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ADVERTISER INDEX CONTENTS 8 No Place Like WFH MSPs see revenue bump with remote work By Martin Vilaboy 12 SD-WAN Heads Home Network technology becomes a possible solution in ‘branch of one’ deployments By Martin Vilaboy 18 Mixed Messaging Early signs of disruption within core communication habits By Martin Vilaboy 24 On Open and Shut Case The promises and pitfalls of collaboration security By Brady Hicks 30 Meet Session Smart Routing Networking advancement looks to simplify SDN serving remote workers By Martin Vilaboy AireSpring ( 19 AppSmart ( 3 Bicom ( 9 C3 Cloud ( 35 Cox Business ( 7 EPOS/Sennheiser ( 4 Ericsson ( 21 FaxSIPit ( 28 FiberLight ( 27 Fusion ( 15 Granite Telecommunications ( 23 Great Plains Communications ( 33 New Horizon ( 5 One Stream Networks ( 17 Our Virtual Office ( 29 PCCW Global ( 2 PlanetOne ( 31 Powernet ( Back cover Profitec ( 25 Spectrum ( 13 Star2Star ( 11 Disclaimer: This index is provided as a free service to our advertisers. Every effort is made for accuracy, but we cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions. Volume 14: Remote work solutions Martin Vilaboy Editor-in-Chief Bruce Christian Senior Editor Brady Hicks Contributing Editor Percy Zamora Art Director Rob Schubel Digital Manager Jen Vilaboy Ad Production Director Berge Kaprelian Group Publisher (480) 503-0770 Anthony Graffeo Publisher (203) 304-8547 Nazal Parvin Associate Publisher (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: © 2021 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 2021 6 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

It’s been a challenging time — for you as well as the businesses you serve. At Cox Business, we’re committed to making it easier for your customers to get back to work. And easier for you to grow your sales. It starts with reliable, scalable, secure connectivity. We’ll help drive your customers’ productivity and efficiency while maximizing their IT budgets, with simplified solutions like our: • Easily configurable SD-WAN powered by RapidScale • MalBlock security suite with robust protections • High-speed, high-bandwidth Business Internet • ManagedWiFi for simplified IT requirements We make it easy on you too —with 24/7 live customer service, a 95%+ installation success rate, expert consultation, and opportunities for up-front, lump-sum commissions. We make it easy to do more business. See how Cox Business keeps your customers’ remote workforce protected at learn/join-sap.html Isn’t it time business got easier again? Channel Program It’s been a challenging time — for you as well as the businesses you serve. At Cox Business, we’re committed to making it easier for your customers to get back to work. And easier for you to grow your sales. It starts with reliable, scalable, secure connectivity. We’ll help drive your customers’ productivity and efficiency while maximizing their IT budgets, ith simplified s lut ons like our: • Easily configurable SD-WAN powered by RapidScale • MalBlock security suite with robust protections • High-speed, high-bandwidth Business Internet • ManagedWiFi for simplified IT requirements We make it easy on you too —with 24/7 live customer service, a 95%+ installation success rate, expert consultation, and opportunities for up-front, lump-sum commissions. We make it easy to do more business. See how Cox B keeps your cus remote workfo protected at learn/join-sap.html Isn’t it time business got easi r a ain?

A battle is about to be waged across corporate America. Call it the work-from-home wars. Employees, by and large, have grown quite fond of hybrid and WFH arrangements and would like such policies to stick around for the long term. Employers, on the other hand, while accommodating their employees for as long as the pandemic persists, are much less keen to the dual-operations model and want workers to reconvene around centralized offices once things normalize. Both sides have their arguments and upsides; it could get ugly. Google recently hinted, for example, that employees who choose to permanently work from home could see reductions in pay. From the perspective of the managed service providers that serve those companies and their workforces, most will likely be rooting for the employees. After all, the disruptions that forced the adoption of WFH in the first place also caused major shifts in business buying and spending. Many businesses suffered slowdowns, if not total shutdowns. Yet despite these tough times, the work-from-home By Martin Vilaboy Based on what you saw with your clients, which of the following Microsoft 365 tools saw the biggest uptake in 2020? Teams 80% Sharepoint (cloud) 33.2% OneDrive 32.3% Exchange (cloud) 31.7% Core Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) 30.5% Outlook 26.2% Intune 5.8% OneNote 3.1% Skype (& Skype of Business) 2.8% Microsoft Defender 2.2 Other 0.6% Source: Altaro; HornetSecurity Group; MSP sur vey NO PLACE LIKE WFH MSPs see revenue bump with remote work THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK 8

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10 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK revolution has proved largely beneficial at least to MSPs’ bottom lines. According to a recent survey of hundreds of MSP partners by virtual machine backup provider Altaro, the movement toward WFH has led to increased revenues for 70 percent of respondents. Not that MSPs were surprised by this bump. In a similar survey last year, 76 percent of MSP respondents had predicted that remote working would be the biggest generator of revenue during the pandemic. Still, a full 87 percent of MSPs surveyed earlier this year saw increased Microsoft Office 365 business in 2020 due to demands of workers moving to dens, bedrooms and kitchen tables. The largest source of those increased revenues came from implementations, with 55 percent of MSP citing an increase in their implementation business for Microsoft Office 365, followed by