The top 10 cybersecurity companies to watch in 2019 – and the key trends to explore

Today’s threatscape has made “trust but verify” obsolete 

The threatscape every business operates in today is proving the old model of “trust but verify” obsolete and in need of a complete overhaul. To compete and grow in the increasingly complex and lethal threatscape of today, businesses need more adaptive, contextually intelligent security solutions based on the Zero Trust Security framework.

Zero Trust takes a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach to privileged access, from inside or outside the network. John Kindervag was the first to see how urgent the need was for enterprises to change their approach to cybersecurity, so he created the Zero Trust Security framework in 2010 while at Forrester. Chase Cunningham, Principal Analyst at Forrester, is a mentor to many worldwide wanting to expand their knowledge of Zero Trust and frequently speaks and writes on the topic. If you are interested in cybersecurity in general and Zero Trust specifically, be sure to follow his blog.

AI and machine learning applied to cybersecurity’s most significant challenges is creating a proliferation of commercially successful, innovative platforms. The size and scale of deals in cybersecurity continue to accelerate with BlackBerry’s acquisition of Cylance for $1.4B in cash closing in February of this year being the largest. TD Ameritrade’s annual survey of registered investment advisors (RIA) showed nearly a 6X jump in cybersecurity investments this year compared to 2018.

The top ten cybersecurity companies reflect the speed and scale of innovation happening today that are driving the highest levels of investment this industry has ever seen. The following are the top ten cybersecurity companies to watch in 2019:

Absolute (ABT.TO) 

One of the world’s leading commercial enterprise security solutions, serving as the industry benchmark for endpoint resilience, visibility, and control. The company enables more than 12,000 customers with self-healing endpoint security, always-connected visibility into their devices, data, users, and applications whether endpoints are on or off the network, and the ultimate level of control and confidence required for the modern enterprise. Embedded in over one billion endpoint devices, Absolute delivers intelligence and real-time remediation capabilities that equip enterprises to stop data breaches at the source.

To thwart attackers, organisations continue to layer on security controls — Gartner estimates that more than $124B will be spent on security in 2019 aloneAbsolute’s 2019 Endpoint Security Trends Report finds that much of that spend is in vain, however, revealing that 70% of all breaches still originate on the endpoint. The problem is complexity at the endpoint – it causes security agents to fail invariably, reliably, and predictably.

Absolute’s research found that 42% of all endpoints are unprotected at any given time, and 100% of endpoint security tools eventually fail. As a result, IT leaders see a negative ROI on their security spend. What makes Absolute one of the top 10 security companies to watch in 2019 is their purpose-driven design to mitigate this universal law of security decay.

Enterprises rely on Absolute to cut through the complexity to identify failures, model control options, and refocus security intent. Rather than perpetuating organisations’ false sense of security, Absolute enables uncompromised endpoint persistence, builds resilience and delivers the intelligence needed to ensure security agents, applications, and controls continue functioning and deliver value as intended. Absolute has proven very effective in validating safeguards, fortifying endpoints, and stopping data security compliance failures. The following is an example of the Absolute platform at work:

BlackBerry Artifical Intelligence and Predictive Security

BlackBerry is noteworthy for how quickly it is reinventing itself into an enterprise-ready cybersecurity company independent of the Cylance acquisition. Paying $1.4 billion in cash for Cylance brings much-needed AI and machine learning expertise to their platform portfolio, an acquisition that BlackBerry is moving quickly to integrate into their product and service strategies.

BlackBerry Cylance uses AI and machine learning to protect the entire attack surface of an enterprise with automated threat prevention, detection, and response capabilities. Cylance is also the first company to apply artificial intelligence, algorithmic science, and machine learning to cyber security and improve the way companies, governments, and end users proactively solve the world’s most challenging security problems.

Using a breakthrough mathematical process, BlackBerry Cylance quickly and accurately identifies what is safe and what is a threat, not just what is in a blacklist or whitelist. By coupling sophisticated math and machine learning with a unique understanding of a hacker’s mentality, BlackBerry Cylance provides the technology and services to be truly predictive and preventive against advanced threats.

The following screen from CylancePROTECT provides an executive summary of CylancePROTECT usage, from the number of zones and devices to the percentage of devices covered by auto-quarantine and memory protection, threat events, memory violations, agent versions, and offline days for devices.


Centrify is redefining the legacy approach to Privileged Access Management by delivering cloud-ready Zero Trust Privilege to secure modern enterprise attack surfaces. Centrify Zero Trust Privilege helps customers grant least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

Industry research firm Gartner predicted Privileged Access Management (PAM) to be the second-fastest growing segment for information security and risk management spending worldwide in 2019 in their recent Forecast Analysis: Information Security and Risk Management, Worldwide, 3Q18 Update (client access required). By implementing least privilege access, Centrify minimises the attack surface, improves audit and compliance visibility, and reduces risk, complexity, and costs for the modern, hybrid enterprise.

