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Sophos putting MSPs at the heart of its strategy

The firm has updated the market with interim first half numbers that underlined growth on the MSP side

Sophos has indicated that increasing its MSP business is a key part of its ongoing strategy after sharing its progress in the first half of this year.

Interim half year results from Sophos, for the six months to 30 September, indicated that its software business was improving with subscriptions increasing by 11%. The firm reported that its hardware business was not matching that pace and had declined by 5% in H1.

The firm is looking to increase its MSP business and has rolled out its Central and Synchronized Security offerings that tailor to that channel segment. The firm also recently made its Managed Threat Response service available, which it is expecting will provide revenue for existing partners and attract some fresh interest.

The security player is also expecting its portion of customers coming from MSPs to continue to grow and has done consistently through this fiscal year. Last month it was announced that technology sector private equity investor Thoma Bravo is to acquire Sophos for about $3.9bn but the management were not able to comment on the progress of that transaction.

Kris Hagerman, CEO of Sophos, said that the firm had made progress moving the business to its 'next-gen' technology portfolio and had its Central cloud platform had help drive growth.

"In our MSP channel we saw continued growth in this strategic channel for us. Sophos Central and Synchronized Security represent compelling offerings for MSP partners and MSP billings in Q2 FY20 equated to $32.8m in ARR," he said.

Total customers, including those working with MSPs, increased to 409,000 from 353,000 in the same period a year before. Kagermann said the growth in users had been consistent over the course of the year.

"We are not seeing any overall change in the demand landscape for cyber security," he said in reference to suggestions that the market might be slowing down.

But separately, research from ESET indicated that security budgets were coming under some pressure and as a result MSPs might have to provide even more of a trusted advisor type service to those customers trying to remain protected against the latest threats.

The findings indicated that half of those looking after the security budget are not expecting it to increase for the next two years, leaving them potentially unable to keep up with the latest threats. The priorities for the budget that is being maintained is around firewalls, intrusion-prevention systems and web content and filtering software.

“Cyber criminals are highly sophisticated, and they will continue to innovate their methods to ensure they continue to break through organisations’ security defences. IT teams therefore need to match this approach, by continuing to invest in the latest tech and services to keep their systems and data safe. Just because a solution has worked up until now, that doesn’t mean it will continue to be effective in the future, and channel partners have an important role to play in ensuring that their clients are aware of the emerging risks and how best to avoid falling victim," said David Mole, channel director at ESET.

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