Intel imposes pay freeze on staff

IntelThings are looking more than a little shaky at the Intel Corporation  with claims of pay freezes and vacancies left unfilled.

Last month the company announced that it had seen profits take a nose dive dropping 27 percent in the last quarter, net income stood at $2.5 billion from the $3.4 billion, a year earlier, while the company’s revenue took a hit falling three percent to $13.5 billion from $13.9 billion.

At the time the company claimed that it was striving to do better and award its stakeholders with fatter margins the next time round, but it seems clawing some of the cash back is falling at the expense of its UK staff.

Sources within the company told ChannelEye: “There’s been talk of pay freezes, while [vacancies] that have been left open for months have yet to be filled.”

Some departments were facing a losing battle as a result.

“There’s also been more pressure on both [sales and marketing] departments to perform better, which, without the right support and staff count has been hard, but that’s obviously the demons that we have to deal with rather than for the top level staff.”

The source also said neither marketing or sales departments were seeing any of the marketing budget Intel had promised to throw at this area when it announced its financials.

This year the company earmarked $18.9 billion on research and development, along with marketing and administrative costs, an increase from 2011 when it spent $16 billion in this sector, and up from $18.2 billion last year.

“When Intel said it would be spending more on marketing last month, I don’t think it really meant its staff in this sector and in sales,” ChannelEye heard.

“I think it was more for its products – namely Ultrabooks – and other shiny toys that would appeal to consumers.

“There’s however only so much we can do to promote the Ultrabook, and feed exciting, engaging info to resellers and consumers when we haven’t got all the tools to do it”.

Box pushes, with force, into EMEA channel

boxfactoryEnterprise cloud and collaboration company Box is launching a channel partner programme packed with incentives and organised by industry veterans to boost growth in the UK and EMEA.

The Silicon Valley firm posted an impressive end of fiscal year in 2012 with its technology in roughly 150,000 enterprises and with about 15 million users, channel director Chris Penner told ChannelEye, along with over 17,000 developers actively building custom apps for the platform. Pre-partner programme, the company has been busy boosting its roster of seasoned executives and went on a poaching spree over a six month period, bringing on staff with experience at Salesforce, VMware, HP, NetApp, Cisco and more to make sure it gets the channel strategy right on the first try.

One such hire is David Quantrell, who joined Box in September 2012 to run Box’s channel strategy in EMEA. Prior to this role he was President, EMEA for McAfee, and also has experience at HP and Nortel.

Wayne Cook, another hire, was previously at McAfee and is now a VP for channel and alliances at Box.

Penner told us that for the poached staff, moving over to Box presented an opportunity “of a lifetime” in a company that is well positioned with proper venture backing, a tremendous install base, and $40 billion pre-IPO. “A lot of ingredients that don’t come along every day,” Penner said. “We are building a really fundamental industry leading channel”.

Box Partner Network will create an “ecosystem of strategic alliance, channel and platform partners” that will bring Box’s content into new markets and, it hopes, drive further lofty aims of expansion. In a press release, the company boasted that, although in relative infancy, the company already had tons of big business clients signed up, including EA, NBC, Nationwide, Discovery Communications, Sony Music, and Netflix.

Starting partners include Autodesk, AtTask, Fonality, Marketo, CollabNet, Clarizen, TIBCO, Tidemark, and Xero – while five new partners, CollabNet, Clarizen, Fonality, tibbr, and Tidemark, will be tasked with leveraging the Box Embed HTML5 framework introduced late last year.

50 resellers have been signed up on a global basis over the last four months, including big hitters such as Ingroam Micro.

Interested channel players should head here.

As for Box’s position in the tech industry, Penner is optimistic: he tells us that end users love the service for its collaboration tools and simplicity, while IT likes Box because they know exactly what technology is going to be on premises and can control and manage every level of content in a secure manner – which is not the case for consumer alternatives, Penner said.

 

Dell sells itself off to Dell and Co

Michael DellDell has confirmed it has sold itself to Michael Dell and associates for the princely sum of $24.4 billion.

Shareholders of Dell stock will receive $13.65 per share, when the transaction  concludes. That’s a premium of Dell’s share price of $10.88, which was its closing price before rumours of the sale started to surface.

The board of Dell, which includes Michael Dell himself, unanimously approved the merger agreement with Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners taking the company private.

