IT Nation Connect 2019 Vendor Highlights

There were several big announcements from the channel vendor community at this year’s show.

True to its long-running history, there were several big announcements this year at IT Nation Connect 2019, including ConnectWise’s acquisitions of Continuum and ITBoost, along with a strategic partnership with Webinfinity and its financial backing of a new security organization, TSP-ITSAO.

XaaS Journal spoke with several vendors at this year’s event, and many of them had big announcements to share, too. Here are the highlights:

Value-added distributor D&H made several announcements over the past few months, including:

I caught up with Jason Bystrak, Vice President of the Cloud Business Unit at D&H and asked him about how these announcements tie into the company’s overall strategy. “We’re seeing other vendors and distributors focusing on the midmarket and enterprise spaces, but we want to help MSPs focused on the SMB market,” he says. “Microsoft is taking a cloud-first approach to technology and every vendor is moving to the as-a-service model. For solution providers to be successful, they need to bundle cloud solutions, such as backup, endpoint security, voice, collaboration. We have partnerships, programs and a new cloud platform that makes it easier for our partners to purchase, provision and manage cloud solutions. What’s unique is that we have APIs that allow our partners to create custom service offerings that they can white-label with their logos and integrate with Autotask or ConnectWise.”

Another vendor I met with at IT Nation was IT Glue, which has more than 7,500 IT companies using its product and has been integrated with ConnectWise since 2015. I spoke with Nadir Merchant, IT Glue’s General Manager, about his company’s latest product announcement:

One of the top new features is Office Cloud Editor, which enables live online editing of Microsoft Office documents directly within IT Glue, which was made possible by IT Glue becoming a Microsoft Cloud Storage Partner. “Before this new feature, users had to download Microsoft documents and spreadsheets to their desktops, make edits and updates and upload the files back to IT Glue. The new feature eliminates these extra steps, and it’s available for all IT Glue Enterprise partners.”

Another critical product announcement is password rotation. This security-enriching feature is powered through the company’s integration with Quickpass. “It not only increases security by keeping passwords fresh, but it also saves IT techs from manually updating Active Directory passwords individually,” says Merchant.

Short on IT Talent? Consider Outsourcing

One of the biggest challenges technology solutions providers (TSPs) face is hiring and retaining employees. There are companies solution providers can partner with to outsource some of their staffing needs, but there may be concerns regarding how well the outsourced provider will reflect the TSP’s core values and standards. Talent as a Service Provider IT By Design has a solution to the outsourced IT talent dilemma. The company employs more than 6,000 IT specialists, and it puts each employee through a rigorous 60-day training program covering topics such as RMM, PSA and workflows before assigning them to an MSP. “We provide dedicated, MSP-trained remote engineers who will become an extension of your team,” says Kam Attwal-Kaila, President, IT By Design. “You get to pick the engineer you want, and the engineer will be dedicated to your MSP company five days a week, eight hours a day. Each engineer is trained to work within your toolsets, have your email ID, your phone, and they will report directly to your service manager. You’ll set their schedule. They are an extension of your business. If you’re not happy with your selection, you can easily change out your resource, and we offer clients a 30-day money-back guarantee.”

Give Your Security Staff an AI Boost

Cybersecurity is a hot topic right now and end users aren’t the only ones feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand. SKOUT CYBERSECURITY offers MSPs a unique solution to their security challenges. SKOUT provides a cloud-native data analytics platform that provides cybersecurity solutions for SMBs, delivered by MSPs. SKOUT’s technology architecture works regardless of where customer data resides, allowing MSPs to secure organizations of all sizes without the need for additional personnel. The company’s experienced team of highly trained analysts work with customers to understand the evolving cyber threat landscape and to assess and provide guidance on cyberthreat response procedures. “We use AI in our orchestrated blocking technology,” says Jessvin Thomas, President and CTO of SKOUT. “The automated blocking feature is in alpha testing and currently slated for release in Q1. Instead of manually configuring a firewall or opening a ticket, the user can press the “block” button and our platform will automatically create a ticket, describe what it did and implement a change policy. Through features like this and other automation built into the platform, network security costs and complexity are reduced and compliance and regulatory requirements are simplified.”

SMBs Need More than Click-to-Call VoIP Features

There are lots of hosted VoIP options to choose from, and bVoIP President and CEO George Bardissi says he used or evaluated the vast majority of them before starting bVoIP. “Most of the VoIP companies I evaluated focused on large enterprises or consumers, not MSPs,” says Bardissi. One of the ways bVoIP is different from other VoIP offerings is our integrations with CRM, ERP and PSA platforms. “Every VoIP provider has click-to-dial, but we took things to another level. When a bVoIP customer answers a call from a customer, the system pulls up the customer’s information in their CRM system so they can see the latest interactions with the customer and provide better service,” he says. “Additionally, if the rep needs to transfer the call, the next person to pick up sees the most important conversation points from the first call, so they don’t need to ask the customer to repeat their story.”

Another bVoIP differentiator is the way it’s priced. “We offer packages based on the number of concurrent calls, not the number of endpoints or users,” says Bardissi. “On average, for every four users, there’s only one active call, so this model becomes a much less expensive option than the per-user model.”

Your Customers’ Cloud Apps Need Protected, Too

Backup and security provider Barracuda unveiled a new Cloud Application Protection (CAP) platform to address the escalating application security threats faced by today’s organizations. Barracuda CAP provides web application security, including a new WAF-as-a-Service solution that is built on Microsoft Azure and available in the Azure Marketplace.

Applications in the cloud and on-premises need to be secured, yet only 10% are currently protected by web application firewalls, according to research from Gartner. This is primarily due to the complexity and resources required to manage web application firewalls.

As part of the Barracuda CAP platform, it includes application vulnerability scanning and remediation, advanced bot protection, DDoS protection, and API security.

One Portal for MSP Management of Office 365 Backup, Sync and Share and BCDR

Since David Bennett took the helm at Axcient in February of this year, one of his primary directives has been to make the company’s core products simpler to sell and manage. In addition to switching to a fixed pricing model for cloud storage, the company unveiled X360 at IT Nation.  “The Axcient X360 platform enables our MSP partners to use all of our products in one place with a common experience,” he says.

The platform provides the following new benefits for MSPs:

  • One experience to manage MSP backup services
  • Three backup services: Office 365 backup, protected sync and share, and BCDR
  • Unlimited storage and retention
  • Simplified pricing and SKUs
  • Supporting services, including billing, support, training and certification, co-branded collateral, campaigns and MDF
  • Single sign-on for all services.

Another Nerdio Partnership

Cloud solution distributor Pax8 made several announcements over the past few months, including a new partnership with Azure management provider Nerdio. Through the agreement, Pax8 will offer Nerdio for Azure (NFA) and its three service plan offerings: Core, Professional, or Enterprise, helping to increase seamless cloud adoption and enabling MSPs to leverage Azure for any size project. “There are huge opportunities for MSPs to sell Azure services, but with over 6,000 SKUs to choose from, it can be overwhelming to quote, price and implement these services,” says Ryan Walsh, Chief Channel Officer at Pax8. “Nerdio simplifies the cloud buying journey.”