channel v i s ionmag . com Volume 21 Issue 2 MARCH - APRIL 2022 The Voice of the Channel i f t l Wi-Fi MARKETING PRICING MSP SECURITY Sponsored by Marketplace Push & Pull
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MARCH - APRIL 2022 EMERGENT 8 Robotics-aaS 8 VR/AR realities 10 Low-Code Changing the Game for Systems Integrators By Mike Fitzmaurice INTERNATIONAL AGENTS 14 Global Channel Benefits from Move to Cloud By Bruce Christian CYBER PATROL 20 Single view for MSSPs 20 TBI adds HarborShield 22 Everybody’s Got a Price MSPs show theirs regarding SaaS security monitoring By Brady Hicks 26 In the Hunt Stopping advanced threats a key tactic for MSPs By Iratxe Vasquez 30 CyberReef Delivers Secure, Smart Mobile Networks – Fast By Brady Hicks AT YOUR SERVICE: XAAS 32 Still Crossing the Cloud Communications Chasm By Peter Radizeski 34 Infiflex Brings Its ‘Infinite Flexibility’ to the U.S. By Brady Hicks 36 SaaS Sprawl The emerging need for centralized SaaS By Martin Vilaboy 46 Buyer’s Choice The push and pull of online marketplaces By Martin Vilaboy CHANNEL MANAGEMENT 50 Is the TSD Model Sustainable? By Peter Radizeski 54 PlanetOne’s Sentient Platform Goes All in and Revolutionizes Commissions By Brady Hicks 56 Quest Delivers Custom Services to Match Unique Demand By Brady Hicks MOBILE & WIRELESS 58 5G Reaches ‘Rapid Acceleration’ Phase By Bruce Christian 62 Weaponizing their WLANs Wi-Fi analytics can be your customers’ number one marketing tool By Paroma Bhattacharya 66 Ericsson Targeting the Enterprise with New Wireless Office Q&A with Amy McCune BUYERS SIDE 68 Marketplace Merge CFOs take larger role in IT spending as software, cloud budgets merge By Bruce Christian CORE COMMUNICATIONS 72 Data center booms 72 Telesystem bolsters 74 Remote work & MSPs 74 Web RTC heard 76 NHC Redefines the Partner & Customer Experiences By Brady Hicks 78 Powernet Delivers Full-Service Tech Portfolio to Help Partners Thrive By Brady Hicks 80 Yeastar Delivers Digital Value to Support the Workplace Transformation By Brady Hicks 82 Telesystem Takes a Unique Approach to Operations and the Channel Three questions with Bruce Wirt 6 Editor’s Letter 77 Ad index CONTENTS Volume 21 – Issue 2 4 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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It’d be foolish to suggest that “digital transformation” is just buzzy term to put on a sales slick. It’s also quite clear that the rate of this transformation greatly accelerated during the past few years, in turn expanding demand and opportunities for the technologies that are driving “transformations.” But you can’t sell “digital transformation.” Maybe that’s okay because most companies and employees aren’t looking to be transformed. Most even would be a little intimidated by a wave of innovation transforming their job. Businesses are, however, looking at the more modest and mundane ways that “digital” and cloud-based tools can create new advantages and solve existing and emerging problems, and often their transformations come in bits and chunks. One added capability to a reservation system or a new way to dissect a customer behavior can provide significant return to just one department or operational process. Among many smaller businesses, it’s quite possible decision makers are woefully underinformed as to the resources that are now available to them. Much of the disruption caused by digital and cloud stems from their ability to deliver tools once available only to enterprises to just about any-sized operation. The purchasing of digital services, meanwhile, is increasingly happening outside the purview of IT departments and CIOs, with line of business workers regularly buying their own cloud-based applications. Many of these buyers still don’t know what they don’t know. They have heard the platitudes about digital transformation; they need help sorting through the various platforms and programs that are new or just-now available, as well as help finding, combining and leveraging those specific features and applications within their growing tech stacks that are producing on the promises of digital, cloud and transformation. This is largely why the educational content at the upcoming CVx (ChannelVision Expo) in Scottsdale, Ariz., this November 2-4, will feature a focus on real-world sales and success stories and take a street-level view of the cases where customers currently are using the tools of transformations to their advantages. The conversations at CVx will dive past the product pitches and into the details of the deals being made by your channel partner peers – from prospecting and opening conversations to beating down barriers to closing and implementation. We hope to create intimate and interactive environments where attendees can swap war stories; get to the source of their pain points; discuss their challenges, frustrations and successes; and use the collective power of the room to source solutions and actionable advice. More details on the specific topics, panels and our esteemed panelists will be coming soon. In the meantime, you can find more information about CVx on page 44, or click over to the channelvision.com web site. If you are interested in being a part on one of our panel discussions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, we look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale this November. Martin Vilaboy The Deals Behind ‘Digital Transformation’ LETTER Martin Vilaboy Editor-in-Chief email@example.com Bruce Christian Senior Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Brady Hicks Contributing Editor email@example.com Percy Zamora Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org Rob Schubel Digital Manager email@example.com Jen Vilaboy Ad Production Director firstname.lastname@example.org