These are the week's top stories.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

January 22, 2021

3 Min Read
AT&T cuts

The last week of news included partner awards, a new channel program and a bankruptcy update.

An SD-WAN provider followed up a year of growth by formalizing its channel program. A UCaaS vendor gave awards to high-performing individuals from its channel partner community. And a large telecommunications company advanced its bankruptcy restructuring plan.

We also covered a fascinating security study, which revealed the most effective phishing email headlines.

Take a look at these seven stories before you start your weekend.

7. Agent Channel Update: Masters Close Acquisition-Crazy, Growth-Filled 2020

Master agents saw their fair share of M&A as last quarter came to a close.

At the end of each quarter, we recap the biggest news pertaining to master agents. It included supplier partnerships, hiring, virtual summits and new tools.

Check out the gallery.

6. FCC Approves Frontier’s Chapter 11 Restructuring, But Union Blasts It

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union isn’t buying Frontier‘s recently approved plan.

Frontier’s restructuring plan will help it trim some $10 billion and emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2011. But the CWA voiced concerns that elements of the plan will decrease the quality of service that Frontier provides the public.

Edward Gately has the scoop.

5. CallTower’s Partner of the Year Awards Honor CNSG, C3, More

The UCaaS provider gave awards to several of its sales partners.

The awards focused on individuals who excelled in 2020. Meridian Network Services founder Stacey Dupree, for example, took home one of the six awards.

See who won awards.

4. Versa Networks Launches Channel Partner Program After ‘Record’ 2020

The SD-WAN and SASE provider formalized its channel program for the first time.

The program caters to VARs, MSPs, SIs and solution providers, including QOS Networks. The partner organization is offering expanded training, as well as new opportunities for partners to get technological and sales certifications. Moreover, earning specializations can earn them new financial incentives.

Get details on the program.

3. Partner Awards Honor Best in Channel: AppSmart, 8×8, Intelisys, More

We explored the companies that performed at a high level in 2020.

Our list varies from vendors like T-Mobile, which dominated a major wireless study, to partners like World Wide Technology, which earned big kudos from Palo Alto Networks. We also saw an agent channel pioneer earn a lifetime achievement award.

Read our recap of all the recent partner awards.

2. Big Spike in Work-From-Home Phishing Email

“Password check required immediately”

“Touch base on meeting next week”

“Vacation policy update”

These were the top three email headlines that threat actors used to phish their victims, according to KnowBe4. The company unveiled its fourth-quarter 2020 top-clicked phishing report. Researchers observed that email topics pertaining to corporate policy changes drew the attention of employees.

Read about the KnowBe4 study.

1. Latest M&A: AppSmart, Fortinet, Cisco, RingCentral

Consolidation ramped up in the last two months of 2020.

Normally, our bimonthly M&A recaps pale in size to our other recaps. But this time, we fit a whopping 11 stories into the gallery, and that meant excluding several stories. We’ve clearly reached a point where more companies know if they possess the capital required to be buyers.

Check out our M&A gallery.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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