Work in the post-lockdown era

In these times of quarantine, social distancing, and economic stagnation, there are very few certainties for people to hold on, and that extends to business, but if there is one thing that appears clear in the midst of all this is that for large portions of the population, work as a concept is going to change for good.

The phrase “the new normal” has become some kind of motto for the things to come when the pandemic is controlled, and people can finally go out into the world again without fearing for their lives. But in the “the new normal”, for many, going out back into the world may no longer be necessary to do their jobs. For companies, one of the biggest lessons the sanitary emergency has left is that remote work is more than just a convenient strategy to survive the crisis but a profitable working model that can be easily set in tune with business goals in the long run.

Plenty of pre-pandemic studies conducted by renowned, credible organizations, suggested that remote work is beneficial not only for the finances of organizations but also for the workers, improving their motivation thus their productivity, job loyalty, sense of accomplishment, and general health. Now, after several weeks of implementing telecommuting, not by choice, but forced by a virus, the empiric evidence has proved what the studies suggested. As a consequence, more and more enterprises are preparing to adopt it as part of their new reality, whatever that ends up being.

Amongst the list of things COVID-19 came to change, shines a positive one: Work will no longer be confined to the office space, on the contrary, now it is the office that needs to go the workers, regardless of where they fancy being.


The “new normal” will be fully mobile

Preparing for “the new normal” implies much more than just putting together a set of rules for employees to comply, remote work requires to take very good care of who in the organization can access what, when, how, and from where.

Having dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees working offsite may sound ideal right now, however, each device they use to remotely access critical company infrastructures and the most sensitive business information opens back doors to potential attacks against the organization.

So, preparing means, or at least it should mean, establishing a set of practices and implementing systems that allow workers to be productive regardless of where they happen to be working from, guaranteeing, in the meantime, absolute protection to the company data; no easy task. That’s where desktop virtualization comes to the rescue -when done right, of course-.

What is desktop virtualization? Probably the best way to define it is by contrasting it with what it came to replace: As we know, since computation took over the world and every bit of information exists in the digital form, each collaborator in every organization under the sun has been assigned a computer loaded with a series of programs and applications to process, compile, create, share the information they need to do their job. These terminals access the data hosted in local servers, and more recently immaterial servers. Protecting the data in these servers and terminals from malign attempts and human error requires powerful, complex, and expensive security systems that need constant updating to be up to the constant influx of new threats, something that’s definitely not easy nor cheap.

With the popularization of the internet, and as technologies such as the cloud and mobile devices reached maturity, the need to access these networks from outside the organizations grew exponentially, and not only that, programs and application became more powerful to be able to handle the ever-growing loads of information, forcing business to invest in more and more sophisticated devices.

As collaborators connected their laptops, cell phones, and tablets to the organizations’ networks, often from substandard connections, new vulnerabilities appeared. Now, ill-intended actors could take advantage of these chinks in the digital security armor of enterprises to steal their secrets, and tamper or kidnap their data for profit or simply to prove they could. Attacks like these have been a death sentence to hundreds of businesses -large and small- around the world and crippled many others.

The popularization of the internet, the advances in connectivity, and the development of mobile and cloud technologies put in evidence the shortcomings of the good-old locally hosted digital infrastructure facing the future: it was not adaptable enough, it was not the most cost-effective solution, and obviously, it was not up to the challenge in terms of security.


Windows Virtual Desktop: Access Everything, Anywhere

A modern, mobile workforce needs secure, fast access to all the apps, digital services, and data required to do their job in an efficient, competitive way, no matter where they are or what operative system, mobile platform, or browser the use. Precisely those are the aspects the desktop virtualization addresses.

It’s utterly surprising to absolutely no one at all that the leading force in mobile productivity solutions is Microsoft, after all, they have been paving the way to this point for decades. That expertise materialized in Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), an efficient, secure, fully manageable approach to desktop virtualization in the cloud.