Dell Inc has appointed a special committee to evaluate alternative proposals in a so-called go-shop period of 45 days.

Michael Dell said he thought the move was an “exciting new chapter for Dell” and its customers.  He said he has put a “substantial amount” of his own capital at risk together with Silver Lake.

After the transaction is completed, Michael Dell will continue as chairman and chief executive officer. Parties affiliated with Silver Lake include Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and others.

Liberty mulls Virgin Media buy

rbransonVirgin has confirmed that it is in talks with American billionaire John Malone about a possible takeover of Virgin Media – that could lead to a bid within the week, threatening Rupert Murdoch’s leading BSkyB TV service.

A purchase will be a challenge to Rupert Murdoch’s monopoly on paid-for TV services in the UK with BSkyB. Liberty Media, a subsidiary of Liberty Global, owns a hefty chunk of cable TV in the United States, and has the financial clout to inject competition into the British market.

According to principal analyst at Ovum, Adrian Drury, said in the near term the UK will become a “slug fest” for the two global pay TV heavyweights – that is, John Malone and Rupert Murdoch. TV subscribers will not be the only segment up for grabs, as the action could also kick off a price war in fixed broadband and voice subscribers.

“Depending on how Malone might choose to leverage the Virgin Mobile asset,” Drury said, “it may also spill over in consumer mobile services”.

Malone’s involvement would bring business experience from cable operations in 13 major markets, Drury points out, as well as leverage across multiple territories with the major studios and sports federations. Liberty’s Horizon platform would also gain a foothold in the UK. However, Drury said competing with BSkyB will be “facing off against a jewel” – as it is one of the best run operations in the world, not to mention its technology platform strategy and exclusive content rights with HBO and contracts with Premiership football.

The UK is also an emerging territory for streaming content services, with the two big players being Netflix and Amazon’s Lovefilm. Both BSkyB and Virgin have been offering their own streaming packages, however, that has seen a battle between companies that offer streaming to getting the best licensing deals. As such, Ovum suggests, it will be a a test for Liberty’s vision of cable TV and web services.

“Also expect that there would be some collateral damage, potentially other UK telcos trying to solve their triple play pay-TV challenge, such as Talk Talk and BT,” Drury said.

Avnet brings FlexPod, Expresspod to EMEA

avnettsEnormous distributor Avnet has teamed up with both Cisco and NetApp to open up integration services based on FlexPod and ExpressPod architecture to resellers in EMEA.

FlexPod and ExpressPod are data centre design architectures built with virtualisation and the cloud in mind. The idea behind Avnet’s programme is to give partners access to these technologies on a basis that will let them roll out as fast as possible. Included is pre-sales support, single order capability, assembly and testing, and ship completion and tracking. Avnet’s Cisco, NetApp and VMware teams will offer additional support.

Avnet says that by partnering with three top market players it has landed itself in an advantageous position for the region.

The programme will be available in every EMEA country where Avnet has distie rights for Cisco and NetApp – which includes the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

In a statement, Cisco’s EMEA director for data centre and virtualisation, Ed Baker, said that the opportunity presents resellers with a “great way to position new services and increase customer relevance”.

NetApp’s VP for partners and pathways EMEA, Thomas Ehrlich, said the potential for the technologies is “immense” because the flexibility of the architecture pays off for resellers and customers.

Inkjet market going the way of the Dodo

Dodo-birdIt is starting to look like inkjets are going the way of the Dodo and the Rubik’s Cube.

Figures from Context show that all-in-one inkjet sales in the UK slid 11.8 percent by volume in 2012. That figure is better than the rest of the EU where all-in-one inkjet sales fell by 14 per cent.

Wireless versions of InkJets are doing slightly better because they are popular in homes and small offices because they can be located easily, connecting to multiple devices without cabling.

As you might expect, HP is still the leading vendor of wireless all-in-one inkjets, although Epson and Canon are doing a little better. However, the InkJet market has been looking shaky for a year.

In August Lexmark announced that it was pulling out of the market completely. Lexmark made its name on the “flog a cheap printer make your money back on the ink” model which was pioneered by HP. The fact that it left the market was seen as the beginning of the end. If Lexmark could kill off an entire business, unit sales numbers must have been dramatically bad.

