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5 Channel Ops: Verizon Launches NFV Services, Sungard AS’s AWS Recovery, Security Roundup

Lorna GareyVerizon Enterprise Solutions announced this week a menu of new Virtual Network Services to provide WAN optimization, SD-WAN and security in an as-a-service model. Verizon says the offerings will enable networks to quickly morph to add new locations and users, boost bandwidth and provide a variety of security functions.

Analysts agree that the network functions virtualization market is set to explode, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent — from $2.7 billion to $15.5 billion by 2020.

“The way in which network services are delivered is going through an unprecedented shift — the biggest we’ve seen since the broad adoption of MPLS,” said Shawn Hakl, vice president of networking and innovation at Verizon, in a statement. “Today the network is transitioning to a virtualized model using similar technology that drove the disruption in the data-center market. With our new solution set, enterprises will be able to balance agility, performance, cost and security necessitated by the growth of mobile-to-cloud applications and the Internet of Things.”

Verizon will offer the services in three models: universal CPE, cloud-based virtual CPE services (available this fall) and hybrid services where premises- and cloud-based deployment models are mixed and matched to meet customers’ business and technical requirements.

Sungard AS Expands Cloud-Based Recovery On AWS

Sungard Availability Services announced this week Sungard AS Cloud-Based Recovery for Amazon Web Services. The service, now available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Western Europe, provides automated recovery of virtual workloads on the AWS cloud. The solution includes replication and automated recovery of protected workloads and is sold by partners as a fully managed service. Customers pay a predictable monthly fee. Charges for recovery compute on AWS are incurred only when they run tests or experience a disaster.

SLAs include recovery-time objectives of as little as two hours, and there’s no lower limit to the amount of data under protection, so the offering is suitable for smaller customers. Partners can bundle in encryption of data while in transit. By default, Sungard AS replicates and stores data in an encrypted, compressed, de-duplicated state. There’s also an option for workloads to be virtualized into a private cloud. The service supports database replication and uses AT&T NetBond for customer connectivity.

Azure Cloud Giveth, and It Taketh Away

Microsoft this week announced Azure Security Center, which offers visibility into how well-protected customers’ Azure resources are and helps IT or partners better control cloud security policies and configurations and detect and respond to attacks. The service comes in two tiers: free, with limited functionality, and standard, which runs $15 per node per month.

In a blog, Sarah Fender, principal program manager for Azure Cybersecurity, said Azure Security Center detects more than 140,000 threats per month and has already generated more than 500,000 recommendations. It also makes it easier to use Azure-native controls as well as solutions from technology partners including Check Point, F5, Fortinet and Trend Micro, with Cisco and Qualys coming soon. Among new features are log integration, better ability to monitor Linux VMs and email notifications when a new high-severity alert is detected.

Less welcome was news out of WPC that Microsoft will delay general release of Azure Stack until “mid-CY2017” (it was expected by year’s end) and that it will sell only through Dell, HPE and Lenovo. Commenters on a blog by Mike Neil, Microsoft’s corporate VP, enterprise cloud, are … less than enthusiastic.

Azure Stack is Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform. It will eventually provide a common, standardized architecture and OS images, apps and services that can run in either on-premises or Azure public clouds with common automation and management APIs.

PLUS: Check out Microsoft’s new Bookings Office 365 service, which lets customers schedule appointments on a dedicated web page. Besides partners themselves, the system is ideal for salons, services companies like plumbers or electricians — any business that could use automated email confirmations and reminders for customers and staff and self-service rescheduling and cancellation capabilities. It works with Outlook and Google calendar. The service is now available only to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers, but it will be extended to Business Premium subscribers in coming months.

F5 Networks Makes Some Noise

Hot on the heels of some product launches, F5 Networks this week announced strong earnings and a new CMO. John McAdam, F5’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the company’s expanding footprint in public and private clouds has contributed to sales growth of its security products particularly.

“I believe the scope and timing of these product introductions will enable our customers and partners to meet the challenges and leverage the opportunities posed by hybrid architectures spanning public and private clouds, as well as more traditional on-premise data centers,” said McAdam.