Over half of the Fortune 100, the world’s largest financial institutions, intelligence agencies, and critical infrastructure companies, all trust Centrify to stop the leading cause of breaches – privileged credential abuse. PAM was also named a Top 10 security project for 2019 in Gartner’s Top 10 Security Projects for 2019 (client access required).


Cloudflare is a web performance and security company that provides online services to protect and accelerate websites online. Its online platforms include Cloudflare CDN that distributes content around the world to speed up websites, Cloudflare Optimizer that enables web pages with ad servers and third-party widgets to download Snappy software on mobiles and computers, Cloudflare Security that protects websites from a range of online threats including spam, SQL injection, and DDOS, Cloudflare Analytics that gives insight into website’s traffic including threats and search engine crawlers, Keyless SSL that allows organisations to keep secure sockets layer (SSL) keys private, and Cloudflare applications that help its users install web applications on their websites.


Applying machine learning to endpoint detection of IT network threats is how CrowdStrike is differentiating itself in the rapidly growing cybersecurity market today. It’s also one of the top 25 machine learning startups to watch in 2019.

CrowdStrike is credited with uncovering Russian hackers inside the servers of the US Democratic National Committee. The company’s IPO was last Tuesday night, with an initial $34/per share price. Their IPO generated $610M at a valuation at one point reaching nearly $7B. Their Falcon platform stops breaches by detecting all attacks types, even malware-free intrusions, providing five-second visibility across all current and past endpoint activity while reducing cost and complexity for customers.

CrowdStrike’s Threat Graph provides real-time analysis of data from endpoint events across the global crowdsourcing community, allowing detection and prevention of attacks based on patented behavioral pattern recognition technology.


Hunters.AI excels at autonomous threat hunting by capitalising on its autonomous system that connects to multiple channels within an organisation and detects the signs of potential cyber-attacks. They are one of the top 25 machine learning startups to watch in 2019.

What makes this startup one of the top ten cybersecurity companies to watch in 2019 is its innovative approach to creating AI- and machine learning-based algorithms that continually learn from an enterprise’s existing security data. Hunters.AI generates and delivers visualised attack stories allowing organisations to more quickly and effectively identify, understand, and respond to attacks.

Early customers include Snowflake Computing, whose VP of security recently said, “Hunters.AI identified the attack in minutes. In my 20 years in security, I have not seen anything as effective, fast, and with high fidelity as what Hunters can do.”  The following is a graphic overview of how the system works:


Idaptive is noteworthy for the Zero Trust approach it is taking to protecting organisations across every threat surface they rely on to operate their businesses dally. Idaptive secures access to applications and endpoints by verifying every user, validating their devices, and intelligently limiting their access. Their product and services strategy reflects a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach to privileged access, from inside or outside the network.

The Idaptive Next-Gen Access platform combines single single-on (SSO), adaptive multifactor authentication (MFA), enterprise mobility management (EMM) and user behaviour analytics (UBA). They have over 2,000 organisations using their platform today. Idaptive was spun out from Centrify on January 1 this year.


Kount has successfully differentiated itself in an increasingly crowded cybersecurity marketplace by providing fraud management, identity verification and online authentication technologies that enable digital businesses, online merchants and payment service providers to identify and thwart a wide spectrum of threats in real-time. Kount has been able to show through customer references that their customers can approve more orders, uncover new revenue streams, and dramatically improve their bottom line all while minimising fraud management cost and losses.

Through Kount’s global network and proprietary technologies in AI and machine learning, combined with policy and rules management, its customers thwart online criminals and bad actors driving them away from their site, their marketplace and off their network. Kount’s continuously adaptive platform learns of new threats and continuously updates risk scores to further thwart breach and fraud attempts.

Kount’s advances in both proprietary techniques and patented technology include: Superior mobile fraud detection, Advanced artificial intelligence, Multi-layer device fingerprinting, IP proxy detection and geo-location, Transaction and custom scoring, Global order linking, Business intelligence reporting, Comprehensive order management, Professional and managed services. Kount protects over 6,500 brands today.


The acknowledged leader in mobile device management (MDM) software, MobileIron’s latest series of developments makes it noteworthy and one of the top 10 cybersecurity companies to watch in 2019.

MobileIron was the first to deliver key innovations such as multi-OS mobile device management, mobile application management (MAM), and BYOD privacy controls. Last month MobileIron introduced zero sign-on (ZSO), built on the company’s unified endpoint management (UEM) platform and powered by the MobileIron Access solution. “By making mobile devices your identity, we create a world free from the constant pains of password recovery and the threat of data breaches due to easily compromised credentials,” wrote Simon Biddiscombe, MobileIron’s president and chief executive officer in his recent blog post, Single sign-on is still one sign-on too many.

