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Cloud, Security and Containers Should be Key Focus for the Channel

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Written by Kinda Baydoun, Manager of Channels & Distribution – Middle East, Veeam Software

There is a clear wave of optimism as I interact with our partners, as most agree that this year is shaping up to be a year of not just recovery but of acceleration and innovation. During our recent Middle East ProPartner Summit in Dubai, we saw signs of healthy IT budgets and more focus on investing and adding more skills to their workforce to adapt quickly to key IT trends.

There are three key trends that I believe will shape the Enterprise IT landscape this year and beyond. They consist of three distinct pillars: Cloud, Security and Containers. Businesses need to have a good understanding of what cloud brings to an organization and why it is important. Secondly, before the pandemic, we had a centralized office where employees were all in one place. With decentralization now, the boundaries of the organization have become invisible. Data is all over, necessitating a need for a comprehensive security strategy to safeguard all entry points.

Modern Data Protection and management technologies will be a number one priority for CIOs and IT managers to combat the increasing incidence of cyberattacks, including ransomware that has huge negative ramifications for organizations. And finally, we see an increased interest in Kubernetes as a critical piece of an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure. This has created a new area around container-native data protection that needs addressing.

The adoption of remote work and e-commerce had been already growing at a fast pace in the last few years. The Covid pandemic lockdown restrictions worldwide ended up highly accelerating their adoption. These trends created expectations that “a new normal” will include hybrid work environments and continued e-commerce growth. The IT Channel industry will continue to play a major role in supporting customers from different segments manage this “new normal” by providing the technology and all related consultancy and professional services.

Cloud adoption continues to be one of the key trends, as partners are racing to having their operations “cloud-ready” to capture the high potential of this market. The adoption of cloud is accelerating in the Middle East, fuelled by the pandemic, government spending on smart cities and public sector projects, and the availability of an expanding range of data centre and managed services options to support enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. With the acceleration of cloud adoption which is supporting Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)-managed environments, ransomware becomes one of the major threats to any organization’s data security.

The Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022 shows that 86% of UAE organizations and 84% of Saudi organizations suffered ransomware attacks, making cyber-attacks one of the single biggest causes of downtime for the second consecutive year. Channel partners across the Middle East need to take cognizance of this trend and its critical impact on their customer’s digital transformation agenda. This is a big opportunity for partners to align with best-of-breed vendors in the Modern Data Protection space as well as build skills around a wide range of security solutions in order to help customers tackle security challenges in the new era of a hybrid workplace.

Besides Cloud, Security and Containers, I also believe that the channel should keep a close eye on AI technologies. AI is already transforming numerous industries for the better. Fields as varied as healthcare, education and public safety are leveraging artificial intelligence to automate some processes and optimize others, allowing humans to spend more time on their most meaningful work and less time managing rote tasks.

In the near future we will see AI and automation capable of filling positions in other hard-hit sectors like the finance, healthcare, legal and software industries. AI is also poised to transform data management. In this space, true innovation isn’t just about capturing more data—it’s about having it always available, responding to it and separating the signal from the noise in order to improve processes and drive better business decisions.

In order to grab a piece of the ‘AI pie’, channel partners need to align with vendors that have a strong value proposition and technologies with established use cases that meet the specific needs of regional enterprises. A challenge that continues to plague the channel is the incidence of limited skills in the market which can be attributed to the actual lack of manpower. Most resellers have one or two technical resources that are certified on 3 or 4 different technologies.

This puts a strain on resources and compromises the level of service that the resellers can offer as they may not have sufficient bandwidth. Channel partners can develop talent within their teams by investing in their vendor partner’s training and certification programmes. It’s very important for vendors/ distributors and resellers to be in constant dialogue so that vendors/ distributors can understand the skills gap and run regular training programmes to plug that gap. It is important to create a training/ certification calendar and give resellers advance notice so that they can plan their work schedules accordingly so as to be able to attend these programmes.

Finally, it is important for channel partners to streamline their go-to-market strategies ensuring they are simple yet effective, evaluate their client base and properly account plan/map their clients to understand their existing wallet share and then plan to grow this. It is also important to ensure that their business plan is adaptable to the current market trends which are changing quarter by quarter.   There are channel partners that maintain a business model which served them well five years ago, but they have not adapted to the current challenges/ opportunities.

Channel Talk

CPX Holding and Spire Solutions to Collaborate in Improving Organisations’ Cyber Maturity

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CPX Holding, a UAE-based leading provider of digital-first cybersecurity solutions and services, and Spire Solutions, a leading cybersecurity solution provider and value-added distributor in the Middle East and Africa, have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in assisting organizations along their digital transformation journeys. The memorandum was signed at an event in Abu Dhabi attended by Khaled Al Melhi, CEO of CPX; Sanjeev Walia, Founder and President of Spire Solutions; and other senior members of both companies.

The memorandum comes at a time when cyber-attacks in the region are both increasing in frequency and becoming more costly for organizations. In parallel, 45% of organizations recently surveyed by IDC in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region said they are now embedding security into the planning, initiation, and assessment phases of all new business initiatives.

In this environment, CPX and Spire Solutions will review the next wave of technologies that can accelerate organizations’ digital transformation journeys. This will include pioneering new strategies that governments and enterprises can use to protect their business-critical assets while contributing to best practices across the region. Such efforts will ultimately help organizations unlock business value and drive growth with peace of mind.

Khaled Al Melhi, CEO of CPX, said, “As governments and businesses race to maintain their competitive advantage by adopting new technologies, they are also being exposed to more sophisticated cyber threats. Together with our strategic partners, we must look to augmenting security policies with always-on protection to instill trust for our clients but also for the wider cybersecurity ecosystem.”

