and their ideas in real time. This ultimately leads to better solutions and results, regardless of whether teams are in the same room or spread across the globe.”

Microsoft said its Surface Hub customer base has increased globally from 500 customers last July to 2,000 now.

One of the partners was the IT outsourcing giant Capita. Managing director of Capita’s smart buildings divisions Paul Morris said Capita’s cunning plan was to bring users’ experience into the 21st century and embrace the developing role of multimedia technology to support and enable all employees.

“We offer customised audio-visual systems that encompass and deliver seamless collaboration, maximise content delivery and increase productivity within any environment. Surface Hub is a key part of our offering to clients, and we are very proud to have been awarded Authorised Device Reseller (ADR) status.”

Other partners are eBECS, Electrosonic, GV MultiMedia and Pro AV which are now Surface Hub ADRs, while a further 10 partners have been recruited through the VAD-OR programme with distributor Maverick.

Another regulator peeks under Redcentric’s bonnet

article-2633954-1E09DB5F00000578-344_634x445The Financial Conduct Authority is investigating Redcentric’s accounting mess which was made public last autumn.

For those who came in late the firm admitted to overstating assets and understating net debts. The outfit announced that it made multi-year number crunching errors that saw net assets exaggerated by £20.8 million and net debt closer to £42 million.  The company had previously said that it only had £30 milion in debt.

The CFO quit after the revelation and Redcentric hired Deloitte and law firm Navarro to complete a “forensic review” of the finances. It changed its billing and credit control management systems, and the continued restructure of the accounting department.

Now it appears that the FCA has “commenced an investigation following the historic overstatement of net assets and profits” and Redcentric said it would “co-operate fully” with the investigation.

This is the second snuffing around the hindquarters by a watchdog that Redcentric has had to undergo. Its  accountant PWC is being investigated by the Financial Reporting Council.




Entatech MD creates a phoenix

 The MD of the failed Entatech Dave Stevinson has created a new brand which he claims will raise an extra £1 million for creditors of fallen distributor

Stevinson has borrowed £1 million and bought some Entatech assets from the administrator KPMG. Not only does that mean that creditors will get some cash, it will also save 29 jobs.

Entatech entered administration last Monday after it failed to sell itself in a ‘pre-pack’ deal to Beta. It had been seeking a trade deal for several months amid a deepening credit crunch.

Stevinson said he and his family have acquired a new firm, GNR Technology, which has bought some of Entatech’s assets, namely the stock and some fixtures and fittings, as well as goodwill that gives it access to customer contracts.

GNR stands for ‘greatest net return’, reflecting the distributor’s mission of maximising the return for its vendor creditors.

The new company will manage the channel inventory of our vendors, as opposed to seeing the stock purchased by an inventory auction house.

Stevinson said GNR would be funded by a blend of personal funding and new funding secured from Aldermore Bank.

He said the new company would be a narrow-line distributor, focusing on the UK market. We expect to hold onto the key vendors.

Plantronics settles with Headset Solutions

f667f7102af7412ec2bbe6fc07e67a78Plantronics has announced it has reached an out-of-court settlement with dealer Headset Solutions.

The move is part of a battle that Plantronics was having with grey wear and is the second time the Plantronics has made a trade mark infringement claim against Headset Solutions. The headset vendor said the settlement related to the sale of non-EU Plantronics products that it claimed infringed EU trade mark laws.

Headset Solutions have been settled with legally binding undertakings being given and payment of an undisclosed sum to Plantronics.

Paul Dunne, UK & Ireland country manager at Plantronics, said: “We want to make it clear to those who deal in unauthorised Plantronics goods that we will continue our robust stance on illegal product and that we remain committed to our channel community.”

In February, Plantronics settled with Manchester firm PMC Telecom and last year the headset player settled with James Products and Corporate Direct (Europe) and Incom Telecommunications.

PC sales continue to dip but value increases

pc-sales-slumpWhile the number of PCs sold continues to fall the value of those sold has increased, according to figures from Context.

According to Context, the desktop market has been consistently pants over recent quarters with the consumer end of the business in the doldrums. The only positive signs comes from the enterprise market.

