Sophos Makes SMB Inroads With D&H Deal


The partnership will give U.K.-based Sophos access to D&H’s channel and partner network, which incorporates more than 25,000 SMB resellers.

Steven Hale, vice president of global channels for Sophos, said the agreement represents the company’s first entrance into a broad tier two relationship in North America and a concerted push into the SMB market.

“It points to the fact that our business is growing,” Hale said. “Really, we’re at a point where we require more scalability. In general, we’re focused on growing all segments, in particular the SMB area.”

Hale said that Sophos saw a “big opportunity” in the SMB market segment, especially with organizations of between 100 and 500 users. “D&H is an ideal place for us to start scaling out a lot more,” he said.

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D&H serves SMB markets in North America with a wide arrange of products and applications that span server and infrastructure, mobile applications and consumer electronics.

With D&H backing, many of Sophos’ existing small-business-focused partners will be able to access a wide array of other products as well as a host of enablement tools, services and lines of credit, offered in a “one-stop-shop” from the North American distributor. Hale said that the company was encouraging partners to “tap into the benefits that D&H brings to the table.”

“The small-business VAR, they’re doing everything,” he said. “That’s another thing that D&H can provide is the scalable enablement that we don’t have the bandwidth to do.”

Meanwhile, D&H’s existing channel base will have access to a wide array of Sophos’ security offerings including encryption, endpoint security products, Web, e-mail and mobile control products. SMB VARs going through D&H would have access to products such as Sophos Small Business Edition of Sophos Security Suite, Sophos Computer Security and Sophos Anti-Virus.

Looking ahead, Hale said he didn’t have any immediate plans to go up market with other distributors in North America, but instead planned to set his sights squarely on the SMB space.

“For right now, we want to make sure we do this and do this very well,” Hale said. “For North America, we think D&H is the right place. We’re going to jump in with both feet and get really focused in that area.”

However, not all Sophos partners see the immediate benefits of the D&H relationship to their business.

Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, a Beaverton, Ore.-based solution provider, said that adopting two-tier distribution was a good move for the company’s overall growth strategy in the SMB.

“This makes sense as a business. I understand why they are doing it,” he said. “They are seizing market share from other players, so naturally they need mechanisms to handle.”

However, Plato added that adding tens of thousands more resellers to the mix could potentially stiffen competition that results in a negative impact to margins.

“As a Sophos reseller, it doesn’t exactly thrill me. It just means there are that many more resellers in the market. It slices up the pie into even smaller wedges, which means less for me,” he said. “It’s a good business move on their part, even if it isn’t necessarily good for me.”