WVD allows remote workers to access their desktops: every app, every service, and every piece of data in it, from any device, whether it’s Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android; and since it supports HTML5, it’s also compatible with virtually any modern browser. Meaning that users no longer need powerful machines loaded with the software and apps they regularly use nor they need to keep company data store in their disks, all they need is a secure internet connection to log into their complete desktops in the cloud, whenever, wherever they want. From a productivity standpoint, it is a no-compromise proposition, and from the user’s point of view, the experience is entirely satisfactory.

With the users’ devices separated from the computing environment of the organization, the risk of having sensitive data stored in personal devices reduces drastically. If a collaborator’s terminal is lost or stolen, for instance, there will be nothing in it that could compromise the integrity of the organization. You lose a piece of hardware, but the data remains intact.

Operation systems, applications, and data, are also kept apart from local hardware, running them instead on remote servers. As a result, WVD centrally managed security requires less overhead from IT, and fewer headaches too since they no longer need to worry for what devices access the network, as long as they do it from a secure connection.

Now, with every virtual desktop running in WVD servers over secure outbound connections, all it’s left is to focus on productivity, and the unlimited capacity of WVD opens endless possibilities.

Organizations can choose any size of virtual machine in Azure and vary the density of users accordingly to the actual workflow. With Windows 10, for example, it is possible to gain efficiency by having multiple users in a single virtual desktop with support from modern apps such as OneNote and Office 365, plus sufficient GPU and Ram to perform any task on hand, significantly reducing the resource requirements.

The “Host Pool” feature of WVD, permits to put together collections of Virtual Desktops to meet the requirements of specific users, like -say- different departments in the organization. Once the demand meets the pre-established threshold, the scaling tool in WVD can automatically provision additional virtual desktops as needed. The load balance tool allows to allocate users across the host pool evenly for performance, or to allocate them on a single virtual desktop before moving them to the next, for savings. As usual with Microsoft solutions, with WVD tenants pay only for what they use.

WVD also reduces the overall running cost of organizations through storage. OneDrive fast, bottomless optimized storage enables to provision smaller virtual machines and storage footprint per user while providing best-in-class file access performance.

In brief, Windows Virtual Desktop is the secure and efficient approach to centrally manage any organization’s devices without compromising productivity.

A final note that will please the users of Windows 7 desktops: WVD allows running them in the cloud for up to three years after the end of support from Microsoft (01/14/2020), without having to pay for extended security updates.


For more information on this or any other Intcomex Cloud solution, visit https://cloud.intcomex.com

Office 365 E1 promo: First 6 months free on annual commitments

  • The COVID-19 emergency has put in danger not only the health of the world’s population but also the businesses. The new Office 365 E1 with Microsoft Teams promo is meant to boost productivity while complying with social distancing orders.

No one saw it coming. There was no time to prepare, much less to plan for an adequate transition to the new normal; the COVID-19 pandemic completely flabbergasted whole world, and its repercussions on people’s lives and the global economy -therefore on businesses- are unprecedented, yet to be dimensioned.

Given the urgent need for people to keep social distancing to reduce the spread of the novel respiratory virus, several companies found themselves in a disjunctive for which they could not prepare in advance: either they suspended operations until further notice, or sent their staff -when possible- to work from home. More than a simple disjunctive, this was a life-or-death proposition to many of them.

For those organizations that had already adopted telecommuting as a policy, this was not a major issue; they were ready, but businesses that were just considering the possibility and those that hadn’t given it a thought, also had to jump head-first in the remote work wagon to survive, even when they didn’t possess the technological tools necessary to make it work.

Aware of this predicament, Intcomex Cloud and Microsoft bring this Office E1 with Microsoft Teams promotion to our partners and their customers. For the first 6 months of their annual commitments, our customers will be able to use the most powerful apps and service suite for productivity optimization in the cloud, at no cost.


What’s included?

