Sophos Launches New Cloud Partner Program To Capture Growing Public Cloud Security Opportunity

Sophos announced an update to its partner program Wednesday designed to help partners make the most of the public cloud opportunity.

The new partner program expansion, which Sophos first teased at its partner conference in May, is an extension of the overall Sophos Partner Program. The new program allows partners to recognize deals secured from customers through the Amazon Web Services or Azure marketplaces, allowing them to get margin and rebates from those deals, as well as count them towards their overall Sophos partner quotas.

The new program also includes new training, certifications, and incentives for partners helping migrate customers to the public cloud. Sophos said it will also provide lead sharing for Expert-level partners and sales and pipeline lead generation from free product trials and pay-as-you-go testing.

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Sophos Vice President of Global Channels Kendra Krause said this new partner program is critical, as it better aligns partners to how customers are buying around the cloud. By aligning the partner program with public cloud marketplace billing, she said Sophos can help its partners continue getting margin around public cloud security sales, as well as help them make gains toward their level quotas, which translates into more margins, vendor support, and incentives like MDF.

Krause said Sophos is the first security vendor to offer this specific of a partner program around public cloud.

"Sophos is constantly looking for ways to innovate in products and innovate within the channel and programs … This is our next step in that," Krause said.

"We really partnered with our partners to design this program. We see a lot of traction in our current partner base and new partners coming to us and wanting to offer security solutions for public cloud deployments and moving to the public cloud."

Kevin Clements, chief technology officer at Somerset, N.J.-based SHI, said the new partner program solves a gap in most vendor programs, allowing partners like SHI to support customers both in the traditional ways, as well as through public cloud marketplaces. He said the new programs allow for customers to buy security solutions through public cloud marketplaces but still allows partners like SHI to get involved around professional services. He said it also allows them to recognize public cloud revenues.

"It keeps us more involved as part of the process and allows us to continue to support the customer and makes it economically viable for us to do so," Clements said.

"A lot of our partners haven't figured out how to make a model work where existing partners like SHI are still part of the ecosystem and supporting our customers, but customers can also use the marketplace model to handle deployments," he said. "Sophos seems to have done a good job in getting that right."

Krause said she continues to see the opportunity for partners grow around the public cloud, especially with small and medium business customers. She said the new partner program helps partners adapt to both go-to-markets around the public cloud, including making the public cloud marketplaces more channel friendly and providing new licensing options for bring-your-own-license and pay-as-you-go term licenses for the public cloud.

SHI's Clements said he is also seeing more customers looking to make the move to the public cloud. He said security is one of the top three concerns from customers about migrating to the public cloud, alongside compliance and cost controls. He said customers are often looking for security solutions, like Sophos, that offer the same platform across both cloud and on-premise environments.

"That is one of the big things our customers are concerned about," Clements said.

"We're very happy when the partners we have been doing business with for quite some time are able to figure out how to transition their customers and partnerships to the public cloud. Sophos seems to have done a good job figuring it out. The marketplace is certainly in a big transition," he said.