Sophos To Reduce Workforce, Close Facilities

In May, Sophos sold off the majority of its business for $830 million to the private equity group, Apax Partners, which backs enterprise companies with long-term equity financing,

Arabella Hallawell, Sophos vice president of corporate strategy, declined to directly comment on exactly how many workers would be cut or whether the consolidation effort was the result of slower-than-expected growth over the last year.

The Register reported that Sophos would reduce its workforce by 7 percent, totaling about 80 jobs lost.

Hallawell said she was unable to disclose the company's year-over-year growth thus far for 2010, but added that the company would continue to hire people throughout the year.

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"Looking at operations, there's a ton of activity and growth and change. We want to make sure we're both efficient, and fueling for growth as much as possible," she said. "That being said, there are still some challenges in the economy. In general, the information security market is being protected from a lot of IT budget cuts. Still, the economy isn't as strong as everyone would like it to be."

Sophos executives said that the layoffs will be conducted through a series of consolidations and administrative job cuts, specifically with the closure of a Massachusetts office and an Ohio facility sometime over the next year.

The Ohio facility was acquired through Sophos' acquisition of Endforce in 2007, which specialized in security compliance solutions as well as Network Access Control software. Hallawell said that Sophos still planned to retain its NAC business, but that much of the company's operations would be transferred to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, although some engineering jobs would be cut.

Hallawell emphasized that the decision to make cuts and consolidate into "shared offices" was due, in part, to a "realignment" strategy that aimed to eliminate redundancy and inefficiencies as the company prepared for future growth. "It doesn't make sense to have these types of facilities. We're asking ourselves how can we be as agile and as nimble as we can," she said.

Hallawell contended that the impending cuts would likely not impact customer support or the channel.

"If anything, we'll become more agile and more focused than ever before," she added.

The consolidation and layoff is the second for Sophos since the global economic meltdown in 2008. The company reduced its workforce by about 5 percent in January 2009 in a reorganizatio that shifted some U.K. based employees to the company's Boston office.