Berge Kaprelian Group Publisher email@example.com (480) 503-0770 Anthony Graffeo Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org (203) 304-8547 Nazal Parvin Associate Publisher email@example.com (415) 516-7053 Beka Business Media Berge Kaprelian President and CEO Corporate Headquarters 10115 E Bell Road, Suite 107 - #517 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 Voice: 480.503.0770 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2022 Beka Business Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in any form or medium without express written permission of Beka Business Media is prohibited. ChannelVision and the ChannelVision logo are trademarks of Beka Business Media 6 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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Tompkins Robotics has partnered with Global Robotics Services (GRS), a platform backed by GLP Financial Group that provides financial backing for collaborative robots as a service (RaaS) solutions. Together, Tompkins Robotics and GRS said they expect to “bring new opportunities for U.S. companies and easy entry into automation and robotics.” The Tompkins Robotics/GRS RaaS solution provides customers with the ability to pay for what they consume including equipment, installation, commissioning and support costs, all of which are included in the service level agreement (SLA). This innovative model gives customers the flexibility of a subscription-based pricing and service option instead of traditional capital equipment purchase and support model. This conserves capital, converts investment to an operating cost, and allows a customer to “pay as they go” for the use of the system, said the companies. RaaS also provides customers with the ability to scale up and down rapidly and easily in response to changing market conditions or seasonal demand such as the Holiday season, Back to School, January returns, and other seasonal events, said the companies. According to Mike Futch, CEO of Tompkins Robotics, “our solutions have always had a reputation for being flexible, now we have the opportunity to allow financial flexibility as well.” Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) currently have low adoption, investment, and even satisfaction rates among businesses, according to management consulting firm Avasant Research, but two other key metrics – ROI and TCO – are moderate. “While the growth in enterprise VR and AR is slower than most of the other technologies we survey, early adopters are seeing moderate success rates,” said Avasant researchers. “With moderate economic success rates and investments by companies such as Facebook (Meta), Nvidia, and Microsoft, VR and AR growth is likely.” So far, VR has its strengths in training environments, such as Walmart using VR headsets to train its associates. But many workplace collaboration tools are adopting AR tools such as face filters, virtual whiteboard and notetaking tools, said Avasant. “Although mainstream adoption rates for VR and AR are low, consumer- and enterprise-ready technologies are likely to change this in the near future,” said Tracell Frederick, research analyst/editor for Computer Economics, a service of Avasant Research. “VR and AR are building momentum to revolutionize sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, and especially asset-intensive industries.” Tompkins Announces Robotic-aaS Model VR and AR Show Slow Adoption but ‘Great Promise’ Emerging Plans for 2022 EMERGENT After likely holding back during the last year or two, IT channel firms in 2022 are committing to extending and growing their existing portfolios, show findings from CompTIA. Nearly half (49 percent) of partner respondents said they are either mostly focusing on new areas such as emerging technologies or paying equal attention to both new and existing lines of business. Source: CompTIA IT Partner Plans for Solutions and Services Offering in 2020 Mostly extending existing products/services Equal attention to new & existing products/services Mostly focusing on new product/services (i.e. emtech) Wait and see approach Shifting from transactional business to consulting Virtual and Augmented Reality Adoption 37% 29% 20% 9% 7% of Emerging Tech Efforts Source: Avasant Research. Source: CompTIA t Mixed Fe ling on State of Change rs’ sales reps, by stage of process IT Partner Plans for Sol tions and Services Offering in 2020 Mostly extending existing products/services Equal attention to new & existing products/services Mostly focusing on new product/services (i.e. emtech) Wait and see approach Shifting from transactional business to consulting Virtual and Augmented Reality Adoption and Customer Experience Profile Adoption Investment ROI success TCO success Satisfaction Low Moderate High Effectiveness of new sales models in reachi Existing Apr 2020 Existing Aug2020 Existing Feb 2021 As effective or more so compared with prior to COVID-19 % of respondents nada UK US 56% 52% 10% 43% 38% 6% 11% 37% 20% 35% 38% 22% 25% 47% 32% 28% 35% nada UK US Relevant and changing rapidly Relevant and holding st ady Only somewhat relevant and diminishing or unsure 20 32 32 19 30 30 c Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 37% 29% 20% 9% 7% 54% 75% 83% Much less Somewhat less As effective Somewhat more Much more 9 18 27 39 7 15 31 29 20 5 24 34 25 13 4 8 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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By Mike Fitzmaurice Putting modern low-code tools in the hands of professionals (we’re not talking about citizen developers but people who develop applications for a living) generally results in a dramatic boost in application/solution delivery. It’s an observable pattern. It shouldn’t be controversial. So why do many