Solutions Providers: Consider What You Learned From The Past When You Set Your Course For 2016

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

2016 MSP Predictions

Looking back at 2015, there were a lot of changes — and challenges — in the IT channel. Consider the advice from these leaders at IT channel companies who offer advice on how to approach 2016, keeping in mind lessons learned last year in areas including channel consolidation, cybersecurity, and storage and data.

Channel Consolidation

  • Bob Skelley, vice president of global channel at Infinio: “One of the biggest headlines this past year was M&A (for example, Dell’s acquisition of EMC), and I don’t think it will be the last we hear of this type of news. Clearly other major IT providers must be looking at their own strategies for growth and expansion. These large companies will need to invest significantly to bring their new visions to life across disparate cultures and competencies. I don’t believe they’ll be able to do that while simultaneously investing in channel strategies to the degree they ought to. Reconciling channel strategies will be another challenge. All of this means that solutions providers need to carefully consider how to diversify their vendor portfolios across, not just the known stalwarts, but also newer entrants who are eager to earn their business.”

Defending Against Cybercrime

  • Paul Jespersen, vice president of emerging technologies at Comodo: “Cybercriminals innovate daily — creating new malware and tactics that allow them to breach systems and steal data.” He says to stay a step ahead of the cyber-thieves, your clients need you to be even more innovative than the cybercriminals and implement back-end security technologies such as containment — technology that wraps an application or transaction and ensures point of sale (POS) systems are protected from hacking attempts.
  • Brad Cyprus, chief of security and compliance at Netsurion: “Cybercrime costs businesses more than $300 billion worldwide, and a majority of it is due to stolen credit cards or identity information — items of significant monetary value to a hacker.” He advises minimally invasive solutions, rapid response times, and state-of-the-art technology to secure customer data for businesses that trust you to manage securing their data.
  • Matthew Gyde, group executive for the security business unit for Dimension Data: “The slew of high-profile security breaches that took place in 2015 is set to continue in 2016. And the disturbing new trend of ‘whaling’ will see hackers target senior executives with ransomware, demanding money or using their information fraudulently.” He says forensics will play a major role in the cybersecurity space this year.

Social Media’s Impact On The Workplace

  • Tony Walt, group executive of the end-user computing business unit, and Joe Manuele, group executive of the communications business unit for Dimension Data point out a majority of social collaboration has been enabled by consumer-focused tools. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare have inspired business-oriented counterparts offering audio, video, file-sharing, and workflow integration. Walt and Manuele predict these technologies will make their way into more and more organizations in 2016, allowing end users to work together seamlessly from different geographies, and at different times of the day.

Storage And Data

  • Laz Vekiarides, chief technology officer of ClearSky Data: “Software-defined storage (SDS) will become marginalized in the coming year. Enterprise IT teams are constantly looking for an answer to storage cost and management problems. While SDS has been touted as the solution for years, and some teams still hope that it will start to fulfill its prodigious expectations in 2016, these hopes will be tempered when the realities about SDS’ ROI come to light. SDS promises a flexible, low-cost experience, but in practice it only shifts many substantial costs from the vendor to the IT consumer — it isn’t the one-size-fits-all solution that it’s sometimes hyped to be, which can lead to unrealistic expectations and lacking results. Meanwhile, while SDS adoption decreases in 2016, all other aspects of data center infrastructure will start to become available as managed services. The Infrastructure-as-a-Service market will increasingly win enterprise customers.”
  • Kevin Leahy, the group general manager of the data center business unit for Dimension Data points out that the role of data has fundamentally changed. For many years, data center professionals would concentrate much of their time and energy on things like storage drives and backups, and how to best perform tasks such as replication and de-duplication. Once, the primary focus was reducing the cost of managing data. Now, that’s all changed. Today it’s all about honing your ability to exploit data and finding ways to turn it into business value.