Sophos Channel Chief: Security Partners Needed More than Ever


… much more complicated — and that’s absolutely continuing to change into next year.

CP: What’s most surprising about the 2018 forecast?

KK: For me specifically, when you look at things like WannaCry and NotPetya, we see the trend where they’re able to attack anybody. Any type of organization unprotected, it’s going to hit them. On the other hand, you also see a lot of these files that are written for particular organizations. So if you look at malware, and our lab processes over 400,000 previously unseen malware samples every single day, it’s amazing to me that you can have these ransomware attacks and these large attacks that are so generic in nature, and then you also have these very particular, designer zero-day malware attacks where you’ve got to continue to be innovative and you’ve got to continue to be ahead of what is going to come for that day because you don’t know what is going to attack you that day. It’s probably going to be something that was unseen the day before. That tends to be the scariest part of what we’re seeing going into this next year. And the best way that people are protecting against that is now with predictive security. And now we’re getting into these machine-learning predictive capabilities.

CP: Let’s talk about opportunities and challenges for the channel. Will 2018 be unlike any previous year?

KK: I do think it will be because there’s so much evolving in what is going on, and if you look back at the beginning of the previous year, we weren’t dealing with this volume and frequency of unseen malware, and we weren’t dealing with needing to be so far ahead of it with predictive security. And now we’re going into next year with that as the baseline. But this does provide a large opportunity for partners in many ways. First is getting a lot of these partners to be much more next-generation security solution providers. The growth in managed-security providers is tremendous, and more and more companies are looking for a partner to be either their managed provider or that security expert for them. And not only do they need to do that providing solutions, but one of the biggest things that happens – let’s say when the next WannaCry happens – immediately customers are turning to their partners and [asking], “Did I get hit? What happens if I get hit? What do I do?” And with zero-day crashes, they need to have answers for them.

One of the things Sophos really tries to help partners with as [quickly] as we can [are] kits, webinars and information to help educate our partners so that they can service their customers. It’s a whole different way than they’ve ever had to do business in the past and I think that’s just going to continue to evolve.

CP: For partners that are wanting to enter security or increase their security capabilities, is it a tough road ahead for them?

KK: It’s definitely a tougher road because it’s new, but it’s not impossible — and I think it really does provide a lot of opportunities out there. Partners are needed more than ever, and being a 100-percent channel company, we are seeing it and loving it, and it’s great because … this is a lot to keep up with. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with it unless you have a full security staff on your IT. Most of them don’t, and so what they are doing is …

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