Biddiscombe’s latest post, MobileIron: We’re making history by making passwords history, provides the company’s vision going forward with ZSO. Zero sign-on eliminates passwords as the primary method for user authentication, unlike single sign-on, which still requires at least one username and password. MobileIron paved the way for a zero sign-on enterprise with its Access product in 2017, which enabled zero sign-on to cloud services on managed devices. Enterprise security teams no longer have to trade off security for better user experience, thanks to the MobileIron Zero Sign-On.

Sumo Logic

Sumo Logic is a fascinating cybersecurity company to track because it shows the ability to take on large-scale enterprise security challenges and turn them into a competitive advantage. An example of this is how quickly the company achieved FedRAMP Ready Designation, getting listed in the FedRAMP Marketplace.

Sumo Logic is a secure, cloud-native, machine data analytics service, delivering real-time, continuous intelligence from structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data across the entire application lifecycle and stack. More than 2,000 customers around the globe rely on Sumo Logic for the analytics and insights to build, run, and secure their modern applications and cloud infrastructures. With Sumo Logic, customers gain a multi-tenant, service-model advantage to accelerate their shift to continuous innovation, increasing competitive advantage, business value, and growth.

Founded in 2010, Sumo Logic is a privately held company based in Redwood City, Calif. and is backed by Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, DFJ, Franklin Templeton, Greylock Partners, IVP, Sapphire Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Tiger Global Management. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Cloud IaaS revenue will top $150 billion in 2023, says Frost & Sullivan

Demand for cloud computing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is expected to drive the current $45.6 billion market toward $150.7 billion by 2023 – that's a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent, according to the latest worldwide market study by Frost & Sullivan.

Enterprises are using cloud services for strategic benefits such as supporting digital transformation efforts rather than for tactical ones, like reducing IT infrastructure costs and the hardware or software maintenance burden.

This market shift has changed the way enterprises choose and manage their IT infrastructure, and led them to deploy applications across multiple infrastructures, from on-premises private cloud to public cloud (multi- and single-tenant), resulting in higher demand for IaaS offerings.

Hybrid multi-cloud market development

"As the mix of deployment models and best-of-breed cloud IaaS vendors becomes increasingly diverse, single-tenant IaaS will gain revenue share over multi-tenant services," said Maiara Munhoz, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Meanwhile, the emergence of cloud brokerage and cloud management platforms is boosting the trend of hybrid and multi-cloud deployment strategies, making managed cloud services providers key in supporting enterprises and their CIO or CTO requirements.

Frost & Sullivan analysts believe that managed service providers (MSPs) will support their customers with workload assessment and placement, workload migration, and hybrid cloud integration.

The North America region continues to be the most mature cloud IaaS market globally, followed by EMEA, but they are expected to gradually make room for the APAC and LATAM regions.

Some countries in APAC, such as Japan and Australia, are more mature, while India, China, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong are fast-growing markets.

Outlook for cloud IaaS applications growth

Going forward, it will be essential for vendors of cloud computing IaaS to invest in integrated services, on-premises and in the public cloud. For further growth opportunities, vendors should:

  • Offer more advanced services in the cloud — such as containers and serverless architecture — and tools for enterprises to manage, analyze, and act on their data
  • Support hybrid deployment models, as enterprises realize that a single cloud or deployment model will not address all their application requirements
  • Partner with MSPs to deliver training, programs and features to support them
  • Invest in educating clients on cloud computing technology, as enterprises still need guidance on how to use cloud services to meet goals for business innovation and digital transformation in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

McAfee notes gap between cloud competence and transformation – with CASBs key to success

It is another case of mind the gap, according to McAfee: while the vast majority of companies are seeing some level of business acceleration through their cloud initiatives, only a fraction are exploiting its full potential.

The security provider has released a special edition of its Cloud and Risk Adoption Report, which polled 1,000 enterprise organisations worldwide alongside collating data from anonymised cloud events across its cloud access security broker (CASB) product.

87% of organisations polled said they do experience some business acceleration from their use of cloud services. More than half (52%) of respondents said they found better security in the cloud than in on-premise IT environments.

Looking at where data resided, almost two thirds (65%) of enterprise data analysed lives in software as a service (SaaS) environments, such as business collaboration tools, with a quarter (25%) in infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The remaining 10% is the big unknown, as shadow IT. Only a third (36%) of those polled said they could enforce data loss prevention in the cloud, with a similar number (33%) saying they could control collaboration settings which determined how data was shared.

The report – as may be expected given how the figures were acquired – explored the impact CASBs made on operations. Not altogether surprisingly, the findings were positive. McAfee argued that organisations were over 35% more likely to launch new products, gain quicker time to market, as well as expanding to new markets, when using a CASB. Despite this, only one in three companies polled were currently using a cloud access security broker.

