IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Sophos Stresses Cross-Selling, MSP Licensing, and Cloud Security as Top Channel Revenue Opportunities for Year Ahead

According to Vice President of Global Channels Kendra Krause (pictured), the security vendor hopes to extend already solid results in all three areas during its 2019 fiscal year. By Rich Freeman

Sophos Ltd. is urging partners to cross-sell security solutions, drive further adoption of its cloud security products, and capitalize on MSP subscription pricing.

The U.K.-based security vendor positioned all three of those opportunities as key focus areas for the 2019 fiscal year, which began in April, at its annual North American partner conference, held last month in Las Vegas.

The emphasis on cross-selling is designed to accelerate a potent ongoing shift among Sophos resellers toward combining solutions from the vendor’s expanding product catalog, which ranges from endpoint security products and firewalls to web security gateways, anti-phishing training systems, and beyond. The company added a new email security offering to that lineup as well today.

Already, some 75 percent of Sophos’s fastest-growing partners are selling both endpoint and network security products, according to Vice President of Global Channels Kendra Krause. The number of partners offering both the Sophos Central and XG Firewall products has grown over 60 percent since last year as well, she adds.

“Synchronized Security,” in which products from different categories share information and coordinate defensive measures, is core to Sophos’s strategy for safeguarding end users, increasing revenue for itself and its channel, and differentiating itself from competitors. Partners must be willing and able to cross-sell Sophos solutions, however, to benefit from synchronized security themselves and help their customers benefit from it.

Training resellers to mix and match Sophos products, through resources like the company’s synchronized security accreditation program, is a key part of how the vendor plans to extend the current cross-sales momentum into the new fiscal year.

Extending strong enthusiasm for Sophos’s MSP Connect partner program is another priority for the new fiscal year. Introduced in April of 2016, MSP Connect allows qualified partners to optimize cash flow by paying for product licenses via the same kind of monthly recurring fees they collect from clients.

“They can be very flexible in how they want to bill their end user customers, because we’re flexible in how we bill them,” Krause says.

Enrollment in MSP Connect grew 750 percent on a year-over-year basis in fiscal 2018, she continues. Krause points to the unified manageability of Sophos’s product line via the cloud-based Sophos Central administration console as a contributing factor in those results.

“That’s key to an MSP, because they’re trying to keep their overhead costs down at every chance they can,” she says.

Partners are embracing Sophos’s cloud security portfolio in swelling numbers as well, according to Krause, who notes that subscription billings for Sophos Central rose 112 percent on an annualized basis in the 2018 fiscal year, from $88 million to $186 million.

Sophos introduced an extension to its partner program for resellers that deploy its products in the public cloud, and equipped its Sophos Server Protection offering to support Microsoft Azure in addition to Amazon Web Services, last September.

Other initiatives unveiled at the North American partner conference last month include a new content syndication program that lets partners publish expert content from Sophos Labs threat researchers and the company’s Naked Security blog on their own website and a new competitive intelligence hotline offering information and advice partners can use to persuade sales prospects considering products from other vendors to buy Sophos solutions instead.

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