7 Channel Ops: Cloud Security, Google Mobilegeddon, Alcatel-Lucent

Lorna GareyComcast saw its Time Warner merger deal fall this week, sunk in part by a publicity blitz mounted by six senators, including TV appearances by Minnesota’s Al Franken. The FCC referred the merger to an administrative law judge, a move widely seen as a kiss of death, and Comcast folded. More on the situation here. On the good-news side, congrats to Level 3 for being named to Military Times’ “Best for Vets: Employers” 2015 rankings.

Cloud Security Standards

The non-profit Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) announced this week an open beta for a new SaaS tool, based on the CSA Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR), to assess the security of public and private clouds. It also announced a partnership with (ISC)² to launch a Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification.

The SaaS-based CSA STAR Watch database should help cloud and security solutions providers integrate STAR within their offerings. Channel partners who work with government agencies and security-conscious enterprises may be familiar with CSA STAR; it’s a common RFP requirement for organizations that want a set of standard metrics to assess the security of various cloud providers. The registry is used by the EU to show compliance with security requirements established by the European Security Agency (ENISA), and the CSA is working with Chinese certification body CEPREI to develop a version of CSA STAR for that market.

Solutions providers with customers still unsure of cloud security can recommend CSA STAR as a transparent, widely accepted standard. Comcast and Trend Micro are executive members of the CSA, and the group recently broke the 100-member mark.

If you have employees who could benefit from the CCSP certification, note that applicants must have a minimum of five years of IT experience, three of them in information security and one in cloud computing. Testing will cover six general areas:

  • Architectural concepts & design requirements
  • Cloud data security
  • Cloud platform and infrastructure security
  • Cloud application security
  • Operations
  • Legal and compliance

The exam will be available beginning July 21. Training seminars begin June 8; find more info here.

Infinio Scoops Channel Vet

My colleague Craig Galbraith covered a win by storage acceleration vendor Infinio, which this week announced the appointment of Bob Skelley as VP of its global channel. Skelley was most recently Dell’s executive director of North American channel sales and also worked on EqualLogic’s and Microsoft’s channel programs.

Digging a little deeper, I know what many of you are thinking: “The ink is barely dry on the press release announcing Infinio’s partner program, which just launched in February. Maybe I’ll hang back and see what happens in six months.”

For solutions providers who assume Infinio is looking to be acquired (perhaps by EMC, given that the Infinio Accelerator product eases storage provisioning and management in VMware infrastructures) and are tempted to hold off on signing up, that might not be a smart move. As Channel Partners’ Art Wittmann discusses in depth in a new report, just posted and free with registration, the rise of software has changed the rules of the storage game. Freed of the need to build hardware at volume, startups can be just fine, thanks, beyond their first few rounds of financing. Check out Art’s analysis before deciding that Skelley’s hire is just to make the company a more attractive acquisition target.

Google Strikes Blow For Mobility

Did you or a customer see a sudden dip in website traffic this week? If so, you may be a victim of what social media has dubbed “Google Mobilegeddon.” In a nutshell, a few months ago, Google announced two algorithm changes and warned that as of April 21, it would reward mobile-optimized websites. TechCrunch reported that about half of Fortune 500 companies weren’t ready as of early this month. Presumably, that percentage is higher for smaller firms without teams of Web developers on call.

Hardest hit will be verticals that depend on traffic from smartphones — think retail and hospitality. Solutions providers may want to advise these customers to run Google’s “mobile-friendly” test. If results are grim, don’t despair: Google promises that once a site becomes mobile-friendly, it will automatically re-crawl and index.

Speaking of Google, it’s also rolling out a new Wi-Fi-based wireless phone service this week, called Project Fi, that will let customers to pay only for data used. The program is very limited, for now. It’s by invitation and works only on Nexus 6 devices. However, like Comcast unbundling cable stations, it’s a shot over the status-quo bow of carriers selling data (or stations) in nonnegotiable buckets. Sprint and T-Mobile are providing transit agreements for Fi, a decision that must have caused some angst at the executive levels.

App Eliminates Long Waits

Solutions providers that work with restaurants may want to check out the NoWait family of apps. The company announced this week a deal with Chili’s to power the chain’s new mobile waitlisting app, scheduled to roll out nationwide this summer. The NoWait system enables guests to search for a nearby location, check wait times, add their names to a seating list, then track their place in line. Restaurants can text patrons special offers, like “show this text for $1 off a draft beer,” to ensure people do in fact show up.

For local chains that don’t accept reservations, it’s easy to see how this system could “load balance” between locations and save customers the frustration of driving to a restaurant only to find an unacceptably long wait.

Telstra Extends SDN Platform

Hot in on the heels of completing its acquisition of Pacnet, Telstra this week announced global availability of its PEN Platform software-defined WAN technology. Partners may want to check it out: The system incorporates 25 PoPs across the globe, from Australia to Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom. Telestra bills it as the world’s first globally connected on-demand networking platform. Customers can spec network flows based on bandwidth levels from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps and choose from low, standard or best-effort latency options. Management is via a Web-based portal with API hooks. Renewal options are granular, and using NFV, customers can order network appliances including virtual firewalls and routers.

Sharing Is Getting Less Daring

This week security provider FireEye announced deals with both Check Point and HP and expanded its Fuel partner program with the launch of the FireEye Fuel Cyber Security Coalition. The coalition of almost 40 security and infrastructure vendors, including Big Switch, F5, IBM, MobileIron, Samsung and Splunk, will share insights into current threats, and FireEye partners get access to that intelligence. Specifically, Check Point’s ThreatCloud and Next Generation Threat Prevention solutions and the FireEye NX platform will share data in real-time, while the HP deal, announced Tuesday, extends FireEye and Mandiant incident response, compromise assessment and threat detection offerings to HP Enterprise Services.

All this is in line with recent trends toward more cyber openness; now let’s hope the U.S. senate continues the beat by moving on a bipartisan house bill that would provide legal liability protections to private companies that share threat insights with one another and the government.

Let The UC Run Free

Alcatel-Lucent this week launched Rapport, a software-based open communications and collaboration platform based on a re-architected version of the company’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) software. Services, including voice, text chat and videoconferencing, essentially become functions available to any application, website or connected object via open APIs and simple SDKs.

Rapport is available in enterprise or service provider versions. For enterprises it’s meant to be deployed on a private cloud by channel partners. Service providers, including managed cloud providers, can use Rapport to quickly provision VoLTE/mobile, fixed and Wi-Fi services using any NFV platform, including Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand. Communication services follow people, rather than devices, and can be embedded into objects, applications and websites — read: IoT and wearables.

Next week I’ll be at Cisco’s Partner Summit in Montreal. If you’re attending, drop a line. If you can’t make it, check back to Channel Partners for updates on announcements.

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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