Sophos Buys Startup Avid Secure To Bolster Public Cloud Protection

Sophos has purchased emerging cloud infrastructure vendor Avid Secure to provide end-to-end protection around public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google.

The Oxford, U.K.-based platform security vendor said San Francisco-based Avid Secure uses artificial intelligence and automation to address the real-world challenges of effective cloud security such as lack of workload visibility. The small, privately owned firm is capable of delivering the constant monitoring needed to stay ahead of today's sophisticated attacks, according to Sophos.

"We welcome the Avid Secure team to Sophos and are excited to bring their transformational technology into our portfolio, strengthening our ability to offer the best protection for our customers' data on endpoints and networks, wherever their services are hosted," Dan Schiappa, Sophos' senior vice president and general manager of products, said in a statement.

[Related: Sophos Unveils Endpoint Detection And Response To Thwart Malware]

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Sophos' stock climbed $8.90 (1.83 percent) to $494.15 on the London Stock Exchange Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Sophos did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Avid Secure was founded in August 2017 and employs 15 people, according to CrunchBase and LinkedIn. The company enjoys partnerships with cybersecurity vendors such as Splunk and SentinelOne, according to its website.

"We built the Avid Secure platform to revolutionize the security of public cloud environments in a process- efficient way," Nikhil Gupta, Avid Secure's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "The opportunity to join Sophos in their mission to evolve cybersecurity into an intelligent, integrated system presented a perfect fit for our engineering vision."

Schiappa said that Avid Secure's cloud workload protection and cloud security posture management software will drive Sophos' leadership in the growing space. Gupta, meanwhile, added that he's proud of Avid Secure's AI-powered technology that provides enterprises with continuous security analytics, visibility and compliance to protect their data and maximize their investments in public cloud services.

This is Sophos' first acquisition since February 2017, when the company purchased endpoint security startup Invincea for $120 million. Sophos has made nine acquisitions since 2003, according to CrunchBase.

Sophos brought in $641 million of revenue in its most recent fiscal year, up 20.9 percent from $530 million a year earlier. The company has enjoyed 112 percent growth in its cloud subscriptions, and now has 29 percent of all subscriptions based in the cloud, according to Sophos' annual report.

Cloud-based platforms and opportunities historically have been focused on enterprise-level customers, but upper-end SMB customers are increasingly embracing public cloud platforms such as AWS, according to Sam Heard, president of Sophos Platinum partner Data Integrity Services, Lakeland, Fla.

But unlike their enterprise peers, Heard said upper-end SMBs lack the internal resources and expertise to do cloud migrations, support, configurations and implementations on their own and are looking for trusted advisers to provide guidance and assistance. As a result, Heard said solution providers are hungry for tools and capabilities that will help them securely migrate workloads to the cloud.

"I love the fact that Sophos is playing very strong in the cloud security space," said Heard. "The more they can do in the cloud space, the better."