Sophos has integrated its 2017 acquisition Invincea into its Intercept X end-point security product, in a move which one partner has described as "a game changer".
The Abingdon-based vendor acquired machine-learning specialist Invincea in February last year for $100m (£70.5m), in a move which it claimed would bolster its next-generation protection portfolio.
Sophos kept its plans for Invincea largely under wraps last year, but CEO Kris Hagerman told CRN in May that he expected it to be integrated in the Sophos portfolio by the end of 2017, adding that a name for the product had not been decided.
The vendor has however tweaked the strategy, instead integrating it with its next-gen Intercept X product which it launched in 2016.
Sophos senior VP Dan Schiappa told CRN that partners played a key role in switching the focus and integrating the Invincea technology into an existing product.
"When we bought it we initially had some ideas about having a separate Intercept product - an Intercept M product - but we decided to build the single best product in the world and combine the technologies, and actually they play off really well with each other," he said.
"We are 100 per cent channel driven so the channel is our go-to-market and we are heavily involved with them.
"They participated a lot in early access programmes and gave us a lot of feedback, they participated in the business model, so actually some of our partners were heavy influencers on us pushing this into Intercept X as opposed to having a separate product."
Schiappa said that the newly combined product has the capability to predict attacks, even those that use techniques which have not been seen before, dubbing it "the most innovative and predictive product in the world".
James Miller, managing director at Sophos partner Chess Cybersecurity, said the technology is "a game changer", adding that the tech being integrated into the current Sophos offering makes it easier for the channel to drive adoption in its customer base.
"When Intercept X first launched [in 2016] some customers were saying 'I've already bought end-point technology from you, now you're saying I need to upgrade'. Well, in the world of security the game is changing all the time and it moves so fast," he said.
"The thing with Intercept X is they haven't gone and put another upgrade option on it [and charged extra], it is just Intercept X, so version one and version two are combined which makes it very simple and very attractive to customers because you're getting a lot of technology in there. It can also run alongside the traditional anti-virus technology."
Miller said that the new release of the Intercept X product gives a huge upgrade opportunity to channel partners, with the technology integrating well with Sophos' traditional end-point products.
He explained that buying next-generation products from an established vendor makes more sense than buying from an ever-growing number of new vendors coming to the market, because Sophos is not endorsing a rip-and-replace model like some of the newer players.
"Commercially it is more attractive than some of the other smaller players that have come into the market with this kind of technology," he said.
"The advantage we have is, from a Sophos point of view, there is decades of experience and they haven't said you have to replace your end-point security with the latest and greatest, it can run alongside it.
"You get within the traditional end-point technology things that you don't get with a lot of the new vendors out there. If you're buying one of these new breeds of vendors you're still having to have that end-point technology, and you don't get the integration between the two."
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