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Sophos Adds Cloud Security Resources and Certifications to Partner Program

The vendor also announced that Sophos Server Protection now supports Microsoft Azure server instances, and can coordinate defensive measures with Sophos XG Firewall on Azure. By Rich Freeman

Security vendor Sophos Ltd. has added an extension to its partner program for resellers that deploy its products in the public cloud.

The new offerings enable certified Sophos Cloud Security Providers to collect the same kind of benefits they already receive for sales of on-premises licenses when using Sophos products to safeguard resources in Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The U.K.-based vendor also announced today that its Sophos Server Protection solution now supports Azure server instances, and can use the Sophos Synchronized Security technology to coordinate defensive measures with the company’s XG Firewall on Azure product. AWS was the only public cloud supported by Server Protection in the past.

Qualified cloud security partners can acquire Sophos cloud products on either a “bring your own license” or pay-as-you-go basis. The former option allows resellers to purchase virtual licenses to Sophos products suitable for use in the cloud the same way they buy physical licenses, through distribution or from Sophos itself.

The more innovative pay-as-you-go model enables partners to get credit when their customers purchase Sophos products via the AWS and Azure marketplaces.

“That’s a different type of transaction than most vendors and most partners are used to doing together,” observes Sophos vice president of global channel Kendra Krause, because end users have no means of identifying their partner during the buying process. Sophos, however, has devised a procedure for linking specific purchases to specific partners without assistance from the customer.

“The partner helps us identify who they referred over to the marketplace,” Krause says. “We can then confirm that transaction with help that AWS and Azure are giving us in reporting, and then we provide them benefits.”

Those benefits include rebates based on cloud billing totals, as well as credit towards sales targets that determine matters like which level of the Sophos Partner Program a reseller belongs to and how much market development funding they receive.

There are two levels of Sophos Cloud Security Provider, professional and expert. To qualify for the professional level, which is aimed at resellers with basic cloud consulting skills, partners must complete a sales-focused training class. Expert partners, who not only sell Sophos cloud security products but deploy and configure them as well, must also complete a certified engineering course. In exchange for that added investment, expert partners receive higher rebates and more sales leads.

According to Krause, Sophos expects relatively few of its partners to earn expert status initially, as most of its channel is new to the challenges associated with securing public cloud infrastructure.

“It’s a small group right now,” she says. “Those are the ones that helped us design this program.”

Analysts at Gartner expect the global market for cloud management and security services to nearly double from $7.15 billion last year to just over $14 billion in 2020.

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