channel providers remain surprisingly traditional when it comes to delivering software for customers? It’s commonplace to see integrators sticking with either classic commercial offerings or selling large-scale monolithic development projects, even when both represent a missed opportunity compared to low-code. Let’s dig in to understand why. There are twin rationales for choosing commercial-off-theshelf (COTS) solutions or large custom development, and they’re often diametrically opposed. Commercial software has the aura of being “proven,” making the initial sale easier and allowing systems integrators to offload updates (or perceived shortcomings) onto the commercial vendors. The value-add comes from configuration and integration – a relatively quick in-and-out sale – plus a cut of the subscription fees that represent recurring revenue – at least initially. Mind you, you’ve delivered something that just about anyone else could have delivered. Moreover, after the next renewal, future revenue is likely to go directly to the vendor – not to you. Monolithic development projects are the opposite – expensive, bespoke solutions designed to address significant customer challenges. The service revenue and delivery timeframe also are large. Superficially, that can seem like a good thing to a systems integrator or service provider; they get a long-term development project with significant revenue hours. But the message being sent is, “We have no EMERGENT Benefits SMBs Gain from Using Low-code/No-code Have seen greater business agility 79% Saw improved time to market 56% Noted higher personal/team productivity 53% Overcame the capability limitations of SaaS/COTS solutions 34% Source: Accenture Low-Code Changing the Game for Systems Integrators 10 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
choice but to make this one expensive and slow” – the echo message for which is “so let’s only do this when we absolutely have to and get rid of these guys as soon as they’re done.” Given either of these perspectives, advocating low-code tools can seem like a bit of an odd choice. Why wouldn’t I just offer a proven COTS solution? And if I’m going to offer something custom, why would I sacrifice billable hours by doing it fast and cheap? The answer to both questions is the same: recurring revenue. And the secret to recurring revenue is to be useful – arguably indispensable – on a recurring basis. Low-code tools and platforms vary a lot. Many, perhaps most, target amateurs (“We’re so easy anyone can use us”), and those won’t be enough. But there are low-code platforms that emphasize productivity rather than simplicity. There are low-code platforms that include tools that address design, documentation, compliance, security, monitoring, structured deployment and more. There are platforms that facilitate change management. You want those kinds of low-code platforms. In fact, it’s that last part – change management – that likely matters the most, because clients with the highest potential for recurring revenue understand and want continuous improvement. Someone who can lower the cost of improvement is someone on whom they can repeatedly rely. Even an organization that lacks a strategic commitment to continuous improvement might admit that, tactically speaking, conditions change and user requests emerge that make continuous improvement necessary. Even without continuous improvement to one application, there’s still the notion of continuous improvement to a client’s organization, and that means delivering more and better applications. Integrators that can do that are integrators that will be regarded less as expensive alternatives to be used only when necessary and more like ongoing strategic partners. What about clients that insist on a COTS offering for perceived risk reduction but then pay someone to customize it heavily and aggressively? That’s even more expensive than custom code, but the (perhaps faulty) perception of lower risk makes it acceptable. Well, instead of standard turnkey applications that must be – let’s face it – hacked, what about standard low-code platforms providing that reassurance benefit – and simultaneously providing a speed benefit, too? There’s also an issue of resourcing. If a repertoire of 10 COTS products requires having 10 times the people on one’s payroll, that becomes extremely expensive. That’s extra true when those people are so specialized that they can’t be easily moved from project to project. Coders can indeed be nimble and adaptable, but time spent on technical prowess is time that can’t be spent on client empathy. There’s a real benefit to spending a little bit less time on technology in order to spend more time understanding a client’s business. What’s more, that low-code delivery model can be used by you over and over again for multiple clients, not just multiple projects. All said, though, this only works if a systems integrator uses a low-code platform that is designed for systems integrators. I’d propose the following criteria to help identify such diamonds in the rough: • Development-testing-production staged deployment • Change management • Dependency and reuse management • Auditing and compliance • Security that defaults to zero privileges unless they aren’t explicitly granted • Metrics and monitoring • Reusable connections to external data and applications • Documentation • User training • IT maintenance training • Collaborative design With a low-code platform designed for system integrators and with these keys in mind, there’s a clear path to client relationships that represent recurring revenue – and that matters. o Mike Fitzmaurice, WEBCON’s chief evangelist and vice president, North America, has more than 25 years of product, consulting, evangelism, engineering, and IT management