5 things

5 Channel Partner Updates: 26 April 2017

Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to start your day for Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Actually, there are 18 updates for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs), independent software vendors (ISVs), telco master agents and telco agents to sip on. Take a look…

18. ESOP Education: A bill on its way to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper would require state economic development officials to offer advice on ESOP ownership models and offer a revolving loan fund to encourage it, according to Denver Business Journal. ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) transition company ownership to employees -- who essentially become shareholders in a company even if it's privately held. While ESOP education is a good thing, I'm not sure U.S. states should be in the business of encouraging their formation. After all, ESOPs also come with risks.

17. Partner Program, Part 1: Hedvig, which develops storage solutions for private and hybrid clouds, has expanded its CloudScale Partner Program.

16. Partner Program, Part 2: Alfresco Software says 40 new partners have joined the company's Global Partner Program over the past 12 months.

15. M&A - Software Developers: Crossover has acquired Engine Yard, a provider of the cloud platform and support services for Ruby on Rails. Engine Yard sold Deis, a provider of open-source tools to manage Kubernetes deployments, to Microsoft ahead of the Crossover deal.

14. M&A - Data Centers:  An investor group -- including Chirisa Investments, Lumerity Capital and Longboat Advisors -- has acquired 365 Data Centers, a provider of data center solutions for carrier, content and cloud customers in eight strategic markets. Bob DeSantis, previously Co-founder and Managing Partner of Xand, has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at 365 Data Centers.

13. M&A - Software Rumor: Hyland Software, owned by buyout firm Thoma Bravo LLC, is nearing a deal to acquire Lexmark International's software division for nearly $1.5 billion, according to Reuters.

12. Funding - Secure Containers: Twistlock, a provider of cloud container security solutions, has raised $17 million in Series B funding.

11. Ransomware Targets: Roughly 77 percent of ransomware cases are detected in four industries: business & professional services, government, healthcare and retail, according to an NTT Security research study.

But wait. There's more. Check out page 2 for items 10 to 1.

Here's page 2. Boy was that a fast page load. Here are items 10 to 1.

10. 5G Wireless Hype: AT&T says it will bring "5G Evolution" to more than 20 metropolitan areas by the end of the year. However, numerous critics are calling bull****, alleging the announcement is nothing more than a placeholder until true 5G wireless service and associated standards arrive years from now.

9. Managed Print Services: Insight has been recognized as a “Best in Class” Managed Print Services (MPS) Partner by HP Inc. We're checking to see if HP bestowed that designation on additional printer partners...

8. Managed Security Services: Comodo has upgraded its Dome Shield DNS-based web security service for the network boundary. Dome Shield now integrates more tightly with Comodo ONE, a single pane of glass that allows MSPs to manage Comodo's product portfolio.

7. MSP Partnership: Leidos (LDOS) has agreed to act as an expert service provider for the Fortinet Security Fabric portfolio of solutions. The agreement expands Leidos' depth and breadth of existing managed security services offerings, the companies say.

6. Cloud Backup: Rubrik, which positions itself as a cloud data management company, now protects data running in Amazon Web Services and Azure. The milestone comes as Rubrik allegedly prepares to raise more funding at a $1 billion-plus valuation.

5. Azure in the UK: Microsoft continues to make Azure cloud investments in the United Kingdom -- including advancements across big data, data migrations and container services.

4. Office 365 Management: ManageEngine has enhanced O365 Manager Plus, which has evolved into a platform for managing, auditing and reporting Office 365 services. O365 Manager Plus allows IT admins to manage mailboxes, users, groups and licenses in Office 365. We're checking to see if O365 Manager Plus has multi-tenant capabilities for MSPs. Potential rival offerings include Autotask CSP Boss (built on MessageOps), ConnectWise CloudConsole and Kaseya 365 Command.

3. Ingram Cloud Partners: Trying to figure out who's succeeding with cloud services? This list of Ingram Micro 2017 Cloud Partner Award Winners offers some clues.

Rani Johnson
Rani Johnson

2. Talent - SolarWinds: Rani Johnson is now global VP and CIO at SolarWinds, parent of SolarWinds MSP. She reports to CTO Joseph Kim, senior VP and global CTO. She previously led the IT function at companies in both the energy and software industries, most recently as the CIO for the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Continuum CEO Michael George

1. Continuum Growth: Continuum has grown its revenue more than 30 percent over the past three years, and has generated 17 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. The privately held company did not disclose profit figures. Much of Continuum's momentum involves MSPs outsourcing their RMM (remote monitoring and management), BDR (backup and disaster recovery) and NOC (network operations center) services to Continuum. HR investments also have accelerated. The company, led by CEO Michael George, now employs more than 1,400 people – up 23 percent over the past year. Recent arrivals include CFO Geoffrey Willison and VP of Product Fielder Hiss. Related: Continuum Navigate 2017, the company's next major partner summit, is set for October.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.