support, named as a source of increase by 21 percent of MSPs. “Over the course of 2020, MSPs implemented more Microsoft 365 solutions than ever before,” said the study, “with clients flocking to collaboration tools like Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint (Cloud).” Of course, more implementations tend to lead to more work supporting those implementations, and in turn 67.1 percent of responding MSPs said they either agree or strongly agree that support volumes increased due to remote working, while 27.4 percent declared that the volume of requests hasn’t changed that much. Certainly, the need for email security increased as companies moved to WFH models, and the vast majority of MSPs surveyed jumped on the occasion to offer email security services to their clients, showed the study. Overall, 91 percent of repsonding MSPs said that they currently offer email security solutions, while about 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the move to WFH made it easier to upsell email security, compared to about 11 percent who disagreed or strongly disagreed with such a sentiment. Offering solutions for email security also was the most frequently quoted source for generating highly sought-after recurring revenues, followed by offering help with email inbox management and training. Email security solutions were used by two thirds of MSPs to generate recurring revenue, whereas around half of MSPs said they earned recurring revenue on email inbox management. What’s more, 84 percent of MSPs that utilized third-party email security solutions on top of Office 356 deployment also set up third-party backup solutions for their clients, “showing that the opportunities for cross-selling these two services is very high,” said Altaro researchers. Incidentally, in a separate survey of enterprise end users, Altaro found that those organizations that use third-party solutions reported the lowest rate of email security breaches in comparison to organizations only using security packages offered by Microsoft 365 – 82 percent of all respondents who use third-party email security solutions reported no breaches. Overall, MSPs enjoyed increased revenue opportunities from the availability of third-party tools to manage their clients’ Microsoft Office 365 deployments, such as Altaro’s Office 365 Backup for MSPs, showed the survey. Sixty percent of MSPs said remote working led to increased cross-selling of third-party apps to manage Microsoft 365. A full 85 percent of MSPs, meanwhile, use secondary tools to enhance clients’ 365 setup. Other bolt-on services MSPs should consider in order to support remote workers, said Altaro, include training services, process automation, setting up databases and help with specific tools, such as programming in Excel and project management in Planner. So, moving forward, which side will come out victorious in the workfrom-home wars? Most communications providers and IT executives believe the employees eventually will get their way. In a recent survey of IT departments within communications companies, for example, two thirds of respondents said they expect customers will continue to operate with employees working from home in some shape or form for the foreseeable future. The remaining third, showed the A10 Networks and Opinion Matters survey, believe the work environment will eventually snap back to how it was before COVID-19. Those seem like decent odds for MSP that so far have enjoyed a boost from servicing remote workforces. o e industries The increase in remote working made it easier for me to upsell other solutions, such as email security solutions. Source: Altaro; HornetSecurity Group; MSP survey Ran out of enterprise datacenter space/power Source: 451 Research; 9/20 Federal Agencies Using or Considering U ing an MSP Source: FedScoop; General Dynamics nmental itoring Gaming ns do ? 00 or more Srongly Disagree Neutral Strongly Agree 30% 10% 7% 17% 36% 39% 16% 18% 20% 48% 9% 14% 3.7% 1 2 3 4 5 7.4% 29.8% 34.5% 24.6% 16% 0bn $236.0bn 6% Average Rating: 3.7 Yes, currently using an MSP Planning to use an MSP in 2 years Planning to use an MSP in 5 years Considering, but undecided Not planning to use an MSP

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SD-WAN Heads Home Before the pandemic struck, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) was arguably the hottest technology in networking. Adoption was robust, as the technology had past its “peak of expectations” on the Gartner networking hype cycle and was rapidly climbing to its “plateau of productivity.” Then suddenly, when home-based workers were geographically separated from centralized work resources, enterprises looking to connect those remote employees fell back to the more familiar virtual private networks (VPNS) that SD-WAN in many cases had been replacing. VPN sales returned with a vengeance. According to a recent survey by Cybersecurity Insiders, more than seven in 10 organizations said they had increased their VPN capacity in response to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the initial rush to go remote, SD-WAN still was positioned as a solution for the branch office and was seen as less cost-effective for individual workers in their homes. But as SD-WAN vendors tweak their offerings, and the cost of onpremises devices come down, an increasingly strong case can be made for utilizing SD-WAN to connect the “branch of one” remote worker. Certainly, the benefits SD-WAN-tothe-home provide network administrators are interesting enough. SDWAN clearly is more flexible, more controllable, and provides a better user experience for today’s workers who must securely access not only internal assets but approved cloud-based resources, as well. As technology analyst John Fruehe describes things, VPNs create a type of session-based tunnel into IT resources. The user initiates a connection that punches in behind the firewall and then disconnects when done. SD-WAN, meanwhile, effectively creates a new network edge