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Sophos enhances MSP programme

Security player adds more compatibility and flexible billing options to make life easier for managed service providers

Sophos has become the latest security vendor to enhance its offering for managed service providers to ensure it can attract more partners as it gets ready for a fresh year,

Over the course of 2019 numerous security vendors have either launched or spruced up programmes for MSPs as many look to sign more generalists beyond the MSSP base to reach a wider audience.

Sophos has not been quiet either and recently rolled out its Managed Threat Response service to partners. It has followed that up with some further enhancements to its Connect programme, which already has a global network of 8,000 MSPs on board. The firm enjoyed an 83% increase in billings in the first half of its fiscal year, with annual recurring revenue now reaching $33m.

The latest enhancements include flexible billing options for its Optix solution, which secures user assets based in public clouds. There is also expanded PSA and RMM integration with support now in place for Datto, Kaseya and ConnectWise Manage.

Scott Barlow, vice president of global MSP at Sophos, said that it was important for MSPs to have as many strings to their bow as possible to keep across user demands.

"In today’s crowded market, it’s more important than ever for MSPs to double down on becoming educated security advisors. Next year, MSPs need to ensure that they are staying up to date on the rapidly evolving threat landscape and available next generation security solutions in order to arm their customers with the industry’s best solutions for staying secure," he said.

He added that the more educated MSPs became around the latest threats the likelier the prospects were for them to upsell and cross-sell into existing customers.

"The cyberthreat landscape is moving quickly and end users need help and guidance to ensure they’re being protected from today’s sophisticated attacks," he said.

The pressure on MSPs to make sure that the finer can not be pointed at them if there is a customer data breach has also increased and Barlow said that it was encouraging action on that front.

"Internally, MSPs also need to take steps to secure their own environments because MSPs are becoming rich targets for cybercriminals. Sophos recommends that MSPs leverage two-factor authentication and ensure they’re locking down their network with layered security to protect themselves from unwanted threats," he said.

Sophos shared half year numbers last month and placed the emphasis on MSPs with it noting that for the six months ending 30 September its software subscriptions had increased by 11% and the hardware business had declined by 5%.

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

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