“This research shines a light on organisations who are leading the charge in cloud adoption, prioritising the security of their data as they roll out new cloud services and winning in the market because of the actions they are taking,” said Rajiv Gupta, senior vice president for cloud security at McAfee. “Organisations often tell us how much faster their business moves when security is addressed in the cloud, and it is exciting for us now to quantify this experience and share our data and recommendations with the rest of the market.”

Read more: Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant shows the need for cloud access security brokers going forward in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

10 key takeaways from Ingram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit

Cloud Pro

21 Jun, 2019

With research from PwC suggesting that movement in digital transformation stems from a collaboration of power perspectives, the channel knows all too well the challenges of sustaining the digital dialogue. Ensuring that people are at the forefront of their mission, the channel seeks to continue its disruption as the core focus of human experience propels it further into discovery.

And this is exactly what made the UK Cloud Summit the ever more spectacular; people coming together to enable the human experience that channel brings. This mindset can be used to encourage our partners to think in the same way and drive business forward.

To be able to host two days of celebration featuring unique keynotes, insightful breakout tracks and invaluable networking opportunities, is a testament to the great relationships we have with all stakeholders of the channel and our partners.

The cloud-coveted reigns were passed over to our brilliant speakers who delivered excellent conducive presentations over the two days, covering contemporary concepts on cyber security, hybrid cloud, collaborative tools and novel ways to enhance your ROI.

So, what are the ten key takeaways from UK Cloud Summit?

1 – Cloud for competitive advantage

Scott Murphy, Director of Cloud, Ingram Micro UK&I, expresses that cloud isn’t the enabler of revolutionary tech, but plays a deeper role of epitomising the crux of transformation; a true implement of competitive advantage.

Whilst an enabler creates a catalyst for change, it’s a means to an end. To truly harbour the digital transformation age, you need a means in itself. Cloud technology is the foundation of a new way of working, collaborating and driving new advanced solutions, from which can only develop from our partners.

Our role is to unleash and sustain this unprecedented potential.

2 – Education is key to better security

What creates a better future for our cloud solutions? Having access to the right tools so that we can better protect ourselves.

As told by our guest speaker, Alexis Conran (best known for BBC Three’s The Real Hustle), we’re the most vulnerable to cyber threats because of our involvement in the industry. As advocates of technology and cyber security, we can often fall short.

It’s important to still carry due diligence into our decisions to navigate the landscape that we’ve often set up ourselves, because as Alexis expressed, nothing is 100% secure.

3 – Service providers need to be service integrators

According to Leigh Schvartz, head of cloud and MSP offerings at Fujitsu, seats provisioned and managed by a service provider are set to double in the next five years.

Opening new potential in enhancing strategic management, this manifests a new way of supporting partners. People now want more of a service integrator, a service provider who can work side-by-side to uncover more business opportunity and scale more.

4 – Partnering to offer a wider range of services

Not every provider can service all the needs of their customer. While large companies such as Fujitsu can scale up to orchestrate the major cloud platforms, smaller service provider partners don’t have the resources or the people to be specialised enough to go through all of them – which is why partnerships are emerging in ecosystems.

“So you might have an infrastructure specialist partner, and a co-locator and an application consultancy on Azure, all team up, work together to build something that they could all take to market,” says one speaker at the event.

5 – Providers need to vary their pricing models

Many companies have adopted subscription pricing models, but this may not suit some providers, or indeed some customers. For mid-sized service providers, for example, the heavy investment needed cannot accommodate the as-a-service package.

Paying for what you use is becoming increasingly popular, but it’s also becoming apparent that businesses prefer a fixed term contract behind this to mitigate risk.

6 – Private hosted cloud is becoming more popular

From a cloud perspective, private environments hosted by the service provider are going to be very popular.

“As people prepare to move things to the public cloud, if that is the direction of travel, actually offsetting it to a private hosted service provider, in the first instance, makes sense,” said one speaker.

7 – Cyber protection has evolved from data protection

The talk around the protection of information and cyber security within enterprises shouldn’t be limited to just hardware. It’s now evolved beyond that, according to Ronin McCurtin, vice president of Northern Europe for Acronis.

He says this now includes privacy, authenticity and security, particularly as the amount of data being processed has exploded in recent years creating greater demand for multiple storage repositories.

“Suddenly, our data went from being on our laptop to being everywhere,” he says. “We need to provide a solution so we know that our data can be actually protected when it’s out there.”

One example of a threat to enterprises is ransomware. “A lot of companies are going to be attacked by ransomware and we need to make sure that they’re protected from those kinds of situations going forward.”

8 – Authenticity will take centre stage

Making sure that emails, messages, etc are authentic will be much more important and easier to do.

McCurtin says that end users will need technology working together to make sure that messages sent to each were genuinely from the sender. Notarising such communications using blockchain technology could help in quarantining such messages.

