Good evening, channel partners. We usually start the day with this blog. But we're a bit late amid business travel. So without further delay, here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to sip on for Wednesday, August 3, 2016.

Actually, there are 13 entries for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to sip on. Take a look…

14. Passportal Funding?: Rumor has it Passportal, the password management platform for MSPs, has just completed seed round funding. Actually, it's more than a rumor. We got the details during ChannelCon 2016. We'll share more info about the company's growth and priorities soon, care of CEO Colin Knox and President Dan Wensley.

13. Cloud Audit: Datapipe has successfully passed a SOC 2 audit for the ongoing management of its global footprint of hybrid solutions, including its Amazon Web Services environments. Out of the originally selected AWS Premier Partners, Datapipe claims that it is the only AWS MSP with global hybrid capabilities to earn SOC 2 compliance.

12. Cloud Cost Management Tools: Infosys invested $4 million in Cloudyn, which specializes in cloud cost management tools. Hot market, especially as MSPs and CSPs seek to help customers manage cloud costs...

11. Consulting Win on AWS: CloudHesive, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, has won a deal with City Furniture -- South Florida's leading furniture company -- to provide security managed services, support and expertise.

10. Microsoft Azure Cloud Management:  KEMP Technologies has unveiled KEMP360 Central, which is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The platform helps organizations to "simplify and streamline application delivery management in Microsoft Azure."

9. Deloitte Acquires MSSP: Deloitte has acquired Vancouver, Canada-based Integrity-Paahi Solutions (IPS). The deal will give Deloitte a fourth manage security operations center.

8. Intel Security Partners: Both CompuCom and Avecto have updated their platforms with Intel Security integrations. On a somewhat related note, Allot also recently revealed a new endpoint security collaboration with Intel. Among the details to note:

  • CompuCom expanded its Managed Security Services (MSS) through the release of its upgraded Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) services.
  • Avecto has integrated its Defendpoint endpoint security software with McAfee Threat Intelligence Exchange (TIE) via the McAfee Data Exchange Layer (DXL).

The moves come at a key time for Intel and its security partners. In recent weeks, rumors have circulated that Intel may sell off its security business, and private equity firms in particular seem to be interested in the business. Still, the CompuCom, Avecto and Allot relationships show that Intel Security hasn't been distracted by the industry speculation.

7. Hardware as a Service: Ingram Micro has made it official, launching a device-as-a-service subscription offering for U.S. channel partners. The new “Rent IT vs Buy IT” program launches in September. The program will likely deliver up to a 20 percent cost savings over a two-year term, with options for extended terms, Ingram claims. At the end of the term, I believe end-customers do not own the hardware -- which means partners can likely inspire customers to continually refresh their hardware. For details, partners can email Ingram: [email protected].

Side note: Ingram plans to work with the major PC suppliers on the device-as-a-service offering. But don't forget that players like Microsoft and HP Inc. are already working on similar HaaS plans, and financial firms like GreatAmerica have moved more toward Hardware as a Rental.

6. Datto Heads North: Datto, the business continuity specialist, has opened a data center in Calgary to serve its growing base of Canadian MSPs. The new Calgary site complements the company's Toronto data center. The move comes only a few weeks (er, days?) after Datto opened a data center in Singapore as part of a business acceleration push in Asia.

Verdict: For its rich feature set and excellent pricing, we make this our Best Buy this month.

5. Network Assessment Tools: Gotta admit. I didn't realize that thousands of MSPs leverage RapidFireTools for network, security and HIPAA assessments. I grabbed some time with VP of Sales Mark Winter during ChannelCon 2016. He rattled off a range of high-profile adopters. But he also got interrupted quite a few times as partner MSPs stopped by to say hello...

4. Citrix Acquiring DaaS Provider?: Rumor has it Citrix Systems may acquire a Citrix-friendly Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) provider... but let's just keep it in the rumor category for now...

3. Pivotal Partner Program: Pivotal, part of the EMC Federation of businesses, has launched the Pivotal Ready Partner Program. The effort spans more than 25 inaugural partners -- including Accenture, Altoros, Cognizant, ECS Team, INSYS Group, and L&T, among others. The company also is working closely with New Relic, an application performance management (APM) leader that assists Pivotal Cloud Foundry customers, among others.

2. VMware Engages Smaller Businesses: VMware has launched AirWatch Express, a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) solution that helps small businesses to manage WiFi, applications, email, encryption and device security. The big question: Are their partner perks for selling this new offering? Hmmm...

1. Thank You: To the CompTIA team for hosting ChannelCon 2016, another great gathering of VARs, MSPs and IT service providers.

More: Read all of our daily 5 Channel Partner UpdatesPlusSubscribe to our daily enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.