expertise in workflow/business process automation, citizen development and low-code/no-code solution platforms & strategies. His decade at Microsoft included birthing technical product management and developer evangelism for SharePoint products and technologies. EMERGENT How SMBs are Using Low-code/No-code Create new business rules and process controls 49% Create new process flows to complement packaged products (SaaS/COTS) capabilities 44% Create new user experiences 41% Develop new business applications 37% Develop new customer facing applications 37% Source: Accenture SMB Barriers to Adoption of Low-code/No-code Said data security (e.g., data could be hacked) 45% Noted public cloud sources data availability/credibility 39% Reported data management 35% Said lack of data leak protection 35% Source: Accenture 12 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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GLOBAL CHANNEL BENEFITS FROMMOVE TO CLOUD By Bruce Christian A funny thing happened on the way to the world shutting down to deal with the pandemic: cloud transformation grew. “Honestly, the COVID situation has been an enabler for more acceleration of cloud transformation and transformation of cloud support for more of the medium-sized businesses that we work with,” said Aziz Benmalek, during an interview with Channel Vision Magazine. Benmalek, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, is serving as interim president of Sage North America and executive vice president of its global partner organization. Sage helps to elevate the work of finance teams by empowering them to use technology to make their day-to-day tasks easier and more efficient. Despite the roller-coaster ride we’ve been on caused by starts and stops due to variants of COVID-19, Benmalek sees optimism because this acceleration he cited either has helped or still could benefit the channel. “The good news is a lot of our interested partners already started on accelerating digital transformation and how to evolve the way we engage with customers in a digital way, and how to help them in moving to the cloud,” Benmalek explained. “It enables more flexible business models. Sage North America’s Aziz Benmalek INTERNATIONAL AGENTS 14 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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INTERNATIONAL AGENTS “So, I don’t know whether the starts and stops of Omicron or other variants and other situations hurt us, because transformation started a couple of years before in our partner ecosystem,” he added. Focusing on Sage, Benmalek said, “The way we work with our partners and enable them has helped to get more digital engagement, and many of them are already working in a virtual way and a hybrid way with their customers, so I wouldn’t say it’s a non-event, but most of them started more than two years ago.” While digital transformation certainly has influenced end-user customers, it also has affected the channel and the partner ecosystem. “It’s been a booster, because we have seen the business evolve rapidly on our side as well as how we enable and help the partner ecosystem, be it VARS or ISVs or SIs on how to deliver the services in a virtual way and engage with the customers. “From the customer side, the pandemic accelerated the movement to the cloud, because that is how they – the customer – can operate in a virtual world,” Benmalek stated. “I think we should be proud of how we have delivered, especially to our key partner ecosystem, on how to jump in and work with customers.” Cloud Growth is Worldwide Sage’s worldwide partner ecosystem includes resellers, independent software vendors, developers, system integrators and financial institutions, and Benmalek agrees each is valuable at the international level. “From a business point of view, overall, we are really continuing to see strong growth on both cloud native and cloud connected cloud business,” Benmalek said. “From a cloud native and cloud connect business, we continue to see high growth across all regions. Some regions are faster than others as you can imagine, such as North America, Europe, but other regions such as APAC [Asia-Pacific] as well as Middle East and Africa are really catching up with strong growth.” He said Sage is strong in France, Germany, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region also shows strong engagement, and the partner ecosystem continues to evolve and grow. “We have the products and technology,” he said. “We are driving deeper and deeper into the vertical and horizonal markets. For example, we have great cloud native products. We are not only deep and strong in many verticals for nonprofits and the financial industry, but at the same time we are extending into other verticals through our growth or through strategic partnerships or M&A.” Integrating to the Cloud Of course, with the cloud transformation comes the need to ensure integration of all the variables to keep a network operational. “The beauty of it is we have a true service fabric, and through the foundation from our product point of view, an API-driven strategy that allows us to have the technology and the API that allow other third-party partners to develop and complement the solutions as well as programs to help from either the marketplace or go-to market and other engagement, technology and other resources,” Benmalek said. He added, “Our vision is to be the trusted network for small and medium businesses to help them manage their data, their relationship with their suppliers, their vendors, their government and governance overall for their business, and that is what we are driving today through the network vision we have and are enabling the small business through the partner ecosystem and through the rich ecosystem