Other companies have been seeing the writing on the wall for about three years. Consumer inkjet sales were proving so bad that it was better to try and flog the technology to corporate. Epson spent a fortune on its WorkForce high-end inkjets and did OK. HP, which has pitched its products to the business market for years, should have been doing fine too.

However, HP CEO Meg Whitman blamed part of the company’s recent and dismal earnings announcement as a steep decline in HP printer sales. She said that this lack of interest from consumers meant HP was going to de-emphasise products for lower-end customers. It seems business customers are no longer that interested either.

It is not quite so clear why the inkjet market has been so completely gutted. There have been moves to claim that the low end market and the consumer space have become completely paperless. Pictures which once would have been printed are now saved and shared across the net. Hard copy is less likely to be needed.

Some of that might be true, but the cost and quality of laser printing has also dropped. Cartridges require filling less often and are frequently cheaper than inkjets. Mostly it is because in the consumer market inkjet sales were tied to PC sales. Cheap inkjets were often sold as packages with PCs.

It also might indicate that there was a gradual realisation among consumers that inkjets really are a waste of cash in the long term. While the high-end inkjet technology was good, particularly for photographs, most of the great unwashed would not pay over £250 for a decent inkjet with all the sub-$100 models floating around. The cheap and nasty machines poisoned the market for the others.

Apple turned resellers into hostile competition

skippysonny_1334Apple might have scored an own goal down-under by culling its channel savagely and pushing its own retail model.

Last year, Apple fired more than 200 Australian resellers. Many of them had been selling Apple gear for years. The sackings came without warning or explanation.

One Sydney reseller told CRN Australia that all he got was a two line email terminating his reseller status. It ended his connection to Apple which brought $5 million worth goods to Australian businesses, health organisations and not-for-profits.

Another reseller who was dropped from Apple’s list was Sydney reseller Complete PC Solutions. Director Frank Triantafyllou said Apple made up figures which claimed his outfit had not sold enough products. Not only was that untrue, but what he found was that Apple was not really behaving like a partner.

His company often found he was competing against Apple’s own sales team and would find that product was not being made available for him to sell.

In one case he wanted 100 iPads for a school customer but was told by Apple he wasn’t authorised to supply that particular product.

The feeling down under is that Apple has peaked and it is losing business opportunities because it can’t handle the channel. The reason it can’t handle its channel is because it can’t give up control.
Apple’s policy appears to be one of forcing customers to go direct. This is helped by the development of its own retail channel. While this boosts the company at a local level it means the loss of huge numbers of sales.

Apple also failed to notice that those 200 resellers suddenly turned from committed advocates to actively hostile competition.

What the resellers have done is to recommend to their installed base of customers products which are not blessed by Apple. Talking up the merits of rival products seems to be working.

For example, HP’s ElitePad business tablet is being pushed for having a number of superior features for businesses, including better touch control, better keyboard, battery life, faster processing and of course Windows 8 and Flash compatibility.

Instead of pushing Apple, they have established an idea, which we are seeing among Apple resellers in Europe too, that Apple is a spent force.

One Roman reseller, which had been a keen Apple supplier for a decade, said that he started recommending other products because Apple’s time was over.

“It used to be that Apple was seen as infallible, and perhaps under Steve Jobs it was, but now cracks are appearing,” he told ChannelEye. “We could have put up with them being arrogant before, but now it is just annoying.”

European biz wants Network-as-a-Service

cloud 2Beancounters working for research outfit Ciena have discovered that European enterprises are falling over themselves to get to WAN connectivity.
Interest is particularly strong in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Dubbed the Vanson Bourne survey, the report indicates that corporates are most interested in a WAN connectivity model that adapts to peak and off-peak demands.

Four out of five enterprises describe themselves as very or somewhat interested in adopting Network-as-a-Service (NaaS). The report said that this reflects the increasing bandwidth requirements that enterprises face today as well as the need for a more cost-effective connectivity model.

More enterprises are considering a ‘Data Centre Without Walls’ model where they can pay for connectivity according to usage.

The survey was made up of senior IT decision makers in Western Europe. German companies were particularly keen on Network-as-a-Service as a way of reducing IT costs.

Almost half of interviewees in the finance and manufacturing sectors describe themselves as very interested in such a model, while the public sector seems more reluctant with only 14 percent seeing it as an option.

