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Channel insights from the Channel Pro Network

May 21, 2021

Channel insights from the Channel Pro Network
powered by Sounder

For more than 25 years, Rich Freeman, the Executive Editor of Channel Pro Network, has been covering the IT industry, including over 8 years in Microsoft’s vertical industry and enterprise marketing groups.
In this episode, Shelby Skrhak talks with him about what he’s seeing in the channel, including topics like:
  • Opportunities that exist for channel pros with regards to remote work
  • Layers needed in a work-from-home security stack
  • Takeaways from the Channel Pro State of the SMB Channel report

New opportunities due to remote work

  • Proactively offering to help customers understand the collaboration functionality of products like Microsoft Teams - It’s possible that they aren’t utilizing all the collaboration features available to them.
  • New and better video collaboration tools within the office - With hybrid work on the horizon, many companies will be looking to upgrade their in-office collaboration tools so that everyone in a meeting feels like they're an equal part of the conversation.
  • Employee monitoring software - Controversial though it may be, there’s been increased interest among SMB end users in software that allows managers to keep an eye on the productivity of employees.

Recommended layers for work-from-home security stacks

Following the abrupt switch to remote work, swarms of people connected to corporate resources over home networks on personal devices that were never meant to be used for work purposes. Because of that, most internet connections were not secure.
To improve security, there are different layers you should have in your work-from-home security stack:
  • Multi-factor authentication - According to Microsoft, it makes it 99.9% less likely that your network will be compromised.
  • Identity and access management software - With so much happening in the cloud, identity management is critical. You want to be sure that the person connected to your network is who they say they are.
  • Ditch remote desktop protocol (RDP) - It’s notoriously insecure. Roll out a VPN or use remote access software that you might use to remote into a customer’s PC to do a support session.
  • Draw a hard line with home users - Impress upon your workforce that they need to use corporate-owned devices that meet the company’s security standards.

Big takeaways from the state of the SMB channel report

As worried as everybody was about the pandemic, it didn’t turn out to be as bad for as many companies as everybody feared. In addition, the rebound toward the end of the year was steeper and faster than most people anticipated.
It’s true that many people took a revenue hit (around 64%). But at the same time, there is a lot of optimism as 51% believe profit will be up this year. There’s a great deal of momentum in the channel and things are heading in the right direction.