This has meant that volumes continue to decline but price rises caused by currency fluctuations and part shortages have meant that the revenues have increased.

Figures from Context covering PC sales across Western Europe in the first quarter found that year-on-year the volume of sales was down by 2.4 percent but revenues were up by 8.3 percent.

Most hardware manufacturers have been forced to put their prices up to try and cover costs, thanks to the falling pound. But higher end products have proved popular with powerful notebooks doing well in the enterprise space.

Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context said that revenue growth was driven by a significant rise in distributors’ average sell prices for the quarter.”

“Across the entire Western European region, average selling prices were up by 11 percent to €553 compared to Q1 2016. Across just the eurozone countries, ASPs for the quarter rose 7.3 percent to €535,” she said.

One of the drivers of investment has been the high-profile ransomware attack on the NHS, which was caused essentially because of the use of out-of-date Windows XP machines.

VMware buys Apteligent

cloud (264 x 264)VMware has written a cheque for  Apteligent, a provider of mobile application performance and monitoring technology, and plans to shove it under the bonnet of VMware’s cloud and end user management products.

Apteligent arrives with shedloads of intellectual property related to how applications operate in mobile environments which VMware wants to use to make manageability across the cloud and end-user computing more intelligent.

Apteligent automatically captures and interprets application data to provide user insights and information to help provide mobile business performance. It takes real-time event data from user flows in an application, tracks key metrics, and uses mobile ecosystem data points to help customers improve the applications.

Last year VMware acquired Arkin, a startup developer of software that lets organisations keep track of networking traffic flows and security issues in virtualised and physical environments. That technology became VMware’s vRealize network Insight, or vRN

Tories deny that budget cuts were responsible for NHS hack

{D6D0B29D-B10D-4A67-A326-C3F37E8A3B3C}While the dust starts to settle after Friday’s NHS hack, the Tory government is facing rather tough questions about whether its austerity cuts were responsible.

Generally, the Tory government is not a big fan of the NHS and is rather hacked off that it keeps having to make election pledges to maintain it. However, the huge hack on Friday made people wonder if the Tories had skimped on security with the NHS.

Ben Wallace, UK security minister was put on the spot on  BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and had to defend its record on investment in cyber-security.

Asked if the Government was to blame for cutting budgets, Wallace said reasons for failures to protect against the attack dated back to decisions made by the Labour government in 2007 in relation to agreements with Microsoft.

Wallace said the Government had committed £1 billion to countering cyber threats across all Government.

“The blame lays with these individuals who have decided to blackmail and destroy our public services,” he said.

Not those who decided it was too expensive to upgrade Windows XP to something which was developed after the Romans left Britain.

“We have always said as a government that if you follow the very basic steps, continue to back yourself up as an organisation, you will always be in a position where a ransomware attack is minimised if not entirely deferred.”

Microsoft calls for new blood

funny-vampireThe software giant has used its Build event in a bid to get more developers working with its applications

The software giant shared the latest adoption figures for its Windows 10 OS, now used by 500 million people, and also that 100 million commercial users were now using Office 365 every month.

In his keynote the firm’s CEO Satya Nadella appealed to the developer community to get more involved with the vendor.

“In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge,” he alleged.

The firm has developed more services for developers on its Azure platform and extensions to Microsoft Graph, which can provide insights that should help firms manage devices better.

Rob Howard, director, Office 365 ecosystem marketing at Microsoft, said that there were plenty of opportunities for developers to work with its products and add value and even those resellers that were not developing their own programmes there were still chances to get something out of the software.

“In a lot of cases they are either taking an offer that an ISV has built around Office 365 and taking a packaged offer to those customers, so they are really tailoring Office with the ISV to their customer needs. Or in a lot of cases they are building their own custom solutions,” he said.

Microsoft said that partners who get involved with its products have the chance to flog further services.

Office offers voice, video and security areas for the channel had been able to add further services.


Changtel liquidator targets Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann

5388444-3x2-940x627Changtel Liquidator Begbies Traynor wants a collective £50 million which the company paid to its key suppliers returned.

Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann have all received a note from Changtel which was liquidated in 2015 following a dispute with HMRC over alleged unpaid VAT.

