Sophos Rides SMB Security Wave

The company recently introduced its Sophos Small Business Suite, which includes scaled-down versions of its PureMessage and Anti-Virus products custom-tailored for organizations with fewer than 100 employees, said Demi Malnar, channel manager at Sophos, which has U.S. offices in Lynnfield, Mass.

The move by Sophos to court the SMB market with what has primarily been enterprise-level antivirus and messaging security technology reinforces an industry trend toward the practice.

Similar to the competition, reduced user capacity is about the only difference between Sophos Small Business Suite and its enterprise predecessor, Malnar said. Recognizing that SMBs are challenged by limited IT resources and manpower, Sophos has also added an automated update feature to the SMB edition that can fetch via the Web the latest virus threats and prevention measures direct from Sophos, she said.

"We want SMBs using Sophos to feel like they have an IT security expert in their pocket," Malnar said.

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Sophos is committing to a 100 percent channel-only marketing strategy for the SMB offering and plans to stay aggressive as far as pricing, Malnar said. A five-seat license for Sophos' SMB suite starts at $445 annually.

The arrival of proven e-mail security that is priced and positioned for SMBs couldn't have come at a better time for Sophos partner Bruce Shay, owner of I.T.S. Resources, Pomfret Center, Conn.

"The focus of my business is small and medium-size firms, and most of my clients don't have an IT department," Shay said. "And frankly, when it came to virus and e-mail security, customers didn't like having to call me in every time they had issue. With the Sophos small-business package, it will be easier."

Sophos' SMB news comes just weeks after Network Associates launched its McAfee Active VirusScan Suite SMB Edition and Symantec unveiled SMB-oriented Client Security 2.0 products. Panda Software and Trend Micro also expanded their e-mail security menus to meet the needs of SMBs earlier this year.