Sophos Adds Cloud Security Provider Specialty for Partners

Cloud Security

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Sophos on Wednesday added to its partner-program lineup an initiative aimed at supporting customers’ increasing use of public cloud.

The Sophos Cloud Security Provider program will offer training, certification and financial incentives to help partners protect customer data in the cloud and make the purchase of Sophos products via Microsoft’s Azure or Amazon Web Services’ marketplaces more channel-friendly. While AWS and Azure, as well as Google Cloud Platform, increasingly see the channel as critical to growth, sales through their marketplaces aren’t always transparent to partners.

Sophos also announced that Sophos Server Protection is now available for Azure.

Sophos' Kendra Krause

Sophos’ Kendra Krause

The security provider has seen steady growth in its channel engagement, recently posting a 40 percent year-over-year increase in the number of global partners selling its endpoint and network products, and a more than 90 percent jump in the number selling its Sophos Central integrated management platform, Kendra Krause, the company’s vice president of global channels, told Channel Partners. Dan Schiappa, SVP & GM of Sophos’ end user and network security group, says Sophos now has more than 30,000 partners, and Schiappa credits them with driving about a 90-plus percent renewal rate among current customers and generating $632.1 million in FY17 billings. That’s more than 24 percent growth, with 81 percent of it recurring subscriptions.

For Sophos partners looking to become cloud security providers, Krause says that current and prospective partners can request to participate. Certification as a Sophos Cloud Security Provider is available in two tiers. The Professional level is for partners who focus on consulting and selling services, while Expert-level partners are those who also have deployment services for customers. Professionals must have at least one Sophos CSP – Sales Consultant. Experts must have at least one Sophos CSP – Sales Consultant and at least one Sophos CSP – Certified Engineer.

“The technical certification is designed to be part self-service, part live labs with a Sophos instructor,” she said. “The goal is to prepare technical partners to support common Sophos POC testing.”

The Sales Certification is broken out into three sections:

  • Cloud: Cloud overview, public cloud opportunity, moving to the public cloud, public cloud security;
  • Sophos products: Product overview, deployment models, licensing; and
  • Customer Engagement: Identifying and engaging with public cloud customers, positioning Sophos IaaS products.

Fortinet offers its own on-demand cloud provisioning platform for service providers with pay-as-you-go pricing and post-pay, points-based licensing for some MSSPs. Eric Parizo, senior analyst focusing on enterprise security with analysis firm GlobalData, says it’s time for security vendors to develop mechanisms to help partners make the transition to becoming value-added resellers of cloud-based security products and services.

“There’s little question that appliance-based enterprise security will soon give way to cloud-based alternatives that are easier to deploy, faster to update, and more affordable to acquire,” says Parizo. “Furthermore, they are typically a better fit for …

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