Sophos Is Committed To “Channel First” Sales Strategy

Sunil Sharma
VP, Sales, Sophos
UK-based security software and hardware vendor, Sophos, who acquired Indian network security company Cyberoam for reportedly around $ 70 million in 2014, has completed the integration of products and solutions offerings and channels. The merger is a win-win for both Sophos and Cyberoam which enabled the former to expand its UTM portfolio. On the other front, the acquisition also exposed Cyberoam to a vast world of network security.

Though Sophos has largely streamlined its business with a renewed channel strategy, the company still supports Cyberoam’s line of products and aims to slowly integrate their partners under the Sophos umbrella. Sophos has been constantly upgrading its channel strategy in order to ensure a seamless transition of its partners. The company has introduced a slew of channel partners to upgrade their skills and knowledge.

In a chat with Priyanka Pugaokar of Channel Times, Sunil Sharma, Vice President, Sales, Sophos, highlights the company’s “Channel First” sales strategy and sheds light on the redefined sales and channel play of the company post integration.

Sophos recently concluded the integration of Cyberoam business. Can you please share the essence of integration of product line and channel under Sophos brand?  

Through the Cyberoam acquisition, Sophos has added more resources to accelerate its network security vision across every aspect of the business: more resources for product innovation, more sales and partner reach, more support strength, and high brand visibility.

Post-acquisition, we have successfully aligned our operations and collectively work as one team Sophos. We are now a strong team of 2700 employees out of which we have about 750 focusing on research and development alone – many of these are in Ahmedabad, India.

Sophos is a world leader in next-generation network and endpoint security products. We will continue to enhance our “Channel First – Channel Only” sales strategy and are committed to provide simple and comprehensive security solutions to the mid-market enterprises and the channels that serve them. We have synchronized security through our product offerings be it UTM, endpoint or cloud. We have recently introduced the Sophos Intercept X, a next-generation endpoint protection solution which has anti-ransomware and anti-exploit capabilities.

To sum it up, it has been an exciting time for us at Sophos. We look forward to making Sophos a network security solution provider of choice.

What are the major changes in Cyberoam’s business and channel strategies after the merger? How do you see the acceptance of both the brands in both set of partners?

Cyberoam and Sophos have successfully come together in all areas including product strategy, market strategy, long-term product planning, competitive analysis etc. We now go to market as company- Sophos. We continue to deliver next-generation innovative technologies that add tremendous value to our customers and partners alike –Synchronized Security and Intercept X to name a few.

How has been the integration of common UTM SKUs of Astaro and Cyberoam so far? With the integration can we say that Cyberoam will no more exist in the market?

We have combined the best features of Astaro and Cyberoam products into the Sophos series of XG Firewalls and UTMs. We continue to invest in and support the Cyberoam product line. Recently we scaled the NG series platform to become cross compatible so that customers can upgrade or migrate to Sophos firewall operating system should they wish to test drive the next-generation and Sophos Synchronized Security technology. We’ve chosen this strategy to support customer choice;they don’t have to give up the device or functionality they have grown to love.

What are the major revamps on the distribution side of business post integration? Please highlight your distribution strategy post-merger?

Our distribution strategy is the same. We continue doing business with our 17 sub distributors appointed for the India and SAARC region. Redington and Satcom Infotech continue as our national distributors for Sophos. Being a 100% channel centric company our focus is on ensuring our partners get the best from us – products, service, margins support and incentives. Our new partner program has touched on all these aspects and is well received by the channel across India & SAARC.

What are your major channel announcements in past one year? What can enterprise security channels expect from Sophos in 2016?

Sophos recently announced the launch of their Partner Program for their 1000+ channel partners in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The recently launched partner program enhances Sophos’ commitment to the partner community and is a part of the Global Program which is localized as per the needs of the Indian market, aimed at higher engagement, growth and profitability.
Innovation is at the core of our business strategy. We continue to invest in next-generation technologies and we will continue to enhance our synchronized security capabilities and our cloud-based management platform. Just like Security Heartbeat and Intercept X our partners can expect us to deliver technologies of the future across network, endpoint and cloud.

What are the key thrust areas you will focus on to expand the reach of Sophos in the network security market in India and SAARC region?

We are well placed in terms of our resource strength. Our channel is well established. We have a great network of customers. The Sophos sales team is well entrenched into Tier I, II and III cities. Our research and development center in Ahmedabad is doing some great innovations. Our global support management center is effectively servicing customers across the globe. Our product roadmap is robust. We have brought to the market some innovative solutions like Security Heartbeat and Intercept X. We are focused on beating our own performance and outpacing the market growth rate, like always.

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