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Channel Brief: ConnectWise Rolls Out Sidekick for Security, Microsoft Cuts Azure Cloud Jobs

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Cybersecurity and AI. AI and Cybersecurity. Any way you look at it, the two are a perfect pair. And both are taking center stage at ConnectWise IT Nation Secure, where Jessica Davis and MSSP Alert's Jim Masters are on the ground. You can read more here.

Yesterday, we learned that Google Cloud was making layoffs. Today, it's Microsoft Azure Cloud. But there's also some positive news -- Cork Protection, Inc. has appointed Dave Nankervis as the company's new chief revenue officer (CRO), Cloudera is acquiring Verta to add new AI capabilities and more.

Drop me a line at [email protected] if you have news, tips, channel gossip, or just want to say hi. I'll be at Pax8 Beyond next week, too, so let me know if you want to catch up in person!

In the meantime, grab your coffee. Here’s what you need to know today.

Today’s Tech, Channel and MSP News

1. ConnectWise Rolls Out Sidekick for Security: Jessica Davis and Jim Masters are on the ground at ConnectWise IT Nation Secure, and it sounds like AI is the star of the show. ConnectWise CISO Patrick Beggs was joined on stage by VP of Global Security Sales Jay Ryerse for a discussion of the challenges technology service providers face as AI becomes a force within cybersecurity. Beggs said that future of cybersecurity will be powered by AI. Ryerse said that AI and cybersecurity are on a collision course.

“AI is an open-source tool that’s driving innovation. It’s kind of like a hammer that can be used for both good and for evil that’s accessible to everyone,” said Ryerse. But Beggs noted that AI is used for defense, as well. He said his Red Team is using AI to test ConnectWise’s own defenses. In addition, ConnectWise has guidelines and policies on safe and ethical usage of AI. ConnectWise made a number of security product and solutions announcements, including Security 360 and Sidekick for Security, an RPA expansion and MDR for Microsoft 365.

2. Westcon-Comstor Expands Juniper Networks Partnership in UK, EU: Distributor Westcon-Comstor has expanded its partnership with Juniper Networks into the UK, Ireland and France, CRN reported. Under the agreement, Westcon will offer Juniper's AI-native networking products and solutions to both existing and new partners. The expansion adds new markets to Juniper and Westcon-Comstor's agreement, which already covers Benelux, Cyprus, DACH, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa and USA, CRN said. The expansion comes on the heels of Juniper's recently launched AI-Native Networking Platform and changes to its Juniper Partner Advantage program, all aimed at helping partners incorporate AIOps and improved their managed networking services offers.

3. Microsoft Azure Cloud Layoffs: Following yesterday's news that layoffs were hitting Google Cloud, Business Insider reported that Microsoft is cutting hundreds of jobs at its Azure cloud unit. Reuters said the layoffs will impact teams including Azure for Operators and Mission Engineering, according to the BI report. The Azure for Operators layoffs involve as many as 1,500 job cuts, it added, citing "people familiar with the situation."

4. Cloudera Acquires Verta for AI Capabilities: Cloudera has acquired Verta to add AI to its data platform. Verta is an AI startup that helps customer manage large language models (LLMs). As TechCrunch reported, Cloudera, which has been private equity-owned since 2021, needed AI capabilities and talent to stay relevant in today's marketplace. The Verta acquisition certainly gives it that, as CEO Charles Sansbury recognized. “The future of data management is AI; they go hand-in-hand. Cloudera is acquiring Verta’s Operational AI platform to strengthen our team and accelerate our operational AI capabilities,” he said in a statement.

5. Cork's New Chief Revenue Officer: Cyber warranty solution provider Cork Protection, Inc. has appointed Dave Nankervis as the company's new chief revenue officer (CRO). Cork emerged from stealth about a year ago with a cyberattack prevention and financial coverage solution targeted to MSPs. Nankervis will build out the company's sales team and expand the partner network, Cork CEO Carlson Choi said in a statement. Nankervis also will be responsible for go-to-market strategy and operations, partner success, and business development. He joins Cork from Mailprotector, where he most recently served as VP of sales. Before that, he was director of account management at Liongard. Dave began his career in the MSP space at Axcient, where he held various account management and business development roles. Congratulations!

6. Hurry Up, Cloud MSPs! Submit Your Survey to Our Top Cloud MSPs List - Every year, Jessica Davis blasts out the deadlines and written blog posts and sent emails telling people over and over that the deadline is close. And once the window closes to submit your MSP, there are always a handful of companies asking to reopen the survey so they can submit their companies. Somehow they missed all the messages. Don’t let this be you! Our Top 250 Public Cloud MSPs survey is open now, but it closes in June. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get it done and check it off your list today so you don’t miss the deadline. If your MSP practice includes working with a cloud provider, this survey is for you. Here’s the link to participate. Participation is free. The survey closes in June. Submit your MSP here for recognition today! And if you want to check our lists from previous years, you can find them here.

In-Person MSP and Channel Partner Events

  1. IT Nation Secure, (hosted by ConnectWise) - June 3-5, 2024, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
  2. Pax8 Beyond - June 9-11, 2024, Gaylord Rockies Convention Center, Denver, Colorado
  3. Splunk .conf24 - June 11-14, Venetian, Las Vegas
  4. FLOW Automation Conference (hosted by Rewst) - June 17-19, The Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, Tampa, Florida
  5. CompTIA ChannelCon - July 30 - August 1, 2024, Atlanta, Georgia, Hyatt Regency Atlanta
  6. MSSP Alert Live, October 14-16, Austin, Texas