that’s always connected and granted access to everything that’s available to workers at the office. For network administrators and IT departments, specifically, SD-WANs provide a level of conBy Martin Vilaboy Network technology becomes a possible solution in ‘branch of one’ deployments 12 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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trol, visibility, and flexibility – in terms of security, traffic, and applying policies – that VPNs typically do not. In most cases, VPNs handle most users in the same way and typically route all traffic over the established connection, “so even nonwork traffic ends up running through the headquarters’ gateways out to the internet,” explained Fruehe. VPNs also do little to mitigate slow, congested, or over-provisioned broadband connections. “But, with an SD-WAN home office, IT can take a more finegrained approach to managing users, access, security, and the other aspects of connectivity back to the main headquarters,” argued Fruehe. Even in a home office set-up with a single link, the dynamic optimization capabilities of SD-WAN can adjust and prioritize traffic for a better user experience, such as maintaining quality for bandwidth-sensitive apps including VoIP, collaboration tools, or video conferencing, or prioritizing certain roles or power users, all while deprioritizing or blocking less-important traffic, such as Facebook or YouTube, so as not to constrain company bandwidth and infrastructure. This type of optimization and prioritization is particularly important to remote work, as home users’ ISP networks are becoming more congested with more work traffic. And in cases where the home internet service is simply inadequate for work, SD-WAN appliances often can be outfitted with cellular LTE connectivity as an alternate connection. Another benefit over a VPN is that an SD-WAN can route cloud traffic directly to cloud services instead of backhauling the data through a data center. Ultimately, as explained by Jean-Luc Valente, vice president of product management for Cisco’s SDWAN and edge routing division, SD-WAN appliances in the home means employees’ homes can be treated similar to any other branch office, allowing IT teams to apply policy consistently across various business segments, extend security beyond company-issued devices to the LAN, and enable application-level quality of service. For the individual users, SDWAN to the home can be relatively simple and transparent. The zero-touch provisioning of most SD-WAN gateways, explained Fruehe, means IT can send SD-WAN appliances directly to a remote worker for installation, and when plugged in, the device can selfprovision and connect back to headquarters with little or no interaction on the employee’s end. “Even VoIP can be configured, enabling calls from the headquarters to route directly to the employee,” Fruehe continued. Not that an SD-WAN deployment makes sense across the entire WHF spectrum, at least in the near term. Fruehe suggests companies consider the specific role or duties of the individual home-based employee when deciding where Top VPN Challenges for Remote Access Lack of visibility into user activity taking place 24% High cost of security appliances/infrastructure 23% Requires giving employees and third-parties access to corporate network 19% Poor user experience due to backhauls to VPN gateways 16% Complexity of managing existing remote access across public cloud environments 14% Inability to scale to meet user demand 4% Source: Cybersecurity Insiders 2021 survey Quality of Experience Improvements of SD-WAN in WFH Environment “SD-WANs provide a level of control, visibility, and flexibility – in terms of security, traffic, and applying policies – that VPNs typically do not. ” Source: AT&T 14 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

to go with SD-WAN. Those utilizing intensive or expensive applications or who have specific licensing requirements, such as people working in CAD design remotely, for example, represent situations where the investment in SD-WAN can be justified. Much the same can be said for those in higherlevel or mission-critical roles such as engineers, developers, lawyers, or C-suite occupants that are largely working from home. On the other hand, employees who live in the world of PowerPoint, email clients, Excel and Word, said Fruehe, can run those applications at home rather inexpensively and can be adequately served by a VPN connection. But as the price points for SD-WAN premises equipment drop below $1,000, it starts to make sense to look at home-based marketing and HR managers or folks working in finance to see if the improvements wrought by SD-WAN in user experience, connectivity, and security can be justified. Ben Niernberg, executive vice president at MNJ Technologies, a managed service provider with experience providing SD-WAN solutions to clients, believes this time will come sooner than later. Many OEMs in the space have been working on “branch of one” solutions, he said, and Nierenberg has already seen devices that combine security with some level of routing and switching, if not full SD-WAN capabilities, all for around the same price of setting up a remote office with a nice laptop or a PC and monitor. “If you get your connectivity and security all in a box, where you can protect the company, I think that changes the financial posture of what is and what isn’t acceptable,” said Niernberg, speaking as part of a podcast on SD-WAN and WFH by Frankly MSP. And even if the cost to connect the at-home workers goes up slightly, “there is probably some savings on the backside, whether it be through real estate or through trying to enable an entire office,” he continued. “I’m not sure that it doesn’t become widespread yet; I think that is where we are: trying to learn what is that threshold where it makes both financial and business sense.” SD-WAN to the “branch of one” only make sense if remote work is clearly part of