NWN, Netrix Among Solution Providers Rolling Out Remote-Work Bundles

The coronavirus pandemic has created a spike in demand for solution providers that can provide secure work-from-home deployments for employees.


The sudden surge in demand for work-from-home technology is leading some solution providers to launch bundled offerings, allowing customers to quickly roll out remote-work deployments to their workforces.

At Waltham, Mass.-based NWN, No. 76 on CRN's Solution Provider 500, a remote-work bundle that debuted this week brings together secure connectivity with collaboration software and mobile devices to enable remote work for customers during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

[Related: NWN Reports 'Strong' Growth Since Launching Solution-As-A-Service Portfolio]

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"We're able to satisfy all of our customers’ needs, whether that's their unified communications, their mobile devices, their contact centers--our offerings are all around these areas that the coronavirus is affecting," said NWN CEO Jim Sullivan. "We're really well-positioned. But it's been a very busy week to help customers continue to deploy more, and to readjust where they were."

Meanwhile, Bannockburn, Ill.-based Netrix, No. 180 on CRN's Solution Provider 500, has launched bundles this week around its "office-in-a-box" offering to rapidly optimize remote-work deployments for customers. The offering enables employees to securely work from devices at home, including personal devices, and provides free Desktop-as-a-Service for 90 days to reduce the immediate financial impact on customers.

"We have been building our cloud, our platform and our processes for years," said Michael Cass, partner and director of product enablement at Netrix. "We happen to be ready for this pandemic, and we're handling it as fast as it's flying at us."

Virtually overnight, a massive number of businesses around North America have directed employees to work from home in response to the need for social distancing--and many businesses have turned to solution providers to provide the technology and know-how to pull it off.

Over the past week, NWN--a major partner of Cisco and HP Inc.--has been enabling customers in three different scenarios, said Andrew Gilman, head of marketing and alliances at NWN. One scenario is for organizations without remote-work capabilities that need to get up and running as soon as possible. The new bundle "gets them something to working on really quickly--it's a framework to start with," Gilman said.

In another case, for customers that already have unified communications or contact center solutions with NWN--and that are facing a mandate to have employees work from home--NWN is providing scale and expansion for those customers, Gilman said.

Lastly, for customers that already have scaled up their remote-work capabilities, NWN is providing help with configuration to "make sure there is no missed availability on their side," he said.

NWN's remote work bundle includes offerings such as flexible device options, secure accessibility for desktop and mobile devices, meetings for up to 200 participants along with content sharing and recording, Cisco Webex Teams messaging, an analytics and troubleshooting dashboard, and multi-factor authentication software.

At Netrix, "we have our own cloud platform in our data center, and we work closely with Microsoft Azure and we work closely with Citrix. So we've got all the tools. It's almost like we've been preparing for this our whole IT careers," Cass said. "Now it's a matter of, ‘how do we make this painless for customers that didn't plan for this?’"

Netrix has been onboarding five or more new customers a day this week, he said. The solution provider is deploying virtual desktop solutions from Citrix on the VMware and Azure platforms, while maintaining security -- including using multi-factor authentication, Cass said.

"We're giving the customers a place in the cloud, whether it's our data center cloud or the public cloud. And we're providing them with the peace of mind that they don't have to go run out and buy 100 laptops, which don't exist right now--the supplies are depleted," Cass said. "We spin up a VPN tunnel from our cloud to their office. The end users at home have a secure connection to our virtual desktops, and from the virtual desktops they've got a secure connection into their office."

Assistance with getting customers started on the Microsoft Teams collaboration application has been another emphasis at Netrix over the past week, he said.

"What do people need most? They might not be set up on Microsoft Teams, and they should be," Cass said. "Microsoft opened up the licensing for six months--you can use all the features of Teams, and that's how you should be quickly collaborating."