The midmarket is underserviced on IT security: Sophos

Security vendor Sophos Ltd. is looking to grow its channel in Canada to realize what it seems as a large, untapped opportunity for security solutions in an under-services midmarket.

Based in the United Kingdom, Sophos offers a range of security solutions, grouped under network, end-user and server protection, all aimed at the midmarket.

“We’re IT security focused on the midmarket and the channel,” said Kendra Krause, who recently joined Sophos as channel sales vice-president and Americas channel chief, coming over from rival Fortinet. “We’re going to bat in the midmarket, because that’s where we see the opportunity.”

The Sophos definition of the midmarket is below 5000 seats, but they see their sweet spot as 50 to 2500 users. Krause said the midmarket is an interesting space because it sees the same kind of threats as the enterprise space; the only difference is the type of data and what they’re trying to protect it front.

“The midmarket is underserviced in security,” said Krause. “We need to know how to deliver to them and how they want to manage their security solutions.”

A midmarket company, said Krause, often has one IT chief with responsibility for everything, from the data on the company networks to servers and storage. There’s a lot happening with bring you own device (BYOD), and they need help protecting their data from evolving threats on an evolving network.

What they need is comprehensive solutions in endpoint, server and network protection, something Krause said Sophos can offer but its competitors can’t. Sopos also offers flexibility in how the solutions are delivered. It relies on the channel for its go to market, and also has a managed security services program for resellers that want to become managed service providers.

In a different approach than other vendors have taken, Sophos allows users to be billed based on daily usage, rather than monthly, so that if the number of seats declines (or grows) during the month, the customer only pays for the days they actually used, rather than the whole month. It’s a model Krause said no other vendors have tried.

“As far as I know it’s a first, and it’s something security partners have asked for a long time, it’s better for them for cash flow,” said Krause. “We announced it at our partner conference a month ago and it got rave reviews.”

In addition to on-premises and as a service, Sophos is also investing in cloud as a security delivery method. Its cloud management console was launched recently with management capability for tis antivirus product, with all its other security solutions to follow.

“It will be an opportunity for partners to do better remote management,” said Krause.

Sophos has three-tier partner programs for both resellers and MSPs, with distribution through D&H Canada and Lifeboat. Partner level is based both on volume and training, with benefits that include a deal registration program with enhanced margins.

“We’re looking to grow our Canadian channel,” said Krause. “We’re exploring geographies and verticals, and putting together a business plan of what the market looks like and were we need to grow.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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