Dutch and French enterprises are the most receptive to a pay-per-use model for WAN connectivity, followed by the UK and Germany. A third of French and British enterprises are attracted to this model by lower cost while the Dutch like the fact it is very predictable.

The report also shows the extent of IT outsourcing. About two thirds of companies have outsourced IT services, and among those more than a third intend to outsource more.

Ian Harris, EMEA system integrators leader at Ciena said that with most enterprises outsourcing part of their IT services, the next step for enterprises will be to move part of their infrastructure requirements to the cloud.

He thinks that the Data Centre Without Walls idea will catch on because it allows enterprises to share resources while dealing with peak and off-peak demands.

The research backs up findings from Gartner’s IT Spending Report for 2013 that overall spending on IT infrastructure will surpass $3.7 trillion this year and $4 trillion by 2015.

A10 Networks launches 10 partners per country programme

tenA10 Networks has launched a EMEA partner programme, which is claimed to offer a small community of committed partners more benefits.

According to the application network company, its new Ten4A10 programme will  have a maximum 10 members with one distributor, two Gold, three Silver and four Bronze, which it hopes means that partners will gain more support and be given a clearer picture of the channel landscape.

The new programme has been formed following feedback from the company’s current partners as well as the current state of the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market.

Andre Stewart, Vice President Sales EMEA for A10 Networks said that by looking at the
vendor landscape, the company had identified there was networks with an “over extended channel that was fighting over margin while selling an overpriced product.”

He said Cisco had “deserted” the ADC sector and  was pushing its channel to compete with Citrix partners in offering NetScaler, while smaller rivals such as Radware and Kemp didn’t offer in- depth products that enterprise customers required.

Ten4A10 programme means that a maximum of 10 per country will be supported directly through a channel manager with an associated set of benefits around training, support and marketing.

The company also said that it will increase margins by approximately 10 percent across all tiers with additional margin uplift through deal registration and customer reference programmes.

It has also promised an agreed set of target accounts per partner as well as free use of A10 Virtual appliance software for demonstration purposes

The new Ten4A10 strategy and supporting programme will be implemented in A10’s highest revenue producing EMEA regions including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Channel faces legal pitfalls after Oracle ruling

courtThe final appeal is out and Oracle has lost its appeal against a Californian judge’s ruling that it will have to keep porting its software to Hewlett-Packard’s Itanium-based servers.

But as the cleaners clean the blood off the court room walls, it is clear that the case will have some impact on the way suppliers do business.

The case centred on the so-called Hurd Agreement, which HP and Oracle negotiated after Mark Hurd left the company and joined Oracle. Oracle felt that the agreement was a statement that the two companies would work together as they did before their spat. Oracle co-President Safra Catz claimed that such a statement was a non-binding “public hug”.

The judge thought that public hugs should be considered legally binding, depending on who was doing the hugging. He pointed out you can’t write down a phrase like “Oracle will continue to offer its product suite on HP platforms … in a manner consistent with that partnership as it existed prior to Oracle’s hiring of Hurd” and hope that no one would take you literally.

“The sentence can only be reasonably interpreted as requiring Oracle to continue offering its product suite on HP’s Itanium platforms,” Kleinberg wrote.

It went without saying Oracle appealed, but other judges also nodded sagely and said that it did not matter what Ellison thought he had signed, the agreement was there in black and white.
While the situation is extraordinary, it could herald a new era of partner agreements.

The case effectively said that any agreement has to be written down carefully and mulled over by the legal team before it is signed. It also says that anything put in writing has to be looked at as if it was chiseled into Egyptian granite for all time.

While this might seem obvious, it clearly was not in Oracle’s mind it has some of the most expensive, er, best, lawyers in the world.

Already analysts are muttering that you will never see another “public hug” deal like this again. Every agreement between suppliers will have a start date and an end date.

This is one of the reason why the channel should be dusting off their legal contracts with their suppliers post haste. Many of them will find that they have signed vague expressions of love and devotion which could get them in hot water.

Some of these contracts are like a pre-nuptial agreement, which are signed when the partners are in love and only reviewed when they are arguing custody over the CD collection.

Software deals in particular can be problematic, which are particularly ripe for a major legal row when something goes wrong for a mutual customer.

Fortunately a lot of lawyers have written in clauses into such for the contracts to be reviewed, or renewed. The problem is that if they are not renegotiated it is possible, as HP did, to stand up and demand it be taken literally.