organizations long-term plans and culture. If the idea is that eventually everyone is coming back to the office, even if that is a year or two down the road, advised Fruehe, “you are probably not willing to go down the path of putting all the infrastructure in place.” Even if a company already is committed to SD-WAN in some capacity in its wide area network, the decision to push it down to home-based workers should be made separately. But if cost and cultural factors align, “SD-WAN makes a lot of sense,” Fruehe continued. Niernberg suggests on organization starts with an understanding of the key applications or problems it is trying to solve and then consider the possible appliances and solutions that might be able to help. “Not all SD-WAN is created equal,” he warned. “An [MSP or SD-WAN channel partner] that knows not just one SD-WAN product but multiple SD-WAN products can help you find the right solution and not just the solution they sell.” J SD-WAN Desired Features Cloud and SaaS connectivity 35% WAN optimization acceleration capabilities 32% Advanced security features SASE 32% Support for remote and mobile employees 32% Better alignment with cloud tech operational models 30% Private connectivity that can replace MPLS 28% Fully managed service 28% NFV at branch to replace appliances 26% Source: Aryaka Networks 2021 survey Source: TechTarget 16 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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Business communications tools took on a whole new importance when the country saw day-to-day operations suddenly quarantined to dens, bedrooms and kitchen tables of employees’ homes. Maintaining productivity and collaboration would have been nearly impossible without the capabilities and adaptability of today’s ITdelivered communications applications. Services that had been hustling for years, even decades, to prove their worth suddenly experienced years of growth in a matter of months. As the dust begins to settle, surveys of Spiceworks community of IT professional shed some light on how the WFx (work from anywhere) trend specifically has impacted workers’ daily communications habits and priorities. And as might be expected, the shifts come with disruption to a few long-standing, legacy business communication tools. It’s also highly likely the shifts witnessed during the last several months will continue in a similar direction for some time, as it seems safe to assume that the boom in remote/mobile/home-based working is a solid trend if not a permanent reality, at least for a good chunk of U.S. organizations. After all, several studies show as much as 50 percent of companies that made some moves toward remote work believe the WFH arrangements will remain long after the pandemic. The good news is it appears businesses are pleasantly surprised by how quickly their communications and IT tools were able to adapt to changes and are happy with how things have been going. According to the Spiceworks survey, a full three-quarters of respondents believe their communications solutions effectively met business demands in 2020, up from 67 percent in 2019 despite the unique challenges of 2020. In a separate study by McKinsey & Co., respondents said their companies’ reaction to the work-from-home transition was on average 40 times faster than thought possible before the pandemic. Mixed Messaging Early signs of disruption within core communication habits By Martin Vilaboy 18 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

“Before then, respondents say it would have taken more than a year to implement the level of remote working that took place during the crisis,” said McKinsey researchers. “In actuality, it took an average of 11 days to implement a workable solution, and nearly all of the companies have stood up workable solutions within a few months.” And it’s not just management that is showing signs of approval. “Increased adoption of IT-provided messaging tools appears to have reduced at least some shadow IT,” said Spiceworks researchers. While 43 percent of businesses said employees frequently used personal mobile devices for internal communications in 2019, that figure dropped significantly to 38 percent in 2020. Getting the Message Among the most obvious changes in behavior is the increased use of web and video conferencing for both internal and external communications. Adoption of web conferencing apps was up by an additional 10 percent in 2020, according to Spiceworks findings, growing from 69 percent of businesses in 2019 to 79 percent in 2020. Adoption was greater among larger organizations, at 88 percent. Employees utilized web conferencing tools more often, as well, a long-time challenge among proponents of the technology. Adopters reported frequent use of web conferencing tools increased 7 percentage points for internal communications and 8 percentage points for external communications between 2019 and 2020. Use of web conferencing solutions appears to be closely split between internal and external usage. However, because larger organizations are often spread out geographically, enterprises tend to use them for internal communications more often than SMBs. For example, 68 percent of enterprises that have deployed web conferencing solutions use it frequently for internal communications, compared to six in 10 mid-size and just less than half of small business adopters. The growth in web conferencing was countered by a drop in adoption of analog voice technologies, which fell 7 percentage points when comparing Spiceworks 2020 findings to a similar 2019 survey, down to 45 percent. This drop came even though in-person meetings were severely limited. Incidentally, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 percent of organizations said end users regularly experienced technical difficulties with web conferencing solutions, which Spiceworks analysts suppose cloud be the result of inadequate bandwidth when relying on residential internet connections. In general, more