that allows for that.” To succeed, data exchange becomes more critical than ever, he said. “In the sense of what data are being exchanged, data and the security and having a trusted network that can enable our customers to use the technology we have but also to have a platform that will enable them to interact with their suppliers, vendors and the government in a more trusted way.” Partners Needed Now End-use customers are looking to partners more than ever to help them navigate the digital transformation and cloud support, Benmalek said, making this a perfect time to be a partner in the channel. “There are multiple ways where customers are looking in the partner ecosystem and looking to evolve at this time,” he explained. “First of all, Pandemic Both an Accelerator and Inhibitor of Emerging Tech Efforts Source: CompTIA, 2021 Majority Affirm IT Chann l Relevance ... But Mixed Feeling on State of Chang Source: CompTIA, 2021 Current way of interacting with suppliers’ sales reps, by stage of pro % of respondents per sales channel type Accelerated or expanded efforts Stayed the course Paused or abandoned efforts Overall ANZ BeNeLux Canada UK US 27% 29% 39% 44% 46% 43% 51% 53% 47% 56% 52% 32% 6% 14% 10% 43% 38% 6% 11% 37% 10% 27% 31% 39% 19% 28% 47% 20% 35% 38% 22% 25% 47% 32% 28% 35% Overall ANZ BeNeLux Canada UK US Aug ‘20 29 32 33 30 32 33 20 32 32 19 30 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Traditional interactions 16 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
the partner ecosystem is a rich and divergent group of VARs, IVs and our more than 700 technology partners in the marketplace. There is a strong ecosystem of service providers that is helping customers drive the adoption, usage and migration.” At the same time, he said the routes to market are evolving and are leveraging the demand for digital transformation in meaningful ways. For example, many VARs either are building their own IT or partnering with the marketplace ecosystem to provide IT solutions end-to-end. “I think the channel partner program we have, and we continue to evolve it, is here to support customers and to help customers evolve,” Benmalek said. “The channel ecosystem and the channel partner program really need to be the foundation that continues to evolve to do stuff. “From a partner program point of view, as we move into more subscription business, as we move into more cloud business, as we move into more consumption and usage business, I think that partner programs are evolving to enable a model that can be more flexible in how to drive consumption and usage, and how to have modern business models in addition to a margin up front to something that is more tied to consumption enablement.” He continued, “That, I think, is where the programs and the channel are evolving. In a consumption usage world that drives value-added as well as ecosystem participation that is helping the channel to all the marketplaces, and the added value they are bringing into the marketplaces through third parties.” Benmalek said, “Finding good partners, we have a strong ecosystem across the board. At the same time, we are always looking in a targeted way at services that are born in cloud or cloud native. We continue to recruit cloud native partners.” He said the international agent partner needs to be aware of what the end customer wants, such as a great product and cloud-based problem solving. “The partner ecosystem needs to allow customers to be strategic in their business,” Benmalek said. “The partner needs to help the customer save time going to market and help them evolve.” o Source: CompTIA, 2021 Majority Affirm IT Channel Relevance ... But Mixed Feeling on State of Change Source: CompTIA, 2021 Current way of interacting with uppliers’ sales reps, by stage of pr ess % of respondents per sales channel type Source: McKinsey & Co. Identifying and researching new suppliers Considering and evaluating new supliers Ordering Reordering Current way of interacting with suppliers’ sales reps, by stage of process 44% 46% 43% 51% 53% 47% 56% 52% 32% 6% 14% 10% 43% 38% 6% 11% 37% 10% Overall ANZ BeNeLux Canada UK US Relevant and changing rapidly Relevant and holding steady Only somewhat relevant and diminishing or unsure Aug ‘20 29 32 33 49 35 33 22 34 34 30 32 33 48 35 34 22 33 33 20 32 32 44 34 33 36 34 35 19 30 30 46 34 33 35 36 36 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Aug ‘20 Feb ‘21 Dec ‘21 Traditional interactions Remote human interactions Digital self-serve INTERNATIONAL AGENTS 18 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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MSPs that manage customer security are faced with the choice of using a single interface or switching between different solutions, but an extensive survey conducted by social research technology platform Pulse revealed almost unanimous agreement among MSP managers and teams that a single cybersecurity interface is more efficient and productive. In the survey, 95 percent of respondents said that maintaining multiple interfaces on the security platform decreases productivity and efficiency when managing their customers’ security. This is because the manager must adapt to a new interface each time different products are used for cybersecurity. In fact, the study shows that respondents believe that the efficiency of teams managing their customers’ cybersecurity would increase by up to 10 percent when carried out through a single interface, removing the need to switch between different menus and screens. In addition to reducing costs and organizational complexity, responding MSPs appreciate the simplification of training processes for their teams, who have to learn and become familiar with a single interface instead of several. In addition, the