Cobweb Solutions' longstanding relationship with Southampton FC helped its vendor partner Acronis seal the deal to become the team's official cyber protection partner, according to the MSP's boss Michael Frisby.
The cybersecurity vendor already works with a number of Premiership clubs, but this deal is its first with the Saints, providing a full suite of cyber protection solutions to protect the club's data assets and optimise data workflow.
Fareham-based Cobweb will be Acronis' official delivery partner for the solutions, marking the first time the vendor has done a partnership in this way.
CRN caught up with Cobweb MD Frisby and Guennadi Moukine, Acronis' director of sports partnerships and marketing, to find out more about how the deal came about with the Premiere League club.
How was Cobweb chosen to be the local delivery partner for this partnership?
Frisby: We've had a really good relationship with both organisations and Acronis was looking to evolve the way they take their sports partnerships to market in order to increase their reach. It made sense for us to work with them on this one with Southampton, based on the strength of the relationship we've got with Acronis, but also the fact that we already provide a significant percentage of Southampton's IT solutions.
Acronis have got over 60 of these sports partnerships around the world now and what they wanted was more local delivery partners who can help support them in their engagement with some of those sports partners.
Cobweb is the Acronis delivery partner, supporting them as Southampton's cyber protection partner. This is the first one of these that they've done worldwide in this way, so it's a unique story of how we're building on the long-term existing relationships we've had with Acronis and Southampton.
Moukine: For us, it's important not just to deliver technology but to do to deliver the best possible service as well and Cobweb can do that for us. Cobweb is enabling us to deliver on our partnership objectives.
What does the partnership involve?
Frisby: In the UK, Acronis has relationships with Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal and we've worked with them on some of those sports partnerships and taken advantage of those to help build our business around Acronis.
There's always a commercial element to these relationships and so for them to take maximum benefit from the relationship, they wanted to experiment with a model where they can bring a delivery partner in and really maximise each sports partnership that they have.
Given Southampton has been a longtime customer of Cobweb, the three things came together incredibly well.
What exactly will you be delivering as part of the cybersecurity suite?
Frisby: With Acronis' cyber protection range, we're making sure we're protecting each of the club's devices, new endpoint management, new antivirus protections and AI-based proactive anti-malware solutions, along with making sure we're backing up all the data - Southampton's got terabytes of data on player analysis and video analysis of both their existing squads and potential people that they want to acquire. We're also protecting their day to day IT assets, whether that's their on-prem servers or the laptops that are out and about, we're making sure we give that end to end protection for them.
What is the length and value of the deal?
Moukine: I'm afraid we can't disclose that.
How much influence did Cobweb's pre-existing relationship with the Saints help in sealing this deal?
Moukine: This is the start of our relationship with Southampton, but as Michael mentioned, they already have an existing relationship with the club and we'll be building on top of that.
Apart from Southampton, does Cobweb work with any other clubs?
Frisby: We've got a history of working with football teams ourselves, we supply and work with Reading FC and Sheffield United.
We've got a track record of working with customers in the sporting sector and Acronis has relationships from their sports partnerships, so all of these things naturally fell together.
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