Ben Gibson joins as CMO and EVP. Gibson previously held product and channel marketing roles at Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems, Meru and Veritas. Product announcements in the past few weeks include:

  • DDoS Hybrid Defender, aimed at addressing the rather alarming rise in DDoS attacks. The product uses behavioral analysis and machine learning to identify attacks and provides cloud-based scrubbing of malicious traffic.  
  • A new web application firewall delivered as a preconfigured virtual service within the Azure Security Center and powered by F5’s BIG-IP Application Security Manager and Local Traffic Manager technologies.
  • A standalone SSL appliance, due later this quarter, that offers centralized management of encryption/decryption, traffic steering and load balancing as well as improved insight into SSL traffic.

F5’s major distributor partners are Avnet, Ingram Micro and Westcon.

Security Roundup

If you support customers’ mobility programs, take note.

First, the next iteration of Android, version 7, code-named Nougat and due later this summer, is strictly enforcing verified boot on Nexus devices off the bat. Presumably Samsung, HTC and carriers will follow suit eventually. You can read more about what that means here. Short version, the verified boot process uses integrity checks to detect if changes have been made to the operating system. That could be because a user rooted the device, some software is buggy, or it could be that an attacker has gotten in. There are pros and cons — there will be some percentage of non-owned phones that won’t boot — so have a recommendation ready.

Remember Stagefright, which targeted Android? Tyler Bohan, a member of Cisco’s Talos team, has identified a similar exploit that affects iPhones and iPads as well as Macs.

“This vulnerability is especially concerning as it can be triggered in any application that makes use of the Apple Image I/O API when rendering tiled TIFF images,” writes Bohan. “This means that an attacker could deliver a payload that successfully exploits this vulnerability using a wide range of potential attack vectors including iMessages, malicious web pages, MMS messages, or other malicious file attachments opened by any application that makes use of the Apple Image I/O API for rendering these types of files.” And, the attacker does not need action by end users.

File under “better news,” channel-focused security provider Fidelis Cybersecurity this week launched a new threat intelligence database and some free tools to help stop attacks and prevent data theft. The Barncat Threat Intelligence Database provides access to more than 100,000 records with configuration settings extracted from remote access tool (RAT … get it, Barncat) malware samples gathered by Fidelis over the past decade. Barncat is available free, but you must request access and meet specific criteria. The company also announced a free ThreatScanner command-line tool that searches for malware on endpoints and Fidelis CCNumberFinder, which can search for credit card numbers on a file system. Very handy to run before a customer’s PCI audit.  

Bits & Bytes

New research from Influence Central says social media is “the most powerful tool available to marketers today.” The company, which helps customers including eBay, Kohls and 3M manage their social profiles, asked 400 women about their shopping habits. Most, 81 percent, said they frequently buy items they’ve seen shared on social media (guilty). In comparison, just 1.9 percent say seeing a TV ad impacts their decision to purchase a product. More digital buying means more need for a rock-solid web presence, and that’s an opportunity for partners, as we discuss in this free report. The survey also asked about use of smartphones while shopping — and confirms that IoT and beacons are hot opportunities.

Finally, congratulations to Fuze on being named a 2016 hot vendor for unified communications and collaboration by Aragon Research. Please join Alex DiNunzio, Fuze’s director of product, at our session on Millennial-Approved Mobile Moneymakers at Channel Partners Evolution. We’ll discuss digital services and, more importantly, strategies that your customers need to attract Generation Mobile.

UC&C is only getting more critical as the nature of work changes. In fact, a new survey that caught my eye this week says a majority of U.S. workers (59 percent) think the traditional 9-to-5 job is a thing of the past. Interestingly, a higher proportion of workers over 45 say that, versus 42 percent of workers aged 18 to 24. Among 3,244 full-time (and amusingly, non-government) employees ages 18 and over, 45 percent in the poll say they complete work outside of office hours, and 49 percent check or answer emails when they leave work. Hopefully not on hacked iPhones.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know, either in comments or direct. Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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