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GDPR requirements: Channel should educate U.S. customers

GDPR will go into effect in May 2018, yet many U.S. organizations are only now understanding how the regulation may apply to them; other news from the week.

With the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation a year away, channel partners have an opportunity to help U.S. organizations prepare for compliance.

Slated to go in effect in May 2018, GDPR will impact U.S. companies that have EU and U.K. presences. Under GDPR requirements, companies will have to report breaches of citizens' private information within three days -- a much shorter time period than is currently required by any U.S. state. For large companies, regulatory violations can result in fines of up to 4% of the company's entire worldwide revenue or 20 million euros, whichever is greater. Small companies, while they get some relief, are still fined.

 "This is creating ... consternation that some of the U.S. multinational [companies] are now realizing that they are exposed and don't want to be facing these fines," said Gary Southwell, general manager of Ethernet products at CSPi, a network and IT security company based in Lowell, Mass.

In addition to its EU clients, CSPi is working on GDPR compliance with several U.S. companies that have presences in the EU, Southwell said. He couldn't disclose the names of the U.S. clients but said they range from finance and retail to manufacturing industries. "When you have a presence over there, you tend to be collecting a fair amount of EU residents' information," he noted.

Southwell said most U.S. companies are in the early stages of GDPR compliance and that customer education on GDPR requirements is strongly needed. "Suddenly now that we're ... a year away and a lot more press is coming out about [GDPR], U.S. businesses are saying, 'Am I exposed?'"

For channel partners, he said educating customers on GDPR can spark effective discussions. "We're finding that this is a great way for our partners to go back [to their customers] and have a great conversation," he said. "If you come and educate around this issue, you become more of a strategic partner to these customers. Then you have an opportunity to help them solve this particular problem."

He also noted that the return on investment for meeting GDPR requirements is strong because not only do partners help customers solve this regulatory problem, they help customers reduce their exposure to breaches.

"Now is the time to go talk to [U.S.] companies, because you can provide a lot of the valuable education and information they need to get rolling," Southwell said. "Otherwise, they could be exposed."

ClearSky Data unwraps new partner program

ClearSky Data launched a partner program for its technology, managed service provider (MSP) and reseller channel partners. The company, which provides cloud-based primary storage combined with offsite backup and disaster recovery as a service, said it has signed more than a dozen partners. The ClearSky Data Partner Acceleration Program includes such companies as Cloudian and Docker in the technology partner category, Congruity360 and Molnii High Performance Cloud in the MSP category, and Alliance Technology and Daymark Solutions in the reseller category.

Courtney Pallotta, vice president of marketing at ClearSky Data, said the company originally focused on direct sales, a typical strategy for early stage companies. She said the company has gained traction with partners in the technology, MSP and reseller areas and decided to formalize its channel efforts.

Pallotta called partnering a "significant go-to-market" approach for the company and said the goal is to recruit additional partners, particularly those looking to deliver hybrid cloud offerings.

Other news

Here's a look at more highlights from the week:

  • In an open letter to Brocade data center networking customers and partners, Extreme addressed its strategy for transitioning Brocade partners into its channel community. According to Norman Rice, executive vice president of Extreme's global marketing, supply chain and corporate development, Extreme will look to continue supporting the benefits of the current Brocade Partner Program for an unspecified period of time. He added Extreme will provide a reseller helpline to help partners through the acquisition. Further developments, including a unified partner program, will be revealed at Extreme's global partner conference in October, he said. Extreme announced its agreement to purchase Brocade switches and routers and network automation and analytics in March for $55 million in cash, not long after revealing the vendor's agreement to buy Avaya's networking business for $100 million.
  • Rapid7 Inc., a company that provides analytics offerings for security and IT operations, unveiled its next-generation partner program. Rapid7 PACT, which stands for Partnering with Accountability, Consistency and Transparency, boosts enablement resources for delivering Rapid7's technology and professional services, according to the vendor. Partners can access virtual training and certification programs, interactive reporting and analytics, and success metrics, among other benefits.
  • Marketing automation vendor Marketo unveiled Marketo Accelerate, a marketing technology accelerator program. Targeting select emerging marketing technology companies, the program is designed to combine applications with Marketo's Engagement Platform to help enterprises bolster buyer relationships.
  • CompTIA, a nonprofit technology association, launched a new member community aimed at increasing workforce diversity in the technology industry. The Advancing Diversity in Technology Community offers support for companies to create inclusive work environments.
  • CloudVelox, a cloud automation and orchestration software company, inked a U.S. distribution deal with Ingram Micro. Under the agreement, Ingram Micro will offer CloudVelox One Hybrid Cloud software, which aims to speed up the migration of legacy workloads to the public cloud.
  • In other distribution news, cloud distributor Pax8 said it will offer Symantec VIP, a cloud-based authentication service.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Next Steps

Gary Southwell offers GDPR compliance tips

Microsoft to help cloud customers with GDPR compliance

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Dig Deeper on Regulatory Compliance

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