Discover more from Channelholic
Welcome to Channelholic
Plus emergency response assistance from CompTIA, an AI risk management framework from NIST, and more
My name is Rich Freeman, and I’m a channelholic.
I got the bug in the 1990s working for Microsoft, where I helped software vendors and resellers build businesses around Windows, Office, Windows NT (!), and SQL Server.
I really got hooked in 2006, when I attended a conference called SMB Nation at which a handful of hardy pioneers were talking up a crazy new business model called managed services. Most of the other attendees at the show howled with derision. Bill my customers every month? Even if nothing breaks? Please.
It was hard to imagine then that someday sophisticated private equity investors would be pouring billions of dollars into MSPs and the vendors they buy from, or that (per Jay McBain of Canalys, who’s rarely wrong about this kind of thing) some 35,000 vendors would one day have MSP partners.
I’ve covered that whole journey, mainly from my perch at The ChannelPro Network, where I was most recently executive editor and remain a contributor. What I want to do here is different though.
Take it from a guy who’s been covering the channel for 17 years, there’s simply too much going on in this industry at any given time for a harried day-to-day reporter to even notice, let alone write about. And without the kind of context those 17 years give you, it can be difficult to appreciate what about all that news is important, and where it fits into the larger sweep of a long-term trend or a vendor’s history.
Channelholic is where I’ll seek to plug both gaps in the tech journalism landscape. Every Friday, I’ll bring you my take on interesting but underreported stories as well as a curated selection of the most compelling, least noted announcements from the vendor community. And all for the low, low price of free.
Really. This is not one of those scenarios where if you can’t tell what a company is selling it’s probably you, because I’m not making any money on this. Not yet, anyway. My goal for now is simply to distribute a weekly insider’s newsletter useful enough to inspire lots of MSPs and others to subscribe. If I succeed, I might add a premium offer of some kind with bonus content, but your contact information will never be for sale.
Thanks for reading Channelholic! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
If you’ve taken the time to subscribe, thank you. If you’re one of the early adopters who’s already made a pledge to pay me for my writing someday, thank you extra. Either way, let me know how I’m doing, what you like and don’t, and what you want more of or less.
And please FEED MY HABIT! If you’ve got a story idea, a hot tip, an upcoming announcement, or off-the-record intel, I’m email@example.com.
And now, the news…
CompTIA’s other big security story
The top story out of CompTIA’s Communities & Councils Forum in Chicago this week (covered by my friends at ChannelPro) was the formal launch of the industry association’s Cybersecurity Trustmark. As I reported myself back in December, the new standard aims to give MSPs third-party validation that they use recognized best practices to secure client environments and their own. That roughly 400 people were on the program’s wait list as of Tuesday reveals just how much demand there is for that stamp of approval.
Less noted but equally important is the other resource announced by Wayne Selk, vice president of cybersecurity programs at CompTIA and executive director of the CompTIA ISAO, at CCF: a forthcoming Emergency Response Team designed to help IT providers cope with security-related downtime, data integrity issues, confidentiality breaches, and the business continuity impacts of natural disasters.
Set to launch late-ish in Q2 and staffed by part-time volunteers (sign up here to chip in), the service will be available via an 800 number and website free of charge to anyone who needs it—even if they aren’t CompTIA members.
And speaking of security…an aside on AI risk management
Predictably, Microsoft spent most of its time during yesterday’s undeniably interesting Microsoft 365 Copilot rollout touting the many ways the new AI-powered tool can boost personal and workplace productivity. The risk AI can introduce, and the steps Microsoft is taking to contain it, got about three minutes of dedicated airtime at the very end of the broadcast.
Which makes this a good moment to remind folks of the AI Risk Management Framework and accompanying playbook that NIST, of Cybersecurity Framework fame, published in January amid an explosion of interest in ChatGPT that may have cost the launch some of the attention it deserved. Anyone who wishes they’d adopted NIST’s security guidelines before their clients started getting hit by ransomware will probably thank themselves someday for embracing “map, measure, manage, and govern” sooner than they did “identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover”.
And speaking of AI-infused solutions…
8x8 now has several, including a transcription, translation and summarization engine powered by OpenAI Whisper.
You can now communicate with the AWS support chatbot in Microsoft Teams
Arrow Electronics and Qualcomm are collaborating to bring more AI to edge computing.
Also worth noting
Hat tip to The Register for flagging this: you just gained a month to make the transition from delegated admin privileges (DAP) in Microsoft 365 to the newer granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP). Microsoft’s going to pause the migration process in June while it closes out its 2023 fiscal year.
NETGEAR’s first Wi-Fi 7 router reportedly offers speeds up to 19Gbps.
The newest edition Hornetsecurity’s VM Backup solution uses immutable cloud storage on Wasabi and Amazon S3, plus Microsoft Azure too before long, to stop ransomware from corrupting backup data.
Carahsoft is now Veeam’s preferred distributor to public sector customers.