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CenturyLink, Microsoft, Google, Cisco Kick Off the Week with Cloud News

There’s a lot happening this week thanks to the RSA Conference and the popularity of cloud in general.

Kelly Teal

February 24, 2020

5 Min Read
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Cloud news leaped out of the gates on Monday as a number of companies made announcements independently and as part of the RSA Conference taking place this week. We’ve rounded up some of the channel-centric cloud pieces and compiled them in this short roundup.

As businesses move workloads to the edge and use more than one other cloud, they must optimize performance. To that end, CenturyLink, a Microsoft gold partner, has joined the Networking Managed Service Provider Program for Microsoft Azure.

CenturyLink now is authorized to provide network and consultation services around Azure services to help enterprises more easily connect and build cloud solutions.

“This expanded relationship with Microsoft, combined with our network strength, data center footprint and cloud managed services experience positions CenturyLink well to help our partners with their Azure cloud and networking needs,” Garrett Gee, senior vice president, indirect sales at CenturyLink, told Channel Futures.

Last year, the carrier and Microsoft made a deal for CenturyLink to provide high-performance connectivity to Azure locations.

“Azure customers can now look to CenturyLink to build cloud solutions with high performance, and predictable networking and security,” said Ross Ortega, partner program manager, Microsoft Azure Networking.

Microsoft Moving Into Mexico

There’s more news on the Microsoft cloud front. Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella held a press conference with the president of Mexico to announce a $1.1 billion investment in that country.

A big part of the so-called “Innovate for Mexico” initiative comes in the form of a new data center region for Azure. Once that’s completed within the next five years, businesses and organizations in Mexico will be able to buy Azure, Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform services, and they may opt to keep data in-country, the company said.

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Microsoft’s Enrique Perezyera

“There is only one future, and it will be digital,” Enrique Perezyera, general manager, Microsoft Mexico, said. “Mexico is well positioned to harness the power of new technologies, and by jointly working with Microsoft, the country will make this future a reality.”

“Innovate for Mexico” aims to contribute to Mexico’s development, not just through data centers but also through education and skills development. For Azure partners, though, the data center news is likely most applicable — at least for now. As more people undergo Microsoft training, managed service providers, VARs and other partners looking to operate or expand in Mexico will have a larger talent pool from which to draw.

The addition of data centers in Mexico means Microsoft Azure will operate 57 cloud regions in 22 countries.

Microsoft stands out as the first of the big three public cloud providers to really focus on the Mexico market.

Google Cloud Releases More Chronicle-Enabled Security Features

Google Cloud Platform on Monday unveiled additional security features made possible by its 2019 Chronicle acquisition.

First, GCP has updated Chronicle’s security analytics platform so users may detect threats using the new YARA-L rules language.

“This advanced threat detection provides hugely scalable, real-time and retroactive rule execution,” Sunil Potti, vice president, Google Cloud Security, wrote in a Feb. 24 blog.

And second, GCP debuted Chronicle’s data fusion capability, which allows deeper security insights including automatically linking multiple events into one timeline. Palo Alto Networks is the first partner to integrate this new data structure, doing so with its new Cortex XSOAR platform that adds threat management to security orchestration, automation and response.

“Cortex XSOAR offers automated enrichment, response and case management to enterprise-wide threats,” said Rishi Bhargava, vice president, product strategy at Palo Alto Networks. “The integration with Chronicle’s new detection capabilities and event timelines, across months or years of data, enhances that response and enables comprehensive threat management for our mutual customers.”

Chronicle launched its security analytics platform last year to …

… help businesses investigate alerts and threats.

Cisco Seeks to Remove Cloud Security Gaps With New Platform

Along similar lines, Cisco on Monday also threw its cloud security hat into the ring.

The infrastructure company is showcasing SecureX, an analytics and workflow automation platform that provides visibility across an organization’s security portfolio. SecureX works across Cisco and third-party vendors, Cisco said, analyzing data across endpoints, cloud, network and applications.

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Cisco’s Gee Rittenhouse

This is important because the industry “has been flooded with thousands of point products that were meant to help customers but instead created unmanageable environments with products that don’t work together,” said Gee Rittenhouse with Cisco’s Security Business Group.

“This has created gaps in businesses’ security posture,” Rittenhouse added. “In addition to bad actors, complexity has become another risk that security teams have to overcome. Cisco SecureX is a fundamental shift in the customer’s security experience by removing the complexity and providing one unified view on the state of … security services and alerts.”

Enterprise Strategy Group’s Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst and fellow, says an integrated platform such as SecureX comes at an imperative time.

“Nearly one-third – 31% – of organizations base cybersecurity monitoring and protection on more than 50 different security products,” he said.

SecureX and similar solutions “have the potential to address these economic, technical and resource challenges by providing more comprehensive threat detection, automated incident response, and ease-of-operations capabilities,” he said.

Cisco has scheduled SecureX general availability for June.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC. Follow her on LinkedIn at /kellyteal/.

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