Sophos is gearing up to launch a new MSP programme that will offer partners monthly billing on its unified threat management (UTM) wares.
The security vendor is spreading the channel love this month with three back-to-back partner summits in Asia-Pac, EMEA and the US. The EMEA summit, which is taking place in Athens this week, drew in 380 partners, 20 per cent up on last year.
Speaking to CRN while in the Greek capital, chief executive Kris Hagerman (pictured) said Sophos' recent restructuring drive will allow it to invest more heavily in high-growth parts of its business such UTM.
"Yes, we went through a restructuring, but at the end of the year we expect to have more employees than at the start of the year," he said. "Any technology company over the course of time is going to reduce its investment in areas that are maturing and allocate new investment to products that are growing, and that is exactly what we are doing.
"UTM is growing double or triple the market rate for us and mobile is growing at 400 to 500 per cent year on year. We are also investing heavily in channel and cloud."
Sophos is using the trio of summits to lay out its product road map to customers and tout its ability to deliver a complete security solution through the cloud.
The vendor also announced a new MSP programme that will see it only bill partners for the services their customers are using on its UTM boxes as they use them, in a move designed to boost their cashflow and profitability.
Michael Valentine, senior vice president of worldwide sales, claimed the scheme – which is set to launch in mid-June – is an industry first.
"Utility billing is not something our competitors have been able to do yet," he said. "If a customer is buying services from the MSP at $100 a month, we would only charge the MSP for when the box is used and they can either take it to their bottom line or increase the margin."
James Vyvyan, director of channel at Sophos UK, said the vendor has launched an MSP recruitment drive.
"Some of our traditional partners see this as a way to open up new markets such as the small business market," he said. "But it is also an opportunity for us to engage with new partners that already offer an MSP service."
The vendor also said it is now designing its solutions specifically with partners in mind, Hagerman said, rather than producing solutions for end users and the channel being an afterthought.
"The whole business system is designed with a channel-first philosophy," said Hagerman, who took the reins from long-standing CEO Steve Munford in September.
Since buying UTM vendor Astaro in 2011, Sophos has made two small acquisitions in the shape of VirusBuster and Dialogs.
Hagerman said Sophos would continue on the M&A trail.
"If we find an area we are strategically interested in but don't have team assembled to go after – and time to market is critical – that is when we will look at M&A," he said.
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