AWS-Salesforce partnership offers integration potential

The alliance is poised to generate new customer use cases that span AWS services and Salesforce clouds, according to cloud services firm AllCloud; other IT channel news.

AWS and Salesforce have tightened their years-long partnership, which could make it easier for partners to create cross-platform offerings for their customers.

Under the expanded relationship, which began in 2016 as a $400 million alliance, developers can connect Salesforce data and workflows natively into custom applications running on the AWS platform. Conversely, developers can more easily integrate AWS data and workflows into Salesforce applications, according to the companies. In addition, new low-code tools aim to speed the creation of applications residing on Salesforce and AWS services.

In a statement, Salesforce said consulting partners and ISVs will benefit from the expanded partnership. The unification of Salesforce and AWS platforms removes "complexities that previously came along with custom integration work that our consulting partners needed to manage," the company said.

Partners can also take advantage of improved ways to incorporate AWS' voice, video and AI services natively inside Salesforce when they build on Salesforce's industry clouds. "We've already spoken with partners who are thinking about how they will combine their AWS and Salesforce practices to more intentionally create new industry blueprints for our joint technology," the company said.

Additionally, the no-code tools enable consultants to "focus on more impactful and transformational work, and spend less time making the Salesforce and AWS platforms work together for customers," Salesforce added.

The expanded partnership also creates opportunities for Salesforce's ISV ecosystems. "We are exploring ways to make the Salesforce AppExchange and AWS Marketplace a bigger part of this unified strategy," Salesforce said.

Eran GilEran Gil

The companies' moves clear the path for organizations that want to deploy AWS services and Salesforce clouds, according to Eran Gil, CEO at AllCloud, a cloud professional services company. AllCloud operates dedicated AWS and Salesforce practices.

"Their relationship is far more than just AWS being one of the hyperscalers Salesforce is using to deploy worldwide," Gil said. "In this case, they started talking about data securely flowing between the two services. For us, it is the beginning of the Holy Grail."

The alliance could facilitate use cases in which AWS machine learning would detect patterns in ingested Salesforce data and provide actionable insights for a sales or services organization, Gil said. The data, for example, could indicate whether one sales prospect is more likely than another to become an opportunity that closes within a certain timeframe, he added.

AllCloud has accelerators under development that will bring AWS and Salesforce together "in a more holistic solution between those organizations." The accelerators, which will address call centers among other use cases, are not yet commercially available.

The arrival of low-code tools, meanwhile, will let AllCloud more quickly build such accelerators, Gil said.

ConnectWise opens Cybersecurity Research Unit

ConnectWise launched a Cybersecurity Research Unit (CRU), which will focus on threats to SMBs.

The CRU, which debuted this week at IT Nation Secure conference, aims to research new SMB vulnerabilities and communicate its findings. The group's cyber intelligence-gathering focuses on what ConnectWise views as an underrepresented market.

"There are a lot of threat intelligence groups out there," said Wes Spencer, external CSO at ConnectWise and CISO at Perch Security, a threat detection and response company ConnectWise acquired in 2020. "Most of these really large intelligence units only focus on the Fortune 500 and large organizations."

That big-company orientation leaves out a vast swathe of organizations, including MSPs and their small and midsize clients, Spencer noted. Threats such as ransomware, however, have come down-market, he said.

Perch had been providing security intelligence to SMBs on an ad hoc basis, Spencer said. "ConnectWise gave us the capability, scale and resources to formalize this together," he noted. "We want to be that central nervous system of what's happening in the threat landscape around partners."

The CRU offers a free threat feed via Github.

HPE sees cloud-to-edge future

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) stated its case as an edge-to-cloud company at its Discover conference this week, held virtually.

At the event, HPE CEO Antonio Neri discussed the "age of insight," which will create opportunities for companies to help customers deal with staggering volumes of data. Neri pointed to his company's edge-to-cloud offerings, exemplified by GreenLake technology, as critical for getting the most out of data.

Also at Discover, HPE extended the GreenLake platform to support Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and Microsoft SQL Server for on-premises deployments. Additionally, the company unveiled a zero-trust offering, Project Aurora, which will launch later this year.

Channel partners have been adjusting to GreenLake's consumption-based pricing model, which calls for consultative selling.

SMB security remains a chief concern

Small and medium-size businesses continue to view cybersecurity as a top priority, according to Vanson Bourne's third annual study of SMB security, commissioned by ConnectWise.

The study, which collected data from 700 SMB IT and business decision-makers between March and April, compared many of its findings with the second annual report published last July.

Key findings included the following:

  • More SMBs said they suffered cybersecurity attacks. In the 2021 report, 32% of SMB respondents said they were attacked during the last 12 months, while 25% said the same in the 2020 study. The average cost of a cyber attack was $104,296 in 2021, the report said.
  • Many SMBs juggle cybersecurity with other competing business concerns. Compared with the 2020 report, fewer companies ranked cybersecurity among their top three priorities. Forty-four percent of respondents cited cybersecurity as a top-three priority in 2021, down from 49% in 2020.
  • SMB decision-makers noted that remote work continues to pose risks. Just 35% of respondents said their organization is well protected from breaches involving remote devices and employees.
  • SMBs increasingly believe their cybersecurity needs aren't being addressed in conversations with their IT services providers. In 2020, only 13% of organizations said they have regular communication about cybersecurity with their providers. In 2021, that number dropped to 7%, according to the report.
  • SMBs lack in-house cybersecurity skills. Sixty-one percent of organizations said they are short on internal security skills in 2021, an uptick from 52% in 2020.

