6 Channel Ops: AT&T Inks IoT Deals, Verizon and CenturyLink Up MSSP Games

How far would you go to protest a state law that you saw as harmful?

Lorna Garey

February 26, 2016

8 Min Read
6 Channel Ops: AT&T Inks IoT Deals, Verizon and CenturyLink Up MSSP Games

Lorna GareyHave you heard of Georgia-based telecom provider 373K? They’re in the news this week for a deal to adopt Internap’s bare-metal IaaS and route-optimized connectivity offerings. 373K interconnects with most Tier 1 carriers and sells wholesale services to mobile over-the-top app suppliers and MVNOs, as well as independent telephone and cable companies.

It’s also in the news for taking a stand after Georgia lawmakers passed HB 757, seen as sweeping anti-gay legislation, the New Civil Rights Movement reports.

After the state senate vote, 373K tweeted: “We are very saddened by the Georgia Senate which passed #HB757 also known as #FADA. It’s time to relocate.”

This week, after AT&T, Coca-Cola and Porsche also spoke out, Georgia’s governor said the bill is “still evolving.”

It’s one thing for a mega company like Salesforce to go on the offensive against laws they see as discriminatory — Marc Benioff took on Indiana last year, saying his company would end business travel to the state and provide relocation help for employees. It’s another for a smaller firm to threaten to move its headquarters and publically call out Georgia-based mega companies, like Coca-Cola.

What’s your take? Would you speak up this vocally, or even relocate, if your state passed a law that you saw as harmful to employees? Tell me in the comments.

2112 Group: Solution Providers Plan to Beat The Street

Despite headwinds from Wall Street, the energy sector and global instability, solutions providers are extraordinarily bullish about their businesses, with more than 90 percent believing their 2016 sales and revenue will increase at least 6 percent over the previous year. That’s the top-level finding of The 2112 Group’s 2016 Channel Forecast, released this week.

Irrational exuberance? Not according to Larry Walsh, founder, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, who says he expects some moderation but a strong market for most providers. Walsh says respondents see high demand for core technologies, notably security, backup, and cloud, as well as unified communications, converged infrastructure and software-defined networks. They’re also banking on managed and professional services, which will likely be in higher demand as it becomes more difficult for customers to find and afford technical talent.

One possible problem is that managed services equals shifting to a monthly revenue stream — a wholly new sales model for some partners. Walsh will lead a panel discussion on how to dodge barriers to MRR success, including margin pressure as cloud prices creep up and rising costs for payment processing, at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Now, about those managed services …

CenturyLink, Verizon Enhance Managed Security Services Portfolios

CenturyLink and Verizon both announced this week updates to their managed security suites. They’re following the current trend of pre-integrated, complete security portfolios that partners can resell while handing off complex monitoring and threat intelligence functions. Cisco is also a big believer in this approach. While many customers will still need point products, the CenturyLink and Verizon platforms are fairly complete with the addition of the new services. 

CenturyLink announced this week that it’s added five new modules to its Managed Security Services Suite, which is available through channel partners as a standalone offering or as an add-on for customers consuming CenturyLink’s hosting, networking and colocation services.  

The system features a Web-based security portal where partners can access at-a-glance threat profiles, incident tracking, ticket creation and resolution reporting. The newly integrated services include: 

  • Security log monitoring: A comprehensive log correlation and monitoring service staffed 24X7 by GAIC-certified security analysts

  • Trending & data analysis: A data analysis engine adds historical insights to log data and enables comprehensive reporting, helping customers understand their threat profiles.

  • Incident management and response: An expert response team is available 24×7 to vet incidents and respond quickly to possible attacks.

  • Managed protection services: An automated device monitoring and management service that includes next-generation firewall services

  • Vulnerability & risk monitoring: A proactive scanning service that discovers and prioritizes possible threats so that they can be addressed before they affect the business

The suite may also help customers adhere to compliance requirements.

Meanwhile, Verizon added Splunk’s well-regarded predictive threat detection and other Splunk Enterprise Security solutions to its flagship Managed Security Services platform. This deal is all about the data — Verizon has deep insight into one of the largest global IP networks; it processes more than 1 million security events daily. Splunk’s software will help make sense of it all.

Additions to the Verizon Managed Security Services platform include:

  • Automated incident response and security operations center functions

  • Analytics-driven security that the carrier says will offer more accurate detection capabilities than legacy SIEMs

  • Shared or dedicated models: Customers can choose from shared or dedicated infrastructure.

Verizon promises better threat intelligence and enhanced ability to monitor and protect many different types of devices, including Internet of Things-connected devices.