than a quarter of respondents said employees in their organization were overwhelmed by the number of communications solutions available to them, suggesting the need for partners serving in advisory roles. The somewhat rapid rise of business chat also greatly accelerated in 2020. As of June 2020, 81 percent of businesses were using business chat apps, a jump from 67 percent a year earlier. Business chat app adopters reporting frequent use went up about 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2020. “Previous estimates from our 2019 study,” said Spiceworks, “were for 77 percent adoption of apps like Slack and Teams by the end of 2021, and we already blew past that figure in mid-2020.” All the while, three months into the COVID-19 crisis, 37 percent of IT decision-makers reported employees in their organization preferring to use business chat apps over email for internal communications — up from 31 percent in 2019. 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Biggest Changes Among Business Adopters Frequently Using Communications Medium Between 2019 and 2010 Source: Spiceworks Web Conferencing (Internal) Web Conferencing (External) Business Chat Apps (Internal) Business Chat Apps (External) SMS Text Message (External) 2019 2020 Executive mindsets on technology’s strategic importance have changed radically during the crisis. Percentage of Business Ad pters u ing Communica ions Tech Frenquently (Internal vs. External, Among Organization Using Them in 2020) Organization’s current strat gic posture toward technology, % of respondents, 2020 Source: Spicew rks Intern l External Email VoIP Web Conferencing Apps Text Message (SMS) Business Chat Apps (Stacks, Terms) Analog Velos Secure Cummunications Platforms Unified communications Primarity a source of savings Modernizing c re technology capabilities (i.e. to keep up with competitors) Investing more in technology to make it a competitive advantage Refocusing the entire business around digital technologies Don’t know 30 19 3 10 38 49% 56% 51% 59% 69% 79% 30% 41% 39% 46% 96% 96% 85% 85% 56% 59% 60% 79% 41% 62% 68% 51% 46% 68% 60% 46% Cyber Attacks Partners’ Customers Were Victims of in 2020 Phishing 69% Malware/Virus 54% Ransomware 47% Data Breaches 16% None 15 Cryptojacking 14% DDoS 12% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Source: Untangle Biggest Changes Among Business Adopters Frequently Using Communications Medium Between 2019 and 2010 Source: Spiceworks Web Conferencing (Internal) Web Conferencing (External) Business Chat Apps (Internal) Business Chat Apps (External) SMS Text Message (External) 2019 2020 Percentage of Business Adopters using Com ications Tech Frenquently (Internal vs. External, Among Organization Using Them in 2020) Source: Spiceworks Internal External Email VoIP Web Conferencing Apps Text Message (SMS) Business Chat Apps (Stacks, Terms) Analog Velos Secure Cummunications Platforms Unified communications 29% 29% 29% 49% 56% 51% 59% 69% 79% 30% 41% 39% 46% 96% 96% 85% 85% 56% 59% 60% 79% 41% 62% 68% 51% 46% 68% 60% 46% 20 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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“Threaded group chats, the ability to embed rich media, integrations with popular apps, and the ability to easily scroll through chat history are all compelling advantages Slack and Teams hold over email,” said Spiceworks. Business chat apps remain primarily a tool for internal and “team” communications, used that way by 79 percent of respondents. But the percentage of businesses that use it for external communications grew a bit faster than internal during the shift to WFx, from less than a third in 2019 to 41 percent by the mid-2020. A similar scenario unfolded within SMS usage, another widely used tool for internal communications. While there wasn’t much growth shown in corporate usage of text messaging for internal communications in 2020, Spiceworks noted business users reporting frequent use of SMS for external communications increasing by 7 percentage points between 2019 and 2020. One can safely assume most of these messages are being sent in lieu of emails, as well as voice calls. Up to this point, IT-driven communications applications such as chat, unified communications and web conferencing have largely been used internally or with key partners. This increasing willingness to communicate externally through business messaging could be part of what McKinsey & Co. analysts note as the “digitization of customer interaction.” According to the firm’s findings, large businesses are three times likelier now than before the crisis to say that at least 80 percent of their customer interactions are digital in nature. In a July 2020 survey of North American businesses, the average share of customer interactions that were digital was 65 percent. That’s up from 25 percent in May 2018 and 41 percent in December 2019. Certainly, email and VoIP still are the most frequently used business communications solutions, show Spiceworks data, but with the adjustment to the WFx revolution, business are regularly using five to six different types of communications technologies on a regular basis, and moving forward it’s the newer forms that are expected to see growth. Meanwhile, the overlapping voice, video, and chat functionality between various communications platforms could lead to additional end-user confusion, again suggesting the need for trusted advisors. More than a quarter of survey respondents said employees in their organization were overwhelmed by the number of communications solutions available to them. While adoption is relatively low now, we also can expect to see significant growth during the next two years in secure, end-to-end encrypted communications platforms, as workers increasingly handle sensitive data outside of the relatively safe confines of firewalled corporate networks. “As security concerns escalate with malicious actors increasingly targeting employees working from home — who often connect