In a nutshell, this offer provides businesses with all the tools they may need to tackle the risks and challenges that come with having to send their staff to work remotely.

The promo grants access to the latest online versions of the renowned business apps from Office 365 such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as to a long list of cloud-based services from Microsoft; amongst them:

Services
  • Teams: Powerful video conference, virtual meeting, webinar, document sharing solution
  • Exchange: Email management, anti-virus, malware, spam protection from on device
  • Flow: App integration for workflow automatization
  • Forms: Forms, surveys, questionnaires, polls to empower workflows
  • OneDrive:1 Tb of storage per user
  • MyAnalytics: Productivity optimization through work data analysis
  • Planner: Task and project management, teamwork daily planning
  • WhiteBoard: Team collaboration and brainstorming board
  • PowerApps: Quick, easy app design and development with or without coding
  • SharePoint: Store, organize, share, access documents from inside or outside the organization
  • Stream: Organizational Video, presentation, and multimedia channel
  • Sway: Create and share interactive briefings, personal stories, Gety presentations and more
  • Yammer: Corporate social media platform

The Office 365 E1 promo also gives tenants the possibility of using up to 3000 licenses per user, including the full Microsoft Teams experience. The use of these licenses will be completely free of charge for the first six months of any annual commitment, billing will run from the seventh month, and the price will be the one in effect the first month, at the date the subscription was provisioned. The deadline for subscribing to this offer is June 30th, 2020.

This promo is available for new customers and any existing tenant who doesn’t have an active subscription on CSP, Web Direct -or any other Microsoft commercial channel- to the products listed below, or who has cancelled a subscription to any them within 30 day:

The products are:
Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Office 365 F3, Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (formerly known as Office 365 ProPlus), Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly known as Office 365 Business Essentials), Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly known as Office 365 Business Premium), Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly known as Microsoft 365 Business), Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly known as Office 365 Business), Exchange Online Essentials, Exchange Online Plan 1, Exchange Online Plan 2

The offer does not apply to organizations from the Academic, Syndication, or GCC sectors, and under no circumstance it can be used to replace a valid paid agreement.

For more information on this promo and any other service from Intcomex Cloud, send us an email to ventascloud@intcomex.com


First 6 months free on annual commitments

How to obtain it?

The Office 365 E1 promo with Microsoft Teams is available to all organizations of any sizes, as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Being a new Intcomex Cloud customer or an existing tenant who doesn’t have an active subscription on CSP, Web Direct -or any other Microsoft commercial channel- to the products listed below, or who has canceled a subscription to any them within 30 days. The products are:
  • Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Office 365 F3, Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (formerly known as Office 365 ProPlus), Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly known as Office 365 Business Essentials), Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly known as Office 365 Business Premium), Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly known as Microsoft 365 Business), Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly known as Office 365 Business), Exchange Online Essentials, Exchange Online Plan 1, Exchange Online Plan 2
  • This promo does not apply to Academic, Syndication, or GCC customers; and under no circumstance, it can be used to replace a valid paid subscription.

However, the way businesses provision this offer is not the same for all.


For end-users -businesses in general-, obtaining this Office 365 E1 + Microsoft Teams promo is as simple as getting in touch with the Intcomex Cloud reseller of their liking. They comprise the largest IT service provider network in Latin America, so finding one should not be difficult.

For current Intcomex Cloud partners, the offer is available in our ICP platform, and the provisioning process is very simple.

IT service providers who are not Intcomex Cloud partners yet, but want to become one, so they can offer their clients this and hundreds of other top-notch solutions in the cloud from industry-leading vendors, must -first of all- register as resellers. Only then would they’d gain access to the ICP.


But what is ICP? ICP or Intcomex Cloud Platform is our cloud service operations hub. We have designed this platform for our partners to provision the solutions they sell to their clients but also, and above all, for it to be a source for training, and the exchange of information and ideas. ICP is where our partners reach their full potential in terms of competitivity.

