Sophos Launches Security Heartbeat To Bring Together Network, Endpoint Capabilities

Sophos is launching a new technology Monday that synchronizes threat intelligence and automation across endpoint and network levels.

Sophos Security Heartbeat, part of the Oxford, England-based company's new XG firewall series, links together the company's next-generation firewall and UTM solutions with its next-generation endpoint technologies. In doing that, the company said, it is able to improve security across a company's environment in real time, with improved context, faster detection and automated response.

Features of the new solution include a Network Security Control Center, unified policy model, user and application behavior analysis, user threat quotients, Sophos Firewall Manager, centralized cloud management, and hardware and deployment flexibility.

[Related: Symantec Takes On FireEye, Palo Alto Networks With New Advanced Threat Protection Solution]

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For a long time, networks and endpoints have operated independently as point solutions, even if they were part of the same vendor's portfolio, but in today's world of growing and accelerating security threats, said Dan Schiappa, senior vice president of Sophos' End User Security Group, that simply isn't an effective approach.

Sophos Security Heartbeat is revolutionary, Schiappa said, because it moves beyond the security status quo of point solutions toward a full security system. "It's a huge advantage," Schiappa said. "Not only am I making my network and my endpoint smarter -- now it becomes more valuable."

According to Kendra Krause, vice president of global channels, that value is especially true for partners who want to be able to offer a complete approach to security and drive more revenue through cross-selling opportunities.

"A lot of them are selling the point product separately, ... but ... having those technologies talk together just makes it so much stronger around threat detection and prevention," Krause said. "I think it will open a lot of doors for partners."

Partners agreed, saying that the new Security Heartbeat allows them to build a sustainable story around security, instead of selling a one-time point solution.

"When they put the Heartbeat in, it's a game changer, because you don't have all these disparate technologies," said Michelle Drolet, president and CEO of Framingham, Mass.-based Towerwall, a partner of Sophos' since 1995. "This is a mature vision, a mature company, with the right team in place and the right market efforts. ... It's so much fun to be a part of it."

Sam Heard, president of Lakeland, Fla.-based Data Integrity Services, has been testing out the solution for the past couple of months. He said Security Heartbeat has already driven some long-term conversations with clients, who might be looking to upgrade a firewall but are able to see a vision around endpoint and other areas in the years to come. That type of roadmap-based conversation will drive increased revenue for years to come, Heard said.

"The whole synchronization ... has been off the chart," Heard said. "Sophos has always been a step ahead, in my opinion."

That's a very different approach than many of Sophos' competitors, Krause said, referring to Intel Security's sale of its McAfee NGFW and McAfee Firewall Enterprise businesses and a changing partner and product strategy at Symantec. That flux, combined with security innovation and stability at Sophos, will be a differentiator and drive recruitment, she said.

"The fact that [Sophos] has been consistent, strong, simple and channel-first will continue to drive these elements home and will resonate with existing partners," Krause said. "It's a stronger story, it's a stronger partnership and we are definitely seeing a lot of partners from those legacy partners come to Sophos," she said.

This a solution and a product vision that Sophos will be building off going forward, Schiappa said. He said partners can expect Sophos to integrate more of its leading products down the road into the Security Heartbeat system.

"We're on a relentless path of innovation," Schiappa said.