9 – Embracing a multi-cloud strategy

Rob Price, UK Partner Organisations CTO at Cisco, presented Cisco’s view on how enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy.

Many organisations have come to the cloud via shadow IT and used it in a siloed way. IT managers now need to administrate the many clouds that the organisation uses. Cisco’s advice here is that businesses think about the many options available to them, create implementation plans and proof of value and achievable milestones.

10 – The channel needs to start small in cloud

Executive vice president of Ingram Micro Cloud Global, Nimesh Davé, told delegates at the summit that partners need to “start off small” when moving to the cloud and find a niche where they know they can do well.

This, he says, means building up a practice around small applications stacks and be better than anyone else at it.

The cloud is opening the doors for the channel and service providers who put the human experience at the heart of their activities. Digital transformation works best when businesses and partners work together for the greater good – when they work in tandem, they can be unstoppable.

Ingram Micro UK Cloud Summit 2019: A retrospective

Cloud Pro

21 Jun, 2019

Global distributor Ingram Micro held its annual UK Cloud Summit last month, at London’s prestigious Landmark hotel in Marylebone.

A companion event to the company’s flagship Cloud Summit X event, held in San Diego last March, the UK Cloud Summit bought together 128 partners and more than 350 delegates to hear more about Ingram Micro’s plans for its UK channel partners and to network, collaborate and share knowledge with each other.

In addition to senior Ingram Micro executives, attendees heard keynote speeches from industry leaders including Dropbox, McAfee, Microsoft and more. Many speakers highlighted the size and strength of the opportunity facing cloud service providers and resellers.

As Alex Hilton, CEO of trade body the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), pointed out, although around 70% of organisations say they’re undertaking some kind of digital transformation project, PwC’s research shows that 85% of these projects eventually fail – ample evidence that businesses need support in this area.

Ingram Micro’s executive vice president of global cloud computing Nimesh Davé also noted that models of commerce and economics have moved away from transactional, ownership-based approaches to a situation in which consumers increasingly want to consume everything as a subscription-based service. This includes businesses as well as individuals.

Understanding your customer

The overarching theme, however, was the need for partners to better understand their customers and the business challenges they face.

“Business, and the way you conduct things, has completely changed and it will continue to change,” Davé said, “The way you do things – and the relationship you have with your customers and your partners – will need to get deeper than ever before. Because you’re not only going to have to be looking from the outside, you’re going to need to be looking from the inside.

“You can no longer be there and not be in the business. That means understanding your customer’s business is going to become more and more important, because you are going to move into becoming solution providers.”

This was a sentiment echoed by many of Ingram’s partners. As cloud technologies and digital transformation become ever more essential to modern businesses, channel firms recognised the need to move away from simple, revenue-based deals providing off-the-shelf hardware and services and gravitate towards offering clients more comprehensive, interconnected end-to-end technology packages.

Delegates were also treated to invaluable insight from industry veterans, who shared a mixture of practical advice for resellers and MSPs, as well as their visions for how channel firms can forge more sustainable, profitable and valuable relationships with their customers. One of the key highlights of the summit was undoubtedly an appearance from Alexis Conran, host of BBC Three’s ‘The Real Hustle‘, in which he explained how having high-end cyber security systems (while vitally important) doesn’t automatically mean that a clever and determined attacker can’t get around them through social engineering and other nefarious tactics.

Elsewhere, partners such as Acronis, Cisco, and Fujitsu gave their insights into how channel companies can approach the complexities of issues like building a cohesive multi-cloud offering, creating robust security practises and supporting clients in a services-driven business.

Ever-evolving industry

The event made it clear that the industry is going through a fundamental change. Nowhere was this more evident than the keynote speech from James Chadwick, Microsoft’s cloud services partner lead, during which he gave attendees an inside look at how the tech giant has transformed itself – inside and out – into a company that puts customers and partners first.

Chadwick spoke about some of the areas in which it’s trying to change, like putting time and effort into upskilling its partners as well as its employees, or making more dynamic use of internal data to boost efficiency.

He also cited some decisions from Microsoft which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, such as making Apple one of its major partners, buying GitHub, or opening itself up to Linux. AI and the IoT are now crucial areas that Microsoft is helping its customers to explore.

“The world’s changed – and suddenly we’re talking about different things. We’re not talking about Sharepoint any more. We’re not talking about Exchange,” he said.

“There are some really important topics that we need to be talking to our customers about, and we need to be talking with our partners to our customers about those topics.”

Quality over quantity

The reason many firms were so excited to attend this year was their eagerness to attract new partners of their own. Rather than simply trying to sweep up as many net new partners as possible, however, all of the companies we spoke to emphasised that they were looking for quality rather than quantity.

They also stressed that they were looking to grow their channel ecosystem responsibly, ensuring that every partner still gets the care, attention and support that they need, rather than simply leaving them to their own devices and cashing their cheques.