Once registered and having obtained their credentials as a Tenant, the steps partners need to follow to provision the Office 365 E1 with Microsoft Teams promo, goes as follows:

  1. Select the account and tenant from which you are going to provision (if you don’t have the account or tenant please created)
  2. Select the service to provision (Option > New Service)
  3. Got to the option Office 365 E1 Promo
  4. Follow the instructions as detailed
  5. Once you complete the previous step, the service will be ready in the Microsoft portal for use

With the completion of the last point on the list, the licenses will become available in the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) Tenant of the partner. If the licenses wouldn’t appear there, it is possible to add them to the platform’s Marketplace (Main menu, second tab).

Promo actived!


For further information, visit our website http://cloud.intcomex.com 

Send us an email to ventascloud@intcomex.com for more details on how to register to the ICP, and for additional information requests regarding this or any other Intcomex Cloud service.

Dear valued partners,

As part of this new commerce experience, Microsoft is evolving its commerce platform to streamline the customer experience, enable partners to broaden their influence, and further help customers to digitally transform.

For this reason, the new Microsoft Partner Agreement was introduced on September 1, 2019 and provides Microsoft partners with a simplified, digitally accepted partner agreement framework.

The Microsoft Partner Agreement replaces the following existing agreements in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program:

  • Microsoft Cloud Reseller Agreement (MCRA) for CSP Direct Bill partners
  • Microsoft Cloud Distributor Agreement (MCDA) for CSP Indirect Providers
  • Multi-tier terms
  • Indirect Reseller Terms

The new Microsoft Partner Agreement must be accepted by Indirect Resellers prior January 31, 2020, to ensure no disruption of your ability to create new customers or place new orders for existing customers in the CSP program.

After that date, the acceptance of the Microsoft Partner Agreement will be required for all partners in the CSP program. Partners who have not accepted the Microsoft Partner Agreement will not be able to place new orders and will be limited to managing existing subscriptions only.

If you are not onboarded to Partner Center, your company must complete the onboarding process prior to January 31, 2020. You will not be asked for any company or financial information besides company name and address, primary contact information, customer support information and MPN ID. Accepting the terms of the Microsoft Partner Agreement will be part of the onboarding process.

It is important to inform that the onboarding process includes business verification, which can take several days. Your company should start the process right away to avoid risk of last-minute blockers that may slow the onboarding and prevent acceptance of the Microsoft Partner Agreement prior to the enforcement deadline of January 31, 2020.

Dear valued partners,

Since October 1, 2019, Microsoft introduced the new acceptance requirement for «Microsoft Cloud Agreement», (MCA) for all partners in the Microsoft CSP program, that includes ICP – Intcomex Cloud Platform.  Acceptance of the MCA by the end customer is being enforced to create more transparency in relationships between Microsoft, the channel and customers. To facilitate the migration of partners to the new contract, the current MCA in the Microsoft CSP program will be accepted until January 31, 2020.

End customers must accept Microsoft Customer Agreement to continue with their existing services or to make renovations. Acceptance of the agreement is mandatory and must be completed before January 31, 2020.

For this, our partners are the ones who will be able to enter through ICP and execute that acceptance procedure by the final costumer. New purchases and changes in the post count of existing subscriptions will require the partner to confirm MCA. This requirement applies to new customers and existing customers who may have previously accepted MCA.

Intcomex has developed MCA acceptance procedures with full automation to ensure the process is as simple as possible for you. Additionally, you, as a partner, will receive an amendment to the Intcomex Reseller Agreement, where this responsibility is specified.

If confirmation of a customer’s acceptance of the MCA has not been provided by January 31, 2020, it will no longer be possible to create new orders for that customer after this date. The acceptance itself can be confirmed though any time. This new requirement only applies to CSP licenses, not to Microsoft SPLA.

Information for partners

In which cases is it necessary for the end customer to accept the MCA?

  • A new end customer creates a new order
  • Existing end customer creates a new order
  • Changed seat count of existing subscriptions

Which data need to be confirmed?

