Sophos Teases Launch Of Cloud Security Partner Program, Certifications, Competitive Hotline

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On the heels of strong partner and product growth, Sophos teased the launch of a new cloud security provider partner program, as well as new training certification programs and channel community launch.

Sophos teased the upcoming launches and highlighted its growth over the past year at its annual Sophos Partner Conference, held last week in Las Vegas.

In an interview with CRN following the conference, Vice President of Global Channels Kendra Krause said Sophos is planning the launch of a new cloud security partner program. Krause said the program will focus on the Infrastructure-as-a-Service market and how partners can bring security to public cloud environments. She said Sophos is still looking for feedback from partners, but expects to launch the program later this year.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Sophos CEO On One Year As Public Company And The Growing Endpoint Market]

Sophos also teased the launch of new training and enablement offerings, Krause said. The company will be replacing its sales certification program with a Sales Samurai certification. The "blue belt" level certification will recognize foundational product information and sales skills and the "black belt" level will require more ongoing and dynamic product training on a quarterly basis. She said Sophos will also update its technical trainings, making a "fast start" option available for partners who already have foundational knowledge and skill sets, and a self-paced option for the company's architect-level certification. Those new certifications will come later this year, Krause said.

Krause said Sophos will also be launching a new competitive hotline, where partners can call in if they are in a competitive sales situation and get information on how the competitive product stacks up and further information they might need for a successful sale. The competitive hotline will be available across the Sophos portfolio, she said.

The launches come after a strong year of channel growth at Sophos, Krause said. That includes the company's new MSP Connect program, which launched last May and has already signed up 2,800 partners.

"Partners are extremely happy and very excited, not only about our future but where we are today and that we have such a strong product offering and next-generation strategy," Krause said. "We're wrapping that around with the best channel program and support system and helping them drive incremental leads, revenue and profitability."

Krause said Sophos is seeing particular interest for its Sophos Central security management platform and Intercept X next-generation endpoint security offering. Intercept X is the company's fastest-growing product, she said, and Sophos Central saw 90 percent growth in the number of partners selling it in the company's fiscal 2017 third quarter (ended Dec. 31) this year versus the same quarter last year.

Karl Bickmore, CEO of SnapTech IT, said his business has seen particular growth with Sophos around the company's new MSP program and Sophos Central. At the event last week, Bickmore said the MSP program sessions he attended were standing room only, and his own business has been taking off in those areas.

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