Sophos Introduces Hosted Version Of Its MDM Platform

"Sophos Mobile Control as a Service" is suitable for 100 users or less, according to product manager Payal Mehrotra. "It's aimed at a market that has fewer IT resources," she said. "We are taking the burden from IT in maintaining the hardware and software. So, we help them to save both opex and capex. They log on using a browser and can set policies for mobile devices."

Security features include endpoint, data, email, web, server and mobile protection in one license, and the platform functions across the full range of mobile devices.

[Related: When IT Security Goes Awry, Whose Head Will Roll? ]

Mehrotra added that premise-based MDM solutions typically require a level of expertise that most small businesses do not have. By off-setting the technical requirements through a hosted model, the system can be brought online for the customer quickly and easily. Policies can be created and acceptable use policies for employee-owned devices can be managed through a single console.

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"There are mainly two differences between the two versions of the product," she explained. "The first one pertains to the email connection. In the on-premise version, the email is going through our proxy, but in the SaaS version, this is not possible because that would open vulnerabilities in the firewall. So, for simplicity's sake, we have eliminated this option. Customers do have email access, but it has to be done directly through Microsoft Exchange. They don't go through our proxy.

"The second difference is the LDAP connection," she continued. "The reason is similar to the first case. We don't want to punch holes in the firewall. So, the customer simply needs to import an Excel file with the names of the users. We will provide them with all of the relevant formatting information that is necessary to upload it to the server. Once they do that, the users have full access."

The on premise version of the product has been shipping for approximately one and a half years, and it has attracted approximately 1,500 customers worldwide, according to Mehrotra. The SaaS version has been shipping since the end of August and is available under a subscription license.

"This is a great opportunity for channel partners who have been kicking tires in the managed services space to move into a hosted services model on an incremental basis," said Mehrotra.