MSPs surveyed recognize the importance of having a single support line accessible 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Despite the preference, however, only about a quarter MSPs are managing customer security through a unified interface, while nearly six in 10 are managing two to three security solutions in separate vendor programs or interfaces. TBI Adds HarborShield to Security Portfolio Technology brokerage firm TBI recently announced the addition of HarborShield Cybersecurity (a DBA of Harbor Networks) to its provider portfolio. HarborShield’s core offerings include customized modular security programs that can be broken out and sold a’ la carte to businesses. This includes items such as security assessments, penetration testing, vulnerability management, vCISO, policy development, incident response/ forensics, incident response tabletop exercise, governance, security awareness and customized modular cybersecurity programs. HarborShield takes an agnostic/ aggregator approach to building solutions, allowing its team the ability to customize programs without tying them to one specific vendor. HarborShield takes the time to match vendors that fit each individual client, providing more than just a singular option, said the company, which also offers compliance certifications. With clients as small as four employees and as large as 5,000, “HarborShield can tailor their cybersecurity programs and projects to any size,” said the company. ConnectWise announced an expanded collaboration with Intel to help MSPs boost threat detection and response and reduce the crippling effects of ransomware and cryptojacking attacks on SMBs. Intel Threat Detection Technology (Intel TDT) is a set of technologies that harness hardware telemetry and acceleration capabilities to help identify threats and detect malicious activity. ConnectWise will integrate Intel TDT technology within the remote monitoring and management (RMM) software agent to allow RMM to identify and respond to security incidents rapidly. “By utilizing Intel TDT to enable ransomware and cryptojacking detection in our RMM software, ConnectWise is fulfilling our mission to be a trusted security partner that enables our customers to conduct business in an unencumbered fashion,” said Raffael Marty, general manager of cybersecurity for ConnectWise. “While this does not eliminate the need for customers to have a comprehensive security strategy, it is a step toward helping to tame the financial and system performance losses for SMB customers that have fewer resources to dedicate towards security.” CYBER PATROL MSPs Prefer Single View of Security Services ConnectWise Expands Collaboration with Intel, Boost MSP Threat Protection 20 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022 Source: McKinsey & Co. Effectiveness of new sales models in reaching and seving customers Existing Apr 2020 Existing Aug2020 Existing Feb 2021 Existing Dec 2021 As effective or more so compared with prior to COVID-19 % of respondents Source: Pulse Security Solutions Aren’t Currently Centralized Source: Omdia; 5G A ericas 5G mobile connections (millions) Q2 2019 Asia & Oceania Americas Europe Middle East & Africa Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q12020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q4 2020 Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Relationship with end-user Transactional More Involved Complexity Strategic SD WAN Managed Services Unified Communications Multi-location Voice, Data, Internet Co-Location DR & Mitigation Hosted PBX SIP Ethernet Private Line DIA what d g or 54% 75% 83% 92% Much less Somewhat less As effective Somewhat more Much more 9 18 27 39 7 15 31 29 20 5 24 34 25 13 4 33 6 37 22 26% 2% 6+ 4-5 2-3 13% 59% They’re centralized in one security hub 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
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By Brady Hicks We all know today’s software as a service (SaaS) on-demand model. The concept is to offer access to a specific facet or collection of services at a pay-per-use rate. On-demand SaaS can take many different forms, and frequently includes security coverage to address the modern cybercriminal’s increasing sophistication. Enter SaaS security monitoring. Per data published by Okta, SaaS application use at the organizational level has grown by 24 percent since 2016. SaaS security monitoring – also called security information monitoring (SIM) or security event monitoring (SEM) – automatically collects and reviews data, searching for flags that can bring the company down. Suspicious behavior can include unwanted network changes, holes or outright malicious activity. The identifying data is then presented to the asset’s holder, alongside further information and next-step remediation. Al l of this is done with minimal end-user involvement. For businesses, SEM offers a resource against internal and external threats, running continuously “as a service” in the background. Behind the scenes, the dedicated managed services provider (MSP) handles upkeep and management as the threat landscape evolves. In choosing an MSP partner, there are many considerations: What are the inherent risks? What is at stake? Is there a high level of threat exposure? What is the service’s cost? How can the organization’s need be balanced against this price? No doubt, today’s organization craves inclusiveness. According to recent data published by IT management solution provider Kaseya, 65 percent of respondents list remote monitoring and management as “very important” or “critical” to business success. And these needs have a huge impact on the MSP bottom line. Per Kaseya, most providers charge an average per-client, per-month contract MSPs show theirs regarding SaaS security monitoring