The Itanium case also proved that trying to get out of a deal with bad grace might also backfire. Oracle really hates having to support Itanium, but if it assigned its worst developers to make sure the porting was stuffed, Ellison could be back in court facing a contempt charge.

Because the court has become involved, Oracle is painted into a corner and must be a dedicated follower of Itanium. Its ability to duck out of the plan is even more restricted than Intel or HP.

No company would ever want their partner to have that much power over their business decisions. So it is probably better to check out what those old contracts look like before you pick a fight with your channel partners.

Dell EMEA pres, Aongus Hegarty, outlines company’s vision

AongusHegartyHaving delivered a keynote designed to outline Dell’s positive outlook in enterprise to a room full of press and analysts at a remodeled gas-works, the Westergasfabriek, on the edge of an Amsterdam park, Dell EMEA President Aongus Hegarty took some time out of his schedule to speak with ChannelEye, joined by Edmund English, Director, EMEA commercial marketing.

The latter  confirmed Dell is actively looking at ARM servers.

As CEO Michael Dell is rumoured to be funding taking the company off the market, with investment from Microsoft, it is hard not to see Dell in a transitional phase. Although Dell holds a strong presence in the enterprise already – the whispers at Tech Camp were about just if and when the company would dump its consumer division.

Hegarty said that from a business perspective, Dell has been going through significant change over the last three years. “We’ve been concentrating on enterprise,” he said. “We are at a significant stage in our transformation, very much linked to our customers deploying technologies”. English added that looking at the company’s market strategy, Dell recognises that there are “a lot of great things that brought us to where we are” and that the firm must not forget about them – and that it is adding capabilities rather than cutting them. It is, English emphasised, an “evolution”.

Channel players in particular will have noted Dell’s product portfolio swelling in hardware and in services, not to mention opening itself up to a partner network rather than dealing directly with the company. “Our company five years ago would have been predominantly direct,” English said. “Five years ago we changed and unlocked choice for our partners – because of that our channel business has grown strongly over a number of years.

“Dell is predominantly a commercial company,” Hegarty added. “About 15 percent in consumer and 85 percent in business to business”. With a lot of work around the enterprise, Dell has been building its portfolio in the full enterprise, including in networking, storage and servers.

It is clear from the company’s shopping spree in the enterprise space that Dell is keen to continue as an established player, adding intellectual property as it goes, including with acquisitions such as Quest, Wyse, Kace, and the others that now form Dell Software Group. “That said,” Hegarty pointed out, “we’ve been continuing to invest in our PCs and tablets” – in line with Windows 8 launching late 2012. It did, however, pull out of its brief flirtation in the smartphone space.

“We have continued to invest in the prosumer as well as the commercial side,” Hegarty said. “You see a lot of trends from the consumer space, features and functionalities, influencing, like in Bring Your Own Device – we are very focused with our commercial customers to enable that choice, to work with security elements and access to data”. For example, with Dell’s Latitude Ultrabook.

Although the Intel logo was plastered on Dell’s Tech Camp banners – a similar blue to Dell’s own logo – English confirmed to ChannelEye that the firm has been actively looking at ARM servers. Efficiencies in power are the talk of the day, and English said that Dell takes its lead from its customers. “That’s what we build into our portfolio,” he said. “We are seeing asks and interest, specifically in the hyperscale space”. That said – there have also been “tremendous” efficiency gains on x86 generation on generation. “We are looking at it, yes – have we done engineering and back end testing? Yes.

“We look at our total cost of ownership,” Hegarty said. “At the end of the day, it is about providing the most efficient technology for our customers”. English added that efficiency can span more than classic power efficiencies: “You’re also talking about staff, driving more automation into backend infrastructures, changing architectures, and thinks like that rather than just keeping the lights on”.

Aside from trends such as tablet usage and mobility in the commercial sector, for SMBs, more should be focusing on social media and the building trends that are happening organically and those that are technology led. “For small businesses,” Hegarty said, “they need to be aware – it’s one of the key mechanisms to connect in business, but also in getting feedback and listening to your customers”. Of ten small businesses Hegarty recently spoke to, at least half of them had no social media strategy or approach adopted in their business.

