Mission launches machine learning consulting practice

The AWS Premier Consulting Partner will target AI and machine learning projects in a broad range of industries; other IT channel news.

Mission, a Los Angeles-based managed cloud services provider, has unveiled a data, analytics and machine learning consulting practice.

The new practice will provide data engineering and analytics services and tools to help customers build data lakes, data warehouses and other repositories. The practice will also focuses on AI and machine learning operations, as well as continuous integration and continuous development pipelines to optimize data models and automate ML training and quality assurance processes, Mission said. An AWS Premier Consulting Partner, the company will tap AWS' algorithms and create custom algorithms for customer projects.

MSPs and cloud consultants have identified AI and ML expansion as one of a handful of pivotal technology trends for 2021. Service providers believe the widespread adoption of cloud provides a foundation on which businesses can layer AI and ML services.

Ryan RiesRyan Ries

Ryan Ries, practice lead of data science and engineering at Mission, said the company expects the data, analytics and machine learning practice to work with customers across multiple industries. Ries, who joined Mission in January 2021, previously launched an AI/ML practice at Onica, an AWS cloud consultancy. Rackspace Technology acquired Onica in December 2019.

"We're seeing cross-vertical demand," Ries said. "The great thing about data is that, at the end of the day, data solutions and applications follow the same rules regardless of vertical."

The consultant's task is to attend to the "6 Vs" of big data -- volume, variety, velocity, veracity, value and variability -- and determine the best tools for customers based on their end goals, he noted.

Mission uses other AI/ML platforms besides AWS, depending on a customer's project. Those platforms include MLflow, Appen and Roboflow. Ries said Mission has used MLflow, an open source project, to enable customers' ML pipelines. The company has tapped Appen and Roboflow to label data for computer vision applications, he said. In rare cases, a customer will use H2O.ai's H2O platform or other external algorithm vendors.

Today, AI/ML represents 10% of Mission's total revenue. The practice aims to grow that number to 20% by the end of 2021, Ries said.

Redstor offers ML-based backup protection to MSPs

AI/ML is also influencing the software that service providers use to run their businesses and support customers. To protect backups from malware infection, for example, MSPs can tap a machine learning-based feature released this week from Redstor Ltd., a data management company headquartered in Reading, U.K.

The addition to Redstor's InstantData technology uses a machine learning model to detect and quarantine suspicious files in backups, according to the company. Backup data protection has become critical amid an uptick in ransomware and other malware attacks.

Redstor launched an AI center of excellence about six months ago and has been developing a roadmap for deploying the technology. "Malware detection was a logical place to start," said Redstor AI product manager Tom Hext. "It's something you can train a machine to spot and implement in a relatively short space of time."

Redstor built the ML feature into the data management technology's existing console, mobile app and web app components so MSPs don't need to install and configure an extra piece of software, Hext noted. The ML capability is also automated so MSPs and their customers don't need to take any actions to operate it.

Next up in Redstor's AI effort is an MSP offering that will automatically categorize and tag sensitive data. The feature will support MSPs who deal with regulatory requirements such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation or South Africa's Protection of Personal Information Act, Hext said. Following the data tagging feature, Redstor will look to deploy AI in the field of anomaly detection.

Kaseya purchases security firm

Kaseya, an IT management and security software vendor, has acquired RocketCyber. The company plans to integrate RockeyCyber's managed security operations center (SOC) offerings with Kaseya's MSP platform.

Specifically, RocketCyber will integrate with Kaseya VSA, a remote monitoring and management product; Kaseya BMS, a professional services automation offering; and Passly, a single sign-on technology. RocketCyber will run as an independent business within Kaseya.

Fred VoccolaFred Voccola

Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola noted that the RocketCyber deal marks Kaseya's third security acquisition in less than two years. The company also acquired Graphus and ID Agent during that span. Kaseya now provides managed SOC, automated internal threat detection, credential monitoring and anti-phishing, among other security tools.

Kaseya will acquire at least two or three additional companies in 2021, Voccola said in a statement. The acquisitions will address the "quickly changing needs" in the MSP and IT solutions sector, he said.