“I came from an organisation that had 2,000 UK partners, and we’re not ready to support that size of organisation, so we want a core of good quality, focused partners,” said Richard Agnew, EMEA vice president of security firm and Ingram Micro partner Code 42.

“I can’t expect a partner just to decide ‘I’m going to sell Code 42’ and we go ‘great, send us some PO’s… it doesn’t work like that. So they need support and training and professional services help and pre-sales help. And we’re of limited scale, so 20 feels like the right sort of number for us to have.”

Ingram Micro’s vision for the channel

One of the biggest things Ingram Micro’s partners will have taken away from the event is the certainty that the company is doing everything it can to support them. Davé repeatedly promised the crowd of assembled delegates that Ingram will continue to
invest in its channel, citing Ingram’s belief that “the channel will be around a lot longer than any of us will”.

“The last time I looked into it, about 80% of cloud was done direct,” Ingram Micro’s director of cloud and advanced solutions Scott Murphy told delegates.

“Now, for me, that represents a massive opportunity for channel because as customers have moved into cloud, then they want to go to multi-cloud and they want to talk about ‘how do I manage this, how do I secure it, how do I optimise it. They’re not going to get that from one single vendor and that’s the area where channel partners can play.”

Murphy added: “There is a set of services all the way from discovery right through to management and cost optimisation that you can leverage into your client base to help you unearth opportunities and serve to bring value rather than just driving pure consumption.”

The company put its money where its mouth was, however, with the launch of a range of new, partner-focused services designed to make it easier for all of its ecosystem to succeed. ISVs, for example, can use the new Ingram Micro Connect scheme to quickly and easily add themselves to the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, as can resellers who have worked with clients to develop custom apps, allowing them to add new revenue streams to their business with virtually no effort.

Ingram will also be expanding its Comet competition for ISVs to new territories, seeking out best-of-breed software creators to add to its channel.

For resellers, the company announced the new Sales and Marketing Hub, creating a centralised resource where partners can access standardised sales sheets, playbooks and product guides for all the vendors Ingram Micro works with, as well as tools and templates to help them create and launch dynamic, modern and effective multi-channel digital marketing campaigns.

Celebration of excellence

As part of the event, Ingram Micro also honoured its partners with a number of awards recognising outstanding achievement within its channel.

Microsoft claimed the top prize as Vendor of the Year, while Ricoh UK and Softcat picked up MSP of the Year and Charitable Partner of the Year respectively.

Creators and Integrators of the Year went to Dropbox Business, while Highlander was awarded the title of VAR of the Year, and Colt Technology walked away with an award for Cloud Change Agent of the Year.

There was also special recognition for the trailblazing women within the UK channel, with Angelika Schmeing, senior vice president of Operations and Finance at The Henson Group, receiving the Women Leading in Channel award.

For Ingram Micro, the UK Cloud Summit is a great way to hear from its partners about how it’s doing as a distributor, as well as to update them on new announcements from the company, but Murphy says that this isn’t his primary goal with the event.

“For me, the content of the event is key, in terms of being able to share that content with partners, but it’s more about the ecosystem of the community,” he said.

“So, partner A talking to partner B and sharing best practice, talking about how things work for them. That to me is the value – me getting that feedback, and my team getting that feedback.”

For Ingram’s vendor partners, however, it’s also a much-needed reinforcement of the importance of cloud computing in the modern IT landscape.

“I think it’s been too long that some channel partners have ignored cloud while it’s been clearly coming up on the horizon,” says Nigel Hawthorn, EMEA marketing director for McAfee.

“It’s great that Ingram has put together a huge investment in time and effort and money to deliver an agenda that is two days of cloud computing. I’m really pleased about this. Hopefully, together, we can all learn how to how to do business better in the cloud.”

CIF’s CEO Hilton added: “The value of events like this shouldn’t be underestimated because there is an opportunity for attendees to hear from a mix of vendors and suppliers to really understand and establish what their best-of-breed opportunities are.

“Ingram puts that best-of-breed collection together and that’s an opportunity for the supply chain, and the channel generally, to choose their version of that whether it’s the same as Ingram’s, or whether they augment it and supplement it themselves, but actually just go to market and present a complete solution set for their customers.”

Why cloud projects need a small team of effective IT stakeholders to keep things going

Before the cloud, IT projects had a definitive start and end. Choosing the right leadership team to keep all players on task was paramount to success. In the cloud era, instead of distinct start and end points, IT leads continual cycles of change and improvement. In a way, this means that projects are never done. As well, projects are continually evolving.

Project leaders must sometimes make decisions on the fly about platforms and technologies, to minimise redundancy and sprawl or in response to an urgent business need. Architectural design depends upon understanding the vast array of new technology choices. Security and performance monitoring are a daily challenge, as is managing shadow IT. With cloud computing, many IT departments are leveraging new DevOps processes and tools to simplify and improve workflow and decision-making. Yet organisations still need project stakeholders to maintain equilibrium.

