Fortanix, Snowflake Team Up; Thirdera Buys Appoxio

Other news in our cloud computing roundup covers Equinix’s new research and VMware’s new achievement.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

September 22, 2021

9 Min Read
Cloud Agreement

Cloud-based data just got more secure, thanks to a new partnership between Fortanix and Snowflake. Also, ServiceNow channel partner Thirdera is showing peers how to grow and support end users’ digital transformation efforts. Meanwhile, Equinix has new stats showing that cloud adoption continues to soar, even though many an IT pro harbors security concerns. Finally, VMware has achieved a significant threshold with the federal government. Get the full scoop in our latest cloud computing news roundup.

Fortanix, Snowflake Join Forces

Fortanix and Snowflake are teaming up. The two companies on Wednesday launched a new partnership to make Fortanix’s Data Security Manager SaaS available to Snowflake customers.

Fortanix specializes in data protection, while Snowflake focuses on data storage and processing. The agreement between Fortanix and Snowflake gives users the ability to protect data via tokens; that’s regardless of whether it lives inside or outside of Snowflake’s platforms. For example, joint customers may secure their most private data (think Social Security numbers, for example) before Snowflake processes it. This eliminates the need to deploy and manage a separate security product, Fortanix said.

At the same time, Fortanix’s DSM SaaS solution supports hybrid clouds, including those spread across multiple sites. It features built-in encryption, key management and support for a variety of interfaces. Moreover, channel partners (or their customers) can set up accesses in Fortanix’s new Snowflake Wizard.

“As more and more apps and services migrate to the cloud, it only makes sense that data security should as well,” said Ambuj Kumar, CEO and co-founder at Fortanix. “Tokenization has traditionally been a solution only larger enterprises could afford due to high implementation costs and ongoing licensing. Offering the capability as a service with Fortanix DSM SaaS helps customers manage costs, get faster value and expand their cloud capabilities.”

Scott Hoard, area vice president of Americas channels at Fortanix, told Channel Futures that organizations tend to struggle with the cost, complexity and operational demands of their existing data security infrastructure.


Fortanix’s Scott Hoard

“Legacy standalone point solutions were never designed for cloud-first environments and DevOps application lifecycles,” he said.

Fortanix aims to change that, all while ensuring airtight protections.

“DSM SaaS provides the highest level of security, often exceeding what organizations have implemented in their own environment,” Hoard said. “Services run on FIPS 140-2 Level 3-certified Fortanix FX2200 appliances that act as both an HSM and an application server. The FX 2200 doesn’t just provider a hardware root of trust; it uses Intel Software Guard Extension technology to provide complete cryptographic separation between DSM SaaS users. At no time do Fortanix DSM SaaS administrators have access to keys or data processed by customers in their DSM SaaS account. Customers can also continue to use keys from legacy HSMs using the unique HSM Gateway capability.”

Moreover, Hoard said Fortanix channel partners will benefit.

“In Snowflake’s most recent earnings call, CEO Frank Slootman highlighted the two fastest growing verticals: financial services at 100% and …

… health care at 200%,” he said. “This maps nicely with the two major verticals that Fortanix and its channel partners target. Regulation will drive the conversation for format-preserving encryption of data lakes, which will create a very attractive opportunity for Fortanix channel partners.

Clients do not need extra hardware or perpetual licenses to take advantage of the new partnership between Fortanix and Snowflake.

Fortanix is a Snowflake Select Technology partner.

Snowflake did not respond to a request for comment.

Even thought Fortanix has worked with the channel for years, it just launched its first-ever partner program in April, with Hoard at the helm.

Thirdera Snaps Up Appoxio, Launches New Business Unit

Pure-play ServiceNow channel partner Thirdera has acquired Appoxio.

Appoxio, based in Canada, specializes in UX/UI design for ServiceNow. It is a ServiceNow premier partner.


Thirdera’s Jason Wojahn

“We believe this acquisition and integration sets a new partner standard in the ServiceNow ecosystem,” Thirdera CEO Jason Wojahn told Channel Futures. “Partners must continue to focus on helping and improving their customer’s ability to achieve more value with ServiceNow. When the user experience is intuitive, efficient and human-centered, it drives better engagement and that improves value delivered.”

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

Appoxio was founded in 2018 by Frank Schuster, a former ServiceNow employee. As a result of the deal, Thirdera is launching a new business unit — Thirdera Digital, or 3D. Thirdera will retain Appoxio’s Calgary headquarters and 40 employees. Schuster will become senior vice president of 3D and report to Wojahn.