As SMBs return employees to the office or use hybrid workforces, cybersecurity will remain emphasized, noted Jay Ryerse, CISSP and vice president of cybersecurity initiatives at ConnectWise. Many organizations will need to figure out how to secure employees who split their time between working at the office and from home. "I think [security] will become more relevant, because they are going to think about it more broadly," he said.

M&A update

  • Core BTS, an IT consulting firm and MSP, acquired Aptera Software, a software development company focused on the Microsoft technology stack. Aptera, based in Fort Wayne, will help Core BTS meet the growing demand for application modernization on Microsoft Azure, according to Core BTS. The deal follows several acquisitions in the Microsoft partner ecosystem for the company. In February, Core BTS purchased Skyline Technologies, which specializes in Microsoft cloud consulting, and in 2020, acquired Blue Chip Consulting Group, which offers Microsoft cloud consulting and managed services. In 2019, Core BTS acquired SADA's Microsoft Business Unit.
  • OSF Digital, a digital transformation services provider based in Quebec City, made its third Salesforce partner acquisition in June, purchasing Paladin Group, based in Carlsbad, Calif. Paladin Group's Salesforce practice has capabilities in Salesforce Experience Cloud, Service Cloud, Einstein, Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Pardot and Commerce Cloud. OSF Digital's other June buys are Werise and Relation1, Salesforce consultancies located in Brazil and Canada, respectively.
  • Pondurance, a managed detection and response services provider based in Indianapolis, acquired Bearing Cybersecurity, an advisory and assessment services provider. Pondurance said it will integrate the Rockwall, Texas, company's MyCyberScorecard cloud platform into its advisory and managed services portfolio. Pondurance partners with MSPs and resellers.
  • Upstack, a web platform that sells cloud services through cloud sales agents, made its second acquisition in June, purchasing PacTech Partners, a network and communications consulting firm. The company acquired Cloudwirx Inc. earlier this month.

Partner roster update

  • Pax8, a cloud distributor based in Denver, will offer MSPs access to the Nerdio Manager for MSP platform. The platform aims to help MSPs build Azure Virtual Desktop practices. Microsoft in June rebranded Windows Virtual Desktop as Azure Virtual Desktop.
  • Netreo, an IT infrastructure and application performance management company based in Huntington Beach, Calif., partnered with Silxo, a systems integrator that provides digital and business transformation services. Silxo, based in London, specializes in highly regulated industries.
  • Unisys Corp. retained its designation in the AWS MSP Partner program for the fourth year running. Unisys also has an AWS Government Competency.
  • Magia Solutions, an Oracle systems integrator in Australia, will partner with Knoa Software, which provides employee user experience analytics for Oracle Cloud. The alliance will offer software and services to organizations in Australia and New Zealand, focusing on cloud migration, help desk efficiencies, user productivity and Oracle Cloud adoption, according to the companies.

Partner program launches and updates

  • N-able, an MSP software company based in Durham, N.C., launched a program for the top 1% of its MSP partners. The N-able MSP Super Elite partner program consists of about 200 partners worldwide. The vendor will select Super Elite partners annually based on companies' overall size and service model, number of IT devices under management with N-able, and technician utilization rates, among other criteria.
  • Redstor, a data management company headquartered in Reading, U.K., will provide partners with company-level analytics and Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace dashboards. The new features provide an overview of protected data as well as information on the number of accounts and users, backup and restore status in the last 24 hours, and threat alerts. Redstor works with MSPs and other channel partners.
  • Druva, a cloud data protection and management company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., expanded its Druva Compass Partner Program, adding an MSP program.

Other news

  • Accenture invested in Symmetry Systems, a San Francisco company that provides data store and object-level security offerings. The investment makes Symmetry Systems part of Accenture Ventures' Project Spotlight, which links emerging technology software startups with Global 2000 companies with the goal of filling strategic innovation gaps.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic sparked modernization efforts, according to a report from Advanced, a mainframe modernization solutions provider. Seventy-eight percent of the enterprises surveyed said they started at least one modernization program as a result of the pandemic, the company's 2021 Mainframe Modernization Business Barometer Report noted. In addition, 60% of enterprises accelerated their cloud transitions due to COVID-19. The report is based on a survey of 400 IT managers, including CIOs, at organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue.
  • D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., launched an Education Community that will focus on the K-12 and higher education markets. The group, which consists of about 60 solution providers at launch, will address "the ongoing demands of learn-from-home and on-campus environments," D&H said. The Education Community will meet quarterly.
  • GT Software, a digital transformation and IT modernization company based in Atlanta, relaunched as Adaptigent.
  • Orange Business Services, a digital services firm based in Paris, will provide IoT connectivity for De Jong Duke's connected coffee machines. De Jong Duke's ConnectMe platform lets customers remotely manage and monitor coffee machines located in offices and coffee shops.

Executive appointments

  • Matrix Integration, an IT solutions and managed services provider based in Jasper, Ind., promoted Abby Stallings to the newly created position of vice president of people and culture.
  • Critical Manufacturing, a manufacturing execution system provider, appointed Jonathan Karmaou as director of business transformation. Karmaou will create a consulting practice focusing on digital transformation and enterprise implementation strategies.
  • Jon Hunt and Daria Rosen have joined Nectar Strategic Consulting's leadership team in senior consulting roles. Hunt will serve as director of client services, while Rosen will serve as senior manager of client services. Nectar Strategic Consulting is part of Pixel Health, based in Holyoke, Mass.
  • Kimble Applications, a professional services automation vendor, named John Breul as vice president of alliances. Breul, who formerly worked for FinancialForce and Workday, will focus on relationships with Salesforce, ISVs and global system integrators. Kimble Applications was founded in London and has U.S. headquarters in Boston.

Additional reporting by Spencer Smith.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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