IT project stakeholders play a pivotal role in keeping everyone on the same page. They assure alignment with the organisation’s priorities and business requirements and facilitate decisions when there are competing objectives.

Additionally, as organisations begin to incorporate new public cloud IaaS and PaaS, AI and container technologies, project stakeholders can mitigate the risk of analysis paralysis, which delays decisions and creates infighting and waste. Their ability to define what is “good enough for this iteration” keeps the wheels moving and minimises confrontation between team members.

Selecting with simplicity in mind

When it comes to choosing stakeholders, more is less. I’ve been part of engagements where there were more than 10 stakeholders. When it came time to make decisions, everyone looked around the room for someone to take a stand. Once someone did, it was nearly impossible to reach consensus. From experience, I’d say it’s best to aim for a small group of stakeholders with clearly-defined roles.

IT project stakeholders should typically encompass three key roles:

  • Business owner: This person is often the owner of the application being developed or migrated. They must effectively represent and communicate the requirements of the project’s end users. Their workload is the heaviest at the beginning of a project
  • Organisational leader: Often the IT executive who serves as the project sponsor, this person’s approval is required on the proposed solution for the project to proceed. This person should be actively engaged throughout the project
  • Functional influencer: Not always holding a big title or budget, this individual is someone whom the team looks to for guidance and whom can garner the support and buy-in for the chosen direction

Typically, the organisational leader works with the project lead to select the business owner and the functional influencer. Other project VIPs might contribute to these decisions as well. Don’t rush the process. If you choose the wrong business owner, the finished project won’t meet business objectives. If the organisational leader is unable to remove barriers and make informed decisions quickly, a project will go off the rails and experience significant delays. An ineffective functional influencer can’t build the trust necessary to convince their peers of the chosen direction, resulting in productivity and morale issues.

When winnowing down the list of stakeholders, only consider individuals who can have influence throughout the entire life cycle of the project, versus someone with a specific area of expertise and authority such as security. If there’s disagreement when selecting the best stakeholders, the project lead should have the final say.

Resolving conflict

Invariably, project stakeholders will have moments of disagreement with each other and with other project influencers. That’s normal, until it’s not. Things seem to be going wonderfully well and then suddenly, in the middle of a major milestone, a stakeholder goes rogue. He decides that the current direction is not working and begins to needlessly disrupt progress. It’s okay to revisit strategy during between milestones, but somebody who repeatedly raises flags without suitable cause is dangerous.

The classic adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” directly applies here. The best way to prevent this from happening is to engage all stakeholders at the onset and throughout the project lifecycle. An engaged stakeholder is much less likely to go rogue, since they were directly involved with the decision making at every step. This won’t dismay all rogue actors, however. There may be political reasons behind the derailing efforts. At this point, the project lead may need to step in to mitigate the concerns and/or bring in higher ups, such as the CIO or CTO, to resolve the conflict.

In some cases, others will push to expand your stakeholder group. For instance, many teams have multiple functional influencers or organisational politics deem it necessary to include a certain individual. Resist the temptation to add more stakeholders, unless exclusion of an individual could backfire by splintering support into opposing factions.

IT organisations are much flatter than they used to be and while that’s great for fast-paced collaboration and innovation, it’s not helpful when roadblocks arise. Choosing a small team of effective and well-respected stakeholders who can lead the troops through minefields is the insurance that every project needs, big or small. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

Rising Oracle revenues signal end to turbulent cloud transition

Bobby Hellard

20 Jun, 2019

Oracle delivered better than expected earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, topping Wall Street estimates and marking a return to growth following a difficult period of restructuring and job losses.

The California tech firm’s revenue rose 1% year on year, with its largest business segment, Cloud Services and License Support, delivering $6.80 billion in revenue.

Oracle executives pointed to growth in cloud applications such as NetSuite and Fusion, in a recent earnings statement. Its Fusion cloud application suites saw 32% revenue growth in the fiscal year, with NetSuite cloud apps revenues also up by 32%.

“Our high-margin Fusion and NetSuite cloud applications businesses are growing rapidly, while we downsize our low-margin legacy hardware business,” said Oracle co-CEO, Safra Catz. “The net result of this shift away from commodity hardware to cloud applications was a Q4 non-GAAP operating margin of 47%, the highest we’ve seen in five years.”

The results end a difficult quarter for the company, one that saw a major restructuring to focus more on cloud services. It was reported that 352 jobs would disappear as of 21 May, including 255 at its headquarters in California and 97 jobs from its Santa Clara campus.