Jason Tsai, whose family once controlled Changtel, was recently banned from being a company director for 13 years.

In February 2016, Changtel’s liquidator, Begbies Traynor, reached a £1.2 million settlement with Entatech, an independent entity which went into administration last week.

Begbies is now chasing other parties that traded with Changtel in the lead-up to its liquidation to claw back cash when it was presented with a winding-up petition on 7 June 2013, and the date of the winding-up order, on 28 January 2015. It claims that the deals were void.

Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann are among Begbies’ top targets because they received payments in the region of £11 million , £6 million and nearly £2 million from Changtel. Mad Catz, a gaming hardware vendor which recently ceased trading, received £600,000.

A letter dated August 2016 sent by Begbies to one of the vendors involved requests that the sums they received during this period be paid back in full if validation orders were not obtained for them.

Insolvency laws are designed to protect any dispersal of assets in the period between the presentation of a winding-up petition and the formal liquidation.

Gemalto gives Mercs smartphone keys

4550a36b2d1a5bc005e1abbfeafa461cDigital security outfit Gemalto is providing its Trusted Services Hub (TSH) to support Daimler AG’s new smartphone-based ‘digital vehicle key’ for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range.

The premium car maker’s “innovative solution” gives drivers the freedom to lock/unlock and start their vehicles using their NFC smartphone. Gemalto’s TSH enables seamless and secure over-the-air deployment of the digital keys to any type of phone that supports the solution.

Drivers can lock/unlock their cars by simply placing the smartphone against the door handle. The engine can also be turned on with the phone in the charging tray of the dashboard and pressing the start button. It works even if the phone battery is drained and means you don’t need keys – unless your phone is out of battery, or stolen.

The Secure Element is a tamper resistant hardware platform, capable of securely hosting applications and storing confidential and cryptographic data. It can be found in a SIM provided by a Mobile Network Operator and/or an eSE (embedded Secure Element) built into phone handset by OEMs, the company claims.

The idea is part of the ‘Mercedes me connect’ programme.

Christine Caviglioli, vice president New Mobility Solutions at Gemalto said that digitalisation demands that companies harness their expertise to make friends and influence people with all stakeholders within the connected car ecosystems.

“For Daimler AG, this aim is supported by our solutions, which enable it to offer customers innovative services through their preferred device, without compromising security.”

Exertis pulls in more than 1,000 to shindig

1890160-1-eng-GB_exertis-slider-610Exertis managed to draw 1,000 people to its first Plug into Exertis event in West London.

Paul Bryan, managing director of, IT and mobile, told the assorted throngs that it was a tough market and a market that is consolidating. Customers are worried that their partners will shut and that is why it is important that Exertis had DCC behind it to provide it with cash.

He told the assorted throngs that it was challenging market and the industry was having to deal with Brexit, price inflation and the uncertainty of an election which also adds to the uncertainty.

Exertis was growing, operating with more than 2,000 staff and £2.5 billion turnover, developing and looking for ways to expand its footprint, both geographically and from a technology point of view, he said.

“With our organic growth, we are constantly setting up new divisions and bringing in new expertise, new product sets and we are very acquisitive. We brought three business in the UK last year. Geographic expansion, it’s not just UK and Ireland and across Europe but who’s to say those ambitions are not global,” he added.

Exertis bought AV player Medium, storage and server outfit Hammer and Siracom for wireless.

In the consumer the Smart home is a really interesting, he said.

“It is up year-on-year with some big brands coming through. We are very focused on making sure we are bringing on the right brands and making them available to retailers.”

Exertis’ business division found that Medium had helped it get more of a footprint in whiteboards, large format displays and it had kept its print revenues going.

The Hammer acquisition wrapped up in November has already had an impact in the enterprise operation thanks to the firm’s knowledge of storage and servers.

Bryan said that there had also been an increase in security sales as customers moved to make sure they were compliant and able to deal with the latest threats.

The distributor is also going to be banging the drum more over the services it provides resellers with support available across its technology portfolio. Earlier this month the firm revealed plans to double the amount of credit available to SME resellers as another demonstration of its commitment to support the channel.