“3D will break new ground in user experience design by focusing on the synthesis between humans and technology,” Wojahn said. “This synthesis is the foundation of the modern digital enterprise and drives significant return on investment by providing experiences that are more intuitive and efficient, and increase adoption, engagement and ultimately satisfaction. With ServiceNow as the hub, 3D will help clients reimagine, elevate and connect people and ideas.”

Above all, 3D’s technology will scale with users and every major ServiceNow release, so they won’t have to maintain additional code or software.


Appoxio’s Frank Schuster

“Behind every great ServiceNow user experience is a great workflow and technology platform,” said Schuster. “Appoxio will help Thirdera pioneer better connections of people, functions and systems across the enterprise using our digital skills and design expertise. We couldn’t be more excited to join the Thirdera team.”

Wojahn said the Thirdera-Appoxio combination reflects how channel partners can grow to better serve their customers.

“Businesses and the people who work for them should feel a parity in the way technology supports the way they live and work; improving experience and driving engagement are foundational pillars for achieving this alignment,” Wojahn said. “This is the new world of work, one driven by experience, workflows, processes and value for clients, and serves as a catalyst for innovation. To this end, the role of technology partners must evolve to help clients reimagine, elevate and connect ideas between talent and technology.”

Movin’ On Up to the Cloud — With Hesitation

More companies plan to move business-critical applications to the cloud, despite cybersecurity concerns. That’s according to new research commissioned by colocation firm Equinix.

Respondents said they need to remain competitive and cater to …

… increased user demands. As a result, 37% of those professionals said they intend to adopt more cloud computing over the coming year. That marks an increase from 15% in the previous survey, Equinix said in its 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey.

Now, almost half (47%) of respondents’ global infrastructure lives in the cloud. That’s despite the fact that many of the 2,600 IT decision-makers still harbor security concerns. As channel partners know, cyberattacks have soared throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud technologies are not immune — in fact, they can place users at greater risk compared to on-premise platforms. But most organizations require the agility and scalability the cloud provides; as a result, they have to pay extra attention to security measures. This should mean enlisting the help of their channel partners.

Further findings of note from Equinix’s Global Tech Trends Survey include:

  • Eighty percent of IT decision-makers said digitizing their IT infrastructure is a top priority, with 76% working to improve user experience.

  • Almost half (48%) of respondents said they believe the threat of data leaks and cyberattacks as a result of cloud migration to be one of the biggest threats globally.

  • Eighty-one percent of digital leaders said they are prioritizing improving their organization’s cybersecurity. That’s a significant increase from the 70% who said this in the 2019-20 edition of the survey.


Equinix’s Michael Montoya

“Digital transformation is essential for business survival,” said Michael Montoya, chief information security officer at Equinix. “Every company is becoming a software company and the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation. … Moving to the cloud is at the heart of this transformation. However, as our GTTS shows, many digital leaders remain nervous about this migration, with IT decision-makers highlighting fears around increased data leaks and security breaches.

VMware Cloud on AWSGovCloud Gets the Go-Ahead

Finally, VMware said that week that its cloud platform on AWSGovCloud now has top authorization.

VMware Cloud on AWSGovCloud has achieved FedRAMP Agency Authority to Operate at the High Impact Level. That means U.S. public-sector agencies may migrate – and modernize – their VMware vSphere workloads with VMware Cloud and AWS GovCloud US. Furthermore, VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud supports public sector use cases, including application and cloud migration and modernization. It also supports data center extension, disaster recovery as a service and virtual desktop infrastructure.

FedRAMP is a mandatory U.S. government-wide program that provides a standardized approach and baseline requirements for security assessment, authorization and monitoring of cloud products. VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud has proven its adherence to stringent performance, security and compliance standards. That’s a boon for VMware and AWS channel partners helping government agencies undergo digital transformation.


AWS’ Sandy Carter

“As part of our commitment to deliver technologies that help our customers operate more efficiently, we are pleased VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud achieved the FedRAMP High authorization, which will give agencies a simplified path to move their highly sensitive workloads to the cloud,” said Sandy Carter, vice president of partners and programs at AWS. “U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies from law enforcement and emergency services to financial and health care systems can now confidently leverage the best of VMware and AWS to more securely run their mission critical applications across private, public and hybrid cloud environments to take full advantage of the cloud’s agility and cost savings.”

AWS is VMware’s preferred public cloud collaborator for vSphere-based workloads, while VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud is the preferred AWS public cloud service for vSphere-based workloads. VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud is jointly engineered and sold by VMware and AWS.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, 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.

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