Considering the soothsaying from influential analyst house Gartner, which said in a recent report that the biggest hitters will have their own in-house social networks, this is an area where businesses cannot afford to be playing catch-up.

For trends in the enterprise, English said that convergence is increasing. “It’s a long time since a customer rang up and asked for a server,” he said. “What they’re looking for is a collaboration service, they want a prescripted solution, the fabric, the storage, the compute, and how you manage and orchestrate that – you’re seeing more conversations happening at a holistic level and an application level”.

Hegarty invited interested channel players to start a conversation with Dell. “What’s exciting for Dell’s channel partners is they’ve seen the portfolio of business expand and grow,” he said. Three or four years ago, partners particularly focused on servers, but the wider portfolio is open for business, and Dell is finding that those partners are investing in other capabilities as well. “Using the enterprise space as one example, the acquisitions that we’ve done – a lot of those companies had been doing business through channel partners, so that’s brought new partners into our network too – Dell uniquely has a full portfolio of technology, end to end, and it creates opportunity for partners.

“The best advice I can give to partners, is come talk to Dell,” Hegarty said.

What does the wider market look like to Dell, right now? Hegarty said that, of course, he couldn’t speak for the rest of the market – but for Dell, it is “very much focused on our customers”. Dell must – and is, Hegarty said – understand customer needs and requirements, as well as trends in the market place, whether it’s in a business environment or at home. The strategy Dell has been developing has been working, according to Hegarty, who cited some slides from Marius Haas earlier in the day – himself an ex HP man, that demonstrated it is “winning in that space”.

As for Dell’s competitors – Marius Haas, formerly a heavy hitter at HP and top ally with ousted chief exec Mark Hurd – led the company’s networking division towards serious success. HP itself has an aggressive channel partner program and is providing subsidies and loans to potential partners as well as buying back rival equipment and end-of-lifing it if it can’t be recycled.

How can Dell respond to such aggression from its top rivals? English told us that primarily, the message in the enterprise is total cost of ownership with storage. “I’m very keen to go and have a five year TCO conversation with anybody versus the competitors,” he said, before acknowledging that Dell had similar “tactical tools” for the channel – including where it buys back terabytes in storage. “But for me that is not going to be a primary vehicle of acquisition, I don’t want to press the price of labor, I want to have a holistic conversation”.

“That really reflects a reaction to the success we’re having with the end to end solutions,” Hegarty said. “I can point to the IDC data globally – we’ve been taking share from HP now six quarters in a role, with the launch of 12g technology. Nothing beats investing in R&D to innovate, and to improve the TCO. Different competitors will react in different, potentially kneejerk ways, to deal with that – but nothing beats innovation”.

 

Differentia expands into big data with Actian deal

next-years-mainframe-model-comes-in-nearly-half-the-spaceQlikTech partner, Differentia Consulting, has signed a reseller agreement with Actian which will give it access to Big Data markets.

Actian wants the software under the bonnet of its enterprise big data analytics which it dubs Actian Vectorwise.

Actian was particularly interested in using Qlikview Direct Discovery functionality with Vectorwise.

Differentia provides consulting, solutions, resourcing, support and training services to its clients. It is also a key Qlikview Provider for Europe.

There are some mutual benefits to the partnership. Differentia has Qlikview clients who need to analyse and report on bigger, more complex data sets.

Adrian Parker, vice-president strategy and marketing at Differentia said that Qlikview could not scale up to handle big data pressure. When they wanted to use high data volume scenarios, customers had to build and manage numerous linked QlikView documents supported by QVD files. This was inflexible and limited the data analysis.

Parker said that QlikView with Direct Discovery uses the high performance of the Vectorwise database for calculating aggregates on-the-fly over large datasets. This simplifies the process.
Parker sees Vectorwise as the enabler of Big Data access as he gives an analytic database product where large data volumes were making deploying Qlikvew impossible.

Alvea offers SMBs, channel, managed network security

gardnerIt “makes no sense” for the channel and small businesses to ignore the security market, Alvea has said, speaking with ChannelEye.

Recent research from channel analyst house Canalys suggests that the security industry is growing 10 percent year-on-year. According to Alvea, however, it can be tough for small businesses to stay on top of the ever changing security landscape, especially in a difficult economic climate.

The comments come as it launches its Managed Network Security service in the UK and Ireland.