EVERYBODY’S GOT A PRICE CYBER PATROL 22 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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of between $1,001 and $2,500 (28 percent) and $7,501 and $10,000 (2 percent). On a per-device price model, 32 percent of MSPs charged between $51 and $100 per device, per month. How, though, are they pricing their SaaS security monitoring? According to its recent application security insights report, SaaS Alerts noted that determining the cost for any new services category – and in particular one so critical to promoting nonstop operations – can be “a bit experimental,” with numerous factors entering into this decision. Armed with this knowledge, here are the common price models, identified by SaaS Alerts, that most MSPs adopt with regards to their SaaS security monitoring services. Add-On Availability Per SaaS Alerts, nearly half (45 percent) of all providers incorporate an “add-on” fee of $1 to $5 per user, per month, for SaaS security monitoring. In these cases, it was noted that providers tend to make this threat detection a mandatory part of their service, some going as far as to require a “decline of service” upon signup, if refusing this coverage. At a minimum, MSPs tend to “strongly encourage” its use, however possible. Under this model, SaaS Alerts noted that the average MSP charges as much as $24,000 per year (average add-on price of $2 for 1,000 users over 12 months) for SaaS security monitoring. Bundled with Cybersecurity Options An additional one-quarter of providers feature SaaS security monitoring as an option within an existing bundle. While not exclusively focused on security monitoring services, these inclusive bundles tend to fetch anywhere from $20 to $40 per seat, per month. With this, an MSP covering 500 users with a $30 average bundle can generate $180,000 annually, in revenue. Included within Core Service Package One in five MSPs focus on SaaS security monitoring as part of an existing managed service package. For this reason, the actual cost for SIM can be difficult to gauge. Providers tend to list the service as what SaaS Alerts calls a “competitive distinction,” instead absorbing it into the associated, overarching price structure. Although cost can be difficult to delineate, the all-inclusive model does tend to fetch between $150 and $300 per user, per month. “Prospecting” Tool About 10 percent of MSPs employ on-demand security monitoring as a “prospecting” tool. With this mindset, the organization signs up for, say, a $100/month “minimum” plan, and the MSP adds it on as a sales technique for ascertaining security holes. “We all have been using network assessments for years to land deals,” said an anonymous MSP to SaaS Alerts. “With the network changing, SaaS assessments are new and provide a lot of value to the prospect or customer. If I can close just one average size recurring customer of $3,500/month from a SaaS cyber assessment and I spend $1,200/year for a $42,000/year account, that is a return I will take all day long.” Hybrid Approach For many, cost structure can be far more fluid. SaaS Alerts noted that many providers opt for some combination of the four aforementioned strategies. No matter which particular model is selected, however, there is great opportunity – and competitive advantage – for the modern MSP and the end user. Regardless of what they charge for SaaS security monitoring, 96 percent of surveyed MSPs told Kaseya that integrating core applications is “important” to business function, while 78 percent noted that it “helps drive bottom-line profits.” Kaseya also indicated that 30 percent of those providers experienced a gross margin of 11 to 20 percent for their cloud services, while those with a gross margin of more than 30 percent increased slightly, year to year, to 22 percent. The focus – whether on security monitoring or another area – needs to be on seamless integration and minimized end-user involvement. Cybersecurity, as we know it, will not be going away in the near future. As malicious bad actors continue to expand on their own capabilities – subsequently exposing new holes and weaknesses – the need for rigorous security monitoring will only intensify. After all, businesses of any size need a partner that can be relied on to provide security to keep operations efficient, productive, safe and continuously running. And in a world where information integrity and reputation are always at stake, can any cost really be too expensive? o CYBER PATROL Critical Role of Remote Monitoring and Management at MSPs Importance of RMM to Business Success All Respondents Americas APAC EMEA Very important or critical 65% 65% 64% 71% Somewhat important 27% 28% 24% 19% Not important 8% 7% 11% 10% Source: Kaseya MSP sur veys MSP Customer Challenges Top 3 Problems for MSP Clients in 2022 All Respondents Americas APAC EMEA Security 52% 52% 48% 54% BC/DR 38% 39% 28% 40% Remote workers 36% 36% 31% 38% Source: Kaseya MSP sur veys 24 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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Today’s threat actors stalk the internet (maybe even your own network), constantly refining their hacking techniques and biding time until the perfect moment arises to attack their intended target. Experienced attackers generally don’t need to deploy malware during the early stages of an attack, instead implementing tools such as installed software, misconfigurations or operating system components to successfully target their victims. In part because of this, even the most advanced threat detection (which oftentimes identifies attacks only after they’ve begun) could fall short in keeping organizations protected. To develop a stronger defense strategy, organizations need to be more proactive in their approach using techniques such as threat hunting. The goal of threat hunting is to predict and stop attacks by analyzing networks, data and endpoints to pinpoint suspicious activity that existing technology-based solutions may overlook. While these technology-based solutions continue to be critical in cybersecurity plans, threat hunting calls for a more human-centric approach in order to be effective. This allows organizations the ability to move faster than the threat, often stopping attacks before they start. However, certain challenges tend to arise when organizations attempt to introduce a threat hunting program. As By Iratxe Vasquez Stopping advanced threats a key tactic for MSPs CYBER PATROL IN THE HUNT 26 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022