to outdated networks that also service personal devices — there are opportunities for vendors that can effectively help a remote workforce stay productive while helping to protect corporate devices and data,” Spiceworks researchers advised. In this regard, vendors might raise security standards beyond end-to-end encryption. “To attract security-minded customers, cloud-based communications providers can build comprehensive solutions with security built in from the ground up, taking an extensible approach to secure communications capable of meeting customers’ needs now and into the future,” they continued. We also may be seeing some shift in priorities away from price as a purchasing consideration, as IT buyers look to reduce complexity. According to the survey, 76 percent of IT decision-makers believe it’s critical for a communications tool to provide consistent reliability, making this the most important consideration. Second in importance was “user friendliness” followed by “value for money,” ease of integration, and manageability. And while multiple-point communications solutions are working for organizations now, there’s opportunity in improvement. For example, with more people working outside of dedicated office space on a permanent basis — often around roommates or family members — there’s opportunity for products to stand out by doing a better job of dealing with environmental noise and other distractions, said Spiceworks researchers. “[A]nyone who’s experienced technical difficulties on a video call — and that’s everyone by now — can tell you the current generation of communications products aren’t perfect,” concluded the report. “Going forward, factors like manageability and ease of use will also be of great concern to decision makers, especially if they’re responsible for resolving remote end users’ issues, an increasingly prevalent pain point among IT professionals.” o Executive mindsets on technology’s strategic importance have changed radically during the crisis. Source: McKinsey & Co. Organization’s current strategic posture toward technology, % of respondents, 2020 Source: Spiceworks Internal External Email VoIP Web Conferencing Apps Text Message (SMS) Business Chat Apps (Stacks, Terms) Analog Velos Secure Cummunications Platforms comm Primarity a source of savings July 2017: % of respondents who ranked “scaling down costs” as a top three digital priority Modernizing core technology capabilities (i.e. to keep up with competitors) Investing more in technology to make it a competitive advantage Refocusing the entire business around digital technologies Don’t know 30 19 3 10 40 38 41% 51% 46% 46% 22 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

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Collaboration (or collaborative) security is an area of coverage for protecting the modern communications platform. This genre has come more into focus during the past year, given the rapid proliferation of remote work solutions, the rise in prominence of popular unified communications (UC) software and services and reliance on VoIP over the traditional terrestrial line. At a time when more people are working remotely, collaborating with one another over voice and video streams and sharing and exchanging sensitive data over those same channels, the need for some degree of lockdown has never been higher. “Let’s face it: hackers are getting smarter,” noted Shawn Nace, a sales engineer with Telesystem, a company that offers a security with hosted VoIP option for protecting critical transmissions. “The scope of attacks is growing day by day. All kinds of attacks. It has never been more important to have a security posture.” As a result, answering questions such as, “How will I protect end-user IP (intellectual property)?” are an absolute necessity. “Attackers prey on end-user sensibilities,” continued Nace. “That’s why it has never been more important to have a set of best practice tools in place.” But with the constant threat of outside forces slowly infiltrating an organization’s correspondences, siphoning data and even maliciously manipulating digital communications, one should never underestimate collaboration security’s value. “Collaboration security is security, just the same as you would look at network security,” said AvePoint global director of partner experience, Sam Valme. AvePoint’s cloud-based, on-premises and hybrid security products seek to extend reliability and By Brady Hicks ANOPENAND SHUT CASE The Promises and Pitfalls of Collaboration Security 24 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

integrity in communications, helping manage transformation, governance and compliance. Unfortunately, just as no form of security software works in a flawless vacuum, the very concept of collaboration software is not without its own unique challenges. Ever-Changing Tech With the growing evolution of communications technology and how it is transmitted, holes are constantly left open for malicious actors to expose. This threat consistently uncovers significant risk for sensitive business information, critical dialogue and private employee data. Plus, to further compound the issue, most attacks do not occur within the short, closeable window of the actual session. “Most people don’t know that the average hack lasts three to six months,” said Nace. “Monitoring for a collaboration security risk is so much more of a long-term investigation into the habits and tendencies of stakeholders than people realize.” For this reason, Telesystem pro- motes a full “white-glove” approach characterized by extra-special – and specialized – attention to the smaller details that most self-policing enterprises miss. “It’s so important to have somebody do the heavy lifting,” Nace continued, noting that companies such as Telesystem “provide the expertise that the end user might not have.” And as more groups shift to reliance on remote collaboration tools, a false feeling of bravado can have devastating side effects. Proper