Managed Network Security, which is the latest addition to the company’s services portfolio, is designed to help small and medium businesses (SMBs)  protect their networks from security threats and will be sold through the firm’s channel partners.

Neil Gardner (pictured), professional services development and operations manager at Alvea Services, pointed out that although it is urgent for SMBs and channel players to keep up with current threats, it can cost serious money and time.

Gardner told ChannelEye the company can help channel partners keep up with these threats thanks to its relationship with distributor Computerlinks. Although the Alvea brand is an independent service, it is supported by technical expertise and infrastructure from Computerlinks.

“Computerlinks has been in this industry for over 20 years and has an office built around a range of engineers and techies who keep up with the day-to-day threats in the security market,” Gardner said.

“Therefore what we offer our partners can be better than our competitors. Either a fully managed service contracted to us or a managed support package run by the partner.

“We want to give our partners an a la carte package, where they can also mix and match services. If we look at the competitor landscape we at best match prices with our rivals. However we offer a better service,” he said.

The new service includes both a firewall and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) delivered on a choice of hardware security appliances.

According to the company, the range of appliances available within the Managed Network Security service ensures that resellers can select the product that is best suited to their customer’s network requirements. They can also offer consultancy skills to customers to ensure the provision of the right level of protection and investment.

As businesses grow, resellers have the scope to add new service modules.

Alvea said this gives them the chance to remain in constant contact with customers, hold regular service reviews and foster a long-term relationships that may lead to additional sales opportunities.

Resellers can also offer the option of a managed security service to their customer bases without incurring the high costs of becoming a managed service provider themselves.

Church of Scientology runs Apple inspired Super Bowl ad

scientology-adThe Church of Scientology ran a rather amusing Super Bowl ad in several cities and the ad was apparently inspired by Apple.

Everything, from the music, narration and the clean post-production points to Cupertino, although it’s nothing like Apple’s iconic 1984 ad. However, it is a lot like Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” spot.

The ad speaks about seekers of knowledge, freethinkers, non-conformists, rebels, artists and a bunch of other New Age woo. The only thing missing is an iMac at the end.

The ad is part of the organisation’s “knowledge” campaign, which is rather amusing as the Church of Scientology has gone to great lengths to prevent the publication of its religious texts, which are copyrighted.

But you can always Google Xenu or visit RationalWiki for more information on Scientology’s beliefs. The Church of Scientology is often accused of being a money grabbing cult. So it is not that different from Apple after all.

Much like Apple, the Church of Scientology was created to change the world and generate a bit of cash for its founder. The other version is that it was the result of a bet. However, unlike Apple, which was launched by a couple of geeks who really did change the world, the Church of Scientology was launched by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer who spent much of his life on the run from US authorities. It did not change the world. Also, Apple designers tend to have better taste.

It is based on Dianetics, an atrocious attempt at pseudoscience and spirituality written by Hubbard at a time when he was struggling to make rent. Apple also enjoys a cultish following, but even Tom Cruise and John Travolta would struggle if they tried to turn the iTunes Terms and Conditions into a religious text. Hubbard would not, and he would probably copyright it to boot.

 

Canon launches idiot proof small biz scanner

beanteddyCanon has launched a compact and versatile desktop scanner, which it claims will appeal to small offices and corporate departments seeking a cost-effective scanning product.

The Canon imageFORMULA DR-C120 is claimed to be easy to use and comes with a range of features that are said to help businesses scan and convert documents into existing workflows and to the cloud.

It has double sided colour scanning of up to 40ipm and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, using the folio mode feature users are also said to be able to scan up to A3-sized documents, while there is also an option to add Canon’s A4 Flatbed 101 Scanner Unit accessory in case there is a need to scan books or other bound material.

According to the company, the device is simple to use. Customers simply need to press a button on the scanner or through the company’s CaptureOnTouch software.

The scanner driver software also incorporates a full auto mode function that automatically applies the optimum scan settings so that users don’t need to worry about configuring settings for different document types. It features plugins for cloud-based connectivity with Microsoft SharePoint, Evernote and Google Docs.

The imageFORMULA DR-C120 is more energy efficient when scanning, using less than half the power compared to its competitors. It also ships with
software, including CapturePerfect, eCopy PDF Pro, BizCard, OmniPage, and PaperPort.

It will be available through all Canon sales offices and selected disties across Europe this month.