Sophos Puts Finishing Touches On MSP Program

Sophos Complete MSP Security ties together the company's Astaro purchase, now called Sophos UTM, and its endpoint software and SaaS-based mobile device security platform. Sophos is touting pay-as-you-go monthly billing and usage-based pricing for MSP license holders.

Sophos is in a line of endpoint security vendors that are Web-enabling the product portfolio to appeal to SMBs. The engineering team is working on the endpoint suite but expects to have the entire Sophos portfolio cloud-enabled, according to Sophos CTO Gerhard Eschelbeck, who formerly oversaw Web enablement at Webroot. Key to cloud-enabling the product portfolio is to work on better integrating Sophos endpoint protection with the Sophos UTM and the company's encryption and mobile device management capabilities, Gerhard told CRN.

[Related: 6 Steps To Address BYOD: A Security Management Roadmap ]

Delcie Bean, CEO of Hadley, Mass.-based managed IT services firm ParagusIT, said MSPs desire centralized management capabilities and SaaS platforms that can help build recurring revenue over time.

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"The cloud model is desirable," said Bean, noting that ParagusIT is standardizing its endpoint platform with Avast but is considering other point security technologies for firewalling, intrusion prevention and Web security gateway capabilities.

Many of Sophos' U.S.-based partners were brought in following the vendor's acquisition of UTM vendor Astaro. The product is continuing to evolve under Sophos, said Shane Swanson, COO of Bakersfield, Calif.-based CharTec.

"The whole MSP model is built on growing the level of services you can provide," Swanson said. "The vendors with integrated product portfolios can help cut down costs and minimize staffing issues."

Sophos is battling Kaspersky Lab in the U.S. to capture a larger share of SMBs. Sophos started to attract MSPs prior to its acquisition of Astaro, rolling out a program to attract MSPs in 2010 under former channel chief Christopher Doggett. Doggett is now at Kaspersky Lab, where he is aggressively pushing Kaspersky in the U.S. market by bolstering support for channel providers selling into schools and colleges as well as state and local governments.

The latest iteration of Sophos' managed security services program is more structured, according to Kendra Krause, Sophos' new Americas channel chief.

"We are the first to launch this managed security services program where it is a utility pay-as-you-go program," said Krause, a former channel executive at network security appliance vendor Fortinet. "We're able to track what products and services you are using and how often you are using them, so if you are only using them for a day, we'll bill you for a day, and it's that utility billing that is not offered anywhere else that is exciting here."

In addition to the program, Krause said she is boosting the company's lead generation capabilities by introducing a more capable routing system and boosting care for MSPs by giving them their own dedicated line to support engineers.