Data Governance Hubris aside, the increasing number of instances of reliance on remote collaboration software has exposed yet another vulnerability for cyber criminals to exploit. “The move to remote collaboration tools poses risk for online security, such as how organizations try to protect data,” said Jason Beal, AvePoint senior vice president of global channel and partner Ecosystems. “Whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud, there is so much access to data, and that requires governance as far as who can access what and share what. If you don’t have the right governance or the right policies, it will lead to storage inefficiency.” And inefficiency could be an at-best scenario. “From the user perspective,” Beal continued, “it’s a whole new set of risks.” According to the executive, common issues such as lax data-loss prevention practices, info sprawl and other storage defects only continue to open the door to third-party penetrators. With the trend toward vendor consolidation, data maintenance has become even more complex, often lending to massive, often difficult-to-manage info stores, at best, and problematic, exposed data sprawl, at worst. This trend, it should be noted, is where AvePoint’s executives believe its collaboration security options truly excel, with several products and platforms that aim to reduce a lot of the costs and headaches associated with problematic data governance. Importance of Proactivity Perhaps more than any other aspect of collaboration security, the critical need to stay proactive – or paying one to react in real-time on the organization’s behalf – cannot be underscored. “I think this is an area that is finally starting to get some attention,” observed Bill Wootton, founder and president of C3 Integrated Solutions. C3 is a government contractor IT company and managed service provider partner of AvePoint, with a staff of consultants who work to recommend best-case technology for clients. “We have an incredible opportunity to collaborate and share, both within and outside of our organization. But the security side tenses up.” “How do I know what I’m sharing, who can see it or if who is seeing it, should be?” he continued. The only clear answer is to have 24x7 anti-fraud measures in place. “I see it as more of a real-time versus reactive mindset,” said Nace, who believes that too many organizations are willing to sit back and wait for a breach to occur, all the while not comprehending the nature of how most collaboration-related hacks go down. In contrast, Telesystem’s approach is to provide a multi-faceted playbook of options for the end user, including real-time, back-end monitoring and – outside of normal calling patterns – making sure the session is shut down. Nace believes that the optimal combination to stay safe is three-pronged. They include frequent password changes; end-of-session logouts, to keep sessions from floating online; and maintaining SOC compliance, regularly monitoring for unwanted activity. Unexpected Sources While many tend to get visions of spy movies with ultra-intelligent hack26 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

ers in ninja outfits or hoodies at their computers, most infiltrations are not produced by Pixar. Oftentimes, the risk comes about as the result of a trusted staffer or other accepted party making a poor, uninformed or even malicious decision. Sometimes, this can even be dictated by poorly laid out organizational policy that is either too heavy handed or lax. According to Wootton, the key is balance. “This is the trend: collaboration security,” he argued. “We’re working very hard to lock down our environments. With everybody moving to the cloud, customers are just starting to realize the problem with being too wide open. On the opposite side, we’ve got customers who locked the doors and barricaded it. There’s a tremendous pressure to find balance. There’s also a tremendous opportunity to get a little more control while not being oppressive.” AvePoint’s Beal agreed. “There’s always been this balance between empowering and having agility versus the other side: having security,” he said. “There doesn’t need to be a trade-off. You can have all of it, even security and governance. Microsoft alone had 145 million daily active users moved to the cloud last year without due diligence. In the U.K., meanwhile, a recent study showed that 75 percent of organizations employing Teams did so without proper governance. We need to make sure that these environments are backed up but buttoned up.” Obviously, the ultimate implications of an ill-conceived or non-existent collaboration security strategy can vary. For most, it tends to come down to cost and one’s ability to prevent the organization from being defrauded in any way. While burdensome, however, the financial aspect is just one of many worries that should cross a decision-maker’s mind. “For the public sector, ending up on CNN in a bad light, that’s a concern,” laughed Valme. “There are really two ‘biggest’ risks that I see, though. One is the actual loss of IP, from the business perspective or even internal users. If leaks are not secured, there’s an immediate risk of loss. The second risk is actually the loss of confidence. Once you lose the confidence of your customers, it makes it very difficult to overcome.” Such ramifications, though, only drill home the idea that all organization’s need a definitive, proactive and smart policy. After all, collaboration security allows us to do many things, and, when properly planned and administered, affords companies a certain peace of mind. “Collaboration security allows us to be able to share data,” said Wootton. “It allows us to share information in a way that has more control. It allows us to collaborate with confidence and control, and provides us with necessary reporting on the back end” to prevent future infiltrations. o 28 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK

Think of managing a corporate wide area network as analogous to running a railway network, suggest executives at global internet access and networking provider Brodynt. Railway operators have the ability to manage the scheduling of trains via timetables, can prioritize train movement and paths through signaling systems, and even can dynamically change routes around failures. Yet despite the investment in infrastructure and infrastructure management, there is little visibility into the one thing that ultimately matters to the customer: the experience of their individual journey. “All you can see are the complaints on social media platforms when something on a journey goes wrong,” said Danyyil Peronkov, digital marketing manager at Brodynt. Similarly, Peronkov continues, enterprise network managers have a raft of tools at their disposal to route packets, choose priorities, enforce security, and monitor the infrastructure performance via packet loss, delay, jitter, and other performance variables. But the ultimate purpose is to enable better flows of information between end-users and applications in order to optimize the individual sessions, “which are the IP networking equivalent of individual rail journeys,” he said. For their part, software-defined networking technologies, such as a traditional SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) By Martin Vilaboy Networking advancement looks to simplify SDN serving remote workers Meet Session Smart Routing 30 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK


offering, can provide network administrators with additional levels of control. By creating overlay networks using IPsec tunnels, network traffic can be grouped by application type and rules applied to route traffic for best performance. The creation and management of tunnels, however, have their own drawbacks and added overhead, “and like the managers of railway networks who can’t manage journeys, you are not seeing and optimizing the individual flows – the sessions,” argued Peronkov. The relatively new technology called session smart routing, meanwhile, eliminates the need to build or maintain overlay networks of IPsec tunnels, while determining the best route for an individual session and the user at a given time. The upsides, say proponents of session smart routing, include lower costs and a simplification of the centralized management of remote sites enabled by softwaredefined networking (SDN). Initially developed by U.S.- based software company 128 Technology, which was purchased by multinational networking company Juniper Networks late last year, session smart routing effectively replaces the need for tunnel-based network overlays and less-efficient provisioning systems and directs traffic based on application sessions – taking key information from the originating and terminating IP address and the session application identifier – rather than individual packets. It provides distributed control, intelligent service-based routing, and inband session-based signaling and is compatible and interoperable with existing network protocols and architectures so it can be gradually introduced into an existing IP network, said Juniper. It’s also becoming a key differentiation point to Juniper’s enterprise SD-WAN strategy. The technology involves two primary components. A software-based Session Smart Router – which is deployable on white-box CPE, data center network servers, and the cloud – combines the service-centric control plane and a session-aware data plane to provide IP routing, policy management, visibility, and proactive analytics. A controller (Session Smart Conductor), meanwhile, acts as a centralized management and policy engine for all the smart routers in the network. It provides orchestration, administration, zero-touch provisioning, monitoring, and analytics for these routers while also maintaining a network-wide, multi-tenant service and policy data model. Together, the two components implement what 128 Technology called Secure Vector Routing Tunnel-Based vs Tunnel-Free SD-WAN Tunnel-Based SD-WAN Tunnel-Free SD-WAN l Tunnels forward packets instead of sessions, which leads to a static nature of connectivity. For session awareness, additional applications need to be added such as DPI. l Stateless L2 and L3 network fabric. l Sessions are forwarded, which leads to stateful and dynamic routing, resulting in intelligent and distributed fabric. l Stateless L2 and L3 network is transformed to session-aware data plane. l Additional bandwidth tax that can be as high as 123%. l No overhead means no bandwidth tax. l Risk of fragmentation if IP packet size reaches close to 1,500. l Fragmentation can result in packet drops during reassembly. l No risk of fragmentation (because of SD-WAN) as additional compensation for overhead bytes is not needed. l Scalability issues because of tunnels that necessitates hub and spoke configuration instead of mesh; suboptimal design for real-time traffic such as VoIP and video. l As there are no overheads, there are no risks of scalability. Thousands of sessions can be created. l As scalable as IP. l For large-scale networks that demand more granular segmentation, static and complex to implement/maintain segmentation. l Hyper-segmentation based on sessions. Much more granular, easier to implement and results in better utilization of MPLS links. This can potentially reduce MPLS link costs. l Security risks can happen because of fragmentation. l Evasion by tunneling can be a problem for network-based security devices such as network firewalls, IDS and IPS. l Inefficiency because of potential double encryption in traditional SD-WAN and of re-encrypting customer’s traffic even if it is encrypted. l Zero-trust security is default. l End-to-end stateful session management and encryption. No need for IPSec as encryption can be done on the payload using AES-128/256. l Adaptive encryption by detecting encryption on the customer’s traffic; no need to re-encrypt the traffic. Source: ACG Research 32 THE CHANNEL MANAGER’S PLAYBOOK