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discovered in a recent Pulse survey, more than half of IT organizations face budgetary constraints and a lack of cybersecurity expertise when establishing a threat hunting strategy. With roadblocks such as these, is it any wonder organizations are approaching managed service providers to take on their threat hunting activities? This is a huge opportunity for MSPs. Threat hunting can add incredible value to their customers’ cybersecurity postures, such as: • Speedy threat response. A human-driven approach enhances existing tech-based controls before a breach can take place. • Shortened investigation time. Threats can go undetected for months or more sometimes. Threat hunting reduces dwell time and is essential to reliably disrupting breaches. • Improved insights for security teams. When performed correctly, a successful threat hunting initiative arms security teams with effective insights to assist in gathering important data enabling teams to discover best practices and ward off future threats. • Minimized attack surfaces and better automated detection. Threat hunting identifies new patterns, helping organizations enhance detection capabilities, leaving threats with nowhere to hide. In order to correctly adopt threat hunting, organizations (MSPs included) must reconsider their security mindsets, looking beyond prevention and incident response to a proactive, up-to-theminute response model. This starts with the assumption that organizations have already been breached and require 24/7 monitoring and remediation. Additionally, there must be an exceptional level of visibility in any successful threat hunting program. At any moment in time, users and endpoints are generating valuable telemetry information about what’s going on across an organization. While the majority of this telemetry is about legitimate activity, advanced technologies such as behavioral analytics and machine learning can uncover abnormal behaviors that may point to suspicious activity, in turn setting off a security alert. This process is based on automated analytics and requires specific technologies, processes and resources to be performed correctly. Threat hunting runs in conjunction with this workflow. The primary function is to use data leak queries and specific tooling to acquire insights from the telemetry to automate new deterministic analytics. In threat hunting, security teams also can apply these new analytics to the telemetry, as well as put weak signals into context to streamline the identification of actual attacks. While organizations once regarded threat hunting as a “nice-to-have” on their wish lists, it is quickly becoming a must-have across all industries. Considering how quickly threats are growing, hunting is no longer an option but a requirement for every organization to keep users and sensitive data safe and secure. With the addition of threat hunting to their service portfolio, MSPs can offer their customers this stronger level of protection and even more dependable threat detection, all before damage can be done, while fortifying defenses against future attacks. o Iratxe Vasquez is senior product marketing manager for Watchguard. CYBER PATROL 28 CHANNELV ISION | MARCH - APRIL 2022 Pand Sourc Maj Source Curr % of re Source Which of the following are the main benefits of threat detection and hunting efforts? Source: Watchguard; Pulse 77% 75% 64% 57% 0% 65% 53% 51% 45% 21% 0% Technology Enthusiasts Visionaries Pragmatists Conservatives Skeptics The Early Market The Chasm Acc expan Stayed abando What are the primary barriers to the success of your current/future efforts to implement threat hunting? Source: Watchguard; Pulse Reduce time to detect (prevent spread) Reduce attack surface exposure/hardened network and endpoints (i.e. misconfigurations exploited by threats) Increase accuracy of detections process and reduce false positives Reduce exposure to external and inernal threats None of these Limitations of tools/ technology Budget constraints Lack of security skills Lack of defined processes Organizational/ leadership buy-in Other The Chasm Source: Per Geoffrey A. Moore’s “ rossing the Chasm” The Mainstream Market 44% Ov Tradit interac Remote h interac D selfPan Sour Ma Sourc Which of the following are the main benefits of threat detection and hunting efforts? Source: Watchguard; Pulse 77% 75% 64% 57% 0% 65% 53% 51% 45% 21% 0% Ac expa Stayed aband What are the primary barriers to the success of your current/future efforts to implement threat hunting? Source: Watchguard; Pulse Reduce time to detect (prevent spread) Reduce attack surface exposure/hardened network and e dpoints (i.e. misconfigurations exploited by threats) Increase accuracy of detections process and reduce false positives Reduce exposure to external and inernal threats None of these Limitations of tools/ technology Budget constraints Lack of security skills Lack of defined processes Organizational/ leadership buy-in Other 44% Ochannelvisionmag.com