Diversity programs debut

Cognizant, a professional services company based in Teaneck, N.J., has launched a five-year, $250 million corporate social responsibility initiative. The program will focus on economic mobility, education opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and health and well-being.

In addition, the Alliance of Channel Women, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Ana, Calif., formed a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee. The committee supersedes its Advocacy Committee and was created in response to the growing need for DEI leadership and education, the organization said.

Other news

  • EY launched a cloud technology hub. The EY Cloud Enablement Center, located within its Phoenix office, reinforces EY's $1 billion "technology strategy commitment," according to the company. EY said the hub is the first of several such centers it will open.
  • Service providers offering security strategy help could be in luck. Two-thirds of senior IT and security managers currently or plan to seek assistance from a third-party provider to develop an overall IT security strategy, according to IDG research commissioned by Insight Enterprises, an IT services company based in Tempe, Ariz. The survey's 213 respondents also cited network security (58%) and vulnerability management (48%) as top areas for bringing in outside expertise.
  • Commvault, a data protection and storage vendor based in Tinton Falls, N.J., said its latest feature release offers MSPs an easier user interface and more cloud options. Commvault Feature Release 11.22 includes additions to Command Center, namely Hedvig storage management and Metallic-protected workloads. The Commvault update let MSPs offer "simpler data management services" and eliminate multiple point products and consoles, according to the company. The update also provides cloud cost optimization in conjunction with expanded multi-cloud offerings across AWS and Microsoft Azure, the company said.
  • N2WS, a backup and disaster recovery vendor focused on AWS, entered a distribution pact with DLT Solutions, a government technology aggregator and subsidiary of Tech Data. The agreement makes N2WS's offerings available to DLT Solutions' public sector channel partners.
  • Datadobi, an unstructured data management software vendor based in Leuven, Belgium, and Effect ICT Solutions, an SMB solutions provider in the Netherlands, completed a storage and data migration offering for MVRDV, an architecture and urban design practice based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Sungard Availability Services, a Wayne, Pa., company that provides colocation, cloud and disaster recovery services, built a cloud-connected data center for NYU Langone Health, which recently extended its colocation relationship with Sungard AS.
  • Devo Technology, a logging and security analytics company based in Cambridge, Mass., introduced a partner program for resellers, managed security services providers and global systems integrators. The Devo Drive partner program is geared to channel companies seeking to augment their security portfolios with a security information and event management offering. More than 50 companies currently participate in the partner program, which consists of Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. The program offers partner discounts, deal registration, and sales and technical training. Top of Form
  • Demant Group's EPOS audio brand, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, launched a partner program. EPOS, which offers headsets and speakerphones, has more than 6,000 partners worldwide. The EPOS Amplify Partner Program offers sales and marketing tools, learning resources, deal registration and market development funds.
  • D&H Distribution, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., added video kits to its digital signage portfolio. The kits, which come from Samsung, LG, NEC, Planar and ViewSonic, help partners provide large-format video wall offerings, according to D&H.
  • Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity vendor based in Santa Clara, Calif., revamped it NextWave Partner Program. New features include specializations for Prisma SASE, Prisma Cloud and Cortex XDR/XSOAR, and the ability to resell Prisma Cloud through a two-tier go-to-market strategy.
  • Vyopta, a collaboration platform monitoring vendor, said its partner community grew 75% in 2020, with the MSP partner segment expanding 200%. The company will host a Collaboration Intelligence Partner Summit on March 4.
  • Infoblox Inc., a networking vendor based in Santa Clara, Calif., rolled out a cloud specialization program as part of its BuildingBlox partner program.
  • AppNeta, a network performance monitoring vendor based in Boston, kicked off its Global Alliances partnership program and appointed John Tewfik as its director of global alliances.
  • INAP, an enterprise hybrid infrastructure solutions provider based in Reston, Va., named Monique Stone as its vice president of channel and alliances. The company's 2021 channel program provides a tiered incentive structure based on a partner's aggregate monthly recurring revenue.
  • OneLogin, a single sign-on and multi-factor authentication vendor based in San Francisco, appointed Doug Erickson as its vice president of global channels, strategic alliances and general manager of Asia Pacific.

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