Sanjeev Walia, Founder and President of Spire Solutions noted, “The UAE’s National Cybersecurity Strategy (NCSS) envisions the creation of a safe and resilient cyber infrastructure that enables citizens to fulfill their aspirations and empowers businesses to thrive. We are honored to partner with CPX, a leading enabler of achieving this national vision, by offering our resources in the field of cybersecurity strategies and frameworks, introducing solutions from leading technology partners, and helping build capacity.”

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Channel Talk

Kaspersky Upgrades its Partner Program for MSPs

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Kaspersky United partner program now offers a revised rebate system, extended training courses, and more rewards for managed service providers (MSPs). The rebates become more transparent and predictable and cover more Kaspersky products and services. Training updates include new courses for MSPs, sales and technical specialists, and 10 new authorized training centers across the globe.

MSPs now also receive higher rebates and simpler status progression from registered to platinum. The innovations come in alignment with Kaspersky’s channel strategy for enhanced partner education and support, a strong focus on enterprise products and on MSPs.

The pandemic and post-pandemic period stimulated channel sales growth and increased customer demands for cloud, security, and managed services. A global MSP survey confirmed that four out of five (81%) service providers reported an increase in their client base since 2019. With new tasks and increasing competitiveness in the market, vendor support can become that crucial element that partners need for their business.

In this context, Kaspersky continues to deliver important improvements to its partner program. Within the current update, monetary benefits are more aligned with the reseller’s own goals. Monetary rewards become available for more products, services, and premium support included in the Kaspersky price list. This allows IT providers to earn more through selling a wide range of offerings. Partners can also earn rebates starting from Silver status and receive a progressive rate while moving to the next Gold and Platinum levels.

The rate also depends on which solution the sold product belongs to the initial reward is for Kaspersky Security Foundations, it increases for Kaspersky Optimum Security and reaches the maximum at Kaspersky Expert Security solution. The program also allows for a single sales target. A partner can be more flexible in its priorities and sell any mix of products – they all are accounted for in one target.

Updates in education help IT providers become savvier in the Kaspersky portfolio and its new products, deploy and provide high-profile customer support. They include the revamped onboarding program for MSPs that simplifies status acquisition, as well as new profound product courses including Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response, and Kaspersky Secure Remote Workspace.

For pre-sales and tech support experts, Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity and Kaspersky EDR Optimum technical courses with hands-on labs are now available within authorized training centers. The number of such centers for specialized technical education also increases globally, with two new already opened in the Middle East and Africa and a few more to be opened in APAC, Europe, Latin America, and Africa by the end of 2022.

Kaspersky United also empowers managed service providers with an increase in rebate rates for products included in the MSP program. These are such offerings as, for example, Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response, Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response service, Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity, and many more.

To help MSPs advance through from registered to silver, gold, and platinum status faster and get more privileges with each level, Kaspersky introduced 5x multiplier for MSP subscription sales. It means that a partner’s sales of subscriptions multiply five times allowing them to reach the target for the next status.

“With this update, we were keen to make the scheme of monetary benefits as simple as possible: a partner sells something according to their priorities – we count it. Rewards should encourage existing partners to expand their sales focus and look more towards the enterprise market, including products from the Optimum and Expert Security portfolios. The benefits are also very attractive to new partners, as well as to MSPs in alignment with our strategic channel development priorities. We continue investing heavily in our channel and rely on our partners for Kaspersky’s business development,” comments Ivan Tolok, Head of Channel at Kaspersky.

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Channel Talk

ColorTokens Announces Partnership with FVC

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ColorTokens has announced that it has partnered with FVC, a market-leading provider of tangible solutions across essential areas of enterprise computing: unified communications, unified collaboration, audio-visual, infrastructure, and information security in the Middle East. The partnership between FVC and ColorTokens offers comprehensive Zero Trust cybersecurity solutions, leveraging ColorTokens’ Xtended ZeroTrust Platform, which includes Xshield for Workload Visibility and MicrosegmentationXprotect for Endpoint and Host Protection, and Xassure for Zero Trust as a Service. The partnership helps security teams proactively protect endpoints, and contain and respond to zero-day attacks while seamlessly integrating with existing security tools.

And will also help organizations in the region achieve the strongest security for their data and be compliant with the national laws on data residency. Through its award-winning solutions, ColorTokens simplifies, accelerates, and automates security operations to defend against attacks on data centers, hybrid models, cloud-based applications, dynamic applications, endpoints, individual users, devices, and more. The ColorTokens Xtended ZeroTrust Platform provides real-time visualization and segmentation across the entire IT infrastructure, ensuring business resiliency to cyber threats across hybrid networks and edge while enabling operational flexibility.

“Enterprises are adopting multi-cloud strategies, with an increased focus on dynamic microservices driven by the rapid digitalization to build modern businesses. Zero Trust is a significant departure from a traditional security mindset that can prevent sophisticated attacks that don’t stop at the point of breach, they move laterally across networks to reach targeted data and assets,” said Nader Baghdadi, Senior Regional Director, ColorTokens. “We are thrilled to be joining forces with FVC, their extensive technology capabilities and market expertise combined with our cutting-edge solutions can enable us to successfully empower organizations in their Zero Trust journeys.”

“ColorTokens has a fantastic Zero Trust Platform. The industry’s only integrated Micro-segmentation and ZTNA platform enable today’s modern enterprises with instant workload visibility and automated and dynamic policy enforcement. It is an excellent security solution that divides a network into isolated segments so businesses can visualize, monitor, and control traffic. We take pride in its addition to our product portfolio,” said Prakash Krishnamurthy, Chief Sales Officer, FVC

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