Verizon is also using Splunk software in its own security operations center.

PLUS: If you manage mobility programs, take note: Well-known AV vendor Avast Software purchased 20 used Android smartphones – five devices each in New York, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin – and used freely available recovery software to snoop out data that was left on the devices. Each shop owner assured Avast’s undercover buyer that the phones had been factory reset and that all data had been wiped.

You can guess where this is going: In two cases, the previous owners’ Gmail account log-ins were still active. The company also retrieved more than 2,000 personal photos, emails, text messages and invoices — and one video containing adult content (we didn’t ask, TMI). There’s no excuse for data being left on a discarded device. The company offers a free Avast Anti-Theft app for Android devices, downloadable from Google Play. You can use the “thorough wipe” feature to permanently delete and overwrite all files, making personal data irretrievable.

Plexxi Provides Backbone For Global MSP

Converged networking and software-defined data center infrastructure vendor Plexxi announced this week that managed services provider Perseus will use its technology to expand into 11 new Asian markets and offer low-latency point-to-point and multipoint Ethernet across the globe.

Perseus will use Plexxi’s software-defined switches to create an intercontinental backbone that will be managed by Plexxi Control software, with application orchestration through Plexxi Connect. Plexxi says the Perseus backbone will be the world’s biggest non-captive SDN network, spanning over 75,000 miles. Maybe your or your customers’ needs aren’t quite so expansive, but the Plexxi Marketplace Partner program offers lots of ways for solutions providers to get into the SDN market.

“As a global managed service provider, our customers expect us to push the boundaries of technology innovation to continually improve the resiliency and agility that they depend on,” said Andrew Kusminsky, chief operating officer and chief strategy officer at Perseus, in a statement. “In Plexxi, we found a solution that helped us to rapidly expand globally while allowing us to scale for future growth and quickly pivot based on our customers’ needs.”

AT&T Inks IoT Dev Deals With Cisco, Intel, Microsoft

IoT is a big focus at next month’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo, and AT&T is looking to address what has traditionally been weak area for partners — application development. Given that IoT solutions are about software just as much as sensors and connectivity, AT&T is integrating the AT&T IoT Services with Cisco, Intel and Microsoft technologies. That means developer tools, like AT&T Flow Designer and AT&T M2X, now work with Cisco’s Fog agent, Fog apps and Fog analytics; the Intel IoT Developer Kit; and Microsoft’s cloud, analytics and visualization tools.

Moreover, developers that connect their devices through the AT&T Global SIM and AT&T Control Center will be able to store their data in the Azure cloud.

Chris Penrose, senior VP, IoT for AT&T Business Solutions, says there are more than 10,000 developers building solutions on AT&T’s IoT Services platform. Advances from the AT&T Foundry for IoT innovation range from smart trash cans to intelligent lampposts, and the company has doubled the number of connected devices on its network in the past four years, from 13 million to more than 26 million.

Partners looking to learn more can grab the AT&T IoT Insights Report here, and join us in Vegas, where Aglaia Kong, Cisco’s CTO/VP for IoT Vertical Solutions, will join a panel to offer guidance for partners looking to develop IoT practices.

2016 Mobile World Congress Wrap-up

If you weren’t able to jet to Barcelona for this week’s MWC, no worries. Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan was there and is offering a free briefing that promises “a 360-degree view of highlights from the global telecommunications event of the year” from emerging telecoms director Ronald Gruia.

The call is scheduled for Wed., March 2, at 11 a.m. EST; you can register here.

MWC drew close to 100,000 attendees, a new record, with more than 2,000 exhibitors. Gruia says key themes included:

  • Next-generation 4.5G and 5G wireless networks

  • Development of SDN and NFV architectures

  • IoT vendors collaborating on standards and demonstrating consumer and industrial use cases

The webinar will also touch on new smartphones and chips and efforts by the GSMA, operators and Google to speed up adoption of Rich Communication Services.

LOGICnow Acquires iScan

MSP-focused ITSM provider LOGICnow announced today that it has acquired iScan Online and will use the iScan technology to offer a LOGICnow MAX Risk Intelligence solution.

The idea is to translate risk exposure into dollars and cents in a way that makes sense to business executives.

iScan estimates that 87 percent of desktops and servers contain unprotected personally identifiable information. For example, say a customer stores employees’ social security and driver’s license numbers and date-of-birth records. With MAX Risk Intelligence, MSPs can find this data on the network, calculate the likelihood of a breach and assign a dollar cost — which is likely to be eye-opening. The solution also helps with regulatory compliance requirements, including HIPAA, PCI DSS and FINRA. 

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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