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Phone (optional)
  • Date of acceptance

How often do you need to confirm the acceptance in ICP?

The information needs to be confirmed only once on tenant level. If the acceptance has not been confirmed, it will not be technically possible to order or change the seat count. If the acceptance has been confirmed, the ordering will be possible as usual.

How can you as a partner collect the acceptance of the MCA?

You, as a CSP reseller, are in charge of collecting your end customer’s MCA acceptance in text form. The person accepting the MCA should be the authorized representative of the company. It is possible to:

  • Collect the signatures per post/scan
  • Use Docusign or any other eSignature tool
  • Write an email to the end customer with the MCA attached and ask for a reply with confirmation. If you wish to use our email template, please click here (PDF with template)

Intcomex recommends that you add the MCA to your general end customer contract terms to ensure you have proof in text form.

How does the confirmation work in the ICP – Intcomex Cloud Platform?

Intcomex has developed MCA acceptance procedures with full automation to ensure the process is as simple as possible for you.

  • Go to Tenant and click “button”
  • Add the authorized representative’s data and click OK
  • See status on tenant level

If you require further information, do not hesitate to contact your local Intcomex sales representative or contact support.

Service that is offered by Intcomex Cloud allows Microsoft customers in CSP to acquire Azure reservations without the requirement of a full upfront payment

Microsoft just announced the availability of Azure Reservation Monthly Billing Plans, that allows customers in CSP to acquire Azure reservations without the requirement of a full upfront payment.

Until now, Azure reservations, a service that is offered by Intcomex Cloud, required payment up front. Now you can pay for reservations with monthly payments. Unlike an up-front purchase where you pay the full amount, the monthly payment option divides the total cost of the reservation evenly over each month of the term. The total cost of up-front and monthly reservations is the same and you don’t pay any extra fees when you choose to pay monthly.

Monthly payments are available for virtual machines, Azure Storage, SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Cosmos DB and App Service stamp fee. New option of monthly payments can be taken when you renew a reservation.
You can pay for a reservation up front or monthly. The total cost of up-front and monthly reservations is the same and you don’t pay any extra fees when you choose to pay monthly. Monthly payment is available for Azure reservations

Azure Reservations, one of the Microsoft services provided by Intcomex Cloud, help you save money by committing to one-year or three-years plans for virtual machines, Azure Blob storage or Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, SQL Database compute capacity, Azure Cosmos DB throughput, or other Azure resources. Committing allows you to get a discount on the resources you use. Reservations can significantly reduce your resource costs up to 72% on pay-as-you-go prices. Reservations provide a billing discount and don’t affect the runtime state of your resources.

Azure is a comprehensive set of cloud services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy, and manage applications through our global network of datacenters. Integrated tools, DevOps, and a marketplace support you in efficiently building anything from simple mobile apps to internet-scale solutions.

Microsoft launched its Windows Virtual Desktop to the public. This tool delivers simplified management, Multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Office 365 PROPlus, and support for Windows Server (RDS) desktops and ads.

This virtual desktop can be easily extended and enriched by the partners in the following ways:

  1. Software and service providers can extend the Windows Virtual Desktop to offer solutions in the Azure Marketplace.
  2. CSP providers can deliver an end-to-end desktop service and offer added value to their clients.

Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Storage is now Generally Available!

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for Azure Storage provides an additional layer of security intelligence that detects unusual and potentially harmful attempts to access or exploit storage accounts. This layer of protection allows you to protect and address concerns about potential threats to your storage accounts as they occur, without needing to be an expert in security.

The tool you were waiting for!

The business intelligence portal is already available in the list of services that Intcomex is offering to our ICP partners- Intcomex Cloud Platform.

With this new service, you will have access to a complete set of reports and graphics with which you can know very fast your Cloud business status and the trends, according to your account data history registered at Microsoft data bases. These were designed thinking in simplifying its management in order to apply filters to obtain information according with your particular interests of the moment.