More recently, the company announced a partnership with cloud rival Microsoft to deliver multi-cloud services such as Azure analytics and AI. This gave customers the ability to seamlessly use multiple clouds with much greater effectiveness. However, it was largely seen as somewhat of a concession by Oracle that it would be unable to keep pace with the likes of AWS and Google without help.

“As our cloud business grows, we will continually balance our resources and restructure our development group to help ensure we have the right people delivering the best cloud products to our customers around the world,” an Oracle spokesperson said, speaking to Bloomberg.

HPE head declares future is “cloudless”

Jane McCallion

20 Jun, 2019

The theme of this year’s HPE Discover conference in Las Vegas, emblazoned in the atrium of the Sands Expo Center, is “accelerating your success from edge to cloud”.

It may have come as something of a surprise, then, for delegates to hear CEO Antonio Neri close out his keynote speech by declaring his vision for the future is “cloudless”.

“We need to radically simplify and democratise the way developers and users access tools, services and data that power today’s enterprise applications,” Neri said. “And it needs to be … a new approach that obliterates the distinction between publicness and privateness and leverages the full … vibrant cloud-native computing development community for the benefit of all.”

Declaring that cloud was not a destination but an “experience”, Neri said that within five-to-ten years while the world would still be hybrid, “the illusion of interconnection will be replaced by the reality”. This “secure interoperability across clouds” is what underpins the concept of cloudless.

According to Neri, there are three ingredients, or “fabrics” as HPE is terming them, that make up cloudless.

The first is security – the “trust fabric” – which operates under a zero trust model and automates privacy and data sovereignty.

Next is the optimisation – the “connectivity fabric” – and finally embracing open source – the “value fabric”.

For now “cloudless” is very much a concept or philosophy. There are no products, there is no roadmap. However, according to Neri, we can look forward to hearing more about it at next year’s conference.

Microsoft unveils public preview for Azure Bastion

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

19 Jun, 2019

Microsoft has lifted the lid on its managed platform as a service (PaaS) product that seeks to protect exposed virtual machines (VMs) from outside threats.

The firm says it’s worked with hundreds of cloud customers across a wide area of industries to launch a preview of the service, which sits between the Azure portal to virtual interfaces.

It is said to guarantee a degree of safety when accessing off-internet VMs by providing seamless remote desktop protocol (RDP) and secure shell (SSH) connectivity via the secure sockets layer (SSL).

“For many customers around the world, securely connecting from the outside to workloads and virtual machines on private networks can be challenging,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure networking Yousef Khalidi said.

“Exposing virtual machines to the public Internet to enable connectivity through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Secure Shell (SSH), increases the perimeter, rendering your critical networks and attached virtual machines more open and harder to manage.”

Azure Bastion will feed directly into a customer’s Azure Virtual Network without the need to worry about managing network security policies, Khalidi added. The feedback Microsoft received from customers centred on the need for an easy and integrated way to deploy, run, and scale jump-servers or bastion hosts within Azure infrastructure.

Among the features are increased protection against port scanning due to limiting the exposure of VMs to the public internet. Azure Bastion is also reinforced by automatic patching, handled by Microsoft, to best guard customers against zero-day exploits.

Bastion hosts are generally known to be special purpose computers on networks that are specifically built to withstand cyber attacks. The computer normally hosts just one app, and all other services are removed or limited to reduce the threat surface.

Microsoft will be building out Azure Bastion over the coming months and adding more features as its developers progress the platform towards its general release.

Office meetings hit by chaos due to Google Calendar outage

Bobby Hellard

19 Jun, 2019

Google G Suit suffered an outage to its Calendar and Hangouts Meets services on Tuesday, locking desktop users out of meetings.

The Calendar tool, which is used by busy offices around the world, was down for more than three hours, disrupting UK users in the afternoon.

Google said the problem with its Calendar and Hangouts Meet should be resolved, but it didn’t offer up any more information about what exactly the problem was.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.” a Google spokesperson told Cloud Pro.

According to Down Detector, the issue impacted users in parts of North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia but it only affected the web versions of the service. The Google Calendar app for iOS and Android, as well as some third-party mobile apps, appeared to be working properly.

This latest outage came two days after a report from Wired that exposed how hackers are exploiting a calendar setting to place event invites in another person’s calendar and essentially scam unsuspecting users into entering personal and financial information.

It also follows a similar outage in March that affected Google Drive, Google Maps and also Hangouts, all of which were down for seven hours. On that occasion people in Europe, the US, Australia and Asia were affected by the outage.

While many struggled with the disruption, some saw the bright side and took to Twitter to make jokes about the outage.

“GCal is down – no idea what I should be doing or where I should be. Can’t decide if I should embrace my new freedom or wander the office halls asking coworkers if we’re supposed to be meeting now,” wrote Thomas McCorkle, who works for SaaS management platform Zylo.

Even the platform itself had some fun at Google’s expense, tweeting: “Is today cancelled, @googlecalendar?”