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Sophos: Ransomware remains a top channel concern

Vendor has charted a persistence in cyber attacks that its partners are countering as they take steps to keep customers safe

Ransomware continues to be a major headache for customers and a threat that the channel needs to remain vigilant against.

Over the course of the pandemic, there has been an escalating number of cyber attacks designed to exploit vulnerable home workers and people who are desperate for information about the virus and vaccine.

Kevin Isaac, senior vice-president EMEA sales at Sophos, said headlines were still being generated by ransomware and he urged partners to remain focused on the threat.

“When I read the newspapers at the moment, the word ransomware is still the top,” he said. “One of the reasons that customers are coming to us is because in cyber, the two really large, totally addressable markets are endpoint security and firewalls, and those are the two that deal with ransomware specifically.”

In response, Sophos has seen the channel promoting its endpoint detection and response (EDR) and managed threat response (MTR) solutions and helping customers to implement a rapid response to attacks. The tools have appealed to managed service providers (MSPs) that are looking to add more security depth to their proposition.

“What we’re trying to do is find ways to simplify and integrate, and provide value-added services with our partners to augment what they are doing to make us all more effective and make the customer safer,” he said.

Sophos has been reaching out to the MSP community over the past 18 months, adding more products and flexibility to meet their needs.

Isaac said it was important to give customers choice because many were still working out how they wanted to consume technology.

“The technology delivery and the consumption model is going to work itself out,” he said. “Customers are going to choose whether they want to buy as a service, or they want to buy an annual licence, or they want to buy on a three-year licence. That also depends on opex and capex – there’s a lot of different decisions that they make.”

Isaac said the current feedback he was getting from partners was twofold: “Number one, how do we partner more closely to deliver outcomes for our customers? It remains top of mind. The second is, how do we help our people through the current crisis?

“Good cyber security is not only for large enterprises. The other point I wanted to make is that every single company in the world has been a victim of a cyber security attack.

“So that presupposes that nobody is safe. So, how do we create an environment with our partners and our channel and how do we partner with them to help the backbone of our society, which is mid-market, small business?”

Security will form the basis of a lot of the conversations that customers have with the channel going forward, with it being a key requirement for any digital transformation strategy, said Isaacs.

“Companies that can digitally transform and deal with cyber security are the ones that are going to benefit the most,” he added 

“The partner ecosystem is alive and well. I think that the partners who are leaning into the digital transformation story and into what our customers need right now are being uber successful.

“And I think that the opportunity to continue to enrich services through things like MTR create a platform for further growth, and a platform for improved risk management for our customers.”

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