We invite you to explore and learn how to use this tool, where you can analize new subscriptions, percentage of losses, new clients, sales and budgets. Intcomex put to your dispositions a use guide to get higher benefits of this tool.

We are sure that with this portal, the dashboards, graphics and reports, are going to be an essential tool for desition making in your business; an additional reason for you to adopt ICP as your leading platform in the cloud. 

Please contact to support or your local sales representative in case to have any question or doubt. They will gladly attend you.  

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Big changes affecting Direct (Tier-1) and Indirect (Tier-2) Microsoft Cloud Service Partners (CSP) were announced in August 31, 2018, and have became effective on March 1, 2019. That means, that as a direct CSP partner, if your anniversary date falls after March 2019 you will need to work with an indirect provider with the appropriate infrastructure, support and services to conduct all Microsoft CSP business.These changes force everybody to rethink the business model in terms of what to offer and how to interact with customers. We need you to be prepared!! As soon as your partnership anniversary month passes, your company will need to comply with the new Direct Partner requirements. Otherwise, you will not be able to add new customers or services.

What is new?

If you are an existing partner, whether direct or indirect, the new requirements may take you by surprise. One major change is the new MCA (Microsoft Customer Agreement) that will substitute the MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement Enterprise Agreement). Up until July of 2018, this was the method corporate and enterprise customers used to make purchases.

The new MCA will be the primary way to make purchases. Partners will be able to purchase some third-party products directly from Microsoft. The MCA will be a shorter, 11-page contract and will be completely digital, making the transaction process more efficient and simpler for Microsoft customers.

Indirect Partners, or Tier-2, will conduct business as usual and continue to add new customers and subscriptions without fear of service interruptions. The only tangible modification they will see is to how billing is done.

New Requirements for Direct and Indirect Partners

Following the evolution of the CSP program, Microsoft has now established new requirements for companies to maintain or acquire Direct Partner status. The new program takes into consideration how much investment a partner needs in order to support their cloud business and remain competitive.

Direct partners now have to offer added value services tailored to the needs of each specific client. In return, they will have access to:

  • A single offer catalog containing first- and third-party Microsoft products and services through a new marketplace experience.
  • A new, simple 11-page Microsoft Customer Agreement presented, accepted, and stored through a completely digital experience.
  • Consistent purchasing and management experiences, whether the customer chooses to buy through partners, the web portal, or directly though their Microsoft account teams.

The possibility of having higher margins, bonuses, and incentives.

Direct CSP (Tier-1)Partners must:

  • Offer managed solutions with CSP-incorporated licenses.
  • Purchase a support contract (Premium or Advanced).
  • Provide automated billing.
  • Provide at least one managed service or intellectual property.
  • Increase their purchase volume.
  • Purchase directly from Microsoft.
  • Offer IT support.

Indirect (Tier-2) Partners will:

  • Purchase indirectly from Microsoft Distributors.
  • Have lower margins but the same incentives as Tier-1 partners.

The benefit for Indirect CSP partners is being able to concentrate and grow business models that are based on core strengths like managed service offerings, consulting services (assessments to implementations, migrations, etc.), or the sale of IP solutions.

Cloud Service Partners: Direct vs. Indirect

If you’re still wondering which tier is suitable for your company, here are some other things to consider:

Direct PartnersIndirect Partners
  • Does your company have enough CSP licenses to support the new financial agreement?
  • Have you built a strong intellectual property and are you already using Microsoft products as a core technology?
  • Do you have a considerable number of clients and expect your business to grow in the future?
Do you prefer to enjoy the advantages of a Direct Partner without incurring elevated system integration costs so you can focus on your company’s growth?

This means many changes are coming for some customers. Indirect partners will not be seeing a change since they are already dealing with a reseller. Direct partners on the other hand, could have to change their status sooner than later to ensure they give uninterrupted services to their customers.